Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1975

“Mandy” is Barry Manilow’s first #1 pop hit

Barry Manilow’s scores his first #1 single with “Mandy” on January 18, 1975. He would go on to sell more than 75 millions records over the course of his career.

At the height of Barry Manilow’s popularity, none other than Frank Sinatra himself said of Manilow, “He’s next.” Yet even in his heyday, the more youthful arbiters of “cool” were not kind to him. They called Manilow’s music bombastic and schmaltzy, even as Americans devoured his every release. But critics may have missed the point. Barry Manilow never fancied himself hip or cool—far from it. “I have purposely tried not to stay in sync with the times,” he has said. “I just do what feels good.” Even as a teenager in the 1950s, Barry preferred pop standards and Broadway show tunes to Elvis Presley records, and it was his love of this style of music that led to his big break.

While working as a commercial jingle writer/performer and pursuing a recording career with limited success, Manilow met a kindred spirit named Bette Midler. He first became her piano player then graduated to musical director, lending his arranging and orchestration talents to her Divine Miss M album and tour (think “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”) on the condition that he be allowed to perform a short set of his own songs during her intermission. It was this experience that landed Manilow a gig as Dionne Warwick’s opening act, which in turn led Clive Davis to take him under his wing at the newly formed Arista Records. Then came “Mandy,” “It’s a Miracle,” “I Write the Songs,” “Looks Like We Made It” and a string of 21 more top-40 hits between 1975 and 1983—hits that helped earn Barry Manilow recognition by Billboard and Radio & Records as the top Adult Contemporary chart artist of all time. His days as a chart artist may now be behind him, but Barry Manilow continues to fill concert venues around the world with fans whose enjoyment of his music seems undiminished by the jokey barbs of the pop-critical establishment.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Scott reaches the South Pole

After a two-month ordeal, the expedition of British explorer Robert Falcon Scott arrives at the South Pole only to find that Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer, had preceded them by just over a month. Disappointed, the exhausted explorers prepared for a long and difficult ...read more

Cook discovers Hawaii

On January 18, 1778, the English explorer Captain James Cook becomes the first European to discover the Hawaiian Islands when he sails past the island of Oahu. Two days later, he landed at Waimea on the island of Kauai and named the island group the Sandwich Islands, in honor of ...read more

GM auctions off historic cars

January 18, 2009, marks the final day of a weeklong auction in which auto giant General Motors (GM) sells off historic cars from its Heritage Collection. GM sold around 200 vehicles at the Scottsdale, Arizona, auction, including a 1996 Buick Blackhawk concept car for $522,500, a ...read more

NHL is integrated

On January 18, 1958, hockey player Willie O’Ree of the Boston Bruins takes to the ice for a game against the Montreal Canadiens, becoming the first black to play in the National Hockey League (NHL). Born in 1935 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, O’Ree was the son of a civil ...read more

Barry arrested on drug charges

At the end of a joint sting operation by FBI agents and District of Columbia police, Mayor Marion Barry is arrested and charged with drug possession and the use of crack, a crystalline form of cocaine. At the Vista International Hotel in downtown Washington, Barry was caught ...read more

President John Tyler dies

On this day in 1862, former U.S. President and Confederate congressman-elect John Tyler dies at age 71 in Richmond, Virginia. Tyler, who was born in Virginia in 1790, served as a U.S. congressman and as governor of his home state before winning election to the U.S. Senate. state ...read more