"Mandy" was Barry Manilow's breakthrough single, topping the charts in early 1975 and launching a long string of hits that made Manilow one of the most popular entertainers in the country for the next several years. "Mandy" was originally recorded for a U.K. hit in 1971 by Scott English, who co-wrote the song with Richard Kerr; English's version was actually titled "Brandy," and arranged as a light, breezy, mid-tempo pop tune tailor-made for AM radio, although it was perhaps hindered in the U.S. by English's idiosyncratic vocals. In hopes of landing a hit, Arista president Clive Davis asked Manilow to record the song after the icy reception afforded the singer's debut album. Manilow had trouble connecting with it until he hit upon the idea of turning it into a melancholy heartbreak ballad -- which actually made much more sense given the lyrics (in his original version, English doesn't seem all that concerned about sending Brandy away, sounding more like he's reminiscing while sipping lemonade by a pool). The title was changed to "Mandy" in order to avoid confusion with the recent Looking Glass hit "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)"; Manilow and co-producer Ron Dante piled on the strings, choir, and echoing snare drum for the song's big finish, and the rest was history. Davis' instincts about the song were right; "Mandy" is an excellent piece of pop craftsmanship, and Manilow's flair for the dramatic serves it well. "Mandy" established the polished, orchestrated blueprint for the majority of Manilow's hits, demonstrating that his path to success lay as a balladeer.