Spoiled Children of Divorce


Exemplary Children of Divorce – Barry Manilow

Blockbuster singer/songwriter Barry Manilow is a Child of D.  Manilow’s parents divorced just after he turned 2 years old and he grew up with his Mother and Grandparents in Brooklyn, New York.   Manilow changed his last name to his Mother’s maiden name when he was around 13 years old.  I’m not sure how much of a relationship he had with his Father.

Both parents remarried.  Manilow’s Mother remarried at some point in the late 1950’s.  Manilow would have been in his mid to late teens. Manilow credits his Step-Father with having introduced him to Jazz.

I’m unclear about sibling relationships.  According to a website, Manilow was raised basically as an only child, but had two step-brothers from his Mother’s remarriage.  He possibly has a step-brother and a half-brother through his Father’s remarriage.  I’m not real sure about this information, though.

Below is an except of an interview on the TV show Larry King Live from 2002 in which Manilow desribes his childhood.  (Full transcript of the show is here. //transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0205/17/1k1.00html. Sorry, I messed up the link thingee).  Manilow had just put out an album called Here at the Mayflower which apparently was based on the apartment building where he and his family (Mother’s side) lived.  It featured two hits  “Turn the Radio Up” and “They Dance.”  Manilow’s music is all about being positive and making people feel good.  “Turn the Radio Up” is about using music to combat misery and worry.

According to Wikipedia, Manilow is Jewish on his Mother’s side and Jewish-Irish on his Father’s side.  His Step-Father is Irish.

KING: Was your childhood tough?

MANILOW: No. I don’t say it was tough. No.

KING: Your parents were divorced?

MANILOW: Parents were divorced. I was raised by my mother and my grandparents and a lot of relatives around this Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Mayflower…

KING: Jewish neighborhood?

MANILOW: Jewish neighborhood, Jewish, Puerto Rican. It was very ethnic. I loved it.

KING: But your stepfather though was Irish, right?

MANILOW: Yes. I just saw him. He lives down in…

KING: You close?

MANILOW: Well, we’re not close. He lives in Florida and I don’t. But he was the guy that turned my musical motor on.

KING: Really?

MANILOW: Well, before Willie Murphy (ph) came into my life, I was playing the accordion, and “Have Nagila” and all of the folk songs that my grandparents loved.

KING: Worked at bar mitzvahs?

MANILOW: Well, I should have been so lucky. I wasn’t even up to bar mitzvahs. I was just playing folk songs on the accordion.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

MANILOW: You got it. And I wasn’t bad, believe it or not. But that would have been it, had Willie not come into my life.

KING: What did he do?

MANILOW: He came into my life with a stack of albums that turned my musical motor on. He brought a stereo system in that I never had and a stack of albums that had people like Stan Kenton and June Christy and Broadway show music like “The Most Happy Fella” and “Kismet” and “Kiss me, Kate” and on and on. It was a stack of gold.


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