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December 29: Streisand at 13

Lawrence Bush
December 29, 2016
Barbra Streisand made her first recording at age 13 on this date in 1955, singing “You’ll Never Know” and “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” at Nola Recording Studios on West 57th St. (near Carnegie Hall) in Manhattan. “We had a weeks’ vacation a year in the Catskill Mountains, and that’s where my mother found a piano player to make a record with her,” Streisand said in 2014. She included “You’ll Never Know” on her 1991 retrospective set, Just For the Record, writing: “This scratchy acetate was the kind that would wear out after a couple of dozen plays. Mine sat on a shelf for twenty years before I put it on tape.” To hear her “scratchy acetate,” look below. The song’s lyricist was Warsaw-born Mack Gordon (Morris Gittler), who was nominated for the best original song Academy Award nine times in eleven years, and won for “You’ll Never Know.” The music was by Harry Warren (Salvatore Antonio Guaragna). “You went away And my heart went with you I speak your name In my every prayer If there is some other way To prove that I love you I swear, I don’t know how You’ll never know if you don’t know now.” --Mack Gordon

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.