Barry Manilow admits he didn't want to sing or perform when he started out.

Barry Manilow on This Morning

Barry Manilow on This Morning

The music icon has had a career spanning more than 50 years with hits such as 'Mandy' and 'Copacabana' embedded in popular culture.

But despite his incredible success, Manilow insists he only ever wanted to be a songwriter behind the scenes.

Speaking on UK TV show 'This Morning', the 73-year-old star said: "It was exciting when I started. I started just playing piano and I didn't want to sing or perform. I was always going to be in the background, composing or arranging, any of that. I went to school for that. It was the year of the singer/songwriter with people such as Carole King. I had made a demo of my songs hoping other people will sing them but I then got a record deal."

When he landed his first record deal, Manilow shared his happy news with his friend Bette Midler, whom he has worked with on a number of records, and she was shocked to hear he was going to put himself out there as an artist.

He recalled: "Bette said, 'Doing what? You don't sing.' I got my first album. It was a big surprise for everyone."

Decades later the singer is still going strong and has just released his new album 'This Is My Town: Songs of New York' and although he doesn't want to tour any more he doesn't want to quit music.

Manilow - who is performing three concerts at The O2 in London in September 2018 - said: "I don't want to stop. I will still be doing one nighters and maybe even coming back to London.

"I'm just getting off the road. It just got to me. I remember we finally got to another hotel in another city and I just said, 'I can't do this any more'. My fans are incredibly dedicated. I am going to meet them at record signings. I don't have an answer to what my fans in see but I am happy they do."

The New Yorker now lives with his husband and partner of 40 years Garry Kief - whom he married in 2014 - in Palm Springs and is enjoying the peace and quiet away from the limelight.

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