Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Star Is Born 1976

A Star Is Born 1976
When Barbra agreed to take on the challenge of starring in an updated version of the classic Hollywood film A Star Is Born, re-setting it in the modern rock world, the first thing she did was focus on the music. It had to be right -- and it had to stand up when compared to Judy Garland's A Star Is Born score. Judy had one of Barbra's all-time favorite composers writing for her in 1954, Harold Arlen, with Ira Gershwin, no less, handling the lyrics. Arlen and Gershwin won an Oscar nomination for one song from the film, "The Man That Got Away."

Ultimately, Barbra chose to combine styles -- some of Kris Kristofferson's rockabilly and her successful forays into pop -- by turning to gifted songwriters like Kenny Ascher, Paul Williams, Rupert Holmes and even Marilyn and Alan Bergman to craft songs that would suit both leads. Their efforts would encompass the score. It wasn't a traditional score, but Barbra's A Star Is Born wasn't intended to be a traditional musical. The characters sang their songs mainly in performance, or while rehearsing. What she came up with worked perfectly for this A Star Is Born. The most important piece was the love song that linked Esther and John Norman, and in a strange twist of fate, it was Barbra who composed it. It wasn't really a fluke; she always had the talent to compose. Barbra had melodies in her mind, but she didn't play an instrument well enough to really write music. To prepare for her role as Esther Hoffman, a singer-songwriter, Barbra took guitar lessons and applied herself. While doing her exercises, she came up with the love theme for A Star Is Born

"Evergreen" turned out to be one of her greatest hits of all time. Another terrific song is "Watch Closely Now," which works both as John's theme, and later entwined with "With One More Look At You" to create Esther's powerful, poignant finale. And "Woman In the Moon" is just the right kind of Streisand power ballad to illustrate Esther's star rising -- and perfect for that women's liberation era. Undiscovered gem: "Everything," a song like "Much More" that reveals the core of Esther's persona

Watch Closely Now
Queen Bee
Lost Inside of You
Hellacious Acres
Love Theme From ' A Star Is Born' (Evergreen)
The Woman In The Moon
I Believe In Love
Crippled Crow (Kristofferson)
Finale: With One More Look At You/Watch Closely Now
Evergreen (Streisand & Kristofferson)

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1 comment:

  1. We just watched "A Star is Born" on cable tonite and are curious about the song "Watch Closely." It's an interesting song and one that in my opinion isn't all that well known. The change in tempo that occurs when Barbra Streisand sings it at the finale made us wonder who else sang this song. Strangely it reminded us of the singer "Meatloaf" as some of his songs change tempo at the end. Meatloaf was popular in the mid-to-late 70s when this remake "A Star is Born" was made. Perhaps the song "Watch Closely" being born out of that era had the stamp of that time on it. Anyway the song, hearing it again in 2012, sounds somehow fresh and still relevant.