Veteran crooner Barry Manilow's infamous Copacabana shirt was returned to him by bosses of America's biggest museum after he made a joke about the garish garment featuring as an exhibit.

The Mandy hitmaker was asked by officials at the Smithsonian Institution to donate the item - a silver, glitzy, studded shirt with heavily ruched sleeves - which he frequently wore during his stage shows while performing his 1978 hit.

The singer happily handed over the top but he was left stunned when bosses sent it back to him after he joked about it earning a place at the revered museum and research centre.

He tells U.K. talk show host Graham Norton, "The Smithsonian museum asked if they could have it. I sent it to them and when I later made a joke that I always thought it would end up in an institution, they sent it back!"