First Drafts: “The Way We Were”

The following is an article featured in the May – June 2014 issue of the Library of Congress Magazine, LCM, now available for download here. You can also view the archives of the Library’s former publication from 1993 to 2011.

“Daydreams light the corners of my mind.”

"The Way We Were," Holograph lyrics, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, 1973. ASCAP Foundation Collection, Music Division.

“The Way We Were,” Holograph lyrics, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, 1973. ASCAP Foundation Collection, Music Division.

These might have been the lyrics sung by Barbara Barbra Streisand in the 1973 film “The Way We Were” if not for the minds—and pens—of songwriting team Marilyn and Alan Bergman. But the word “daydreams” was changed to “memories” and the result was the Academy Award-winning song, “The Way We Were” (autographed score pictured here) from the film of the same title.

The Bergmans’ personal and professional collaboration, which began in the late 1950s, continues today. Lyricists for film, stage and television, they have earned 16 Academy Award nominations, multiple Emmys, Grammys and three Oscars.

Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch accept the Academy Award for "Best Song," 1974. ASCAP Foundation Collection, Music Division.

Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and Marvin Hamlisch accept the Academy Award for “Best Song,” 1974. ASCAP Foundation Collection, Music Division.

The Bergmans have also devoted their lives to the rights of creative artists and the preservation of their work. Alan Bergman serves as a member of the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board. Marilyn Bergman was elected president and chairman of the Board of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1994, after five terms as the first woman ever to serve on ASCAP’s Board of Directors. After leading the organization for 15 years, she continues to serve on ASCAP’s Board. In 2002, she was appointed to chair the inaugural Library of Congress National Sound Recording Preservation Board.

The Library of Congress is home to the ASCAP Foundation collection. The organization, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, is the subject of a Library online exhibition.

One Comment

  1. Chritsopher
    May 11, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Not to be Streisandesque about it, but Erin Allen should know that the the artist’s name is Barbra, not Barbara. Also, per Marilyn Bergman, it was Streisand’s idea to replace Daydreams with Mem’ries.

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