image from sweetslyrics.com
“The Way We Were” “capped a rare entertainment grand slam” AMG in that the song, album, and movie all hit #1. AMG Streisand was no stranger to the Billboard pop charts, having racked up 20 hits since “People,” taken from the musical Funny Girl, charted in 1964. However, “The Way We Were” was her first chart-topper – she would accomplish the feat four more times – and her second of eight to the adult contemporary charts.
Barbra conveys “the lyric with great passion and style, without resorting to overly sentimental histrionics.” AMG The result was the biggest song of 1974 WHC and one of her “finest performances.” AMG The song is “ingrained into the memory of anyone who was listening to radio in the mid-’70s.” AMG
The movie “starred Streisand and Robert Redford as a pair of opposites who fall in love. They are followed “from college to marriage to divorce and beyond.” BR1 The use of the word “memories” throughout the song perfectly captures the essence of the film’s focus on “emotions of long-term (and long-lost) love.” AMG
The original movie version of the song was recorded with an orchestral backing which was scrapped in favor of a more pop arrangement for the single and Barbra’s subsequent album of the same name. BB100
When awards season hit, the track took home prizes for Best Song at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. The song was also ranked #8 on the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 film songs of all time. WK
- one of the top 100 songs of the rock era, according to the DMDB
- one of the top 1000 songs of all time
- The American Film Institute (AFI)’s 100 Years…100 Songs
- Billboard Song of the Year
- Grammy Award for Song of the Year
- Grammy Hall of Fame
- one of the RIAA’s top 365 songs of the 20th century
- top 100 adult contemporary songs of all time
- one of the top 100 songs of the 1970s
Resources and Related Links:
- the DMDB page for “The Way We Were”
- the DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry for Barbra Streisand
- AMG All Music Guide by Matthew Greenwald
- BB100 Billboard (9/08). “All-Time Hot 100”.
- BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 356.
- WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 101.
- WK Wikipedia.org