Superman (1977)

Catalog Number(s):

This page: Tracks > About the Album > Unreleased Tracks > Billboard Charts > CD Packaging > Album Cover Outtakes

Superman Front cover

Album scans by Kevin Schlenker

Superman Back cover

Tracks

  1. Superman [2:47]
    (R. Snyder)
  2. Don't Believe What You Read [3:37]
    (B. Streisand / R. Nagle / G. Mathews)
  3. Baby Me Baby [4:26] (R. Miller)
  4. I Found You Love [3:50] (A. Gordon)
  5. Answer Me [3:16]
    (B. Streisand / P. Williams / K. Ascher)
  6. My Heart Belongs To Me [3:21] (A. Gordon)
  7. Cabin Fever [3:14] (R. Nagle)
  8. Love Comes From Unexpected Places [4:10]
    (K. Carnes / D. Ellingson)
  9. New York State Of Mind [4:44] (B. Joel)
  10. Lullaby For Myself [3:17] (R. Holmes)

Individual track credits:

(mouse and click on each song to reveal the credits...)

1. Superman

Written by: Richie Snyder

Rhythm Arranged by: Larry Carlton

Strings & Horns Arranged by: Nick DeCaro

2. Don't Believe What You Read

Written by: Ron Nagle, Scott Mathews, Barbra Streisand

Arranged by: Jack Nitzshe

3. Baby Me Baby

Written by: Roger Miller

Arranged by: Jack Nitzshe

4. I Found You Love

Written by: Alan Gordon

Arranged by: Charlie Calello

5. Answer Me

Written by: Barbra Streisand, Paul Williams, and Kenny Ascher

Arranged by: Nick DeCaro

6. My Heart Belongs to Me

Written by: Alan Gordon

Co-Produced and Arranged by: Charlie Calello

7. Cabin Fever

Written by: Ron Nagle

Arranged by: Jack Nitzsche

8. Love Comes From Unexpected Places

Written by: Kim Carnes & Dave Ellingson

Rhythm Arranged by: Larry Carlton

Strings & Horns Arranged by: Nick DeCaro

9. New York State of Mind

Written by: Billy Joel

Arranged by: Jack Nitzsche

10. Lullaby For Myself

Written by: Rupert Holmes

Rhythm Arranged by: Larry Carlton

Strings & Horns Arranged by: Nick DeCaro

About the Album

(photo, below: Streisand and Gary Klein in the recording studio.

Streisand and Gary Klein

“With A Star is Born on the way to the four-million-unit level, Barbra Streisand’s following has never been larger,” Ron Oberman—VP of A&R at Columbia—wrote in an internal memo June 1977. “A number one single, number one album, and one of the year’s biggest grossing films have combined to catapult Barbra beyond her already accepted superstar status.  Now, with perfect timing, comes the new Barbra Streisand album, Streisand Superman. The album has already been set up with the still-climbing single, ‘My Heart Belongs To Me,’ and will be merchandised with the same super impact treatment accorded to A Star is Born.”

In preparing a new follow-up album, Barbra even recorded new studio versions of A Star is Born songs: “With One More Look at You,” “Everything,” “Lost Inside of You” and “Woman in the Moon.”  Barbra didn’t use them, though. (“Lost” found a home on the Memories album; “One More Look” ended up on Release Me. The other two remain unreleased.)

Barbra started working with The Entertainment Company for her 1977 album, Superman. Comprised of producers Gary Klein and Charles Koppelman, The Entertainment Company promoted song catalogs, acquired major songs, and produced a series of hits in which superstar recording artists were paired together.

Superman was a potpourri of various songs, plus two songs which were outtakes from A Star is Born“Answer Me” by Streisand, Paul Williams, and Kenny Ascher; and “Lullaby For Myself” by Rupert Holmes.

The album was lusciously packaged, with sexy photos of Barbra posing in a Superman T-shirt and short-shorts.  The fans, apparently, really enjoyed a short scene in A Star is Born in which Streisand cavorted in Sonoita, Arizona wearing the outfit.

Barbra started recording the album in April 1977. One month later, her record company released “My Heart Belongs To Me” as a single in advance of the new album. Columbia Records and Barbra put together a “publicity film” for “My Heart Belongs To Me.” It was shown at Columbia’s 1977 convention to industry insiders. Barbra lip-synched to the track. During the musical interlude, she “conducted” the orchestra, then started coughing from the smoke machines, all very comedic. At the end of the video, she spun toward the camera and made a funny face. (More on the music video here.)

Streisand recording Superman album

Streisand in studio with background singers

“Love Comes From Unexpected Places” was written by Kim Carnes and her husband, Dave Ellingson.

Columnist Liz Smith wrote in August 1977: “Director Richard Brooks admits that Barbra Streisand offered to sing her hit ‘Love Comes From Unexpected Places’ over the opening titles of his yet unseen, but eagerly anticipated movie, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, starring Diane Keaton. Richard graciously turned down the offer, feeling La Streisand would prove too powerful for the movie. But later, in thinking it over, Richard asked Barbra if she would sing the end credits. SHE turned THAT down ...”

[For the record, singer Marlena Shaw recorded a different Mr. Goodbar them, “Don't Ask to Stay Until Tomorrow.”]

Streisand and Jon Peters looking over music

(Photo, above): Streisand and her manager/boyfriend Jon Peters in the recording studio looking over some sheet music for the SUPERMAN album.

Billy Joel wrote “New York State of Mind.” Joel commented on having Streisand record his song: “I thought, ‘This is one of the greatest woman singers ever, doing … me? Me?’ I really loved it, though, because it kind of finally made me legitimate in this business to my mother.”

(Below: Billy Joel poses with some of his gold records in the background — and a framed “Superman” album with a personal note from Barbra Streisand — “For Billy, Hope you like your song! P.S. Thank you for the flowers. Love, Barbra.”)

Billy Joel

 

Scott Mathews and Ron Nagle formed a songwriter partnership called Proud Pork Productions. “Don’t Believe What You Read” and “Cabin Fever” were both by Ron Nagle. When producer Jack Nitzsche called to tell him Streisand wanted to record his song, Scott Mathews said, “It wasn’t the same thrill as hearing Al Green was interested, but it did build us a lovely new studio.”

“Don’t Believe What You Read” was written when Los Angeles Magazine wrote a blurb in its “Insider” column about Barbra with the subtitle “A Pigeon is Born.” The magazine claimed that Barbra and Jon Peters kept an indoor aviary and that the birds flew around the house. “[They] were intimating that they were crapping on people’s heads,” Barbra exclaimed in a KHJ Radio interview.  The magazine also said Barbra was “Howard Hughesesque about germs.” The gossip was picked up and reprinted by other news outlets, including Playboy.

Barbra could have simply ignored the column.  However, “one night I invited Neil Sedaka and his wife to come over and play some music,” Streisand explained, “and she told me later that she was afraid to come because she had read I had birds flying around on the loose. Another friend’s barber … also asked if this was really true.”

The whole situation motivated Streisand to ask Ron Nagle and Scott Matthews to allow her to collaborate on a song that addressed the nasty article. 

“I Found You Love” was written by Alan Gordon. Cher and boyfriend Gregg Allman sang a duet version of this song on their 1977 album Allman & Woman: Two the Hard Way.

(Photos, below) an industry ad touting Superman's Platinum sales status—“Faster than a speeding bullet!” ... a review ... and Streisand as a Superman standee!

Superman platinum ad

review of album SUPERMAN

Superman Standee for record stores

Unreleased Tracks

Barbra did record a few songs that were not included on the album:

Singles

Click the links to read more ...

 

Billboard Charts

The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine.

Here's the numbers for this Streisand album:

Gold: 500,000 units shipped

Platinum: 1 million units shipped.

Note: The record company must submit an album to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) where it undergoes a certification process to become eligible for an award. The process entails an independent sales audit, which calculates the quantity of singles or albums shipped for sale, net after returns. The audit surveys shipments to the entire music marketplace, including retail, record clubs, television sales, Internet orders and other ancillary markets. Based on the certification of these shipments, a title is awarded Gold, Platinum, Multi-Platinum or Diamond status. The data here comes directly from official sources, mainly the RIAA online database.

CD Re-Packaging Notes

For the second time in her career (Lazy Afternoon was the first), Barbra also contributed liner notes to the album.  The foldout insert contained Barbra’s thoughts on each of the songs on the album. “Thanks for reading,” she penned. “Now I’ve got to go into the nearest telephone booth and change clothes.”

When transferring the LP to CD, Columbia left out some of the original album's artwork.

The original LP featured a pull-out lyric sheet and a photo picture sleeve.

Superman picture sleeve from LP

The picture sleeve (above) listed "Musicians and Friends", which has been omitted from the CD. Credited on the sleeve were Seiniger and Associates for the album's art direction (again, missing from the CD insert). Steve Schapiro's photo credit and Barbra's "special thanks to Charles Koppelman" are absent from the CD as well.

The Superman LP also came with a 4-page, foldout lyric sheet. (Pictured below: front and back of fold-out lyric sheet...)

Front and back of Superman lyric sheet

The folded insert opened to reveal a center spread of Barbra in her Superman outfit (photos by Steve Schapiro). Noticeably missing from the CD are Barbra's liner notes, which appeared on this page of the original LP! Any Streisand fan who never owned the original LP has not been able to read Barbra's liner notes! I have reproduced them below:

Streisand liner notes part one

Streisand liner notes part two

@rchie, a Streisand fan from Italy, recently emailed me photographs of the European version of the Superman CD (international CBS edition, cat. number CDCBS 86030) from 1993.

Pictures of European SUPERMAN CD

The Euro-CD insert features all the pictures, notes, lyrics, credits and Barbra's thank-yous. There's even a blue-sky-with-clouds picture under the inlay tray of the jewel box (similar to the background of the cover photo session with Barbra in the sky)!

Album Cover Outtakes

Steve Schapiro shot Streisand in her Superman outfit. The photo session and album cover was inspired by a scene from A Star is Born in which Streisand wore a similar outfit and raised her arm in a triumphant pose:

Star is Born inspiration.

Steve Schapiro talked about photographing Streisand for the Superman album:

... the SUPERMAN cover was supposed to be a front view of [the STAR IS BORN pose]. But when we started to shoot at her home in Holmby Hills, it didn't look like it was going to be that terrific an image. So we fooled around and the one we eventually picked was only one of many pictures. Then she decided she needed a side view for a cutout, for the back of the album. So we did a matching session at Malibu. It was done with lights and seamless paper, and it took about an hour. It went fast because she looked great and felt great. Of course, she had final approval. Barbra owns mot of the shots I've taken of her. She's got boxes of them on file in her home...

Schapiro Superman outtake

Related Pages:

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