Born Barry Alan Pincus in Brooklyn, New York, Manilow began his musical career as a pianist, and it was working as the music director, arranger and pianist for Bette Midler on tour in 1972 that he gained the opportunity to perform in his own right. By 1974, he had his first major hit, "Mandy", and was recognised as a talented singer and songwriter.
His biggest success came in the 1970s and early 1980s. His hit song, "Copacabana", became the basis for a successful full-scale musical which was staged on Broadway and in the West End and made into a film in which he took the starring role.
Rolling Stone magazine has proclaimed him "a giant among entertainers ... the showman of our generation".
Manilow's career continues. In 1998, he released his 30th album, a tribute to Frank Sinatra, for which he was again much criticised. Regardless of the critics' verdict, he is still able to pack concert venues throughout the world and, although his run of hit singles has dried up, he appears regularly on television.