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This song about new love was the theme to the 1976 remake of A Star Is Born. The film, which starred Streisand, was very popular and this song won the Academy Award for Best Song. (thanks, Mike - Santa Barbara, CA)
Paul Williams, who had written hits for the Carpenters and Three Dog Night, wrote this with Streisand. The songs for A Star Is Born had to be written before filming began, since they were performed on camera. When Williams signed on to the project, Streisand had the music and one verse for the song "Everything." Over the next 7 weeks, they wrote all the songs for the movie.
Williams told us about his collaboration with Streisand on this song: "She sat down and played on a guitar, the melody for 'Evergreen' that she'd written. It was just such a beautiful melody. I said, 'There's your love song. There's the big love song.' I asked her for the melody. She put it on tape for me, and I took it home. I actually wrote that as the last thing, which I think bothered her. But all the Kris Kristofferson stuff was the first thing up on the shoot schedule. So I wrote the songs for Kris first.
You know, Barbra recorded two or three of my songs before we did A Star Is Born
. People would always ask, 'Were you nervous about writing the Streisand music?' Of course, she's an amazing talent. But to sit down and write songs and to play songs for Kris... I mean, this is the man who wrote 'Sunday Morning Coming Down
,' 'Me And Bobby McGee
.' It was wonderful. Kris was great about the songs. But the very last thing that I wrote was 'Evergreen.' I gave that to Barbra, and then hit the road and didn't look back."
Williams: "I actually wrote those first two lines in the opposite order. I wrote 'Love, fresh as the morning air, love soft as an easy chair.' I called Barbra as I was getting on a plane to go on tour with Olivia Newton-John. We were doing a 6-week tour, and Barbra was in Arizona getting ready to start filming A Star Is Born. I called her and said, 'You know what, flip those two first lines, because it sings better.' 'Love, soft as an easy chair, love, fresh as the morning air.' 'Morning' sang better at that point in the song. And I remember saying to Barbra, 'They'll probably laugh us out of the theaters for starting a love song with a line about a chair, but I think it works better that way.' And I think it was the biggest-selling soundtrack album ever at that time, and of course the song won the triple crown: the Oscar, the Grammy, and the Golden Globe."
Along with Kenny Ascher, Williams also wrote the score for the film, which was nominated for an Oscar. Over the next few years, Williams worked with Jim Henson, appearing as a guest star on the first season of The Muppet Show
and writing the music for Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas
and The Muppet Movie
. (Here's our full Paul Williams interview
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