Top 10 Barbra Streisand Songs

Barbra Streisand
Photoshot / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Barbra Streisand is one of the top pop recording artists of all time as well as an accomplished film actor and director. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) considers her the top female recording artist of all time. Barbra Streisand has had phenomenal success among pop and rock audiences even though her primary style is more adapted to the recording of pop standards and show tunes. She has ventured with significant success into pop, rock, and disco through the years. These are 10 of her very best recorded pop moments.

01
of 10

"People" (1964)

Barbra Streisand People
Barbra Streisand - People. Courtesy Columbia

"People" was written for the Broadway musical Funny Girl. The production starred Barbra Streisand, and the song became her first major pop hit peaking at #5 and hit #1 on what would become the adult contemporary chart. Barbra Streisand was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in Funny Girl and she eventually won an Academy Award for starring in the film version of the show. "People" is considered one of Barbra Streisand's signature songs. She re-recorded it in 2014 as a duet with Stevie Wonder on her album Partners.

"People" was nearly dropped from Funny Girl during try-outs because the producers didn't like the song. However, when Barbra Streisand was finally allowed to sing it on stage, it was a showstopping performance and the song's fate was sealed. "People" has been recorded by a wide range of other artists including the 1968 top 40 hit version by the vocal group The Tymes. Barbra Streisand's recording of "People" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

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02
of 10

"The Way We Were" (1973)

Barbra Streisand The Way We Were
Barbra Streisand - "The Way We Were". Courtesy Columbia

"The Way We Were" is the title song for the movie starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. It was written by Alan and Marilyn Bergman with Marvin Hamlisch. It won the Academy Award for Best Song from a Motion Picture and is widely considered to be one of the top film songs of all time. "The Way We Were" became Barbra Streisand's first #1 pop single spending three weeks at the top. The album The Way We Were, which is an album featuring the song and is not a movie soundtrack, became Barbra Streisand's first #1 hit album in 10 years. Barbra Streisand sang "The Way We Were" live at the 2013 Academy Award ceremony in memory of Marvin Hamlisch.

"The Way We Were" won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and is given credit for reviving Barbra Streisand's commercial fortunes as a singer. "The Way We Were" was the bestselling single released in 1974. It has been certified platinum for sales over one million copies.

 

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03
of 10

"Woman In Love" (1980)

Barbra Streisand Woman In Love
Barbra Streisand - "Woman In Love". Courtesy Columbia

In the wake of the phenomenal late 70s success of the Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand asked group member Barry Gibb to write songs for her to be included on an album. The result was the album Guilty. The first single "Woman In Love" was Barbra Streisand's fifth trip to the top on the pop singles chart, and it became one of the biggest hits of her career around the world. It won the 1980 Ivor Novello Award in the UK for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. The album was also a #1 smash ultimately being certified five times platinum.

Barbra Streisand has stated that she doesn't particularly like the song "Woman In Love," because she doesn't find the lyrics believable. Consequently, she has rarely performed the song live. In addition to topping the pop chart, "Woman In Love" was also a #1 adult contemporary hit. It was her sixth #1 on that chart.

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04
of 10

"Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)" (1976)

Barbra Streisand Love Theme From A Star Is Born Evergreen
Barbra Streisand - "Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)". Courtesy Columbia

Barbra Streisand joined forces with singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson to star in the film remake of A Star Is Born. The result was a box office, if not critical, smash. An element most critics did appreciate was the title song for the movie co-written and sung by Barbra Streisand. The single returned her to the top of the pop charts, hit #1 on the adult contemporary chart, and won both an Academy Award for Best Song from a Motion Picture, her second in four years, as well as a Grammy Award for Song of the Year. Unusually for Barbra Streisand, she is listed as co-writer on the song with Paul Williams. She was the first woman honored with the Best Song Academy Award as a songwriter. "Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)" was one of the five bestselling songs of the year in 1976.

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05
of 10

"No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" with Donna Summer (1979)

Barbra Streisand Donna Summer No More Tears
Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer - "No More Tears". Courtesy Columbia

It was the peak of disco's popularity in late 1979. Donna Summer was the acknowledged "Queen of Disco" and Barbra Streisand was one of the top female pop singers in the business. She had recently hit the top 5 with her own disco hit "The Main Event / Fight." Bringing the two together in the studio was not an easy task and marketing of the song proved even more complicated with it ultimately being released on each singer's record label separately. The mixes of each single were slightly different from each other. The "No More Tears" intro was reportedly added to fit the theme of Barbra Streisand's album Wet. The final product did not disappoint many pop fans and went straight to #1 on the pop charts becoming a disco classic and one of the last songs of the genre to be a #1 smash.

Although Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer recorded "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" together in the studio, they never did perform it live as a duo. In 2017 a remix of the recording titled "Enough Is Enough: 2017" hit #3 on the US dance chart.

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06
of 10

"Somewhere" (1985)

Barbra Streisand Somewhere
Barbra Streisand - "Somewhere". Courtesy Columbia

David Foster's production for this version of the song "Somewhere" from West Side Story could be considered either stunning and powerful or supremely over the top. Either way, it is certainly unforgettable. This recording is the grand finale to Barbra Streisand's collection of classic songs from musicals on The Broadway Album. It was one of the most successful albums of her career and considered by many to be one of her defining moments as a recording artist. The recording won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals. "Somewhere" reached #5 on the adult contemporary chart. In 2014, Barbra Streisand re-recorded the song as a duet with Josh Groban on her Partners album.

Written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim for the musical West Side Story, "Somewhere" incorporates musical phrases from Beethoven's "Emperor" Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. The album The Broadway Album was a huge success for Barbra Streisand. It hit #1 on the US album chart and was certified four times platinum. The overall album earned Barbra Streisand a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

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07
of 10

"Happy Days Are Here Again" (1962)

Barbra Streisand Happy Days Are Here Again
Barbra Streisand - "Happy Days Are Here Again". Courtesy Columbia

"Happy Days Are Here Again" bears a 1929 copyright and appears in the 1930 film Chasing Rainbows. It was then used as the campaign theme for Franklin D. Roosevelt's successful 1932 presidential campaign. Historically, "Happy Days Are Here Again" was also associated with the repeal of Prohibition. Most performances of the song are in a quick, upbeat mode. Barbra Streisand's expressive and reflective version became her first commercial single and was highly acclaimed for its originality. However, due to the anachronistic nature of "Happy Days Are Here Again," it was not promoted to radio stations. The song was a centerpiece of Barbra Streisand's debut album and she performed it on television with Judy Garland on The Judy Garland Show.

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08
of 10

"Stoney End" (1970)

Barbra Streisand Stoney End
Barbra Streisand - Stoney End. Courtesy Columbia

By 1970 Barbra Streisand's commercial success as a recording artist had noticeably faded from her 1960s peaks. In response she turned to more contemporary pop and rock on the album Stoney End. The result was a strong critical and commercial hit. The all-female rock band Fanny provided backing vocals. The album became her first top 10 in five years, and the title song was her second top 10 pop single peaking at #6. The writer of "Stoney End" is Laura Nyro who is known for writing such pop hits as the Fifth Dimension's "Wedding Bell Blues" and Blood, Sweat and Tears' "And When I Die."

"Stoney End" was first recorded by actress Peggy Lipton in 1968, who was a star of the hit TV series The Mod Squad. Laura Nyro recorded her own solo version of "Stony End," and she has performed the song live with Barbra Streisand.

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09
of 10

"Comin' In and Out Of Your Life" (1981)

Barbra Streisand Comin' In and Out Of Your Life
Barbra Streisand - "Comin' In and Out Of Your Life". Courtesy Columbia

The compilation album Memories included three new songs, "Comin' In and Out of Your Life" was among them. It was the first major pop song success for commercial jingle writers Richard Parker and Bobby Whiteside. The pair have acknowledged that the success of Barbra Streisand's recording instantly lent them credibility as songwriters. The song just missed the pop top 10, and the album only peaked at #10, but it has sold steadily through the years ultimately being certified five times platinum. "Comin' In and Out of Your Life" peaked at #2 on the adult contemporary chart. Barbra Streisand did not climb as high on the pop singles chart for another fourteen years.

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10
of 10

"My Heart Belongs To Me" (1977)

Barbra Streisand My Heart Belongs To Me
Barbra Streisand - "My Heart Belongs To Me". Courtesy Columbia

Streisand Superman was one of the most eagerly awaited albums of Barbra Streisand's career following on the heels of the success of A Star Is Born. While not the massive smash some hoped it would be, the album did peak at #3 and included "My Heart Belongs to Me," another top 5 pop hit single. It reached #1 on the adult contemporary chart. "My Heart Belongs to Me" was originally considered for A Star Is Born but then was saved for this solo album. Alan Gordon, the writer of "My Heart Belongs To Me," is also known for co-writing the Turtles' classic "Happy Together."

Streisand Superman was ultimately certified double platinum for sales. It includes a cover version of Billy Joel's "New York State Of Mind" and "Don't Believe What You Read," co-written by Barbra Streisand herself.

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Lamb, Bill. "Top 10 Barbra Streisand Songs." ThoughtCo, Nov. 17, 2017, thoughtco.com/top-barbra-streisand-songs-3887938. Lamb, Bill. (2017, November 17). Top 10 Barbra Streisand Songs. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-barbra-streisand-songs-3887938 Lamb, Bill. "Top 10 Barbra Streisand Songs." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-barbra-streisand-songs-3887938 (accessed November 21, 2017).