It should come as no surprise that Barbra Streisand has dedicated her newest studio album to the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Streisand began her association with the husband-and-wife lyricist team in 1969, recording their "Ask Yourself Why," with music by Michel Legrand, on What About Today?, her very first stab at the contemporary pop market. (She actually had recorded one Alan Bergman/Lew Spence song, "That Face," as part of a medley on 1966's Color Me Barbra.) Though Streisand would perfect the pop formula with 1971's Richard Perry-produced Stoney End, she continued recording the Bergmans' songs regularly. August's release of What Matters Most: Barbra Streisand Sings the Lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman marks the 22nd Streisand album to feature Bergman compositions, including one unreleased album (1973's Life Cycle of a Woman). It's also the first-ever album by Streisand to be devoted to a single composer or lyricist, though she was the special guest “friend” of a legendary composer on Harold Sings Arlen (With Friend) in 1966.
What Matters Most will offer a special treat for catalogue fans. The deluxe edition of the album, in stores on August 23, includes a second bonus disc which might as well be titled The Best of Streisand Sings Bergman. To complement the album's ten new tracks, the bonus disc features ten prior Bergman/Bergman/Streisand collaborations, dating between 1971's Barbra Joan Streisand ("The Summer Knows") and 2003's The Movie Album ("How Do You Keep the Music Playing?"). The bonus disc is a no-brainer; it's somewhat surprising that a compilation of its kind hasn't already been created. The Bergmans gave Streisand some of her most enduring standards including "Papa, Can You Hear Me?," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," and of course, "The Way We Were." The sympathetic collaboration between the singer and the lyricists echoes that of many interpretive singers across many genres: Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach/Hal David, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen and even Meat Loaf/Jim Steinman. It's no exaggeration to say that Streisand is the muse of Alan and Marilyn Bergman.
What's on the bonus disc? What's missing? Hit the jump to find out!
All of those above-mentioned tracks are present on the What Matters Most bonus disc. The compilation is only a missed opportunity in that there are a number of unreleased recordings that are still waiting to see the light of day. "One Day" was penned by Legrand and the Bergmans in 1990 and performed by Streisand; it has ony been released on the VHS/laserdisc of The Earth Day Special. "The Moon and I" and "Several Sins a Day" were cut from the score of Yentl but recorded in demo form by the artist, and most tantalizing is the 1973 Life Cycle of a Woman concept album which was abandoned by Streisand. At least five songs written by the Legrand/Bergman/Bergman team are known to exist: "Mother and Child, "Between Yesterday and Tomorrow," "Can You Tell the Moment?," "Once You've Been in Love" and "The Smile I've Never Smiled." Any of those tracks would have made a must-buy bonus for this set.
After the release of 2009's Diana Krall-produced Love is the Answer, Streisand became the only artist ever to have No. 1 records in five consecutive decades in America. Will What Matters Most make a sixth decade? (Her chart statistics in other areas are similarly impressive. She's in a three-way tie at sixth place for the most charting No. 1 singles by a female performer, and is second only to Reba McEntire for worldwide No. 1 albums with thirteen. Should What Matters Most hit pole position, she will tie McEntire's fourteen.) The stand-alone album, as well as the deluxe edition, is in stores from Columbia Records on August 23. A pre-order link and the track listing follow!
Barbra Streisand, What Matters Most: Barbra Streisand Sings the Lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman - Deluxe Edition (Columbia, 2011)
- The Windmills of Your Mind
- Something New in My Life
- Solitary Moon
- Nice ‘n’ Easy
- Alone in the World
- So Many Stars
- The Same Hello, The Same Goodbye
- That Face
- I’ll Never Say Goodbye
- What Matters Most
- The Way We Were
- What Are You Doing The Rest of Your Life?
- You Don’t Bring Me Flowers
- Papa, Can You Hear Me?
- Pieces of Dreams
- The Island
- The Summer Knows
- How Do You Keep the Music Playing?
- After the Rain
- A Piece of Sky
Disc 2, Tracks 1-2 & 5 from The Way We Were (Columbia PC 32801, 1974)
Disc 2, Track 3 from Songbird (Columbia PC 35375, 1978)
Disc 2, Tracks 4 & 10 from Yentl (Columbia JS 39152, 1983)
Disc 2, Track 6 from A Love Like Ours (Columbia 69601, 1999)
Disc 2, Track 7 from Barbra Joan Streisand (Columbia KC 30792, 1971)
Disc 2, Track 8 from The Movie Album (Columbia 89018, 2003)
Disc 2, Track 9 from Wet (Columbia FC 36258, 1979)