Producers: Barbra Streisand, Phil Ramone, Gary Klein, Charlie Calello, Bob Gaudio, Marty Paich, Tommy LiPuma, and Richard Perry
Track listing: Love Theme from “A Star Is Born” (Evergreen) / Love Theme from “Eyes of Laura Mars” (Prisoner) / My Heart Belongs to Me / Songbird / You Don’t Bring Me Flowers / The Way We Were / Sweet Inspiration/Where You Lead / All in Love Is Fair / Superman / Stoney End
January 6, 1979
Barbra Streisand’s first Greatest Hits album, released in February 1970, may have been a bit premature. While the singer/actress’s first nine albums, released from 1963 to 1966, all made the top 10 of the album chart, Streisand didn’t enjoy as much success on the Hot 100. In fact, “People,” which reached number five in 1964, was her only single to break into the top 40 prior to “Stoney End” in 1970.
Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits Volume 2, however, lived up to its title. The album, which includes songs recorded from 1972 through 1978, features Streisand’s first three Number One singles — “The Way We Were,” “Love Theme from ‘A Star Is Born’ (Evergreen),” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” a duet with Neil Diamond. It also chronicles Streisand’s success on the silver screen, as two of those three hits were from blockbuster films starring Streisand. She did not appear in the 1978 film The Eyes of Laura Mars, but she did have a hit with the theme song, which reached number 21.
Some of the most memorable songs among the other tracks on Greatest Hits, Volume 2 were culled from the 1972 album Live Concert at the Forum, which reached number 19. The concert was a benefit for Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. Streisand originally recorded the song “Where You Lead,” written by Carole King and Toni Stern, in 1971 on Barbra Joan Streisand, the second album she recorded with producer Richard Perry. It was only appropriate that she performed it at the McGovern concert at the Forum, since King was also on the bill. Instead of doing the song straight, however, Streisand turned it into a medley with Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham’s “Sweet Inspiration.”
At the concert, Streisand also performed “Stoney End,” but initially she was hesitant to perform the song live. “She was afraid to do it, because it had been two years, approximately, since it was a hit,” recalls Perry. “She didn’t think people would remember it. She wanted to do ‘Second Hand Rose’ instead.” The producer tried to talk Streisand into performing the song and even volunteered to write the lyrics, which Streisand had forgotten, on the floor. “So I was there on my knees for about an hour scrawling chalk on the stage the verses to ‘Stoney End.'” At the concert, Streisand asked the crowd if they wanted to hears the song; the response was overwhelming. ”She performed it brilliantly,” says Perry.
The studio version of “Stoney End,” included on the 1971 album of same name and on Greatest Hits, Volume 2, holds a special place in Perry’s heart. “That was the first session we had ever done together and longest session in the history of the Los Angeles Musicians Union. It 7 p.m. and ended at 5:30 a.m. and not one string player complained.” The song was cut with a full orchestra and background singers live in the studio. “‘Stoney End’ was the third track cut that night and it was the riskiest, but also the had the most potential to become a hit.”
Although the song wasn’t in the Streisand mold, the singer was able to adapt to the material. “She came there to sing,” says Perry. “When she did that first take, it was a real thrilling moment.”
Streisand undoubtedly had another thrilling moment when Greatest Hits, Volume 2 became her fourth Number One album in its sixth week on the chart.
THE TOP FIVE
Week of January 6, 1979
1. Barbra Streisand’s Greatest Hits, Volume 2, Barbra Streisand
2. A Wild and Crazy Guy, Steve Martin
3. 52nd Street, Billy Joel
4. C’Est Chic, Chic
5. Grease, Soundtrack