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November 7: People Who Need People

November 7, 2013
advertisement-for-barbra-streisand-s-album-peopleBarbra Streisand’s fourth studio album, “People,” hit #1 on the Billboard album chart on this date in 1964 and stayed there for five weeks, eventually becoming a platinum record by selling more than a million copies. The title song, from the Broadway play about Fanny Brice, Funny Girl, in which Streisand starred, was written by Jule Styne (Julius Kerwin Stein) and Bob Merrill (Henry Robert Levan). Styne, the son of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, also wrote “Three Coins in the Fountain,” Sinatra’s hit, as well as the scores for many Broadway shows, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Peter Pan (additional music), Gypsy, and Hallelujah, Baby! Merrill, who could not read music and composed on a toy saxophone, also wrote Eileen Barton’s hit, “How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?” and Jimmie Rodgers’ “Honeycomb,” among other novelty and serious songs. He also scored successful Broadway shows and worked as a screenwriter and film director — yet took his own life, under the duress of extreme depression, in 1998. To see Streisand singing her signature song in Funny Girl, look below. “A feeling deep in your soul/says you were half, now you’re whole.” —Styne and Merrill, ‘People’