Barbra's Singles

The Way We Were /
What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?

The Way We Were (3:29) (M. Hamlisch, A. Bergman, M. Bergman)

What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? (3:17) (M. Legrand, A. Bergman, M. Bergman)

Released September 1973

The Way We Were 7inch label


About the Single

“The Way We Were” was Barbra Streisand's first No. 1 single.

It was also the title tune to her big, romantic movie with Robert Redford.

(Below: “The Way We Were” sheet music)

Way We Were sheet music

Carol Kaye, who played bass on many studio recordings, recalled playing in the sessions for “The Way We Were.”

“We ran down the music for any mistakes and took a break waiting for Barbra, she was pretty late,” Kaye recalled. “The huge orchestra finally assembled from our break, and we did 33 straight takes of ‘The Way We Were’ with Barbra singing every one, with Marvin Hamlisch conducting, and the songwriting team (Marilyn & Alan Bergman) in the booth ... Take after take, we kept going, each take as intensive as the last one, until I looked at Paul Humphrey the drummer like, ‘When is this going to end?’ ... After a few arpeggios, especially in the bridge, it felt like ‘the’ take, I looked up and caught Ms. Streisand's fast gaze from her little soundbooth as she was holding a long note (through the glass window), our eyes locked like, ‘Wheeeee. This is it,’ and finished the take. Paul looked at me and we both smiled, having played on a lot of hits together ... We knew this was the take, too.”

The 7-inch single contains a different vocal take than the version on Barbra's 1974 pop album, The Way We Were, and subsequent greatest hits discs. Both versions use the same music track—however, alternate Streisand vocals can be heard on the line “Smiles we gave to one another” at approximately 1:15 into the song. Here's a YouTube version of the 7”single:

Another industry thank you ad for The Way We Were

Paich ad

Billboard Charts

The Billboard Hot 100 is the United States music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by Billboard magazine.

Here's the numbers for this Streisand single:

A Gold single is awarded after 1 million copies sold, and a Platinum single after 2 million copies sold.

Below: Barbra's single at #1 for the week ending February 2, 1974. Scan by Peter Curl.

#1 on the charts


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