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.
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.
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