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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Barry Manilow
Aired June 23, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: If you don't think Barry Manilow is cool, then I've got one word for you -- Copacabana. That song is going to be stuck in your head all night.
It would be the same if I said "Mandy," or, "I Write the Songs," or any of his other monster hits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARRY MANILOW, SINGER/SONGWRITER: You know, Piers, music and passion are always in fashion. That's a clever line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Barry Manilow has been writing, performing and touring for nearly 40 years. Tonight, wait until you hear what he says about Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and the price of fame.
Barry Manilow for the hour sings his greatest hits -- and a song from his new album.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MORGAN: Barry Manilow sold 18 million records worldwide. He's had 35 consecutive top 40 hits and five albums on the charts at the same time. A record rivaled only by Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis.
Now, Barry is indisputably back with his first album of original songs in more than a decade. It's called "15 Minutes." He's also the resident headliner at The Paris in Las Vegas and Barry joins me now.
What a career. You talk about careers in music, my goodness.
MANILOW WRITER: Yes. It's just amazing. I'm just listening to it. I just really --got really tired just listening to it.
MORGAN: And you have you have -- the ones -- the other day, you must have the most die-hard fans.
MANILOW: I do. The most die-hard fans.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) MANILOW: They're great. They're great people. They are. And they're great people, too.
MORGAN: Why -- why do you think -- I mean, we've got people in the audience here, strong followers of you, who have seen over 300 times and counting. Why do you think you've been able to inspire that kind of loyalty?
MANILOW: I am the wrong person to ask. I come at it from the other far side. I don't come at it from what -- how-- what the impact is. I come at it from the other part, which is trying to do the best work I can, and trying to make them feel good.
So, why, I've got to ask them, because they will tell you about the impact I'm having. I don't really know.
MORGAN: When you see other entertainers whose careers come and go who may have possibly as much talent in your eyes, don't have that longevity. What do you work on other than making great music, but in terms of your relationship with an audience, what do you work on you think that brings you that extra time?
MANILOW: The truth. I try to tell the truth in my work, in my music, in my performance. And, you know where that started? Was because I didn't know how to do what I'm doing. I started off just wanting to be in the background.
I had no eyes to be a performer. I had no ambition to be on the stage singing, singing and dancing around the stage. And so, when I got up there to promote my first album, I really didn't know what to do with my legs. I was able to get up from the piano, and then I really didn't know what else to do, because I had never, ever thought about standing up on a stage and entertaining.
And, I thought I was dreadful. But the audiences didn't. And I think they were able to connect with a guy who was telling the truth.
MORGAN: The most extraordinary, you were brought up not very far from this studio in Brooklyn, when it was -- you know, the part you grew up in was quite a rough area.
MANILOW: It was, yes.
MORGAN: You didn't have any money as a family. It certainly wasn't any kind of privileged existence you came from. So you came out of the mean streets.
MANILOW: I did. And I really appreciate it now. I do because you -- you come from New York or Brooklyn, that's -- again, it goes back to the words of truth. You can't fool people coming from Brooklyn. You've got to tell them the truth or else they look at you and say, what'd you say?
MANILOW: Like my grandmother would, or my mother would. MORGAN: Yes.
MANILOW: You are built in with a -- you know, a kind of a lie detector.
MORGAN: The B.S. (INAUDIBLE), I would imagine in Brooklyn, is fairly high.
MANILOW: Yes. So, you know, it was very helpful as I grew up, and, as I got into the entertainment business, to be able to spot that kind of thing coming at me.
MORGAN: As someone who'd always been in the background like you say, the moment you went center stage, did you in that moment realize, wow, OK, this is what it's all about?
MANILOW: No, no. It's a blur. Pier, it's just a blur. Bette was generous enough to give me a spot in her show --
MORGAN: Bette Midler.
MANILOW: Bette Midler, yes. I was her conductor and her arranger, and I had an album out. And she was -- allowed me to do a couple of songs in the middle of her -- she was big. That was 5,000, 8,000 people out there and, I must have been nuts or just ambitious to actually take this opportunity and do it. But, I believed in these songs and this music, and I did it.
MORGAN: You never had stage fright. Did you that night?
MANILOW: Yes, yes, I did. I did. I kind of threw up in the wings and the Harlettes, her group, kind of shoved me out on stage. It was one of those -- but it was --
MORGAN: But when you got that reaction from the crowd, and that was the first time you'd had it, what was the experience like to you?
MANILOW: It was like floating. I remember it was the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado and it's a beautiful, beautiful outdoor amphitheater, and they light it so beautifully, and I just didn't expect them to do anything at all. And, I finished "Could It Be Magic," you know, you the one I -- you know --
MORGAN: I figure you're familiar with "Could It Be Magic."
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MANILOW: And I saw -- you really can't see the audience, and I saw dotted dots of people rising and I thought, well, they must be going out for orange juice. But, they were giving me a standing ovation and this was beautiful. That was the moment that I said, ooh, there might be something here.
MORGAN: And everything changed? Obviously.
MANILOW: And everything changed. Everything. My life -- MORGAN: Your life just went from behind the scenes --
MORGAN: -- to center stage.
MANILOW: Well it was "Mandy' that really did it. That was the first hint -- "Could It Be Magic" at the Red Rocks amphitheater that was the first hint that something else was -- might be happening. But, I didn't really take it seriously. I thought, well, Bette's audience, they knew me, they were being kind to me, and I just, you know, I didn't pay much attention. But it was "Mandy" that really --
MORGAN: "Mandy" was the first really big hit you had. I mean, it's interesting -- the album, you called it "15 Minutes." The Andy Warhol everyone can be famous 15 minutes, presumably. Fame, can you take it? What's the answer in your case?
MANILOW: Well, for me, I kind of knock me over. I just -- you know -- I think it's a good quote, because you would think fame -- it should read, fame, whoop-di-doo.
MANILOW: Wouldn't you think that fame would be the greatest thing to happen to a person, you know?
MORGAN: Well, I think that everyone who's not famous assumes it is the greatest thing that could happen. They assume that being famous is wonderful, and you get everything you could possibly want in life.
MANILOW: Well, you know there is a little bit of that. It's just that you've got to -- you've got to -- it all depends on how you handle it. You know, there's a lot of great people out there who have handled fame just beautifully. Like Will, like, you know, like Matt Damon, like --
MORGAN: Yes, Will Smith, who was here earlier. A charming guy.
MANILOW: Beautiful. And they you know, you know, nothing wrong there. I get worried for the kids or the people who wind up in the spotlight without having done their dues -- paid their dues. And, you know, you see it every week on "American Idol," and "X Factor."
You know, they do have talent. I did "American Idol" a couple of times, and they do have talent. But, you know, before you know it, they are household names. And they haven't worked in the bars that we worked in. They haven't played the bar mitzvah.
And they, you know, they haven't gotten dressed in the men's room, you know? And suddenly they're --
MORGAN: They haven't done the hard yards.
MANILOW: Yes -- they -- yes, they haven't, you know, suddenly -- I was in the dressing room chair, and they had this nice young girl who I'd seen on TV a couple of weeks before, and as they were putting more lip gloss on her, and she had her hair up and she had on Armani and I said, whoa --
MANILOW: -- whoa, how's she handle this, you know?
MORGAN: And yet the fact that you mentor the acts on "Idol," you've done it a couple of times --
MANILOW: I did. And they are like sponges.
MORGAN: You clearly -- why do you do that? If you're concerned about what may happen?
MANILOW: I would do that every day if I could. I would. I've learned so much over these past million years that I've done it. I'd love to pass it down. I would. Because I'm really good at it now, and I'm really good at putting big shows together, small shows together, making records, performing. I really know how to do it.
I would love the opportunity to pass it down. I would. So, I love doing "American Idol."
MORGAN: Do you still like being famous? Or is it just a pain in the backside?
MANILOW: I don't think of myself as being famous. I know that you must --
MORGAN: Barry, you're one of the most famous people in the world.
(LAUGHTER AND CHEERS)
MANILOW: Well, that's not -- that's not the way I see myself. I see myself as --
MORGAN: Seriously, it's the queen, the pope?
MORGAN: Barry Manilow.
MANILOW: No, no, you know. I mean, I don't consider myself a famous person. I consider myself a guy. I feel like I'm a lucky musician, you know?
MORGAN: Have you met anybody in the last 20 years who didn't know who you were?
MANILOW: Well, yes, sure. Yes I have.
MORGAN: But not often?
MANILOW: But not often, no.
MORGAN: That's real fame.
MANILOW: Well, there you go.
MORGAN: When you see what happens to people like Britney Spears, that's the dark side of fame, and you've talked about this. I mean --
MANILOW: Yes, well, that was -- that was started me off -- me and my collaborator Nick Anderson. That's what started us off on this whole trip down with -- for "15 Minutes."
I, you know, I'd had a real good run on the cover albums. The greatest songs of the '50s and 60s, singing everybody else's songs, and it was fun. But I really wanted to write again. I was really missing writing songs.
And so, I looked around to see what was going on and that was around the time where they were driving Britney Spears crazy. She couldn't even go out to Starbucks. She couldn't get in her car to go to Starbucks. And it was --
MORGAN: How much of it has she brought on herself?
MANILOW: I just remember them just driving her crazy. I don't know whether anybody brings that kind of thing on themselves. It seems to me that she was trying to live her life and that was beautiful and she was in the public eye.
But, whoa, that was crazy. I think we all looked her -- looked at it in horror, you know. And, I said to Nick is that the price of fame these days? Because this -- this didn't happen to me. Not that. They didn't follow me around and try, you know -- wherever I was going.
Yes, there was a photographer or two and, you know, but not that. So, I think it's because of the Internet and because of all this, the media --
MORGAN: Does it worry you? I mean, do you think that you're going to send -- I mean she went over the edge quite clearly for a while. Does it worry you that we're going to see more of that with people who just may be off psychologically, a little flawed anyway?
MANILOW: I do. I do worry about that because I -- just this being famous is -- I think it's a very dangerous thing to do if you are not grounded. If you're not grounded --
MORGAN: It's a drug, isn't it?
MANILOW: It's a drug. If you're not grounded -- I know that feeling, that, you know, you are -- the audience applauds you whether you're -- you know, people applaud you. They tell you you're doing great. Oh, it's fantastic. You're just the greatest.
And they send you back to your hotel room and you're alone, and you look at your computer, and you take out your penis and you show everybody.
MANILOW: That's what happens, right?
MORGAN: Well, on that bombshell, we are going to take a quick break so the audience can recover. And, when we come back, we're going to have some video of you, ironically, performing in a bathhouse.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MORGAN: That was the 1984 hit song that put Barry Manilow on the charts, "Mandy." Let's talk about the story behind that a moment. It became the anthem for you, that propelled you into --
MANILOW: Did you say 1984? I mean, I'll take it.
MORGAN: But it was quite interesting because I was watching you watching yourself perform there. And, you were sort of going -- ahhh, almost wistfully.
MANILOW: Yes, he's so young. He didn't know what was about to hit him.
MORGAN: What advice would you give that Barry Manilow?
MANILOW: It's -- just stick to your guns. Don't let them beat you down.
MORGAN: Who's they?
MANILOW: Everybody but the audiences. The audiences were very supportive. But critics and newspapers and all of that, I got it. I'd get it. But, you know --
MORGAN: I mean, I remember. I remember when "Mandy" came out --
MANILOW: They hated it. Yes.
MORGAN: -- they turned on you. And you became sort of a figure of fun. So, you were having this wild success, but personally having to deal with all this criticism you'd never had to face before.
MANILOW: Yes. MORGAN: What was that like for you?
MANILOW: Well, it was dreadful. But, you know, I would -- I would pull the covers over my head in the morning. You know, I'd go into my self-pity pot, and then I would just get up and start all over again, because I had people around me that were very supportive, and they would tell me not to pay attention to it, you know?
But, still, I'm a human being, and I would wince about it, you know? But, I would tell that guy to stick to it. And, I think I did.
MORGAN: You said a very interesting thing recently, buried away in an interview I read. Which I think is very interesting how you, Lady Gaga and Barbara Streisand all got criticized for your noses. And yet all three of you became three of the biggest selling singer/songwriters in history. You have this --
MANILOW: Did I say something about our noses?
MANILOW: You know, I never -- I don't remember doing that, but maybe somebody else that.
MANILOW: But, I mean I wouldn't say it. But, you know, I make fun of my nose, because I really, you know, but -- in Britain, holy mackerel. They really take it really seriously. Really, I mean, you know I -- do you think I really have an ugly, big, crazy nose?
MANILOW: Because in Britain, you should see --
MORGAN: They are. They're obsessed with your nose.
MANILOW: They are obsessed. You know the concord hooter arrives, you know?
MANILOW: A very manly nose and --
MORGAN: Every headline in Britain is always about your nose.
MANILOW: Oh, they do -- they must write these things down until I get there. Drawer-full of --
MORGAN: It doesn't look, close up, that bad. It's a fine Roman nose.
MANILOW: Thank you. Right. Yes, it is.
MANILOW: Jewish nose. My grandfather had this nose. I have a -- I have a manly nose. No, I'm fine, I'm fine with my nose. I would never, ever even think about anything like that.
MORGAN: Are you a vain man, would you say?
MANILOW: I'm as vain as the next guy. But, you know, I --
MORGAN: But you have to be more vain to be in your game.
MANILOW: I mean, I've got my space the size of my old apartment building blowing up on every big concert, I do. You know, you want to look decent.
MORGAN: Yes, yes. That is true. I mean, that's why you're not the average guy. And that's why image, presumably, is still crucial. Probably more so now, isn't it?
MANILOW: But only with you or with people like you who remind me I'm not the average guy. I mean it.
Most of the days, I hang out with my band and we work and we create beautiful music. I say hello to the people out there and that's it, you know?
MORGAN: The average guy isn't earning stratospheric sums of money being a huge headline act in Vegas.
MANILOW: I don't think about that either. And I should. And I should. And I made some big mistakes -- you know, after, I think it was "Copa" -- I got a phone call that said I -- they only could find $11,000 in my bank account. And after "Copa," it's like '78 --
MORGAN: Where did it go?
MANILOW: I had hired a -- my first business manager. You got to remember, just like so many other people, I came from no -- nowhere. Brooklyn, no money. I didn't really have a sense of what to do with money.
So, as it started to come rolling in, I really didn't know how to handle it. I just didn't know how to do it. So, I hired this business manager who, you know, I trusted him, you know?
So, you know, a couple of years later, you know, I -- he was investing money that would never -- you know -- I mean, because he didn't really know the ins and outs of the music business, that I wasn't going to always be that. So, I wound up with $11,000 after "Copa."
After "Copa," after "Mandy," "I Write the Songs" and --
MORGAN: You made millions of dollars and it all disappeared.
MANILOW: And on the road too.
MORGAN: Since that experience, did you get wiser about money?
MANILOW: I did. I didn't learn very much myself, but I hired better people and I do keep -- I do keep tabs on it as much as I can. MORGAN: Did you know how much you're worth?
MANILOW: Do I know how much I'm worth?
MANILOW: Yes, I do.
(LAUGHTER AND CHEERS)
MORGAN: Do you feel like sharing that with me or --
MANILOW: I haven't really got a wisecrack for it.
MORGAN: One of the ways you made a lot of money, and a very smart way at the time, because it was quite innovative, was in commercials. And I want to play you a little clip we've got here of some of your work there, because it's fascinating what happened.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MORGAN: These are all very simple, and yet, they were incredibly successful.
MANILOW: You know, they still -- I just saw that on TV this morning. I'm stuck on Band-Aid. And they're still airing -- State Farm is there. And, it's been a long time that -- you know, that they're airing these commercials.
MORGAN: But the difference was -- I mean, now, when we watch commercials, it's all very video-driven.
MORGAN: When I was young, and you did these commercials, and it was McDonald's or Band-Aid, whatever it was, the songs themselves, the jingles, became the selling point. You'd all go running, and you'd all be humming it or singing it.
MANILOW: They don't do that anymore. I got -- you know, they finally remembered that I had done those things and gave me a couple of CLIO Awards, that's the advertising. And you see, and I sat through the entire evening watching the big commercials of the year, not one of them had a great melody to it. Not one of them. They didn't -- they don't do that anymore.
MORGAN: That's sad though, isn't it?
MANILOW: You know, I thought so.
MORGAN: I mean, if someone like McDonald's, who you are --
MANILOW: You remember that one?
MANILOW: Oh, yes, were you -- because I thought it was only in America.
MORGAN: No, no.
MANILOW: That you deserve a break today.
MORGAN: That was one of the most famous jingles.
MANILOW: Absolutely. I mean, I think that it would work again today, don't you?
MORGAN: So do I.
MANILOW: So, I mean --
MORGAN: How would you feel ideologically, if McDonald's came to you now and said, would you front a commercial for us?
MANILOW: Oh, I would love it. I'd love doing it. Really. I loved doing it then. I would love doing it now.
MORGAN: If they're watching, you're available.
MANILOW: Absolutely. I did, I loved it.
MORGAN: We're going to take another break. And, when we come back, I want to escort you to that piano and try to recreate some of the magic of the Manilow years.
MANILOW: All right. I like it.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MORGAN: There are certain moments in your career that you know that every woman in the world wants to be you, and this is one of them -- because I'm about to order Barry Manilow to play just for me, "Mandy."
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MORGAN: I mean, watching you do that so close, I always find it magical when you watch a true musical genius do this kind of thing, a songwriter who can then sing the stuff.
What's interesting about your career, a lot of the songs you do are about love. They're often quite sad, like the "Mandy" song, heartbreak and so on.
MANILOW: Yes, but that's life. You know, but it's not just that, you know, you got --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
MORGAN: But the reason I -- the reason I was dwelling on the sad songs and the heartbreak was that you're quite private bloke, aren't you?
MANILOW: I am.
MORGAN: And I was -- without getting into the detail, how many times have you been in love? Had your heart broken?
MANILOW: Yes, never.
MORGAN: That's amazing.
MANILOW: I know. I just try to think, I have a -- my, my --
MORGAN: You've never ever been in love or had your heartbroken?
MANILOW: I've been in love, but I -- I'm lucky enough never to have my heart broken.
You know, the deepest I got was with Bagel. Bagel was my first beagle.
MORGAN: I know.
MANILOW: That's about as deep as I got.
MORGAN: How have you avoided what's struck everybody else?
MANILOW: Shoot, Piers, I don't know. I just got lucky. I did. I just got lucky.
MORGAN: Are you romantic? If I may --
MANILOW: I think I am. Don't you think I am?
MANILOW: I think I am.
MORGAN: You seem --
MANILOW: I'm more to romance. What's the definition of romance?
MORGAN: I guess, it's whatever -- I think romance, and love for that sake, is whatever anybody wants it to be.
MANILOW: Well, I'm -- I've got my feelings on my sleeve. I made a career out of it. You know, that -- this is who I am. This is what I feel.
And, I think I -- that's one of the reason's I had such trouble with the critics. They didn't like to see that from a guy. They'd much rather see a guy being angry on the stage. They'd much rather hear interviews about, you know, a guy cursing.
I don't do that. So, I think that's, if that's romance that's me.
MORGAN: I mean, when I -- when I've seen you in concert, I have twice in England.
MANILOW: Oh, thank you. I'm going to underscore us.
MORGAN: Give me a little.
MANILOW: So, keep going.
MORGAN: No, what I -- that just got very disconcerting for me.
MORGAN: I've always wanted Barry Manilow as my warm up man. Is that --
MORGAN: You could be my resident show pianist.
MANILOW: It does. It makes it easier for you.
MORGAN: I would love that, yes.
But what you definitely have. You have this extraordinary relationship -- and I touched on it earlier -- with your audiences. It's like a group hug that goes on. And, a lot of it is the honesty. You are very honest on there. And yet, what is fascinating is you've always managed -- unlike most other entertainers, we don't see you do the full confessional about your life.
MANILOW: Oh no, you'll never see that.
MORGAN: You never do, you're a very private man.
MANILOW: I'm a private man and I'm a gentleman. And I'm proud of it.
MORGAN: When you see -- when you see all of these celebrities and they get paid $1 million for their wedding from a magazine or something, or they --
MANILOW: If they want to do that, great. A million for their wedding --
MORGAN: Is it sensible -- is it sensible in the long run?
MANILOW: Sensible for them? You've got to ask them.
MORGAN: For anybody in the fame game, is it sensible to open your book up like that, do you think?
MANILOW: For them, it might be wonderful for them. They're proud of it. They invite people in. For me, that's one place I lock the door unless I invite you in. It's my one thing that I finally have to myself, man, which is my life.
You can't come in unless I invite you in. That's it.
MORGAN: I actually admire that. I find you're more interesting because of it, as I'm sure you are aware.
MANILOW: Am I?
MORGAN: Yes, but the old mystique from celebrity -- the star game used to be everyone was on a plinth and you didn't really know much about them. Now we know too much.
MANILOW: You're right. I came up in that world of Sinatra, this and that. That's true. We didn't see then what we see now.
MORGAN: I find it too much.
MANILOW: But you're in that world. You have to ask those questions.
MANILOW: You do. You have to -- in order to get your ratings, you have to go there.
MORGAN: Don't get me wrong. I like it if they answer. But I admire the way you have always played it. I think there is a strength to that. It adds to the mystique of an entertainer.
MANILOW: I didn't do it on purpose. It was because that's the way I am.
MORGAN: When you play your concerts, what is the favorite moment for you? You obviously play most of your hits. I know you do a bit of rotation stuff. What's the one you love to play?
MANILOW: What's the song I love to play? Actually, the songs I like to play are the songs that are not the famous ones. I wonder if the other guys would tell you the same thing, the other musicians, the other singers. How many years can I do "Can't Smile Without You" and keep it fresh? And I do.
MORGAN: Come on. Let's have a bit of that.
MANILOW: You know, Clive Davis showed me this. I turned it down year after year after year. I thought it was just too simple. When I finally did, oh, my God, the world just opened up.
MORGAN: Crazy hit.
MANILOW: Everybody loves the song. Every night, every night they love it. I love it, too.
MORGAN: Is the secret to the Manilow brand, if you like, the huge success you have had -- is it the simplicity of the songs you do? They're not that complicated. They touch --
MANILOW: OK, you try to play "Could It Be Magic."
MORGAN: You see, I'm not a musician. I clearly press the wrong buttons.
MANILOW: You could play a little bit.
MORGAN: I could play a little bit. To me, I was playing you a compliment. I think the greatest songs in history, whether it's Sinatra, Paul McCartney or you, whatever -- the great songwriter, they have this magic. Not Sinatra, but the other -- McCartney is one. It's the simplicity of the song.
MANILOW: Not complicated. Maybe simple got me, because not complicated would be more. Yes, some of the best melodies -- Irving Berlin wrote some of the best melodies and they were simple, but they were -- they were hard to play. God knows how he did it. He couldn't read music, you know.
MORGAN: How do you come up with them?
MANILOW: The best ones that I've come up with are not at the piano, when I'm walking around. If I remember them a couple hours later, that means I got it; I nailed it. Over here, I use the piano as a crutch. That's so pretty.
But if I don't have a melody that fits on top of that that I can remember, I'm in trouble.
MORGAN: When you do something like "Mandy," where did that come to you?
MANILOW: You know I didn't write "Mandy."
MORGAN: Right, "Mandy" wasn't one of yours.
MANILOW: What was one of mine?
MORGAN: "If I Should Love Again," how did you come up with that?
MANILOW: "If I Should Love Again" was a --
MANILOW: You play it.
MANILOW: I came up with that sitting in front of the ocean in Atlantic City. That's a real ocean song.
MORGAN: Amazing. We're going to take another break. When we come back, I want to throw you some questions from this audience and from people via Twitter.
MANILOW: Right. This twitter thing --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would never take from you, Barry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Barry Manilow. That was, of course, from the brilliant Fox animated series "Family Guy." You had fun with that, didn't you?.
MANILOW: That was fun. I didn't know -- I had watched it now and again. But I really wasn't -- you know, I was too busy to watch it. When I saw that -- first of all, when the script came, that was pretty funny. But when they animated it, that's a riot.
MORGAN: "Rolling Stone" called you, quote, "the greatest showman of our generation." Quite an accolade.
MANILOW: It is.
MORGAN: When you think of all the other showmen we've had.
MANILOW: Especially, we just talked about, coming from where I came from, you know, are you for real, I say? Are you for real? Really? The greatest showman of our generation?
You know, that's a beautiful thing to go through my life with, because I work real hard. On that stage, I try to do the best work I can. Maybe, you know, somebody said I come from the world of Vaudeville. I might. I might come from that.
MORGAN: That's true. How big an influence was Bette Midler? Was she one of the greatest showman you have played with?
MANILOW: Oh, absolutely. But she's totally different from what I do. You know that. But she did entertain. That's what I did connect with. There is nobody like her.
MORGAN: Talking of the two of you entertaining, we have a brilliant clip. This is a rare bit of video of the pair of you in the famous bathhouse performance. Here we go.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETTE MIDLER, ACTRESS: OK. Now we are going to do two of them. So you might like the first one, but you're going to love the second one. I am going to be helped by Barry Manilow and Joey Mitchell, my two divines.
Let's here it for them.
MIDLER: Remember this one? You're going to miss the hand movements.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Of all the surreal places to be performing.
MANILOW: What a gig. There was nobody like her. There's nobody like that. She was way ahead of Lady Gaga and Madonna and all these -- you know, these gals who broke the rules, you know. But she was funny, man.
MORGAN: We have some Twitter questions, because it leads on naturally. This one's from a member of the audience, Gail Vanbergen (ph). She says is there anyone you have met that really made you feel star struck? MANILOW: Yeah, Annie Lennox.
MORGAN: Really? Wow.
MANILOW: I was at the Grammy -- one of those parties. Somebody said Annie Lennos is over there. I went over and I went, blah, blah, blah. She said, Barry, it's OK. Yes. Well, she's like one of the greats.
MORGAN: Because you've the same thing in reverse. I know this. You have the most extraordinary people. Slash from Guns 'N Roses sort of got all nervous when he met you.
MANILOW: It's great. Well, you know, it's just great. What can I tell you?
MORGAN: Do you feel you are about to, I think, either equal or break Elvis Presley's record of longevity in Vegas, seven years?
MANILOW: Who would have thought that I was going to wind up in Las Vegas breaking Elvis Presley's record?
MORGAN: Isn't that amazing?
MANILOW: It is amazing. It is amazing.
MANILOW: But I'm having a great time. If anybody wants to have a good time, come and see us at the Paris in Las Vegas.
MORGAN: The reason you like Vegas is because you just got fed up with all the traveling.
MANILOW: I did. It's a young guy's gig, being on the road. It was fun in the beginning. But whoa, it got to me. I said -- I didn't want to retire. I'm old, but I ain't that old. I'm in great shape. I love the band, the music, the whole thing.
Then they offered me this Vegas gig. I said, absolutely. It turned out to be a real gift.
MORGAN: We have another Twitter question here. this is from Liz McCabe (ph). Quite interesting, what would you be doing if you hadn't gone into music, do you think?
MANILOW: I can't imagine myself not --
MORGAN: Do you ever wonder?
MANILOW: I would have been playing in some bar at night, complaining about how nobody understands me. That's where I would have been. If there was no music in me or my family, I did like writing. I wrote an autobiography years ago, and I loved the process of writing.
Maybe I would have wound up in front of -- you know, writing something. MORGAN: When we come back, more questions from your fans.
MANILOW: Anything you want.
MORGAN: And from the Twitterati, as they are now known.
MORGAN: That was your 1981 song "Let's Hang On." I was 16 when that came out. I loved that song.
MANILOW: Yeah, yeah.
MORGAN: As I'm hearing all this stuff, I'm reliving my youth, Barry. You were there every step of the way.
MANILOW: You know, people keep saying that to me. I was the music of their lives.
MANILOW: Yes. And I don't know. I guess that's wonderful. I guess it's wonderful.
MORGAN: Obviously on the good side, people say we're playing your song at my wedding or something like that. How do you feel people, as they do, play your songs at their funerals? How do you feel about that?
MANILOW: I've never heard of that one, I must say.
MORGAN: I've heard it.
MORGAN: Really? That there was one of my songs?
MANILOW: "Let's Hang on."
MORGAN: That's good. No, I've never heard anybody playing my son at a funeral. But I guess there's one or two that would be appropriate. Something they liked.
MORGAN: I'm reading these questions in Twitter. I know that there is a Twitter thing for you, but you don't take part of that, you said. You are, you said to me on the break, on Facebook.
MANILOW: Yes. I've discovered Facebook. What I like about it is I've got this brand-new album.
(APPLAUSE) MANILOW: Thanks. I was able to get immediate feedback. Immediately, I found out what the tone of this album was and what the impact was through everybody who's on that Facebook page. And that was very important.
MORGAN: It is instant critical reaction, which is very invaluable, I would have thought, for someone like you.
MANILOW: Never had that before. Maybe it has, but I didn't know it.
MORGAN: Another Twitter question here. This is from BasilCat123, which is his Twitter name. What is Barry's favorite song of your own?
MANILOW: Of my own? OK. "One Voice".
MANILOW: Yes. There's so many of them. There's so many songs. There's been 30 years of music. But "One Voice" comes to mind.
MORGAN: Why "One Voice"? >
MANILOW: Well, first of all, I wrote both music and lyrics. I wrote it in a dream. I think it's kind of an inspirational song that is -- it's an encouraging song. It says you can create something and if you believe in it, everybody else will follow you. I like the whole thing.
MORGAN: When you say wrote in a dream, do you actually mean these things come to you sometimes in dreams?
MANILOW: Well, this one did, yeah.
MORGAN: That's incredible.
MANILOW: I mean, melodies do, but this one --
MORGAN: Do you wake up?
MANILOW: This one woke me up. This one did. And it really woke me up, the whole song, the rhymes, everything.
MORGAN: Let me get this straight. You're lying in bed. You have a dream. This massive hit comes to your head. You wake up.
MANILOW: What can I tell you? Yes!
MORGAN: What you can tell me is how I can do this! I won't have to sit at this desk anymore.
MANILOW: It did.
MORGAN: What happened? Do you jump out of bed and write it all down?
MANILOW: I did. I ran to the cassette machine. In those days, it was cassette machines. And I whispered it into the cassette machine. All done, I still have the cassette, singing in the dark, the whole thing. Then I turned it off and went back to sleep. I went back in the morning, played it, there it was. Hava Nagila.
MORGAN: Who was the greatest -- who you do you think is the greatest ever songwriter?
MANILOW: Ever songwriter? Harold Arlin, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein. Want me to keep going?
MORGAN: Who of the modern crop catches your eye?
MANILOW: The modern crop.
MORGAN: Any other?
MANILOW: Well, I like Sting's work. I just -- he never disappoints me. I love what he writes as a musician. I like the way he lives his life. I think he's a good guy.
MORGAN: And this is a Twitter question from PMorgan, that's me, because I'm the only one who dares say this, which is what's your least favorite Barry Manilow song? What's the one that --
MANILOW: Do you really think I'm going to tell you that?
MORGAN: Yes. Yes. Because I've beguiled you into a sense of safety and you're ready to confess.
MANILOW: You are beguiling.
MORGAN: What is the song that you literally can't hear anymore?
MANILOW: I would never answer that question!
MORGAN: Well, we're going to give you a break in that case, because you've been such excellent company.
MANILOW: Thank you.
MORGAN: When we come back, you're going to be singing a new song called "Bring on Tomorrow". It's from this --
MORGAN: -- from this great album "15 minutes". It's been a real pleasure.
MANILOW: What fun.
MORGAN: Thank you very much. And a great audience.
MORGAN: My thanks to the fabulous, irrepressible Barry Manilow. And in a moment "AC 360." But for, Now Barry's going to see us off with a track from his new album, "15 Minutes". It's called "Bring on Tomorrow". Barry Manilow.