"I Write the Songs"
Song by Captain & Tennille
from the album Love Will Keep Us Together
ReleasedMay 23, 1975
GenrePop, adult contemporary
Songwriter(s)Bruce Johnston
Producer(s)Daryl Dragon
Audio Recording
" I Write The Songs - The Captain & Tennille (1975)" on YouTube
"I Write the Songs"
Single by David Cassidy
from the album The Higher They Climb
B-side"Get It Up for Love"
ReleasedMay 1975
Songwriter(s)Bruce Johnston
Producer(s)Bruce Johnston
David Cassidy singles chronology
"I Write the Songs"
"I Write the Songs"
Single by Barry Manilow
from the album Tryin' to Get the Feeling
B-side"A Nice Boy Like Me"
ReleasedNovember 1975
GenreSoft rock[1]
Length3:43 (single version)
LabelArista 0157
Songwriter(s)Bruce Johnston
Producer(s)Ron Dante
Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow singles chronology
"Could It Be Magic"
"I Write the Songs"
"Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again"
"I Write the Songs"
Song by Bruce Johnston
from the album Going Public
ReleasedMay 1977
GenrePop rock
Songwriter(s)Bruce Johnston
Producer(s)Gary Usher

"I Write the Songs" is a popular song written by Bruce Johnston in 1975 and released on his album Going Public in 1977. Barry Manilow's version reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1976[2] after spending two weeks atop the Billboard adult contemporary chart in December 1975.[3] It won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year and was nominated for Record of the Year in 1977.[3] Billboard ranked it as the No. 13 song of 1976.[4]

The original version was recorded by Captain & Tennille, who worked with Johnston in the early 1970s with the Beach Boys. It appears on their 1975 album Love Will Keep Us Together. The first release of "I Write the Songs" as a single was by teen idol David Cassidy from his 1975 solo album The Higher They Climb, which was also produced by Johnston. Cassidy's version reached number 11 on the UK Singles Chart in August of that year.[5]

Johnston has stated that, for him, the "I" in the song is God,[2] and that songs come from the spirit of creativity in everyone. He has said that the song is not about his Beach Boys bandmate Brian Wilson.[6]

Manilow was initially reluctant to record the song, stating in his autobiography Sweet Life: "The problem with the song was that if you didn't listen carefully to the lyric, you would think that the singer was singing about himself. It could be misinterpreted as a monumental ego trip."[3] After persuasion by Clive Davis, then president of Arista Records, Manilow recorded the song, and his version of "I Write the Songs" was the first single taken from the album Tryin' to Get the Feeling. It first charted on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 15, 1975, reaching the top of the chart nine weeks later, on January 17, 1976. Cash Box said of Manilow's version "Good work Barry" describing the song as "melodic, ballad-like beginning grows into an operatic crescendo, all done in clear production that all age groups will appreciate."[7] Record World called it "an uplifting production number" and "perhaps [Manilow's] strongest offering since 'Mandy.'" [8]

Chart performance

Weekly charts

David Cassidy
Chart (1975) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report) 85
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 13
UK Singles Chart[10] 11


After his version reached number one, Manilow himself composed a novelty song based on this song which he recorded under the title "I Really Do Write the Songs" in which he sings about how he composes each part of a song and the line "Sometimes I really do write the songs" at the end of each verse. In the finale, he sings, "sometimes...ah, what the hell...I write the songs."[24] Unreleased at the time, it was included as a bonus track on the reissue of his album This One's for You in 2006.[25][better source needed]

See also


  1. ^ Lecaro, Lina (November 19, 2016). "This Monthly Club Is a Non-Ironic Celebration of Rock's Softer Side". LA Weekly.
  2. ^ a b Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of #1 Hits, 5th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 425.
  3. ^ a b c Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 177.
  4. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1976
  5. ^ Official Charts Company info OfficialCharts.com. Retrieved August 8, 2009.
  6. ^ "I Write The Songs by Barry Manilow Songfacts". Songfacts.com. September 17, 2011. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  7. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. November 8, 1975. p. 20. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  8. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. November 8, 1975. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-03-09.
  9. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I Write the Songs". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  10. ^ "Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. 1975-07-05. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  11. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4077a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 4058." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I Write the Songs". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  15. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. 1976-03-22. Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  16. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (M)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Barry Manilow Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Barry Manilow Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  19. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1976". Kent Music Report. December 27, 1976. Retrieved January 15, 2022 – via Imgur.
  20. ^ "RPM - Library and Archives Canada | RPM - Bibliothèque et Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  21. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1976/Top 100 Songs of 1976". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  22. ^ Top 50 Adult Contemporary Hits of 1976
  23. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  24. ^ Barry Manilow (November 8, 2014). I Really Do Write The Songs. Sony Music Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved July 22, 2021.
  25. ^ "Barry Manilow – This One's For You (2006, CD)". Discogs. Retrieved July 22, 2021.