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Barry Manilow opens up about coming out, marriage and 'Copacabana'

TODAY logo TODAY 4/20/2017 Randee Dawn

Barry Manilow. The name conjures up some of the most classic romantic pop hits of the past four decades.

But while millions know by heart the songs that make the whole world sing, the 73-year-old legend has generally kept his personal life out of the spotlight.

At least, until now. On Thursday, Manilow made it through the rain to discuss his 2014 marriage to partner and manager, Garry Kief, on TODAY. And, as he explained, coming out as gay and opening his love life to the world was not something he necessarily would have chosen to do.

Barry Manilow and Garry Kief © Steve Granitz Barry Manilow and Garry Kief

"It's not news to me and no news to anybody around me," he said. "I think even fans, I don't think it was news at all. But the [National] Enquirer caught us getting married, and so we were stuck.... I'm a private guy, I'm a musician. Yes, fame hit me, but I never really wanted to go on that ride."

Nor is he embarrassed by his sexuality. "I'm not uncomfortable about that; Gary and I have been together for going on 40 years." Barry Manilow © Nathan Congleton Barry Manilow

Manilow was married once before, from 1964-65, to Susan Deixler.

But while Manilow came and gave without taking, we were not going to send him away without some songs.

Barry Manilow © Nathan Congleton Barry Manilow

The Brooklyn-bred singer (and onetime jingle writer) took to the stage on the TODAY plaza for an enthusiastic audience ready to hear him croon tunes dedicated to his hometown city, some of which are featured on his 30th studio album, "This is My Town."

But while his rendition of "On Broadway," flavored with a few lines of his 1977 hit "New York City Rhythm" (among others) were terrific, there was one song everybody basically demanded he sing: 1978's "Copacabana (At the Copa)"!

The song was so much in demand that #SingCopaToday started trending on Twitter.

Did it work? And how!

And of course the anchors were hugely into the whole performance:

Barry Manilow © Nathan Congleton Barry Manilow

"We didn't expect it to be a hit record at all, because those were the days of ballads," he said. "Now, it's wound up to be, you mention my name, people say 'Copacabana'!"

Hey, we can't smile without you, Barry.

Follow Randee Dawn on Twitter.


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