The Way We Were (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"The Way We Were"
Single by Barbra Streisand
from the album The Way We Were
B-side "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"
Released November 1973
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded 1973
Genre Vocal pop
Length 3:31
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Marvin Hamlisch[1]
Producer(s) Marty Paich
Certification Platinum
Barbra Streisand singles chronology
"Sweet Inspiration/Where You Lead"
"The Way We Were"
"Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)"

"The Way We Were" is the title song to the 1973 movie The Way We Were, starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford.[1] The song was written by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman (lyrics) and Marvin Hamlisch (music) and performed by Streisand.

Billboard named "The Way We Were" as the number 1 pop hit of 1974. Instrumental backing was provided by L.A. session musicians from the Wrecking Crew.[2] The song won the Academy Award[1] and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, Grammy Award for Song of the Year. In 1998, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and finished at number 8 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema in 2004. It was also included in the list of Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts.[3]

"The Way We Were" topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for three non-consecutive weeks in February 1974. After its first week at number one it was replaced by "Love's Theme" by the Love Unlimited Orchestra;[4] by coincidence, the orchestra, also abbreviated as LUO, did a version of "The Way We Were" on their 1979 album Super Movie Themes: Just a Little Bit Different. It then returned to number one for two more weeks. The song also spent two weeks atop the easy listening chart, Streisand's second single to reach the top of this chart (following 1964's "People"). The track peaked at #31 in the UK Singles Chart in 1974.[1]

The version of the song released on 45 RPM single contains a different vocal take than the version which appeared on the original movie soundtrack and subsequent greatest hits compilations. Both versions use the same music track; the difference in the vocals can easily be heard on the line "Smiles we gave to one another" at approximately 1:15 into the song. The true 45 RPM single version has never appeared on CD. The soundtrack version of the song, a completely different take with alternate music track, appears on Just For the Record, Streisand's 4-CD box set collection released in 1991.

A bootleg of the recording sessions exists featuring Streisand with composer Marvin Hamlisch in a recording studio as they perform various takes of the song. One segment reveals Streisand changing the first word of the song from "Daydreams" to "Memories."

Streisand's version was listed at #90 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of All Time.[5]

Chart performance[edit]

The song reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 3 non-consecutive weeks at number 1 and became the best selling single of the year in the U.S.[6] Billboard ranked it as the No. 1 song for 1974.[7] The song was certified Gold and 23 years later was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

Other versions[edit]

  • A 1974 version by Gladys Knight & the Pips on their "I Feel A Song" LP featured the intro to the song "Try to Remember" and was credited as "The Way We Were/Try to Remember". Released as a single, it reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #6 on the Hot Soul Singles chart. The track reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart in 1975[1]( In 1993, Wu-Tang Clan sampled Knight's vocals from this version on their single "Can It Be All So Simple").
  • In 1976, The New York Disco Orchestra released a disco version of the song on Artemis Records. This version was produced by Clem Vicari. It was released as a seven-inch single and divided into two parts. This version charted for two weeks on Billboard's Disco Action Charts.
  • In the 1991 movie The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, Priscilla Presley and Anthony James performed the song in the famous shower scene.

Recordings have also been done by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Maynard Ferguson, Andy Williams, Santo & Johnny, Doris Day, Shirley Bassey, Jose Jose, Dick Haymes, Teresa Teng, Donna Summer, Yoshiko Kimura, Frances Yip, Leslie Cheung, David S. Ware, Dave Koz, Perry Como, Barry Manilow, Girlicious, Beyonce, Kerry Ellis and Jenny Tseng.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 136. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew. St. Martin’s Griffin. pp. 261–263. ISBN 978-1-250-03046-7. 
  3. ^ "Songs of the Century". CNN. 7 March 2001. Retrieved 9 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Bronson, Fred (1997). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard Books. pp. 356–357. ISBN 0-8230-7641-5. 
  5. ^ Archived September 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1974
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^ [Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002]
  11. ^ "Cash Box Top 100". Cashbox. 2 February 1974. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  12. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1974". Cashbox. 28 December 1974. Archived from the original on October 19, 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 

External links[edit]