The Way It Is (song)
|"The Way It Is"|
|Single by Bruce Hornsby and the Range|
|from the album The Way It Is|
|B-side||"The Red Plains"
"The Wild Frontier"
|Released||August 25, 1986|
|Recorded||Studio D, Sausalito, CA 1986|
|Genre||Piano rock, adult contemporary, pop rock|
|Bruce Hornsby and the Range singles chronology|
"The Way It Is" is a song recorded by Bruce Hornsby and the Range from their 1986 album The Way It Is. It topped the charts in the United States and the Netherlands in 1986, and peaked inside the top twenty in countries such as Ireland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Written by Bruce Hornsby and his brother John Hornsby, it made explicit reference to the American Civil Rights Movement. This song was heavily sampled by Tupac Shakur in his song, "Changes" from 1998.
The song portrays 1980s America from a critical perspective. The opening verse recounts a story taking place at a line for welfare that illustrate a divide between the rich and poor. The chorus presents several lines insisting that social ills are "just the way it is", and repeatedly suggests resigning oneself to them as a fact of life—however, the chorus ends with the author rebuking this attitude by insisting "ah, but don't you believe them."
The second verse recounts past social issues from the voice of someone supporting racial segregation. The author responds in a narrative voice, insisting his view that if those who make laws took them into careful consideration they would be convinced that laws enforcing principles like racial segregation are morally wrong. The song reminds the listener that it was at one time argued that racial segregation was "just the way it is", and suggests that legislation and what the author views as progress on current social issues should be pursued without regard to those who insist "some things will never change."
The third verse recounts the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a victory in the civil rights movement, but insists that more is needed. The third chorus suggests that it only feels like "some things will never change" when we wait for social problems to change themselves rather than taking steps ourselves to actively change them.
Usage as theme music
In the UK, a version of the tune is used as the theme song to the BBC 1 daytime program City Hospital and an edited 'loop' of the final instrumental section was also used as background music for the BBC's sports programme Grandstand in the late 1980s, where it was played while the presenter read the results and ran down the football league tables at the end of the programme. In the UK (where the song only reached no. 15 in the charts), the song was possibly more well-known from Grandstand than for its appearance in the charts. The song was also featured in Australia as the background theme of the Nine Network's weekend news sports wrap up as well as during AFL Football telecasts in the 1990s. In this case, the song was used as a background theme while other weekly match results appeared on screen. In the Pilot episode of Smallville, the song is used in the opening scenes as background music to life in 1989.
In the 1990s and 2000s, "The Way It Is" was used as the theme music for Sean Hannity's syndicated radio talk show. Hornsby, a progressive Democrat, has stated his disapproval of Hannity's politics and the usage of "The Way It Is." Afterwards, Hannity criticized Hornsby and has since stopped using "The Way It Is" as the main theme for his show.
- In 1996, house producers Brothers In Rhythm remixed the song using Hornsby's original vocals; however, Bruce vetoed the commercial release of the remix. Hornsby's vocals were then replaced with Tom Blaize's and the remix was commercially released as a cover, under the name "Chameleon". The original Hornsby vocals version has since leaked to file sharing networks.
- In 1996, American rapper E-40 sampled "The Way It Is" in "Things'll Never Change" from his album Tha Hall of Game.
- In 1996, "The Way It Is" was heavily sampled in Tupac Shakur's hit song "Changes", which was released in 1998.
- In 2002, Danish producer Corny released a house version of the song with his own vocals.
- In 2007, the song was sampled in a song by Emily King called "Alright", from her album East Side Story.
- In 2008, a modified version of the piano chorus was used throughout the song "Can't Say Goodbye" by Snoop Dogg and Charlie Wilson, which appears on the album Ego Trippin'.
- In 2009, the music was used with different lyrics by Pierce (Chevy Chase) as the Greendale school song in Community.
- In 2010, German electro house producer Eric Chase released a cover version.
- In 2010, American singer/songwriter/pianist Brian Lucas recorded a version on his "Get Something Started" album.
|Germany (Media Control AG)||16|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||1|
|New Zealand (RIANZ)||23|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||15|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||15|
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||1|
|US Billboard Hot 100||1|
|US Mainstream Rock Tracks (Billboard)||3|
"Love Will Conquer All" by Lionel Richie
|Billboard Adult Contemporary (chart) number-one single
December 6, 1986 - December 13, 1986
"Love Is Forever" by Billy Ocean
"The Next Time I Fall" by Peter Cetera and Amy Grant
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
December 13, 1986
"Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles
"Stand By Me" by Ben E. King
|Canadian RPM number-one single
December 27, 1986 - January 10, 1987
"Everybody Have Fun Tonight" by Wang Chung
"Sing Our Own Song" by UB40
|Dutch Top 40 number-one single
September 20, 1986
"The Final Countdown" by Europe
- Metzger, John (November 2000). "Against the Grain: An Interview with Bruce Hornsby". The Music Box 7 (11). Retrieved 2007-05-04.
- "allmusic ((( Bruce Hornsby > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
- "Songfacts: "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby". Retrieved 2007-05-04.
- "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
- "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 38, 1986" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Stichting Nederlandse Top 40.
- "Charts.org.nz – Bruce Hornsby And The Range – The Way It Is". Top 40 Singles. Hung Medien.
- "Bruce Hornsby And The Range – The Way It Is – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Hung Medien.
- "Bruce Hornsby And The Range" UK Singles Chart. Official Charts Company.