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Funny Lady (soundtrack)

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Funny Lady
The vinyl sleeve of the album appears displaying a face with a tear drop falling from one eye behind a yellow rose atop a purple background.
Soundtrack album by Barbra Streisand
ReleasedMarch 15, 1975 (1975-03-15)
Length47:25
LabelArista
ProducerPeter Matz
Barbra Streisand chronology
ButterFly
(1974)
Funny Lady
(1975)
Lazy Afternoon
(1975)
Singles from Funny Lady
  1. "How Lucky Can You Get"
    Released: April 1975

Funny Lady is a soundtrack album by American vocalist Barbra Streisand. It was released by Arista Records on March 15, 1975 to promote the 1975 American musical comedy-drama film Funny Lady. Executively produced by Peter Matz, the fifteen tracks on the album were performed by Streisand, James Caan, and Ben Vereen. A soundtrack sequel to 1968's Funny Girl, Funny Lady is a collection of songs from the point of view of American performer Fanny Brice. "How Lucky Can You Get", the album's only single released in April 1975, promoted the record and was written by Fred Ebb and John Kander, who also co-wrote the majority of the songs on Funny Lady.

The soundtrack divided music critics; among the negative aspects of the album included Caan's singing abilities while others found it a worthy companion of the film. Commercially, it entered the charts in Australia, Canada and the United States, peaking within the top ten of the Billboard 200 in the latter country. The Recording Industry Association of America certified the album Gold for shipments exceeding 500,000 copies in late 1975. It was later reissued as a compact disc in 1998 and with the single release of "How Lucky Can You Get" being a bonus track.

Background and promotion[edit]

Fanny Brice dressed up as her character "Baby Snooks".
Streisand reprised her role as Fanny Brice in both Funny Lady and the soundtrack.

Due to her contract with Ray Stark, Streisand was required to reprise her role as Fanny Brice in the sequel to Funny Girl (1968), which became Funny Lady. Accompanying the 1975 film was the official soundtrack and one of the first records to be released by Arista Records, a new label created by record producer Clive Davis.[1] Davis later revealed in his autobiographical book, The Soundtrack of My Life, that Streisand was the perfect singer for the soundtrack as she was "the top female singer-actress in the world" and would likely be a good first effort to be released by a newly founded record company.[2] The soundtrack to Funny Lady was released on March 15, 1975 by Arista Records, despite Streisand being signed to Columbia Records.[2][3] It features fifteen songs, with a majority of them being brand new tracks written by the songwriting duo of Fred Ebb and John Kander.[3] Bay Cities Records, a subsidiary of Arista, had announced interest in reissuing the soundtrack collection for Funny Lady in 1990.[4] The plans stalled for several years and it was not until May 19, 1998 that it would be released in a compact disc format.[5] The reissued version features a rearranged track listing, plus a second version of "How Lucky Can You Get", being the "Finale" single release.[6] It would be reissued once more by SBME Special Markets on February 3, 2009.[7]

"How Lucky Can You Get" was released as the soundtrack's only commercial single in April 1975.[8] It peaked on the Adult Contemporary charts in both the United States and Canada, peaking at numbers 27 and 19, respectively.[9][10] The songwriting, by Ebb and Kander, was widely praised by music critics; at the 48th Academy Awards, the single was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song but lost to Keith Carradine's "I'm Easy" from the 1975 film Nashville.[11] "How Lucky Can You Get" also lost to "I'm Easy" when nominated for Best Original Song at the 33rd Golden Globe Awards.[12]

Composition[edit]

The album features a total of fifteen songs, with eleven of them performed solely by Streisand, two of them ("Me and My Shadow" and the medley of "It's Only a Paper Moon" and "I Like Her") are sung by costar James Caan, one of them is by Ben Vereen, and the final one is a duet between Streisand and Vereen; Peter Matz executively produced the entire album, in addition to serving as the audio arranger and conductor.[3] Lead single "How Lucky Can You Get It" features "sarcastic" and "ironic" lyrics to capture the character of Brice as accurately as possible.[13][14] The soundtrack itself has been described as a collection of "rejuvenating classics" by author Ethan Mordden.[15] The duet "So Long Honey Lamb" is another newly recorded song by Ebb and Kander, followed by "I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store)", which was once performed by Brice during her musical Billy Rose's Crazy Quilt.[16] Track four, "Isn't This Better", is a love song about the relationship of Brice and Billy Rose.[17] "Me and My Shadow" is a solo by Caan, covering the original version which was written by Dave Dreyer, Al Jolson, and Rose.[3] Streisand's "If I Love Again" is a ballad with a "wide range" and "disjunct melody", which was considered "unusual" for a pop song.[18] "I Got a Code in My Doze" was written by Rose and Arthur Fields while "(It's Gonna Be A) Great Day" is a "gospel-rock style" track whose melody was rewritten by Streisand to better suit her.[3][19][20]

The album's ninth track, "Blind Date", was recorded quickly during a strict three-week recording schedule.[21] "Am I Blue" was finalized during the same aforementioned period and was originally written by Harry Akst.[3][21] Two corresponding medleys, one of "It's Only a Paper Moon" and "I Like Him" by Streisand and "It's Only a Paper Moon" and "I Like Her" by Caan, are back-to-back tracks.[3] "More Than You Know", which was originally included on Streisand's Simply Streisand album in 1967, follows and was also used as the B-side track for the commercial release of "How Lucky Can You Get".[8][22] Vereen's solo of "Clap Hands! Here Comes Charlie" precedes "Let's Hear It for Me", which is the album's closing track and an updated version of the Funny Girl original "Don't Rain on My Parade".[23][17]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic
1975 version
2/5 stars[24]
AllMusic
1998 version
3/5 stars[25]

Funny Lady has received mixed reviews from music critics. A critic from Stereo Review was pleased with Streisand's Funny Lady, stating that it "will surely bring out the ravening glutton I suspect is lurking in all who are her fondest fans". However, the reviewer did warn that soundtrack did not contain anything for those of a "dispassionate and temperate nature".[26] Also positive was a critic from Film, who called the album "more satisfying than the film".[27] Initially, AllMusic's William Ruhlmann awarded the album 2 out of 5 stars. He was critical of Caan's singing abilities, finding it hard "to endure the singing of James Caan".[24] In his review of the 1998 reissued CD, Ruhlmann listed "Am I Blue" as one of the best tracks on the album; he called it the "chief virtue of the soundtrack [...], even if she sometimes camped [it] up".[25] Allison J. Waldman, author of The Barbra Streisand Scrapbook, was disappointed by the soundtrack, claiming that it is more like a "hodgepodge of a soundtrack". She also stated that it was "not nearly as well-produced" as the soundtrack for the predecessor, Funny Girl (1968).[1]

Commercial performance[edit]

Allison J. Waldman predicted that the commercial success of the soundtrack was due to Streisand's previous role and performance in the original film, Funny Girl.[1] In the United States, the album debuted at number 75 on the Billboard 200 chart for the week ending March 29, 1975.[28] It continued to climb the chart in that country for several weeks before peaking at number six on May 10.[29] It spent four weeks within the top ten of chart, and a total of 25 weeks altogether.[30][31] The Recording Industry Association of America certified the soundtrack Gold for shipments upwards of 500,000 sales on September 8, 1975.[32] On Canada's Top Albums chart conducted and published by RPM, the record debuted at number 90 during the week of April 12, 1975.[33] Similar to its progress in the United States, it soared up the charts for several weeks before peaking at number 17 on May 17 of the same year.[34] It spent a total of 12 consecutive weeks charting in Canada, with its final position being number 56 on June 28.[35][36] It also charted in Australia, where it peaked at number 50 according to the Kent Music Report.[37]

Track listing[edit]

Funny Lady – Standard edition[3]
No.TitleWriter(s)Performer(s)Length
1."How Lucky Can You Get"Barbra Streisand4:46
2."So Long Honey Lamb"
  • Ebb
  • Kander
3:10
3."I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store)"Harry WarrenStreisand2:55
4."Isn't This Better"
  • Ebb
  • Kander
Streisand3:25
5."Me and My Shadow"James Caan3:00
6."If I Love Again"
Streisand2:55
7."I Got a Code in My Doze"Streisand1:05
8."(It's Gonna Be A) Great Day"Streisand5:14
9."Blind Date"
  • Ebb
  • Kander
Streisand4:55
10."Am I Blue"Streisand3:20
11."It's Only a Paper Moon"/"I Like Him"Streisand1:05
12."It's Only a Paper Moon"/"I Like Her"
  • Arlen
  • Kander
  • Harburg
  • Ebb
  • Rose
Caan2:37
13."More Than You Know"
  • Eliscu
  • Rose
  • Youmans
Streisand2:25
14."Clap Hands! Here Comes Charlie"Vereen2:10
15."Let's Hear It for Me"
  • Ebb
  • Kander
Streisand3:13
Total length:47:25

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of the CD edition of Funny Lady.[6]

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Waldman 2001, p. 57
  2. ^ a b Davis & DeCurtis 2013, p. 264
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Funny Lady (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (Vinyl release ed.). Arista. 1975. AL 9004.
  4. ^ TheaterWeek staff (1990). "Available in July". TheaterWeek. That New Magazine, Incorporated. 3 (3): 49. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  5. ^ "Funny Lady: Original Soundtrack Recording Soundtrack Edition (1998): Audio CD". Amazon.com. 1998. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c Funny Lady (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (CD release, remastered ed.). Arista. 1998. 0788-19006-2.
  7. ^ "Funny Lady, Original recording remastered, Soundtrack: James Caan, Barbra Streisand, Ben Vereen". Amazon.com. February 3, 2009. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "How Lucky Can You Get" / "More Than You Know" (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand. Arista. 1975. AS 0123.
  9. ^ "Adult Contemporary – The Week Of June 21, 1975". Billboard. June 21, 1975. Archived from the original on March 13, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 3988". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  11. ^ "The 48th Academy Awards (1976) Nominees and Winners". Academy Awards. 1976. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  12. ^ "Winners & Nominees Best Original Song – Motion Picture". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  13. ^ Pohly 2000, p. 98
  14. ^ Leve 2009, p. 19
  15. ^ Mordden 2016, p. 215
  16. ^ Gardner, Edward Foote (2000). Popular Songs of the 20th Century: Chart Detail & Encyclopedia, 1900-1949. St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House. ISBN 1-55778-789-1.
  17. ^ a b CD Review staff (1991). "Stage & Screen". CD Review. WGE Publishers. 7 (7–12): 86. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  18. ^ Paymer & Post 1999, p. 236
  19. ^ Pohly 2000, p. 78
  20. ^ Casper 2011, p. 1879
  21. ^ a b Nickens & Swenson 2000, p. 125
  22. ^ Simply Streisand (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (Vinyl release ed.). Columbia. 1967. CK-9482.
  23. ^ Pym, John (2010). "Funny Lady". Time Out Film Guide. Time Out Guides Limited: 390. ISBN 1846702089.
  24. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "Original Soundtrack – Funny Lady [Arista]". AllMusic. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  25. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "Original Soundtrack – Funny Lady [Bay Cities]". AllMusic. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  26. ^ Stereo Review staff (1975). "The Delectably Songful Soundtrack from Barbra Streisand's Funny Lady". Stereo Review. CBS Magazines. 35: 70. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  27. ^ "Soundtrack". Film. British Federation of Film Societies: 16. 1975. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  28. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week Of March 29, 1975". Billboard. March 29, 1975. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  29. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week Of May 10, 1975". Billboard. May 10, 1975. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  30. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week Of April 26, 1975". Billboard. April 26, 1975. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  31. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week Of May 17, 1975". Billboard. May 17, 1975. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  32. ^ a b "American album certifications – Barbra Streisand – Funny Lady". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 13, 2017. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  33. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 3945b". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  34. ^ a b "Top RPM Albums: Issue 3956a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  35. ^ "Search: Funny Lady, 1975". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on April 28, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  36. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 3984b". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  37. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  38. ^ "Barbra Streisand Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved March 13, 2017.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Casper, Drew (March 1, 2011). Hollywood Film 1963-1976: Years of Revolution and Reaction. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 1444395238.
  • Davis, Clive; DeCurtis, Anthony (February 19, 2013). The Soundtrack of My Life (illustrated ed.). Simon and Schuster. ISBN 1476714789.
  • Leve, James (March 1, 2009). Kander and Ebb. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300155948.
  • Mordden, Ethan (2016). When Broadway Went to Hollywood (illustrated ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199395403.
  • Nickens, Christopher; Swenson, Karen (2000). The Films of Barbra Streisand (illustrated ed.). Citadel Press. ISBN 0806519541.
  • Paymer, Marvin E.; Post, Don E. (1999). Sentimental Journey: Intimate Portraits of America's Great Popular Songs, 1920-1945. Noble House Publishers. ISBN 1881907090.
  • Pohly, Linda (January 1, 2000). The Barbra Streisand Companion: A Guide to Her Vocal Style and Repertoire (illustrated ed.). Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313304149.
  • Waldman, Allison J. (2001). The Barbra Streisand Scrapbook (illustrated, revised ed.). Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-2218-6.

External links[edit]