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Song Parodies -> "The Copacabana Incident"

Original Song Title:


Original Performer:

Barry Manilow

Parody Song Title:

"The Copacabana Incident"

Parody Written by:

Michael Pacholek

The Lyrics

May 16, 1957: Billy Martin's 29th birthday. He was between wives, not hitting well, and depressed. So his New York Yankees teammates Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Hank Bauer, Yogi Berra and Johnny Kucks took him out for a night on the town. They went to see Sammy at the Copa, but a racist loudmouth popped off, and Hank Bauer, a tough Marine, told the guy to knock it off. He wouldn't, and the action shifted to the men's room. Every Yankee involved swore to the end -- Yogi and Whitey are the last survivors -- that no Yankee ever hit anybody. They were ushered out the back door. Too late: A reporter for the New York Post saw them, and the next day's headline was "BAUER IN BRAWL AT COPA." General manager George Weiss was sure that Billy was responsible. He wasn't: The one fight he WASN'T in, and he got blamed. A month later, he was traded, and wouldn't get back to the Yankees for 18 years, as manager. The players were all fined by the club, but a lawsuit against Bauer was dismissed for lack of evidence. Paranoid as always, Billy remained bitter about the whole thing for the rest of his life. In spite of legends like Sammy, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis (as a comedy team), Bobby Darin, Sam Cooke and various Motown acts, and the Barry Manilow song (whose incident probably never happened), the original Copa, at 10 East 60th Street, is probably still best known for the Yankees' "Copacabana Incident."
(instrumental opening)

His name was Billy.
Yankee ballplayer.
He played second base with zip.
On his shoulder, had a chip.
And with his teammates
he liked to party.
They would go out on the town.
Those Pinstripers would get down.
They would go to Toots Shor.
This was long before Scores.
They won Pennants and won women.
Who could ask for more?

At the Copa
they ran into surprising drama.
At the Copa
Nineteen fifty-seven
was well short of Heaven
at the Copa…
for Yankee bunch.

His name was Sammy.
Yes, Davis Junior.
The Yankees went to hear him sing
but some guy threw racist zings.
And then Hank Bauer
he said to stop it.
But this guy was too far drunk.
Bauer said he’d stop that skunk.
They went into the can.
And this drunk, he got slammed.
Bauer said the Copa bouncers
beat him to that man.

At the Copa
things went nuts, and even bananas.
At the Copa
blame fell on Billy
which really was silly
at the Copa…
he threw no punch.

(instrumental break)

His name was Billy.
Managed the Yankees
After 20 years had passed
and the team made him outcast.
He kept complaining
about that evening.
The fight no Yanks were even in
but he got blamed for the sin.
New problems he would find
and drink himself half-blind.
Sometimes he managed like a genius.
Sometimes, lost his mind!

Oh, the Copa
was rebranded with disco banner.
Now, the Copa
Street 47
is now where it’s revvin’.
At the Copa…
Don’t be a dunce.
Don’t be a dunce.

(long instrumental fadeout)
The original Copa opened in 1940 and closed in 1973. As the Manilow song implies, it really did reopen as a discotheque, in 1976. A new owner moved it out of that location in 1992, and with new owners, it's bounced around ever since. The current location opened in 2011 at 268 West 47th Street, off Times Square, and has added hip-hop to its traditional Latin scene.

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Matches Pace of
Original Song: 
How Funny: 
Overall Score: 

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Voting Results

Pacing: 3.7
How Funny: 3.8
Overall Rating: 3.8

Total Votes: 19

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   5
 2   0
 3   1
 4   2
 5   11

User Comments

Comments are subject to review, and can be removed by the administration of the site at any time and for any reason.

Barry's the Man - August 06, 2015 - Report this comment
I don't like my Manilow abused this much! 1s
Melanie Lee - August 06, 2015 - Report this comment
All together now: YOU DO NOT GIVE 1's ON EVERY SINGLE THING IF THE PACING IS GOOD! Please respect and honor the efforts of the author. If the pacing is spot on and you didn't laugh at all, give 5-1-1, or 5-1-3--whatever. If the pacing is a little off and you didn't laugh at all, give 4-1-1 (information, please!), or 4-1-2, or whatever. Give credit where credit is due, please. Thank you.
Agrimorfee - August 06, 2015 - Report this comment
Huh, fascinating history Mike, thanks for sharing that in song form. Previous commenter will certainly not enjoy: (Hell, my mom liked it...)
Melanie Lee - August 06, 2015 - Report this comment
Very good! In spite of your comment, Michael, I'd never heard of the Yankee Copacabana Incident until you wrote about it! Nice to hear that that Bauer stood up for Sammy, even if Bauer didn't throw a punch. Also, I know what it's like to be bitter for life about an incident where you were basically innocent, like you say Billy was. Trust the New York Post to get it wrong, even back then! I think your pacing was slightly off on a few lines, as well as your syllabic emphasis falling on the wrong note a few times, but I laughed a lot! I'll bend my own rule (see above) in your favor. IMO, you're batting .555!
Jonathan - August 06, 2015 - Report this comment
Have A Banana! 5's
Patrick - August 06, 2015 - Report this comment
A song about a barroom brawl to instruct us on a barroom brawl. Never heard of this incident before now. I like what you did with Barry Manilow's story. A reminder of how things have changed.
Max Power - November 10, 2015 - Report this comment
How did I miss this one? It's about time someone wrote a parody of the incident with this song :)

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