Barry Manilow performs in Tampa

He's one of the most popular singers ever, and he still draws crowds

January 30, 2014 

Barry Manilow PUBLICITY PHOTO

From "You Deserve a Break Today" to "Copacabana (At the Copa)," Barry Manilow writes the songs that make the whole world sing.

Well, maybe not the whole world, but at least a good-sized chunk of it. Manilow's schmaltzy pop has its detractors, but he's nonetheless one of the most popular singers of all time.

Some 40 years after he first hit the airwaves with "Mandy," Manilow is still able to fill the biggest arenas in the country.

He'll be at one of them, the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, for a concert on Friday.

His shows are packed with hits, of course, and since he's written songs for so many other artists -- Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and Dionne Warwick among them -- there's a solid chance that he'll include some songs that were hits for other people.

But the songs his legion of fans will come to see are ones that the Manilow himself has made famous -- "Can't Smile Without You," "Could It Be Magic," "I Write the Songs," "Looks Like We Made it" and "Ready to Take a Chance Again."

He's won a Grammy, he's been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, he's been nominated for an Oscar and at, age 70, he's still filling huge venues. Not bad for a guy who got his start writing jingles for fast-food restaurants.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31, Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Tickets: $7.24-$157.24. Information: 813-301-2500, www.tampabaytimesforum.com.

-- Marty Clear

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