The Way It Is (song)

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"The Way It Is"
UK & European picture sleeves
Single by Bruce Hornsby and the Range
from the album The Way It Is
  • "The Red Plains"
  • "The Wild Frontier"
ReleasedSeptember 1986 (1986-09)
StudioStudio D, Sausalito, California
GenreSoft rock
Songwriter(s)Bruce Hornsby
Producer(s)Bruce Hornsby, Elliot Scheiner
Bruce Hornsby and the Range singles chronology
"Every Little Kiss"
"The Way It Is"
"On the Western Skyline"

"The Way It Is" is a song by American rock group Bruce Hornsby and the Range. It was released in September 1986 as the second single from their debut album The Way It Is. It topped the charts in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands in 1986,[1] and peaked inside the top twenty in such countries as Australia, Ireland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Written by Bruce Hornsby, it made explicit reference to the Civil Rights Movement. Musically, the song is characterized by two long piano solos. The song has been sampled by rapper E-40 for his song "Things'll Never Change", by 2Pac for "Changes", and rapper Polo G for "Wishing for a Hero" in 2020.


The opening verse recounts a story taking place at a line for welfare that illustrates a divide between the rich and poor. and the second verse recounts past social issues from the voice of someone supporting racial segregation. The final 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.


Undercover version[edit]

"The Way It Is"
Single by Undercover
from the album Check Out the Groove
ReleasedApril 1, 1993
Songwriter(s)Bruce Hornsby
Producer(s)Steve Mac
Undercover singles chronology
"I Wanna Stay with You"
"The Way It Is"

Scottish band Undercover covered "The Way It Is" in 1993. It is included on their album Check Out the Groove.

Track listings[edit]


  1. The Way It Is (7-inch Edit) - 3:42
  2. The Way It Is (12-inch Essential Mix) - 4:20
  3. The Way It Is (Deep Undercover Mix) - 4:41
  4. The Way It Is (Macca At Work Mix) - 4:38

12-inch Maxi

  1. The Way It Is (12-inch Essential Mix) - 4:20
  2. The Way It Is (Deep Undercover Mix) - 3:48

7-inch single

  1. The Way It Is (7-inch Edit) - 3:42
  2. The Way It Is (Deep Undercover Mix) - 3:48


Chart (1993) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[18] 32

In popular culture[edit]

  • The music to "The Way It Is" was used as the theme tune for BBC1's City Hospital, a medical documentary television series which ran from 1998 to 2007.[citation needed]
  • In the Community episode "Advanced Criminal Law", Pierce Hawthorne (played by Chevy Chase) writes a school song entitled "The Way It Goes", a rip-off of "The Way It Is".[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Metzger, John (November 2000). "Against the Grain: An Interview with Bruce Hornsby". The Music Box. 7 (11). Retrieved May 4, 2007. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  3. ^ " – Bruce Hornsby and the Range – The Way It Is" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  4. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0759." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  5. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Bruce Hornsby and the Range". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  6. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 38, 1986" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  7. ^ " – Bruce Hornsby And The Range – The Way It Is". Top 40 Singles.
  8. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  9. ^ " – Bruce Hornsby And The Range – The Way It Is". Swiss Singles Chart.
  10. ^ SA Charts 1965 - 1989 Retrieved October 28, 2013
  11. ^ "Bruce Hornsby And The Range: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  12. ^ "Bruce Hornsby Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  13. ^ "Bruce Hornsby Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  14. ^ "Bruce Hornsby Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  15. ^ " – Bruce Hornsby and the Range – The Way It Is". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  16. ^ "1987 The Year in Music & Video: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. 99 (52). December 26, 1987.
  17. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ " – Undercover – The Way It Is" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  19. ^ Evans, Bradford (May 15, 2014). "29 Community Jokes You May Have Missed". Vulture. Retrieved April 11, 2021.

External links[edit]