Barry Manilow

When he was first signed to Clive Davis' new label, Arista, in 1974, there was a huge buzz about Barry Manilow. After all, he emerged as the pianist and musical director for the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler. His tenure performing in the Manhattan Gay Bathhouses even allowed him a certain hip factor. In the beginning of his career, there was talk among some critics that Barry Manilow was going to evolve into a prolific singer/songwriter/pianist (ala Elton John, Billy Joel, and Randy Newman), but then he went excessively sentimental in his show and song selection, and didn't really uphold that expectation, although he has a legion of devout fans that would claim otherwise.