Song Lyric Sunday – The Way We Were

This week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt is Lights, Camera, Music. Yes, we are looking for memorable movie music scores. This was easier than I thought. An old favorite movie and song of mine is “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand. The movie featured her and Robert Redford and is definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it.

The Song

This was the title track to the movie of the same name, which starred Streisand and Robert Redford. The song is about a couple who fall deeply in love despite being complete opposites. They are looking back on fond memories of their time together.

Alan Bergman and his wife Marilyn wrote the lyrics to this song, and Marvin Hamlisch wrote the music. The Bergmans also wrote lyrics for “The Windmills Of Your Mind” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.”

Streisand recorded this song on September 12, 1973 with Marty Paich doing the arrangements. The song was released as a single later in the month, and the movie came out on October 19, 1973. The film was very successful and helped popularize the song, which entered the Top 40 on December 22, 1973 and became Streisand’s first #1 hit on Groundhog Day, 1974. The next week it was bumped from the top spot by “Love’s Theme” by the Love Unlimited Orchestra, but reclaimed #1 a week later and stayed there until “Seasons In The Sun” bumped it on March 2. A total of three weeks at #1, but also the beginning of a chart hiatus for Streisand, who wasn’t seen again on the Top 40 until 1976, when “Evergreen” from A Star Is Born entered. This one also spent three weeks at #1.

This song is famous for its opening line, “Memories, light the corners of my mind,” which sets the nostalgic tone for the song and makes it perfect for the movie. Early demos of the song reveal that the first word was written as “Daydreams,” and Streisand came up with the idea to change it to “Memories,” although needing it shortened to two syllables to fit the music, it becomes “Mem’ries.”

In January 1974, a soundtrack album to the film came out featuring this song as the first track and instrumental scores from the film written by Marvin Hamlisch. Around the same time, Streisand also released an album called The Way We Were featuring the song, and was sued by the movie’s producer for using the same title. Streisand’s album was re-issued as “Barbra Streisand Featuring ‘The Way We Were’ and ‘All In Love Is Fair.'” Despite the awkward title, Streisand’s album went to #1 and eventually sold over 2 million copies, far outselling the soundtrack. The film, single, and Streisand’s album all went to #1.

“The Way We Were” won the Academy Award for Best Song in 1974 and the Grammy for Song Of The Year in 1975.

The Song

Mem'ries light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored mem'ries of the way we were

Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again, tell me, would we, could we

Mem'ries may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember 
We simply choose to forget

So it's the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember the way we were

The way we were

Writer/s: Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Marvin Hamlisch 
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Tratore
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

  23 comments for “Song Lyric Sunday – The Way We Were

  1. aisasami
    February 6, 2022 at 12:07 pm

    Such a beautiful song! Thanks for sharing it. I absolutely love it and Barbara was so beautiful in the video!

    • Christine Bolton
      February 6, 2022 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks Amy ☺️💕

  2. February 5, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    Loved that movie and that song!

    • Christine Bolton
      February 5, 2022 at 10:43 pm

      I thought they were both beautiful. Thanks Susi ☺️💕

      • February 6, 2022 at 1:58 pm

        Yes, absolutely! You’re welcome, Christine. <3

  3. January 31, 2022 at 10:18 am

    This film was on TV here about a week ago. I am sure I watched it years ago, but I only had time to catch a few minutes this time round. I do love that song, and Robert Redford was so handsome.

    • Christine Bolton
      February 1, 2022 at 8:56 am

      Thanks Mel. I haven’t seen it in a while but watching the clip makes me want to see it again. Yes he was so handsome! ☺️❤️

  4. January 30, 2022 at 11:59 am

    Lovely choice Christine.

    • Christine Bolton
      January 30, 2022 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks Di ☺️💕

  5. January 30, 2022 at 11:01 am

    Just has to be a Striesand in there .. fabulous 💜

    • Christine Bolton
      January 30, 2022 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks Willow. I always loved that song ☺️💕

      • January 30, 2022 at 12:56 pm

        It is one of her best 💜

  6. January 30, 2022 at 10:59 am

    A nice bit of scrambling Christine to come up with this classic. I enjoyed the movie and I love the way Barbra Streisand hums at the end of this song.

    • Christine Bolton
      January 30, 2022 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks Jim ! I love the song and movie. Yes, it was a great prompt and it didn’t take me long to find something. Whereas the Space thing was hard work for me and then I was so disappointed when I realized I had the wrong prompt. Oh well I get next Sunday off as my job is already done 🤣

  7. January 30, 2022 at 10:58 am

    This takes me back!

    • Christine Bolton
      January 30, 2022 at 12:18 pm

      It does, doesn’t it? Beautiful song and movie ☺️💕

    • January 30, 2022 at 7:20 pm

      Me too. I was a teenager when I first saw this movie and fell in love with the song and Robert Redford!

      • Christine Bolton
        February 1, 2022 at 8:58 am

        Yes, like the song says “Memories” Takes me back too ☺️💕 Thanks for stopping by! I hope you are doing well ☺️

      • February 1, 2022 at 9:12 pm

        My ribs and arm are taking a little longer than expected to heal but I’m doing OK. I’m looking forward to getting back in the saddle sometime soon! You take care too!

      • Christine Bolton
        February 2, 2022 at 5:51 pm

        Oh poor you! Take it easy won’t you? ☺️💕

  8. January 30, 2022 at 10:56 am

    Gosh…I haven’t thought about this song/movie in years! Wow, memories DO light the corners of my mind. Thank-you.

    • Christine Bolton
      January 30, 2022 at 12:19 pm

      Thank you! My pleasure ☺️💕

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