Barry Manilow grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, back when the now ultra-hip New York neighborhood was less than desirable. His earliest music gigs, he worked as a piano player, accompanying other more successful artists.
Then his single, "Mandy," released in 1974, hit big. When he got paid for it, he literally went from broke to millionaire in a single day.
Clive Davis, then-president of Arista Records, personally handed Manilow a $1 million check. "I'll never forget it, because that was the beginning of my career," Manilow tells Forbes. "I didn't tell him I had literally just bounced a check that morning."