Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"The Way He Makes Me Feel" by Barbra Streisand

Song#:  1664
Date:  10/22/1983
Debut:  80
Peak:  40
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  Streisand's journey to make a film based on the short story "Yentl the Yeshiva Boy" by Isaac Bashevis Singer would end up taking almost fifteen years. After discovering the story, Streisand's original intent was to have the film be her follow-up to 1968's Funny Girl, but that didn't happen. In the years that followed, there were several attempts to get the project off the ground, but all eventually fell through. Finally, Streisand decided to take the reins and drive it to completion. As director, producer, star, and co-writer, Yentl began filming in 1982. Before the film was even finished, it became the butt of many jokes due to Streisand wearing several hats (including being a first-time director), the film being a musical (out of step with the times), the material (considered too ethnic to attract a big audience), and the fact she was a 40-year-old playing a much younger character. Despite the negative reactions, Streisand completed the film and in November of 1983 it began its initial limited run with positive results. By the time it opened nationwide in January, the musical was on its way to becoming a hit. The film was boosted by its musical score co-written by Streisand's muses, Marilyn and Alan Bergman (lyrics) and Michel Legrand (music). To help promote the upcoming film and soundtrack, this single was issued. It was one of two songs from the musical selected to get a pop overhaul in the studio. The more commercialized single version was a perfect fit for AC and it was an easy #1 on that chart. The mature ballad wasn't quite what the kids were into at the time and the best it could do was a very brief Top 40 showing at Pop. But thanks to the film being a hit, the album made it to #9 and became a platinum seller. On the downside, this remains Streisand's last solo Pop Top 40 single.

ReduxReview:  Like a lot of musicals, the songs for Yentl were meant to advance the story and not necessarily written to be commercial hits. So trying to retro-fit a song or two into something that could be played on the radio presented a challenge. However, I have to say that the arrangement done for this song was spot-on. It was beautifully done with a very sensual and romantic feel to it. This is opposed to the film version which plays more like an awakening than a sexy mood piece. The single was certainly perfect for AC and deservedly hit #1, but I can see how this adult-leaning tune was lost on a younger Pop audience. At least it did make the Top 40. Streisand's vocal performance is, as usual, remarkable. Sadly, she was snubbed by the Grammys on this one. However, the score did grab a nod for the Bergmans and Legrand.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  With the film getting good reviews in its initial limited run, award nominations were sure to follow. The Golden Globes were the most generous handing out two awards from the film's five nominations. It won Best Picture, Musical or Comedy and Streisand won Best Director. She became the first female to win that award at the Golden Globes. The Oscars also gave the film five nominations. Amy Irving got a nod for Best Supporting Actress while the Bergmans and Legrand won the award for Best Original Song Score or Adaptation. Two songs from the film, this song and "Papa Can You Hear Me" were nominated in the Best Original Song category. Although the Globes welcomed Streisand's directorial debut, the Oscars were not as convinced leaving Streisand out of the running in the main categories. Despite the snub, Streisand's vision became a reality and was a success.


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