Copacabana (song)

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"Copacabana (At the Copa)"
Single by Barry Manilow
from the album Even Now
B-side"A Linda Song"
ReleasedJune 1978 (U.S.)
1993 (UK, Australia)
GenreDisco, tropical
Length5:45 (album version)
3:57 (radio edit)
Songwriter(s)Barry Manilow, Jack Feldman, Bruce Sussman
Producer(s)Barry Manilow, Ron Dante
Barry Manilow singles chronology
"Even Now"
"Copacabana (At the Copa)"
"Ready to Take a Chance Again"
"Copacabana" on YouTube
"Copacabana" (radio edit) on YouTube

"Copacabana", also known as "Copacabana (At the Copa)", is a song recorded by Barry Manilow. Written by Manilow, Jack Feldman, and Bruce Sussman, it was released in 1978 as the third and final single from Manilow's fifth studio album, Even Now (1978).


The song was inspired by a conversation between Manilow and Sussman at the Copacabana Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, when they discussed whether there had ever been a song called "Copacabana". After returning to the US, Manilow — who, in the 1960s, had been a regular visitor to the Copacabana nightclub in New York City — suggested that Sussman and Feldman write the lyrics to a story song for him. They did so, and Manilow supplied the music.[1]

The song's lyrics refer to the Copacabana nightclub, "the hottest spot north of Havana". The story starts in the late 1940s, focusing on Lola, a Copacabana showgirl, and her sweetheart Tony, a bartender at the club. One night, a gangster named Rico takes a fancy to Lola, but he overplays his hand while trying to seduce her and is attacked by Tony. The ensuing brawl ("And then the punches flew, and chairs were smashed in two...") results in "blood and a single gunshot;" after it is initially unclear "who shot who[m]," it soon becomes clear that Lola has "lost her love." Thirty years later, the club has been transformed into a discotheque, but a drunken Lola, mad with grief at having lost Tony, still spends her nights at the Copacabana dressed in her glamorous showgirl attire (according to the singer, Lola "lost her youth and she lost her Tony, now she's lost her mind"). The song's final verse ends with Lola sitting at the bar and drinking herself half blind. [2]

Release and reception[edit]

"Copacabana" debuted on Billboard magazine's Top 40 chart on July 7, 1978, and peaked at number 8. It has also reached the Top 10 in Belgium, Canada, France and the Netherlands. Internationally, the song is Manilow's third-greatest hit.[3] The track was his first gold single for a song he recorded and released.[4] Additionally, the song earned Manilow his first and only Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in February 1979.[5]

Cash Box said that "a Latin beat, congas and added percussion, strings and horns make it unusual."[6]

Television film and musical[edit]

In 1985, Manilow and his collaborators Bruce Sussman and Jack Feldman expanded the song into a full–length, made-for-television musical, also called Copacabana, writing many additional songs and expanding the plot suggested by the song.

This film version was then further expanded by Manilow, Feldman, and Sussman into a full-length, two-act stage musical, again titled Copacabana, which ran at the Prince of Wales Theatre on London's West End for two years prior to a lengthy tour of the UK. An American production was later mounted that toured the US for over a year. Over 200 productions of the show have since been mounted worldwide.



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[27] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[28] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Cover versions[edit]

  • Liza Minnelli performed "Copacabana" on a 1979 episode of the American syndicated television program The Muppet Show.[29][30]
  • James Last recorded "Copacabana" for his 1979 album Copacabana – Happy Dancing.[31]
  • Shirley Bassey released her cover of "Copacabana" on the side B of her 1979 single "This Is My Life". She also performed it on television in The Shirley Bassey Show with elaborate costumes and choreography in 1979.[32]
  • The Vandals recorded a parody of "Copacabana" called "The Dachau Cabana" in 1985.[33]
  • Amanda Lear recorded a cover of "Copacabana" in 2005 and released it as a single through Dance Street and ZYX Music.[34] It was later included on her 2005 compilation Forever Glam!, albeit in a longer version.
  • Kylie Minogue performed the song on her 2008 KylieX2008 tour.[35]


  1. ^ Podell-Raber, Mickey; Pignone, Charles (2009). The Copa: Jules Podell and the Hottest Club North of Havana. HarperCollins. p. 199. ISBN 9780061740886.
  2. ^ "Top 40 Hits - 1950-1989". Archived from the original on January 27, 2019. Retrieved July 3, 2014.
  3. ^ "Song artist 244 - Barry Manilow".
  4. ^ "Copacabana (At The Copa) by Barry Manilow Songfacts". Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  5. ^ "Barry Manilow | Artist". Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. June 10, 1978. p. 21. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  7. ^ "Barry Manilow - Copacabana (At The Copa)" (in Dutch). Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  8. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly". July 17, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  9. ^ "RPM Adult Oriented Playlist" (PDF). Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  10. ^ "Item: 7471 - Library and Archives Canada". July 17, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  11. ^ "InfoDisc : Les Tubes de chaque Artiste commençant par M" (in French). Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  12. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts" (in German). Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  13. ^ "Barry Manilow | Top 40-artiesten" (in Dutch). Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  14. ^ "Discografie Barry Manilow" (in Dutch). Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  15. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  16. ^ "Barry Manilow Chart History | Billboard". Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  17. ^ "Adult Contemporary Music Chart | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  18. ^ "Barry Manilow Chart History | Billboard". Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  19. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 05 Jun 1994". ARIA. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  20. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Copacabana". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  21. ^ "BARRY MANILOW | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  22. ^ "ULTRATOP BELGIAN CHARTS" (in Dutch). Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  23. ^ "Item: 110". Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  24. ^ "JAAROVERZICHTEN - SINGLE 1978" (in Dutch). Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  25. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1978/Top 100 Songs of 1978". Retrieved January 3, 2016.
  26. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1978". Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  27. ^ "British single certifications – Barry Manilow – Copacabana". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  28. ^ "American single certifications – Barry Manilow – Copacabana". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
  29. ^ "10 most iconic guests on The Muppet Show". The Independent. February 22, 2021. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  30. ^ admin (July 30, 2012). "7/30/1979 - 'Liza Minnelli (MS)'". Jim Henson's Red Book -. Retrieved September 18, 2021.
  31. ^ "James Last - Copacabana - Happy Dancing" (in German). Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  32. ^ The Shirley Bassey Show at IMDb
  33. ^ "When Men Were Men And Sheep Were Scared". Retrieved October 19, 2011.
  34. ^ " Copacabana: Amanda Lear: Music". Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  35. ^ "Kylie Minogue "Copacabana" Cover Release". Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved May 7, 2011.