Everyone knows what to expect when Barry Manilow takes the stage Friday, Jan. 28 at the BankAtlantic Center (1 Panther Pkwy, Sunrise) and again Saturday, Jan. 29 at UM’s BankUnited Center (1245 Dauer Dr., Coral Gables) – guilty-pleasure hits including “I Write the Songs,” “Mandy,” “This One’s For You” and the classic cheese-fest “Copacabana (At the Copa).” And everyone might expect Manilow to take himself seriously, much like one would expect, say, Celine Dion or Martha Stewart to.
Not so. Manilow loosened up a bit in an interview for Miami.com to pump up his upcoming South Florida shows.
In 2006, officials in Australia thought blasting your music late weekend nights would discourage youths to hang out in a residential area. How did that play out, and what was your reaction to it?
I was crossing my fingers that what eventually happened, would happen. Which is, that they didn’t run away. They sat and listened to it and danced to “Copacabana” [laughs].
If you were in a nightclub and they played “Copacabana,” would you bust a move?
Well, it all depends on what rendition they played – I’ve done so many. But the one that I hear in these dance clubs is usually the absolute original, with my Brooklyn accent, and believe it or not, the song and the record still sounds good. I’ve always believed that if you write a good song, it will last forever. It’s a very smart lyric. How many songs do you know that tell a story like that in three verses and a repeated chorus three times? That is a smart batch of words that [collaborator] Bruce [Sussman] wrote, and I think the melody I wrote is a real catchy one – including that cowbell!
Let’s talk about your hair back in the ’70s.
What’s the secret to the styling – what kind of products did you use?
I just have to tell you – go look at everybody else’s hair back in the ’70s. We all looked like that. Look at Rod Stewart. We all looked like that. It’s a matter of generations – we all looked like morons.
How often do you get to Miami, and what do you think of the city?
I used to get there much more often because I used to live in New York, but I don’t live on the East Coast anymore, and it’s a verrrry long plane ride. I very rarely get there. The last time I was there, I don’t even know when – four years, five years. And when I do, I get off the plane, go into the arena, do what I have to do, get back in the car, get back onto the plane…I really haven’t spent much time in Miami or that area in a long time.
But I can tell you that when I did, I loved it. I nearly bought a house there. It was gonna be where I was gonna retire and live the rest of my life. But I moved out to California and everything changed.