I had a bit of a misconception about Barbra Streisand’s music career as I was keeping charts in the late 70s: namely, that she’d had lots of big hits prior to “The Way We Were” and “Evergreen.” Never mind that I didn’t seem to hear any such songs on the radio—since I was well aware of her stardom on stage and screen, she had to have conquered the pop charts, too, right? It was only when I got hold of one of Joel Whitburn’s books that I realized how relatively limited her success prior to those movie-theme #1’s had been—two Top 10s and three others that eked onto the 40 out of eighteen trips to the Hot 100 before “The Way We Were.” The years I was writing things down aligned almost perfectly with her big run on the pop charts.
It wasn’t until the 3/24/79 AT40 that I have my first recollection of hearing this week’s #9 song (which went on to peak at #6). Casey played it as an extra early in the second hour that week. As you can see, I didn’t know how to spell the first word of the title:
“Stoney End” is a revelation to me now. I think of Streisand by and large as a balladeer, only a couple of which (“My Heart Belongs to Me” and “Comin’ In and Out of Your Life”) I would really go out of my way to hear. But the way she belts out Laura Nyro’s lyrics here makes me realize I should go back and seriously dig into her Broadway work, to better understand what a force of nature her voice could be.
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