Thursday, May 14, 2009 | 6:03 a.m.
For the first time, the advertising world of Madison Avenue moves to Las Vegas for its prestigious Clio Awards, and Hilton headliner Barry Manilow will be honored tonight with the highest recognition of a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The singer, pianist and record producer created and composed numerous hit jingles for various products over the years. He’s best remembered for the McDonald’s “You Deserve a Break Today” campaign, but also chalked up successes for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pepsi. He won his first two Clio Awards in 1976 for Tab and Band-Aid spots.
Barry was only 22 when he started writing jingles, and he continued with them well into the 1970s after he’d become Bette Midler’s pianist and arranger -- and moved onto stardom in his own right. During his near 40-year phenomenal career, he has sold some 80 million records worldwide, and the weekend of May 22-24, he will celebrate his International Fan Club convention at the Hilton, where he has been resident headliner since February 2005.
I’ve learned that Barry will perform a special selection of songs from his favorite album Here at the Mayflower he recorded in 2002. Critics said it’s the finest album of his career, in which he wrote about his childhood growing up in Brooklyn. My longtime record producer pal Ron Dante sang on some of the cuts, including “Turn the Radio Up.”
I’ll join Barry at the Clios for a conversation with him about the Mayflower weekend for his fans coming in from as far away as Britain and Australia!
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground. Read more of Robin's stories at VegasDeLuxe.com.