1. Jason says

    She sings it too stiff, too soulless, too brittle–kinda like the way Mitt Romney walks. Go with the Norah Jones version, or maybe Curtis Stigers.

  2. Matt26 says

    Barbra at her peak. Stunning voice. Simple and beautiful.
    Sadly she didn’t take care of her voice (even though she had it for decades) and today (I know she’s 70) there isn’t much left. With regular training she would sing so much better nowadays.

  3. Ron says

    I like the Barbra version but LOVE Bette Midler’s version from Beaches. Bette’s is stunning, one of my all time favorite records.

  4. stephen says

    This is not bad at all. I always liked Judy Collins version way back when. But it is really a Bette song!

  5. Levi Skrauss says

    Agree with Jason–Babs’ interpretation here is as stiff (and hyper-articulated) as brand new pair of Levis, when what the song calls for is a pair of well-worn 501s, with slight fraying at the knees. She does hit a couple of beautiful tones, but overall she sounds like she had no idea where to go with this song.

  6. says

    Love her voice. As noted earlier, Streisand said she had a trove of never released songs. I suspect we will see full albums with all unreleased songs. She is the only female singer to have a number one album in each of the last five decades and she’ll want to push that to six decades using the unreleased material. She is simply incredible in my book.

  7. mickey squires says

    Babs knocks this song out of the park…i too love Bette Midler’s version, but remember this is NOT a remastered version…i am sure if they had decided to release it back in the 70’s it would have been made to sound perfect…after all BABS is a perfectionist…

  8. White Girl Problems says

    Her voice and her sensibility is completely wrong for the song. It’s like trying to play Dixieland on timpani.

  9. eric says

    My favorite version is Audra McDonald’s. And here baritone Matthew Morris gives it the kind of shy, “i’m-nobody” performance i think Newman intended.
    Most performers sing about loneliness; the best ones sing the lonliness.
    The song is destined to be programmed alongside Schubert’s and Wolf’s in art song recitals.

  10. John says

    Matt26-sadly she didn’t take care of her voice. As you stated she is 70. Give Babs a break.

  11. Michael in Toronto says

    My one prob with La Streisand is that she sometimes overdoes it, overplays the emotion. Not here. Short and sweet and simple.

  12. Iban4yesu says

    Thank God I have never listened to any other rendition.
    Barbra owns it! ;-P Like buttah!

  13. Rick says

    Oh, gosh, it’s so hard to pick between Nina, Norah, Babs, Bette, and Judy!

    Decisions, decisions!

    I just can’t help but wonder what Liza or Judy G or Diana or even Madonna might have done with it, though.


  14. Icebloo says

    @RICK – you SERIOUSLY put the AWFUL Madonna and Bette Midler in the same category as Barbra, Nina and Norah ? SERIOUSLY ? I thought gay men were supposed to have good taste….

    Madonna and Bette can’t carry a note in a bucket – they are completely manufactured in the studio. Bette is the most out of tune singer I have ever heard.

  15. Rick says

    @ICEBLOO Oh, gosh, I’m sorry. How about Dolly or Whitney? And I left out Audra, whom somebody mentioned, for heaven’s sake!

    And then there is the next generation who we haven’t even heard from yet: Louise, Penelope, Christine, Catherine, Hazel, Dorothy, Josephine, Prissy, Missy, and Tissy!

    Can’t wait for those renditions!

    Isn’t it all just FABULOUS?!

    (P.S. I heard Bruce Springsteen took a shot at it recently, but was told his rendition was simply not fabulous enough and so he canned it!)

  16. Craig says

    I think I prefer Bette on this song. Something about the way she sings “going” instead of “gonna” it’s too measured. However her voice is stunning!! Crystal clear, and almost completely exposed, no sweeping arrangements or over production that are the hallmark of the later Streisand years. All you who are criticizing her voice at have no idea what you’re talking about. She’s been a professional singer for nearly 60 years, her voice is in great shape!!

  17. Laughable says

    Why do older gays act like Barbra is some sort of gay icon? She may have a gay son, but she’s never done anything for gay rights. It’s fine if you like her music and/or acting, but leave it at that and stop trying to act like she’s done wonderful things for gays. There was even a clip of her on the Indiana Jones set where she was filmed unknowingly where she was joking, “I feel like a f@ggot!” Yeah, some gay icon…

  18. Bob says

    @LAUGHABLE – sour, sour, sour.
    That must not have been Barbra I saw perform at an APLA benefit, or doing or saying all that other stuff, huh?
    PS — her son, Jason, is a really great person, very sweet and shy. I know him slightly.

  19. BeauChance says

    Definitely, Nina Simone is the best. The intensity of her piano playing as she builds toward the finale. The raw emotion (and anger) in it is stunning. But it’s a great song. Many people do it well. An embarrassment of riches, really.

  20. Robert says

    @Matt26: “there isn’t much left” to Barbra’s voice?? Apparently you did not hear the recording online of Barbra singing last week at Marvin Hamlisch’s memorial at Julliard. She not only sounded fantastic for a 70 year old, she simply sounded fantastic. Do you think she’d be embarking on a multi-city tour next week if her voice wasn’t in good shape?

    @Laughable: In addition to being a co-host of a fundraiser against Prop 8 in 2008 and donating enormous amounts of money to pro-gay causes over many years, she has donated millions of dollars over the years to electing progressive candidates to state and federal offices. She talks about gay rights from the stage during her concerts. What exactly do you want her to do that she’s not doing? March in the LA pride parade?

    The song is gorgeous. There’s nothing quite like late 60s/early 70s Barbra.

  21. Pyre says

    I always liked the Dusty Springfield version best. But then I’ve never heard the Nina Simone version so I’m off to look that up. Hey, sometimes it is worth reading the Towleroad comments!

  22. Abie says

    It’s tough to argue against La Streisand at her peak. I think she sounds lovely although I do have a soft spot for Dusty Springfield’s version of this song.
    Did every lady singer record this song in the ’70s?

  23. andrew says

    Wasn’t Barbara Striesand a singer back in the 60’s and 70’s? Wasn’t she married to Sony Bono, who was a congressman back in the day?

  24. Bobby says

    Matt26, you’re either deaf of stupid. She still sounds amazing and to sing the way she does at 70 is beyond impressive.

  25. Rrhain says

    Part of the problem with “stiffness” is that the song is written that way. Compare Midler’s take on the title phrase, “And I think it’s gonna rain today,” to Streisand’s (and everybody else’s). Newman wrote such a bizarre rhythm for that line which Midler completely ignores in order to sing it as a person would say it and it works so much better. Now, she also adjust the melody to a more natural phrasing, too, but the primary stumbling block is that the song itself is stiff.