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Barry Manilow, Billy & “The Boss” (VIDEO)

Manilow book
Barry Manilow's 1987 autobiography. (Craig Allen photo)

Yesterday, in this blog space, we learned that Barry Manilow didn’t write “I Write The Songs.” It was Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys…but Manilow made the song his own.

Barry Manilow’s 1987 autobiography tells his life story (up to that point), and tells of his first encounters with (and impressions of) many famous, or soon-to-be famous, people that he met along the way to his own superstardom. The following story is especially noteworthy…

As a “Jersey” sidelight, in “Sweet Life,” Barry Manilow briefly tells the story of hanging out in Philadelphia with then-little-known NJ101.5 artists Billy Joel and “a very scruffy-looking guy” named Bruce Springsteen!

It was 1974, and “Mandy” hadn’t been released yet. So, Manilow was also an unknown.  These three soon-to-be superstars were at a diner after a Billy Joel concert. “Bruce was very somber, and drank water.”  Manilow explains that Springsteen  had just come to Philly by bus, and was sleeping on a friend’s couch, because he couldn’t afford a hotel room. Or much of anything else. Further, “Bruce was skinny and looked sickly.”  While sitting in the diner that night, a  Columbia records promoter offered Springsteen a “wad of cash. Buce wouldn’t accept it,” according to Manilow. “Just push the f*****’  record,” Bruce told the promoter, with clear disgust! 

And, despite having 2 sold-out shows, Barry Manilow states that Billy Joel was “alone,” and didn’t say much. “And what he did say was negative and cynical. He just kept downing Black Russians.” 

I’d say that things have changed for all three artists…and, clearly for the better!

Enjoy the first chart hits for all three superstars, below:

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