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April 06, 2017 10:30 AM

Pop legend Barry Manilow opens up for the first time about coming out, finding love, and surviving showbiz for 50 years. Subscribe now for his exclusive untold story — only in PEOPLE.

Yes, Barry Manilow is responsible for getting “Copacabana” — and a slew of other memorable hits — stuck in your head, but you can also thank him for some of those ridiculously catchy commercial jingles that will just.not.go.away.

“I learned the most about music working in the jingle industry,” he said in 2009 while accepting a CLIO Award for his early work in the field. “It was the best music college I could ever imagine.”

Indeed, watching Manilow play several of them by heart on a 2012 episode of Windy City Live shows just how great that “college” was. Here, a few of his biggest hits:

State Farm: “Like a Good Neighbor”

“They paid me $500 for that jingle,” Manilow said on WCL, joking that “the girl who sang it is on her third Rolls-Royce for now.” “You don’t get residuals if you write it, so they just buy you out,” he added. “At that point, $500 meant a lot of money — I was grateful to have it.”

Band-Aid: “Stuck on Band-Aid”

Manilow’s eternally catchy tune won advertising agency Young & Rubicam a CLIO Award in 1976.

Stridex: “Give Your Face Something to Smile About”

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KFC: “Grab a Bucket of Chicken”

Pepsi: “Feelin’ Free”

McDonald’s: “You Deserve a Break Today”

“That was the granddaddy of all of them, the first big one,” Manilow told WCL — adding that he’s only ever eaten at McDonald’s once.

However, there was one company that chose not to hire the singer-songwriter: American Airlines. In his chat with WCL, Manilow explained that brands give jingle writers the lyrics, and ask them to come up with the melody. “I wrote a really nice melody,” he shared. But “the melody went down, and they said, ‘You can’t go down on the end of an American Airlines song. So I lost that one.”

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