At the Same Time

Album: Higher Ground (1997)

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about how we're all in it together; whatever we're going through, there are many others going through it at the same time.

    It was written by Ann Hampton Callaway, a Jazz/Cabaret singer known for improvising songs based on audience suggestions. When we spoke with Callaway, she explained how Streisand helped her bring this song together: "She got on the phone with me and I was a little intimidated to speak with her, but I said, 'Barbra, what do you want me to do here?' She said, 'I want it to be simple but profound.'

    What does that mean? 'I want people to understand exactly what you mean the first time you hear a song, and then the second time and third time, every time after that, to have new meanings unfold.' As it turns out, that simple guidance has been something I think of every time I write a song now. It's been a wonderful filter for everything I try to do."
  • Ann Hampton Callaway wrote the first version of this song in 1987, but wouldn't let anyone have it because she was determined to have Streisand record it. Callaway's friend Amanda McBroom, who wrote the song "The Rose," passed the song along to Streisand's record company, who loved the song, but asked for a rewrite, since Streisand is very particular about her songs. "I said I would be willing to do whatever it takes," Callaway told us. "I think it was 150 rewrites later, she said, 'OK, I think this is perfect. I think I'm ready to do it.' It was just a thrill to have that message out in the world in her voice. I knew in my guts never to give up on that dream."

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