Copacabana (song)

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"Copacabana (At the Copa)"
Single by Barry Manilow
from the album Even Now
B-side "Copacabana" (disco version)
Released June 1978
Recorded 1978
Genre Disco
Length 3:48 (radio edit)
5:40 (extended version)
Label Arista
Writer(s) Barry Manilow, Jack Feldman, Bruce Sussman
Producer(s) Barry Manilow, Ron Dante
Barry Manilow singles chronology
"Even Now"
"Ready to Take a Chance Again"

"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, focused on Lola, a Copacabana showgirl, and her sweetheart Tony, a bartender at the club. One night, a mobster 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 results in a shooting; after it is initially unclear "who shot who," it soon becomes clear that Tony has died. Thirty years later, the club has been transformed into a discotheque, but a drunken Lola, crazed with sorrow at having lost Tony, still spends her nights at the Copacabana dressed in her glamorous showgirl attire.[2]


The recording was used as incidental music in the 1978 film Foul Play, which starred Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn, and has been featured in over a dozen other films since. It is one of two Manilow songs used in the movie, the other being its theme song, "Ready to Take a Chance Again".

In his autobiographical work, "Americana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story", Ray Davies, former leader and singer of The Kinks, recounted a story of a meeting with Clive Davis, then-president of Arista Records, at the record executive's home on Long Island where Davies suggested to Davis that "Copacabana" should be released as a single.

The single version clocks in at 4:08; the extended disco version is titled "Copacabana (At The Copa) (Disco)" and is 5:46 in length. As opposed to a commercial 12" single, the extended version was on the flip side of the 45 and can also be found on Manilow's first Greatest Hits double album.


"Copacabana" debuted on Billboard magazine's Top 40 chart on July 7, 1978, and peaked at number 8. It peaked at number 22 in the United Kingdom in 1993 in a remixed version. Internationally, the song is considered his third greatest hit.[3] The track was Manilow's first gold single for a song he recorded and released.[4] Additionally, the lyrics to "Copacabana" earned Manilow his first and only Grammy Award for Pop Male Vocalist in February 1979.[5]

Chart performance[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 that 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.


Manilow released a Spanish version titled "Copacabana (En El Copa)" shortly after the English version was released. Though popular in dance clubs catering to Latin audiences, the Spanish version failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

A remixed version of the original English release titled "Copacabana (The 1993 Remix)" peaked at number 22 on the UK Singles Chart in 1993,[16] and #92 on the Australian ARIA singles chart in 1994.[17]

A home demo recording, albeit truncated, is available on the 4 CD/1 DVD box set collection, The Complete Collection and Then Some.... In conjunction to this release, the song was remixed and released as "Copacabana (At The Copa) 1993 Remix".

Manilow re-recorded the song, this time in an acoustic version, for his 2008 album The Greatest Songs of the Seventies. The timeline of the song was changed that in the third verse the events of the first two verses happened "many years ago", instead of thirty mentioned in the original.

Cover versions[edit]


External links[edit]