'They were the loudest audience’: Barry Manilow on his British ‘Fanilows’

ITV News Entertainment Reporter Rishi Davda sat down with Barry Manilow as he gets ready to end his UK touring with a fortnight residency at the London Palladium

Club, pub, car, waiting room … it doesn’t really matter where you are, if ‘Copacabana’ comes on, you’ll be toe-tapping before you know it.

Whether it was an iconic anthem or a sentimental ballad, Barry Manilow knows how to write a hit - 28 top ten singles is proof of that very statement.

He never set out to become a popstar, but that’s how things played out, bringing a 34-year-old unknown to the London Palladium in 1978.

It’s fair to say that fan’s took to him immediately. Barry remembers British fans as "louder than any other audience".

"I didn’t really know what I was doing back then, I had no intention of being a singer or a performer. I thought I stunk, but they didn’t, they in their own way kept saying: keep going. So I give them all the credits for my success."

He’s calling time on touring, singing off from the UK with a 14-date run at the London Palladium, where it all started nearly 50 yeas ago.

ITV News Entertainment Reporter Rishi Davda sat down with Barry Manilow. Credit: ITV News

"I’m done with touring," he tells me with an element of relief in his tone.

"Everybody tells me at this age, how come I am still running around and singing the high Fs? I don’t know, I just think it’s gotten old for me now. I’m done with touring, but I’ll keep making records."

The 80-year-old has an exceptional track record when it comes to ‘making records.’

He’s sold more than 85 million albums, songs like ‘Mandy, Could it be Magic and Looks like we made it,’ were all from the heart, Manilow was known for calling on people’s emotions in his music.

However, there was one song that wasn’t particularly soaked in feelings ‘Copacabana’ was a surprise success. He laughs while reflecting how "it wasn’t full of emotion".

Barry Manilow meeting the then-Prince and Princess of Wales in 1983. Credit: PA

"It was the cleverest, catchiest song we had ever written. And we thought it was a novelty cut on that album and nobody would ever hear it. And that was the biggest surprise."

The New York native has broken records in Las Vegas for more residency performances than the late, great Elvis Presley.

Travelling the world, loved by millions of adoring fans, it was a moment in the UK that provided his fondest career memory.

"The moment was meeting Princess Diana. I meet Diana and Charles backstage at the Royal Festival Hall. Everything’s royal around here.

"She was a fan and she couldn’t even look at me. I’ll never forget that, she was beautiful," he adds.

Barry Manilow’s 14-night residency starts on Thursday 23rd May at the London Palladium.

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