Posts Tagged ‘Barbra Streisand’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #69–Barbra Streisand: “He Touched Me” b/w “I Like Him” – Columbia 4-43403 (S7/T7)

45-adapter-logo2barbrastreisandpicsleeve

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #69–Barbra Streisand: “He Touched Me” b/w “I Like Him” – Columbia 4-43403 (S7/T7)

I’m not really a fan of Barbra Streisand, but you couldn’t grow up in suburban New Jersey in a middle class home with Jewish parents and not be surrounded by her “like buttuh” voice emanating from the Zenith stereo. Back in the day when there was a real musical generation gap between parents and kids, the sound of Streisand ringing through the walls of my bedroom was anything but music to my ears. To be perfectly honest, it’s not really her voice (which is sublime) that bothered me about ol’ Babs, it’s the shtick that comes with it that to this day, still makes my skin crawl.

However, I must give Streisand credit because she actually could (and still can) sing. After being bombarded by the likes of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and even Rhianna, whose recordings are so processed that any sense of reality have been squeezed out of the grooves, I’ve come to appreciate real vocal talent…and Streisand’s had it then, and still has it to burn today.

That said, there are a few Streisand recordings that have become part of my musical DNA, and one of them is the A-side of today’s jukebox classic. “He Touched Me” was the lead track on Streisand’s fourth album My Name Is Barbra…Two” which was released by Columbia Records in 1965. The album was the second soundtrack album from Streisand’s first TV special called My Name Is Barbra, but only the medley at the end of the album was actually featured in the show. The rest of the album was comprised of all-new Streisand recordings. The album peaked at #2 on the U.S. album charts and was certified platinum for over one million copies in sales. It was produced by Robert Mersey with arrangements by Peter Matz and Don Costa.

“He Touched Me” was written by Ira Levin and Milton Schafer, and was from the Broadway musical Drat! The Cat. The musical was about a cat burglar that was plundering the upper crust society folk of New York City during the late 1800s. The musical opened on October 10, 1965 and ran for only eight performances before closing. In the show, the song was called “She Touched Me” and was sung by Elliot Gould, who was Streisand’s husband at the time. Additionally, Columbia Records, which was Streisand’s record label, invested $50,000 into the show, which is probably why both sides of today’s jukebox single were comprised of songs from the show.

The single reached #53 on the singles charts in October of 1965. The flip of the single, “I Like Him” was also from Drat! The Cat and never appeared on a Streisand album. In England, “He Touched Me” was released as the flip side of the “Second Hand Rose” single which was also from the My Name Is Barbra…Two album.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: August 25th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Cry Me A River” by Julie London

45ADAPTERJulieLondonCryMeARiver

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Cry Me A River” by Julie London

It would be hard to think of Julie London without all of the sexy cheesecake album covers, but behind all of the va-va-voom was the va-va-voice which was soft, supple and sexual.

Today’s Song Of The Day was written by Arthur Hamilton specifically for Ella Fitzgerald to record. However, Ella didn’t get around to recording it until her 1961 album called Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie.

Julie London recorded the song in 1955 for her Julie Is Her Name album and sang it in the film 1956 The Girl Can’t Help It which propelled it up to the #9 position of the charts. Backing London on this recording was the great guitarist Barney Kessel and bassist Ray Leatherwood.

Barbra Streisand waxed the song for her 1963 debut album The Barbra Streisand Album, and it has also been covered by a who’s who of singing stars including Dinah Washington, Shirley Bassey, Ray Charles, Etta James, Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis Jr., Nina Simone, Cher, Anne Murray, Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton-John, Rick Astley, Harry Connick Jr., Diana Krall, Susan Boyle, Michael Bublé, and somewhat improbably by Jeff Beck and Aerosmith.

To most people my age, “Cry Me A River” is probably best known by Joe Cocker’s indelible rockin’ version from 1970’s Mad Dogs And Englishmen album and tour. Cocker’s version is great, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the original.

Edited: July 22nd, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #69–Barbra Streisand: “He Touched Me” b/w “I Like Him” – Columbia 4-43403 (S7/T7)

barbrastreisandhetouchedme45barbrastreisandpicsleevebarbrastreisandilikehim45

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #69–Barbra Streisand: “He Touched Me” b/w “I Like Him” – Columbia 4-43403 (S7/T7)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

I’m not really a fan of Barbra Streisand, but you couldn’t grow up in suburban New Jersey in a middle class home with Jewish parents and not be surrounded by her “like buttuh” voice emanating from the Zenith stereo. Back in the day when there was a real musical generation gap between parents and kids, the sound of Streisand ringing through the walls of my bedroom was anything but music to my ears. To be perfectly honest, it’s not really her voice (which is sublime) that bothered me about ol’ Babs, it’s the shtick that comes with it that to this day, still makes my skin crawl.

However, I must give Streisand credit because she actually could (and still can) sing. After being bombarded by the likes of Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and even Rhianna, whose recordings are so processed that any sense of reality have been squeezed out of the grooves, I’ve come to appreciate real vocal talent…and Streisand’s had it then, and still has it to burn today.

That said, there are a few Streisand recordings that have become part of my musical DNA, and one of them is the A-side of today’s jukebox classic. “He Touched Me” was the lead track on Streisand’s fourth album My Name Is Barbra…Two” which was released by Columbia Records in 1965. The album was the second soundtrack album from Streisand’s first TV special called My Name Is Barbra, but only the medley at the end of the album was actually featured in the show. The rest of the album was comprised of all-new Streisand recordings. The album peaked at #2 on the U.S. album charts and was certified platinum for over one million copies in sales. It was produced by Robert Mersey with arrangements by Peter Matz and Don Costa.

“He Touched Me” was written by Ira Levin and Milton Schafer, and was from the Broadway musical Drat! The Cat. The musical was about a cat burglar that was plundering the upper crust society folk of New York City during the late 1800s. The musical opened on October 10, 1965 and ran for only eight performances before closing. In the show, the song was called “She Touched Me” and was sung by Elliot Gould, who was Streisand’s husband at the time. Additionally, Columbia Records, which was Streisand’s record label, invested $50,000 into the show, which is probably why both sides of today’s jukebox single were comprised of songs from the show.

The single reached #53 on the singles charts in October of 1965. The flip of the single, “I Like Him” was also from Drat! The Cat and never appeared on a Streisand album. In England, “He Touched Me” was released as the flip side of the “Second Hand Rose” single which was also from the My Name Is Barbra…Two album.

Edited: January 30th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 7/18/13

45 adapterfannybrice

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “I’d Rather Be Blue Over You (Than Be Happy With Somebody Else)” by Fanny Brice

She was the original “Funny Girl.”

Most people know today’s Song Of The Day from Barbra Streisand’s recording as featured in the musical Funny Girl. In it, Streisand plays the part of Fanny Brice who was a famous recording artist, comedienne and star of radio, stage and screen. Her real name was Fania Borach and she was born in New York City in 1891.

Brice got her start in burlesque and was hired in 1910 by Florence Ziegfeld to perform in the Ziegfeld Follies where she performed comic routines lampooning popular stage dancers which included her trademark parody of a dying swan ballet. Brice appeared in numerous annual Follies and it was in these shows that she introduced her two signature songs “My Man” and “Second Hand Rose.”

She recorded many records for Victor and Columbia and today’s Song Of the Day was originally recorded for Victor in 1928. She starred on Broadway in Fioretta, Sweet And Low and Billy Rose’s Crazy Quilt, and her film credits include Everybody Sing with Judy Garland and Ray Bolger, The Great Ziegfeld and Ziegfeld Follies.

However, Brice’s biggest fame came from the popular radio show, The Baby Snooks Show, in which she performed the part of the title toddler for over 20 years. She began performing in the character of Baby Snooks at parties as early as 1910 where it was so popular, she decided to bring it to radio.

While she was one of the biggest stars of her era, Brice’s personal relationships were fraught with pain and uncertainty.  She was married three times. Her first husband was Frank White, a barber, whom she met in 1911. That marriage lasted only a few days.

Her second husband was Julius W. “Nicky” Arnstein, a conman who relentlessly sponged off of her. He was imprisoned for 14 months on a wiretapping charge before they got married, and six years into their marriage, Arnstein was charged as part of a gang who were involved in a five million dollar Wall Street bond theft. Rather than turn himself in, Arnstein went into hiding and then fought the charges for four years taking a huge toll on Brice’s finances. Ultimately, he served an additional three years in prison and upon his release; he completely disappeared leaving Brice and their children behind for good. It was this marriage that formed the basis for the plot of the musical Funny Girl.

Her third marriage was to songwriter/producer Billy Rose in whose Crazy Quilt Review she starred. That marriage also didn’t last.

With the advent of television, Brice tried to take her Baby Snooks character to the small screen, but soon found that the character didn’t translate to the visual medium. In 1950, she returned to radio as Baby Snooks in Tallulah Bankhead’s The Big Show along with Groucho Marx and Jane Powell. Six months later, she died from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 59.

Her life was portrayed on stage and screen several times. The 1939 film Rose Of Washington Square starred Tyrone Powers and Alice Faye. Unhappy with how she was portrayed, she sued 20th Century Fox and won an invasion of privacy lawsuit, forcing them to pull several scenes and key musical numbers from the film.

Her story was taken to Broadway in the form of the musical Funny Girl in 1964. The musical was produced by Ray Stark, who was Brice’s son-in-law, and it sported a score written by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill. The musical also featured several songs originally recorded by Brice including today’s Song Of The Day. It was nominated for eight Tony Awards in 1964 and catapulted Streisand to stardom.

The 1968 film adaptation of Funny Girl was directed by William Wyler and starred Streisand reprising her role of Brice with Omar Sharif as Nicky Arnstein. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and Streisand took the trophy home for best actress.

The 1975 sequel, Funny Lady also starred Streisand and Sharif as Brice and Arnstein, and James Caan played the part of Billy Rose. The music was written by John Kander and Fred Ebb (who also wrote the music to Cabaret). The film was nominated for five Academy Awards and six Golden Globes.

While none of the adaptations of her life were completely accurate, they did ensure that the legend of Fanny Brice would be remembered forever.

Edited: July 24th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 9/17/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “You Are Woman (I Am Man)” by Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif

Don’t ask me why I came up with this song for today, but here it is. Perhaps it was the visit with my 82 year old mother last night in New Jersey. She and my father played the “Funny Girl” Soundtrack, where this song is from, non-stop while I was growing up. Maybe it was watching the season premiere of “Boardwalk Empire” this evening which takes place during the roaring twenties, much like the story of Fanny Brice and Nicky Arnstein whom Streisand and Sharif portray in the movie and this clip. Or maybe it was just the wine I had tonight with my holiday dinner. Whatever the reason behind the pick, this track is one of the few instances where Streisand’s shtick truly works, and “Funny Girl” is one of the classic film musicals of the 1960s.

Edited: September 16th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 8/9/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Life On Mars” by Barbra Streisand

Here’s one for fans of NASA and its latest Curiosity mission on Mars. I love the photos that are coming out of the red planet so far and can’t wait to see more. Now, on to this cover of one of David Bowie’s prettiest melodies and greatest songs…Like most people, I think Barbra Streisand has a great voice…like buttuh! Where my opinion differs is when it comes to her interpretive “talents.” In this area I think she is appalling, over emoting and wringing every ounce of subtlety from every song she takes on until the listener comes up begging for mercy. Yet, every so often Streisand gets it right as in the case of this 1974 cover of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars.” While she doesn’t come close to bettering the original (who could?), here Streisand brings just the right amount of panache to the song to carry it off. This one comes from Streisand’s “Butterfly” album which has one of my all-time favorite album covers.

Edited: August 8th, 2012