Monday, August 19, 2019

"The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby & the Range

#1 Alert!
Song#:  2865
Date:  09/20/1986
Debut:  86
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Soft Rock

Pop Bits:  Hornsby's debut album, The Way It Is, got off to a bit of a shaky start when its first single, "Every Little Kiss", topped out at a low #72 on the Pop chart (#18 Rock/#37 AC). The results could have doomed the album, but then this second single was issued out. The piano-driven track began to get attention and slowly it made its way up the charts. It would eventually make it to #1 at Pop and AC while getting to #3 at Rock. It was a much needed turnaround for the album. It would end up peaking at #3 and over time would sell three million copies. The hit turned Hornsby and his band into stars. The Grammy folks certainly noticed and handed them the award for Best New Artist.

ReduxReview:  This was not your typical pop single. In addition to being a message song (concerning social issues, rich vs. poor, racial segregation, civil rights, etc.), which is never really an easy sell for pop radio, it contained lengthy piano interludes and didn't necessarily have the standard chorus and hook found in pop radio tunes. Yet it may be those things that made the song stand out. Obviously it still had to be well-written and memorable and Hornsby checked those boxes as well. Despite some 80s production enhancements, the song still sounds good today and it has had a long life after being a #1 hit.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  When Hornsby started his band he tried to get signed to a label, but no one was biting. Even a famous friend of his, Huey Lewis, would try to use his influence to get Hornsby signed, but that didn't even work. Hornsby then tried a different approach. He made a sparse demo tape of songs he had written and then performed them himself using just piano, bass, drums and accordion. He then submitted the tape to the New Age music label Windham Hill. They found the tape interesting and began working up a deal to sign Hornsby. In the meantime, his lawyer decided to play the tape for a few major label folks. Suddenly, Hornsby was getting other offers. In the end, he chose to sign with RCA Records as they allowed him more creative freedom. When his debut album was first issued out, it featured a blurred, effects style photo of Hornsby playing accordion. It was most likely appropriate as the label was mainly going to market the LP to more adult markets like AC or even New Age. But then when this song began to take off on pop radio, the label quickly pushed out a reissue of the album that would be more suitable for a mainstream audience. It featured new cover art that contained a photo of the band along with new mixes of a couple tracks.



  1. 6/10 for me. Pretty good tune, but got REALLY boring after the overplaying of this tune on certain 80’s based radio stations.

    1. Yeah, it is a song that can get tedious on repeated plays. Luckily, I don't hear it that often anymore so it kinda sounds good once in a while.