Saturday, February 2, 1974

Barbra Streisand hit #1 with “The Way We Were”

The Way We Were

Barbra Streisand

Writer(s): Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Marvin Hamlisch (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 20, 1973

Peak: 13 US, 11 CB, 13 GR, 11 HR, 13 RR, 12 AC, 31 UK, 11 CN, 6 AU, 6 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 22.6 video, 45.46 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“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.” FB 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. BB

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


  • AMG All Music Guide by Matthew Greenwald
  • BB Billboard (9/08). “All-Time Hot 100
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 356.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 101.
  • WK

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First posted 2/2/2012; last updated 11/26/2022.

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