This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #305: The Way We Were by Barbra Streisand from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for the movie, “The Way We Were”.
Of all of the talented artists that appear on this list, Barbra Streisand is unique, in that, she is the only one who has won an Oscar, An Emmy, A Grammy and a Tony Award. She is, beyond any question, one of the most talented singers to have ever graced a stage. What a beautiful voice! But, Streisand was always a driven person and, as a result, she can, also, claim many important break-throughs for women, such as directing her own movie, “Yentl”. Streisand has sold over 175 million albums during a career that all started as an usher in a theatre when she was just 16 years old and living on her own in NYC.
When Barbra Streisand was a teenager, she went to high school in New York City with a young man named Neil Diamond and another introverted whiz kid named Bobby Fischer (who went on to be World Chess Champion). At the time, she spelled her name, “Barbara” and lived alone with her mother (who was widowed). Her mother never supported her decision to dedicate her life to The Arts and, as a result, Streisand left home at age 16. To spite her mother, she changed the spelling of her name to “Barbra”. Streisand slept on the couches of her freinds and worked at whatever jobs she could find. One such job was as an usher at a theatre that put on live musical performances. Being around live theatre confirmed for Streisand, in her mind, that being a performer was what she wanted to do with her life. Not long after, a friend convinced her to enter an “Open-Mic” contest in a Gay nightclub called The Blue Heron. Needless to say, when Streisand began to sing, and that voice of hers poured forth, the audience went silent with shock at what they were hearing. Streisand won, of course. She was offered steady work as a performer at that club and, from there, her career took off. In just a matter of a few years, she was ruling Broadway in “Funny Girl”, winning Grammy Awards and earning Gold records and starting to act in Hollywood movies; one of which was called, “The Way We Were”.
“The Way We Were” starred Streisand and Robert Redford. It is an interesting film because it is one of those rare films in which the female character is the tough, driven one and the male character, Redford, is the eye-candy, who drifts through life, enjoying success without having to work that hard for it. The plot of the movie wasn’t all that much…..two people meet and try to make a relationship work, only to realize that, in the end, they are not each other’s perfect match. The song, “The Way We Were” talks about whether the memories of the good times were enough to overcome the truth that this couple was just not meant to be together. Through it all, Streisand gets to sing exquisitely and Redford gets to look all brooding and handsome, dressed up in suits and naval uniforms. The song won the Oscar for Best Song in a Motion Picture at The Academy Awards.
Barbra Streisand is still making music and performing on stages to this day. She has enjoyed one of the most successful careers of all-time and has much to be proud of. She is an inspiration to many female singers who followed such as our own, Celine Dion. For now, here she is with the Academy Award-winning song, “The Way We Were”. Ladies and Gentlemen…..Barbra Streisand. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Barbra Streisand, can be found here.