Songbird (1978)

Catalog Number(s):

Songbird CD cover

Songbird LP back cover Buy from Amazon

Tracks

  1. Tomorrow [2:54]
    (C. Strouse / M. Charnin)
  2. A Man I Loved [3:59]
    (N. Oosterveen / G. Michalski)
  3. I Don't Break Easily [3:51]
    (B. Roberts)
  4. Love Breakdown [3:32]
    (A. Gordon)
  5. You Don't Bring Me Flowers [3:57]
    (M. Bergman / A. Bergman / N. Diamond)
  6. Honey Can I Put On Your Clothes [5:33]
    (J. Monte Ray / J. Leiber / M. Stoller)
  7. One More Night [3:08]
    (S. Bishop)
  8. Stay Away [3:44]
    (K. Carnes)
  9. Deep In The Night [3:09]
    (H. Miller / E. Merriam)
  10. Songbird [3:45]
    (D. Wolfert / S. Nelson)

Individual track credits:

(mouse and click on each song to reveal the credits...)

1. Tomorrow

Written by: C. Strouse / M. Charnin

Rhythm Arranged by: David Wolfert

Orchestral Arrangement: Gene Page

Horns Arranged by: Jerry Hey & Larry Williams

Voices Arranged by: Alan Gordon

Piano: David Foster

Guitar: Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather

Bass: Abe Laboriel

Drums: Jeff Porcaro

Date Recorded: February 1978

2. A Man I Loved

Written by: N. Oosterveen / G. Michalski

Rhythm Arranged by: David Wolfert

Orchestral Arrangement: James Newton Howard

Horns Arranged by: Bill Reichenbach

Background Vocals: George Michalski & Niki Oosterveen

Piano: James Newton Howard

Bass: David Hungate

Drums: Ed Greene

Date Recorded: February 1978

3. I Don't Break Easily

Written by: Bruce Roberts

Rhythm Arranged by: Jon Tropea

Orchestral Arrangement: Lee Holdridge

Horns Arranged by: Jerry Hey & Larry Williams

Flutes: Louise Di Tullio

Alto & Soprano Sax: Ronny Lang

Harp: Gayle Levant

Drums & Percussion: Allan Schwartzberg

Guitars: Sal Detroia, Charlie Brown, Jon Tropea

Bass: Will Lee

Keyboards: Leon Pendarvis, Pat Rebillot

Date Recorded: November 13, 1977

4. Love Breakdown

Written by: Alan Gordon

Rhythm Arranged by: David Wolfert

Orchestral Arrangement: Gene Page

Horns Arranged by: Jerry Hey & Larry Williams

Voices Arranged by: Alan Gordon

Piano: David Foster

Guitar: Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather

Bass: Abe Laboriel

Drums: Jeff Porcaro

Date Recorded: February 1978

5. You Don't Bring Me Flowers

Written by: N. Diamond / Alan & Marilyn Bergman

Arranged by: Nick De Caro

Conducted by: Artie Kane

Piano: Lincoln Mayorga

Date Recorded: February 1978

6. Honey Can I Put On Your Clothes

Written by: J. Monte Ray / J. Leiber / M. Stoller

Rhythm Arranged by: Larry Carlton

Orchestral Arrangement: Gene Page

Piano: Greg Mathieson

Guitar: Larry Carlton, Jay Graydon

Bass: Reinie Press

Drums: Jeff Porcaro

Date Recorded: February 1978

7. One More Night

Written by: S. Bishop

Arranged by: Nick De Caro

Conducted by: Artie Kane

Piano: Lincoln Mayorga

Guitar: Lee Ritenour, Dennis Budimir, Mitch Holder

Bass: David Hungate

Drums: Jeff Porcaro

8. Stay Away

Written by: Kim Carnes

Rhythm Arranged by: Jon Tropea

Orchestral Arrangement: Lee Holdridge

Percussion & Drums: Allan Schwartzberg

Guitars: Sal Detroia, Charlie Brown, Jon Tropea

Bass: Will Lee

Keyboards: Leon Pendarvis, Pat Rebillot

Flutes: Louise Di Tullio

Alto & Soprano Sax: Ronny Lang

Harp: Gayle Levant

Date Recorded: November 13, 1977

9. Deep In The Night

Written by: H. Miller / E. Merriam

Rhythm Arranged by: Jon Tropea

Orchestral Arrangement:Gene Page

Horns Arranged by: Jerry Hey & Larry Williams

Percussion & Drums: Allan Schwartzberg

Guitars: Sal Detroia, Charlie Brown, Jon Tropea

Bass: Will Lee

Keyboards: Leon Pendarvis, Pat Rebillot

Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa, Bob Zimmetti

Synthesizers: Ian Underwood, James Newton Howard

Flutes: Louise Di Tullio

Alto-Tenor Sax & Flutes: Jim Horn, Ernie Watts

Trumpets: Steve Mahaio, Jerry Hey

Trombone: Bill Reichenbach

Background Vocals: Julia Tillman Waters, Maxine Willard Waters, Stephanie Spruill, Jim Gilstrap, Oren Waters

Date Recorded: November 13, 1977

10. Songbird

Written by: D. Wolfert / S. Nelson

Rhythm Arranged by: Larry Carlton

Orchestral Arrangement: Nick De Caro

Piano: Greg Mathieson

Guitar: Larry Carlton, Jay Graydon

Bass: Reinie Press

Drums: Jeff Porcaro

Date Recorded: February 1978

About the Album

Songbird press items

newspaper article about Streisand and Travolta

Barbra Streisand began recording tracks for the Songbird album in November 1977 in New York. She recorded more sessions in February 1978 in Los Angeles.

(Right: A March 13, 1978 clipping about Streisand and John Travolta and her recording session for Songbird.)

Songbird was again produced by Gary Klein. Author James Kimbrell wrote that Streisand recorded sixteen songs in Los Angeles, with “Love Song” (by Elton John), “Here, There and Everywhere” (by The Beatles), and three other songs: “Til I Get It Right;” “Nightmoves” (Franks/Small); and “Looking Out For Number One” (by Carole King) all left on the cutting room floor.

As for the songs that did make it onto the album ...

“Tomorrow” was from the Broadway musical Annie (music by C. Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin). Charnin saw Streisand perform in Another Evening With Harry Stoones back in 1961. Streisand even auditioned for a Charnin show called Hot Spot in 1962. He’s contributed several songs to Streisand albums over the years, including “The Best Thing You’ve Ever Done” and the lyrics to Arlen’s “That’s A Fine Kind O’ Freedom.” In 1965 Charnin contributed the lyrics to a Harold Arlen melody called “Summer In Brooklyn.” The song was intended for a Streisand television special to be titled Barbra Streisand’s Brooklyn. That project never came to pass.

“A Man I Loved” was written by Nick Oosterveen and George Michalski. It was Barbra's boyfriend and manager, Jon Peters, who discovered the writing duo. According to Oosterveen's biography:

When Peters heard their material, he sent a limousine the next day to pick them up and it was announced by Rona Barrett on Good Morning America that the duo had been signed to a management/ publishing/recording deal with Jon Peters and CBS Records. The following Sunday they were invited by Barbra Streisand to her famous Malibu Mansion, where she listened to Nick’s complete song catalog. As a result Barbra would record "A Man I Love" which became the flip side of her smash single, "Superman" ...

Oosterveen was present for the recording of “A Man I Loved”.

When [Streisand] invited them to attend the recording of “A Man I Loved”, she asked Nick to join her in the vocal booth, and to sing the song for her. A nerve-racking moment for sure, but one that led to Nick singing background vocals on her rendition nevertheless.

“A Man I Loved” was also included on the British version of the greatest hits album, Memories (called Love Songs in the UK).

Songbird ad

“Deep in the Night” was from a 1971-1972 Broadway musical called Inner City. Based on Eve Merriam’s book, The Inner City Mother Goose, the show featured a cast of nine singing about the tough life in Manhattan. Linda Hopkins, who won the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, sang the song on Broadway.

Elkie Brooks, with her husky voice, recorded “Honey, Can I Put On Your Clothes” on her 1977 album, Two Days Away. The great songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller noted that Streisand had them change the original lyric from “cause they feel so good / And they smell like you” to “And they feel like you.”

“One More Night” was written by Stephen Bishop, also responsible for “It Might Be You” from Dustin Hoffman’s film, Tootsie.

“I Don’t Break Easily” by Bruce Roberts appeared on Roberts’ 1977 self-titled debut album. He joined Paul Jabara and Bob Esty to write “The Main Event,” and “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” with Jabara in 1979.

“Stay Away” was written by Kim Carnes. By the time Streisand and Carnes recorded their duet, “Make No Mistake He’s Mine” on Barbra’s Emotion album, Streisand had already recorded two of Carnes’ songs.

Finally, “You Don't Bring Me Flowers” is sung by Barbra as a solo on Songbird. It wasn't until an enterprising DJ cut together Barbra's solo version with Neil Diamond's solo version that the duet was born. You can read more about that duet here >>

Streisand at Columbia Records convention

 

Billboard Charts

The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine.

Here's the numbers for this Streisand album:

Gold: 500,000 units shipped

Platinum: 1 million units shipped.

Note: The record company must submit an album to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) where it undergoes a certification process to become eligible for an award. The process entails an independent sales audit, which calculates the quantity of singles or albums shipped for sale, net after returns. The audit surveys shipments to the entire music marketplace, including retail, record clubs, television sales, Internet orders and other ancillary markets. Based on the certification of these shipments, a title is awarded Gold, Platinum, Multi-Platinum or Diamond status. The data here comes directly from official sources, mainly the RIAA online database.

(Below: A 1978 record store display for Songbird.)

Record store standee for Songbird

CD Packaging

Songbird is another Streisand album whose original artwork is missing from the CD release!

Songbird CD cover

Columbia took the 9 photographs of Barbra and her dogs from the LP's back cover and redistributed them on the CD: The CD back cover displayed Sadie and Barbra; The CD booklet spread displayed Big Red, Clyde, Rocky, Leona, Charity, Ester Hoffman and Bullet Anderson and their “kids.”

Songbird CD back cover

What's missing: the original album's picture sleeve and credits. Here's what they looked like:

Songbird insert 1

The 2-sided picture sleeve included color photographs of Streisand by Steve Schapiro

2nd side of Songbird insert

Album Cover Outtakes

Streisand's go-to photographer, Steve Schapiro, shot the cover of Songbird, as well as the inside sleeve photos. Below are outtakes from the sessions.

Streisand cover photo session

Streisand posed in a burgandy cowl necked top and knitted sweater; she posed outside in a rust-colored outfit, like the one she wore on the Oscars when she sang “Evergreen”.

Songbird altnerate photos Schapiro alternate photo

End.

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