Grammy Award-winning musician is touring for One Last Time, but won't stop making music. And, he's got eyes on Lady Gaga.
Legendary musician Barry Manilow said his One Last Time! Tour will live up to its name.
Manilow will draw from his vast catalog of songs from his nearly five decade career for a concert at the Giant Center in Hershey March 17.
“Forty-five years of room service -- that’s enough,” Manilow said.
The One Last Time! Tour began last year and wraps up in June in London.
“I am on my last leg and I ain’t kidding,” he joked, although he did say he is in great shape following a hospital stay from oral surgery complications in February.
Manilow, 72, began his career with a stint as musical director for the CBS show “Callback” while writing advertising jingles on the side. In 1971, he became music director, arranger and pianist for Bette Midler. The following year, he signed with a record label and released his self-titled debut solo album in 1973. He’s been touring ever since.
“It’s not a glamorous life,” he said of all the plane trips and hotel stays. “When I was young, it was kind of exciting. Touring is a young person’s game."
Manilow spent most of his time on the road over the years promoting his albums, but that is not the case with One Last Time! Because it’s his last tour, he is drawing tunes from more than 40 albums and over 50 top 40 hits.
“I’m throwing in everything. The audiences are having a great time,” Manilow said.
Audiences can look forward to old favorites including “Read ‘Em and Weep” and “Somewhere Down the Road.”
The musician also plans to include “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” his duet with Judy Garland, from his latest album, “My Dream Duets.”
“It’s a real beautiful moment in the show and it’s going over great,” he said.
In the Grammy-nominated 2014 album, Manilow joined his vocals with recordings by 11 late artists who he admired throughout his life, including Louis Armstrong, John Denver, Dusty Springfield and Whitney Houston.
“This was a technical marvel,” he said of the album. “It was as if they were standing next to me.”
When asked if there are any current artists he would want to record with, Manilow was quick to answer.
“It’s gotta be Lady Gaga,” he said, adding that he spotted her skills early on in her career. “She’s gotten braver, and her talents have emerged.”
Manilow is currently working on a new album, which he said will be half standards and half originals, expected to be released in the fall.
Following the One Last Time! Tour, Manilow said he is open to some one-night-only performances, but doesn’t have any definite plans.
“It’s the end of my touring career," he said. "It’s not my final performance.”
Barry Manilow is asking concertgoers to bring a new or gently used instrument to his concert in exchange for two free tickets to the show.
The drive is part of the Manilow Music Project, which supports music education. The instruments are cleaned and repaired before being distributed to local school districts. To kick off the drive in each market, Manilow donates a piano to the cause. The Harrisburg School District will benefit from the Hershey instrument drive.
Manilow said when school budgets are cut, music and arts programs are often the first casualties.
“I really think music for young kids is very, very important,” the singer said.
The Manilow Music Project has given away more than $3 million in instruments to over 50 high schools across the country.
Learn more at www.manilowmusicproject.org.