Monday, May 02, 2022

Barbra begins the journey ...


In 1961 my husband and I lived in NY City. We had two small children and were in an apartment on the 11th floor of an old building on West 94th St. Television was coming in to it’s own by then and we loved to watch “The Jack Paar Show” after the evening news. (This, of course, is the TV success that became “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.

I can remember so clearly a night when I was watching alone and my husband was in the next room doing paperwork. As I recall Jack Paar was not hosting that night and there were no big name guests listed to be interviewed.

Then the temporary host introduced the next guest who was a singer with the strange name of Barbra Streisand. (I was sure that a cast member was responsible for the misspelling !) He explained that this was her TV debut and that she would be singing her interpretation of the old Tin Pan Alley standard “Happy Days Are Here Again”.  This didn’t grab me particularly since, although I liked the lilting tune, I couldn’t see how this was an appropriate song for a singer trying to break in to the “big time”.

Then Barbra walked on stage, the lights dimmed and the orchestra played very softly in the background as she started to sing. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She sang this normally upbeat song very, very slowly and each note was pure as a bell. I called to my husband and we listened, entranced, as she continued to sing and ended on a single note that seemed to go on forever. There was dead silence in the room and then the audience exploded … as did we, the two of us sitting alone in our apartment and clapping to beat the band.

I have never experienced another pop singer who impressed me as much as Barbra did that night. I was not at all surprised to read that her debut album “The Barbra Streisand Album”, released early in 1963 and including her rendition of “Happy Days” was voted Album of the Year and won three Grammy Awards.


Blogger Marie Smith said...

I’ve heard her rendition of the old classic. So beautiful indeed!

1:41 PM  
Blogger Joared said...

I don't recall hearing her sing that song but I may have at some point as I have appreciated her talent. I did view some of Jack Paar's shows and did enjoy quirky him, also Carson.

5:05 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

How amazing that had to have been. You saw greatness born. She has a one of a kind voice.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Somehow I felt that it might be Barbara just before you motioned her and before noticing the photo as I just jumped right to the prose.

4:40 AM  
Blogger Regina M. said...

I too saw her that night and have been a fan forever. Also, caught a show maybe two years ago recorded with her and her son vocalizing. It was wonderful to see her again, and with her son a delight. From the base of the mini-mountain in Maine.

9:18 AM  

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