Barbra Streisand's "Somewhere"
from the album The Broadway Album (1985)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #43
This week's "robbed hit" comes from one of the most revered voices of the 20th century, Barbra Streisand, who found herself "left in the dark" on pop radio in the mid-80s, as older adult-contemporary vocalists (mind you, she was just in her early 40s then) were being shunned on mainstream top-40 in favor of new wave, R&B, and rock music. In 1983, she popped into the top-40 for a couple of week's with "The Way He Makes Me Feel" from her movie Yentl, but an attempt to update her sound using songwriter/producer Jim Steinman, who had jumpstarted waning fortunes for Air Supply and Bonnie Tyler, still kept her below the top-40 with "Left In The Dark". Instead of evolving further, Barbra went back to her roots, following the footsteps of Linda Ronstadt, who had been wildly successful eschewing the current trends with her Nelson Riddle opus What's New. Streisand came first from the stage, and it was a natural fit to record a straightforward collection of classic showtunes that would allow her to show both her versatility and her still powerful range. The Broadway Album, released in 1985, put together a dozen showstoppers from eleven shows, doubling up on the New York epic West Side Story. The record's closer, "Somewhere", taken from that musical, was released as a single, and besides it's success on easy-listening radio, even found an audience with the MTV and radio crowd, excited for such an "event" record. And surprisingly, the classic had only hit the top-40 once, in a version from pop/soul singer Len Barry in 1966...
Man, that ending still gives me goosebumps.
While The Broadway Album became one of Barbra's biggest-selling albums, going to #1 for three weeks, "Somewhere" as a single stopped just short of the top-40 at #43 in January of 1986. On adult-contemporary radio, where her career was still in high gear, she ascended to #5. Over in England, where the album peaked at #3, "Somewhere" poked into the singles chart at #88.
But with a project like this, chart positions didn't matter. Barbra has sold over four million copies of The Broadway Album, and reestablished her musical direction on her own terms. She even recorded a follow-up in 1993 titled Back To Broadway, which also topped the album chart, and in 2003 released The Movie Album, establishing a brand many a more "mature" artist would follow (looking at you, Rod...)
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