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Barry Manilow - Copacabana (At The Copa) Arista Records 1978

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Published on Oct 25, 2013

"Copacabana" also known as "Copacabana (At the Copa)", is a 1978 song which was sung by Barry Manilow and written by Manilow, Jack Feldman, Bruce Sussman and backing vocalist Ginger Blake, Laura Creamer and Linda Dillard.

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.

The song's lyrics refer to a famous night club, the Copacabana: "at the Copa, Copacabana, the hottest spot north of Havana". The beginning is set in the late 1940s and tells the story of Lola, a showgirl, and her lover Tony, a bartender at the club who she loses in a fight with Rico, a Mafia boss who takes an interest in Lola, calls her over to his table (most likely to try to seduce her); in response, Tony tries to protect Lola from Rico, and in the ensuing fight one of the men shoots the other. The ending is set thirty years later in the 1970s, where the club has been transformed into a disco. Lola has grown old and is alone and insane, pining for her lost love Tony.

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. The single version clocks in at 4:08, the Extended Disco version is titled "Copacabana (At The Copa) (Disco)" and is 5:46. 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.

It 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. The track was Manilow's first gold single for a song he recorded and released. Additionally, the lyrics to "Copacabana" earned Manilow his first and only Grammy Award for Pop Male Vocalist in February 1979.

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.

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.

Barry Manilow is an American singer-songwriter, arranger, musician, and producer with a career that has spanned over 50 years. He is best known for a long string of hit recordings such as "Mandy", "Can't Smile Without You", and "Copacabana (At the Copa)".

Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl
With yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there
She would merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star
Tony always tended bar
Across the crowded floor, they worked from 8 til 4
They were young and they had each other
Who could ask for more?

[Chorus]

At the copa (CO!) Copacabana (Copacabana)
The hottest spot north of Havana (here)
At the copa (CO!) Copacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the copa.... they fell in love

His name was Rico
He wore a diamond
He was escorted to his chair, he saw Lola dancing there
And when she finished,he called her over
But Rico went a bit to far
Tony sailed across the bar
And then the punches flew and chairs were smashed in two
There was blood and a single gun shot
But just who shot who?

[Chorus]

At the copa (CO!) Copacabana (Copacabana)
The hottest spot north of Havana (here)
At the copa (CO!) Copacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the copa... she lost her love

Copa, Copacabana, Copacabana ahh
Copa, Copacabana, like in Havana, Copacabana
Music and passion always in fashion

Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl,
But that was 30 years ago, when they used to have a show
Now it's a disco, but not for Lola,
Still in dress she used to wear,
Faded feathers in her hair
She sits there so refined, and drinks herself half-blind
She lost her youth and she lost her Tony
Now she's lost her mind

[Chorus]

At the copa (CO!) Copacabana (Copacabana)
The hottest spot north of Havana (here)
At the copa (CO!) Copacabana
Music and passion were always the fashion
At the copa... don't fall in love
Don't fall in love

Copa
Copacabana (repeat)

  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

  • Album

    • Simply The Best Seventies
  • Writers

    • Jack Feldman, Bruce Sussman, Barry Manilow
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • SME (on behalf of WM Australia); CMRRA, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA - UBEM, UMPG Publishing, and 10 Music Rights Societies

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