Copacabana (song)

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"Copacabana (At the Copa)"
Single by Barry Manilow
from the album Even Now
B-side "Copacabana" (short version)
Released June 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
Certification Gold
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 U.S., 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 lover Tony, a bartender at the club. One night, a mobster named Rico takes an interest in Lola, but he overplays his hand while trying to seduce her and is attacked by Tony. The ensuing fight results in a shooting. Thirty years later, the club has been transformed into a discotheque, but a crazed and drunken Lola, having lost Tony, still spends her nights at the Copacabana dressed in her 1940's finery.[2]


The recording was used as incidental music in the 1978 movie 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."

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 #8. It peaked at #42 in the United Kingdom the same year. 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 Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

A remixed version of the original English release titled "Copacabana (The 1993 Remix)" peaked at #22 on the UK Singles Chart in 1993.

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".

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ Mickey Podell-Raber and Charles Pignone, The Copa: Jules Podell and the Hottest Club North of Havana, HarperCollins, 2009, p.199
  2. ^ year 1978 "Copacabana"
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Copacabana (At The Copa)". Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  5. ^ `1979 Grammy Award Nominations and Awards
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  19. ^ "Kylie Minogue "Copacabana" Cover Release". Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  20. ^ "When Men Were Men And Sheep Were Scared". Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  21. ^ "Live at the Firecracker Lounge: Bradley Nowell". Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  22. ^ The Shirley Bassey Show at the Internet Movie Database
  23. ^ Copacabana (At The Copa) on YouTube

External links[edit]