Song: “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand
Reached #1: February 2, 1974 (her first, 3 weeks)
There are some artists whose pop success is just inexplicable to me.
Canada has the Evil Wind From The North, Céline Dion. Germany loves David Hasselhoff – as a singer? Hell, Jennifer Love Hewitt once had a hit single in Japan.
And for a time in the ‘70s, the formulaic, bland, high-concept pop of Barbra Streisand was just soaked up by the American listening public.
I mean, as I noted yesterday, ten years and one day before “The Way We Were” hit #1, the Beatles began rewriting pop history. And in that decade, we went through not only Beatlemania, but the trippy late 60s, Vietnam, RFK, Nixon, and… and… we wound up with Barbra Streisand atop the pop charts? This was the counter-rebellion? A “nice girl from Brooklyn” (who wasn’t all that nice)?
Clearly, she had fans. Still does. I just don’t see it. She comes across as a cold, distant singer of big-belter ballads. I don’t see the connection to… well… anyone.
She’s had more top 10 albums than anyone. She’s basically made an acting career of playing herself. And she’s richer than I could ever hope to be.
And I realize it’s me… you don’t have to explain if you’re a fan of hers, just understand that I don’t connect to her at all, in any way.
Fittingly for Groundhog Day, we’re probably about due for her to see her shadow and drop another album of “pop standards” on us. I won’t be in line. EDIT: Oops – she just did, in December 2011. Clearly, this mattered greatly to me.
Since I mentioned the trippy late ‘60s earlier, we’ll go back there tomorrow.
Other songs that hit #1 on Groundhog Day:
1985 – “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner (their first, 2 weeks)