The Way It Is

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The Way It Is
Bruce Hornsby and The Range
publication May 1986
length 4:55
Genre (s) pop
Author (s) Bruce Hornsby, John Hornsby
album The Way It Is
Chart positions
Explanation of the data
The Way It Is
  DE 16 09/22/1986 (18 weeks)
  CH 15th October 19, 1986 (8 weeks)
  UK 15th 07/26/1986 (11 weeks)
  US 1Template: Infobox chart placements / maintenance / NR1 link 09/20/1986 (22 weeks)

The Way It Is is a song by Bruce Hornsby . He wrote the song with his brother John Hornsby and released it in May 1986 with his band The Range .


Contact with Jeff Baxter came about through Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers in the early 1980s . He organized the recording of a four-piece demo , one of which was The Way It Is . Hornsby, who thought his music was not commercial enough, initially offered it to Windham Hill Records . A friend of his was particularly convinced of the potential of The Way It Is and gave the demo Paul Atkinson from the major label RCA Records , which Hornsby signed. The song was released in May 1986 as a preliminary single for the 1986 album of the same name in a 4:55 minute version, on the B-side there was another song from the album with The Red Plains . A maxi single was also released , on the B-side of which there was a piece from the upcoming studio album called The Wild Frontier .


The song describes social problems in the United States of the 1980s from a critical perspective, but also makes reference to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 :

"That's a song about the civil rights era:" They passed a law in '64 to give those who ain't got a little more. ""

The refrain quotes two popular phrases with a resigned undertone that are often used to justify social injustice as an allegedly inevitable evil (“That's just the way it is”, “Some things'll never change”). However, the last line of the chorus contradicts these phrases (“Ha, but don't you believe them”).

"Hornsby: 'Some things will never change' is a statement of resignation, but the most important line in that song is the one that comes after that:" But don't you believe 'em. "So I've always been about being strong when resignation is a possibility. Trying to pull up from that and have a positive outlook so that things can change. "

The first stanza describes the tensions between rich and poor through an event in a welfare queue. She addresses the conservative attitude that people in need would only be on the public's pocket instead of looking for a job. The second stanza, in connection with the following refrain, deals with racial segregation and that this has long been justified and defended by the fact that “it has always been like that”. At the same time, however, the fictional narrator points out that progress in social issues must also be pushed through against those who insist “that it always has been”. The third stanza notes that while the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a victory for the civil rights movement, it also reminds us that a law alone is not enough to change people's attitudes.

The last chorus is slightly changed; At the end of it, it is pointed out that nothing will actually change in social problems if one just waits for the solution to these problems instead of participating in these solutions oneself (“That's just they way it is - it is when you're waiting ").

Use as theme song

In Great Britain , a version of the song for the theme song of the series City Hospital was roughly edited, which was also heard on the BBC sports program Grandstand . In Australia , the song was heard as background music on Nine Networks weekend news sports wrap up .

In the 1990s and 2000s, conservative presenter Sean Hannity used The Way It Is as opening credits for his talk radio show . After Bruce Hornsby expressed his displeasure with Hannity's political positions and the use of his song, Hannity stopped using the song.

Cover versions

Individual evidence

  1. Chart placements:
  2. ^ RCA: 100 Years of Music . In: Billboard Magazine . May 12, 2001, p. 64, 72 .
  3. a b [1]