Written and recorded by others, the version by Barry Manilow made I Write the Songs a contender for Billboard’s Hot 100 list.
The song was written by Bruce Johnston, best known as a member of The Beach Boys, in 1975, and first recorded by The Captain and Tennille.
The duo recorded the song when working with The Beach Boys and included the song on their album Love Will Keep Us Together in May 1975.
Johnston also worked with pop singer David Cassidy, who did a version of the song, releasing it in on his July 1975 solo album The Higher They Climb. The song did well on the UK pop charts, but not in the US.
Manilow wasn’t convinced that he wanted to record this song, but Arista Records President Clive Davis persuaded the singer, despite his fear that listeners would think the song was about him and his ego.
Included on the 1975 album Tryin’ to Get the Feeling, I Write the Songs was the first single released from the album, which steadily started climbing the Billboard charts in November 1975 and in January 1976, hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song was nominated for Grammy Record of the Year in 1977 and won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for Johnston.
Many other singers recorded this song including Johnny Mathis, Richard Clayderman, Tom Jones and Dinah Shore, but the song forever belongs to Manilow, who made it into the hit of January 1976.