Guilty Pleasures (2005)

Catalog Number(s):

Guilty Pleasures cover Guilty Pleasures back cover Dual Disc cover

Pictured Above: USA DualDisc, left, and UK CD + DualDisc. DualDiscs contained standard CD audio on one side and on the flip side a DVD program featuring a higher resolution PCM stereo mix of the songs in addition to exclusive interview segments with Barbra and Barry, which precede each performance video directed, photographed, and produced by Rick Walker of "Above The Law" (duet), "Hideaway," "Stranger In A Strange Land," and "Letting Go" (alternate piano version). Renowned cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs was lighting consultant for the videos.

Tracks

Guilty Pleasures CD
  1. Come Tomorrow (Duet with Barry Gibb) [5:01]
    (Barry Gibb, Ashley Gibb & Stephen Gibb)
  2. Stranger In A Strange Land [4:48]
    (Barry Gibb, Ashley Gibb & Stephen Gibb)
  3. Hideaway [4:15]
    (Barry Gibb & Ashley Gibb)
  4. It's Up To You [3:31]
    (Barry Gibb & Ashley Gibb)
  5. Night Of My Life [3:59]
    (Barry Gibb & Ashley Gibb)
  6. Above The Law (Duet with Barry Gibb) [4:26]
    (Barry Gibb, Barbra Streisand & Stephen Gibb)
  7. Without Your Love [3:49]
    (Barry Gibb & Ashley Gibb)
  8. All The Children [5:13]
    (Barry Gibb, Ashley Gibb & Stephen Gibb)
  9. Golden Dawn [4:40]
    (Barry Gibb, Ashley Gibb & Stephen Gibb)
  10. (Our Love) Don't Throw It All Away [4:01]
    (Barry Gibb & Blue Weaver)
  11. Letting Go [3:53]
    (Barry Gibb & George Bitzer)

Tracks on DualDisc version all in PCM Stereo

DVD SIDE *

Music Videos:

* DualDisc version

About the Album

In February 2005, Billboard magazine reported that Barry Gibb and Barbra Streisand would join forces again — 25 years after collaborating on Guilty.

Producer John Merchant booked talented local musicians from the Miami area to record the demos for the new album. “I said, ‘give me three days at Criteria [Studios] and let me show you what they can do,” said Merchant. “Barry was really thrilled at who we have locally.” Streisand reportedly loved the demos, and asked Merchant and Gibb to continue. They ended up with demos of ten songs.

Actual recording of the album began in May 2005, with Gibb laying tracks in Miami, then traveling to L.A. at the end of May to work in the studio with Streisand.

Musicians and Streisand

[Photos, ABOVE: Barry Gibb and John Merchant at Grandma's House ... BOTTOM, From L to R: Julio Hernandez (bass), Dan Warner (guitar), Barry Gibb, John Merchant, Barbra Streisand, Doug Emery (keyboard, programmer), Lee Levin (drums) and Richie Bravo (percussion)]

Streisand, Merchant, and Gibb recorded at Grandma's House—the guest cottage on Streisand's Malibu property. “It’s really charming,” Merchant explained. “The house was built in the 1950s and sits on the cliffs of Malibu. It has beautiful open beam ceilings, a view of the Pacific, but we had to essentially create a studio.”

Merchant rented appropriate equipment to stock the cottage, including a Neumann M49 tube mic—the very microphone that Streisand had recorded with on many past projects.

Jay Landers, Barry Gibb and Marty Erlichman at Grandma's House

Photo above: Executive producer Jay Landers with Barry Gibb and Barbra's manager Marty Erlichman.

Streisand, Gibb, and photographer Alberto Tolot (who photographed the cover of A Love Like Ours) shot the cover and other publicity photos on June 9, 2005. They also shot the music videos and interviews that day using state-of-the-art 24p Hi-Definition format. The studio location you see in the videos is the Barbra Streisand Scoring Stage at Columbia Studios.

“It’s a great sounding room and they have a beautiful piano there,” John Merchant said. “The song [“Letting Go”] is a simple piano-vocal. Barbra said, ‘Let’s do a pass of that!’ The first take was magic; now it’s included on the DualDisc.”

Video shooting

Of the new album, Barry Gibb said, "Yes it is wonderful, she's in great voice and I think it’s a nice album."

The new CD featured a fold-out insert in black with gorgeous photos of Streisand and Gibb, as well as lyrics and credits.

Guilty Pleasures insert

Columbia Records focused their energies on an internet publicity campaign for Barbra's new album. Amazon.com announced on 16 August it was hosting the world premiere of "Stranger in a Strange Land," the first single from Barbra's forthcoming album. For seven days, studio footage of Streisand performing "Stranger in a Strange Land" was streamed exclusively at Amazon.com. And if you pre-ordered Guilty Pleasures from Amazon, they allowed you to receive immediate access to an audio stream of three tracks from the album: "Hideaway," "Night of My Life," and "Without Your Love."

On August 23, Barbra's official site debuted the video for “Letting Go.” ("Letting Go" was written back in 1984 and included in the soundtrack of a movie called Hawks four years later.)

Stranger single

Also in August, Columbia Records sent "Stranger In A Strange Land" to radio stations. A CD single of "Stranger in a Strange Land" was offered as a free bonus disc to people who bought "Guilty Pleasures" at the now-defunct online Sony Music Store. The single was also available at some of the big "Super Stores" like Target and Walmart.

Blog screen shot

On August 15th, 2005, Columbia Records launched a Guilty Pleasures blog in which Barbra posted some Q&A's about the album. The blog is no longer online, but here are some of Streisand's posts:

What was Barry's brief for this project?

There was no brief. To start off, he wrote a few songs and sent them to me to see if they'd be something I'd like to record. They were really strong so I just encouraged him to write more! I told him how much I loved the sound of George Michael's song "Jesus To A Child" and asked him if he could try to write something in a Bossa Nova style. The next week he surprised me with "Golden Dawn", which is one of my favorites on the album.

Will this be a thematic album?

There's a sonic continuity, because Barry's singing quite a lot of background vocals on the album, but it's not a concept like "The Broadway Album" or "The Movie Album.” The songs cover a lot of ground, expressing thoughts about relationships, joy and fantasy. Barry's lyrics are more impressionistic than the songs I usually choose to record, so I suppose in some ways, they can be interpreted differently, depending on your personal experiences.

And did Barbra want any themes explored or developed... and any lyrical concepts that Barbra had in mind?

I was really more interested this time in hearing what Barry thought I should sing. When he was writing, he was trying to express thoughts and feelings that he imagined I'd relate to… things I'd want to say. I mentioned a few records that I liked the sound of, which he sometimes used as creative jumping off points. On the title song "Above The Law", I liked the gentle wink towards the title "Guilty"… sort of like after all these years…we've got nothing to be guilty of... we’re above the law! For a minute, we thought that might be a good name for the album. When Barry played me the rough demo, the song wasn't quite finished. As I was listening to it, I heard a counter melody in my mind and sang it to Barry. The next day, he’d incorporated it into the song…making it a duet. So that was very gratifying. When I write a song, it's usually out of necessity, like writing "Evergreen" for "A Star Is Born"…I just needed a song for the movie! So, I don't take the time to write as much as I'd like. It was lovely to collaborate with Barry in this way.

Is it a coincidence that it is exactly 25 years since the release of Guilty or is this something that Barbra has been thinking about for a while?

I’ve always looked back on the “Guilty” album as one of the easiest, most pleasant recording experiences I’ve ever had. Barry just made the process a delight. Maybe because he’s an artist himself, he understands what it takes to be a producer for another singer. For the past two decades, most of my records like “The Broadway Album”, “The Movie Album” or “Love like Ours” were made with big orchestras and self-produced, so I thought it would be fun to work on a pop album again, with someone else at the helm. Six months ago, Barry and I spoke about getting together for this project….and it happened to coincide with the anniversary…so the timing was perfect. It’s given our reunion an extra special meaning, but it wasn’t something I’d really planned.

During "One Voice" in 1986 Barbra said that she loves Barry's voice — will they sing together again?

On this new album, we sing a few duets, and I think our voices really compliment each other well. Through the years I've recorded a lot of duets with everyone from Louis Armstrong to Neil Diamond and Celine Dion. As a singer, it's very rewarding to find a great vocal partner, and Barry's one of my favorites. I love the airy texture of his voice. I really enjoy the process of discovering new ways to harmonize with another singer.

Will the album have a pop sensibility?

I don't really think about labels like "pop" or "traditional," those are categories for record stores and Grammy committees. But I guess you could say that it's pop or at least "pop informed." How about that for new category!? "Guilty" has a timeless quality that most fans still love. Is it part of the concept for this all-new recording? We hope so! Part of the challenge in recording an album is to aim for something that will stand the test of time.

Since the last collaboration, Barbra has directed 3 major films, and all the many other artistic and life experiences. No doubt this will bring inspiration to what Barbra wants to bring to this new recording?

I think everything I've experienced informs some other aspect of my creative process. The lyrics are Barry's, but when I sing them, I'm drawing from my own experiences. When someone listens to the record, they'll hopefully draw from their own life, and maybe they'll relate to the music in a way that is completely unique them. I didn't write "Evergreen" as a wedding song... but I'm always touched when someone tells me they proposed to their wife or they played the song as they were walking down the aisle. Listening to music can be a very personal experience.

Have there been lots of preproduction meetings or has it been a relatively easy process so far?

We really only had one meeting to set the keys. We did it over the phone!! That's about as easy as it gets!

Streisand's blog even linked to Barbra Archives under "Friends and Fan Sites"!

Blog screen shot with links

Song titles were leaked online and fans saw that a 12th track — "If Only (You Were Mine)" — was recorded but left off the final album. (Note: I've heard a bit of this track, and in my opinion it sounds very much like a classic Tin Pan Alley tune — maybe it was omitted because it didn't sound as 'pop' as the other songs?)

On September 10, 2005, Barry Gibb participated in an online chat with his fans. He answered a few questions about the Streisand album:

[mosmyshiningstar] Barry why is the new album called Guilty Pleasures in the USA but Guilty Too in the UK

[Barry_Gibb] There was some kind of copyright problem with the title in England

[sylvia] About Streisand's album, again, did you have any influence of "Bossa Nova" (Brazilian music)?

[Barry_Gibb] Brazilian music and my idols, Bert Bacharach and Hal David

[barryn] Thank you for your excellent talents in writing Guilty Pleasures, will the 12th cut* off GP ever be released?

[Barry_Gibb] 12th cut* - not for me to say

[Ena] What was the first song you wrote for Guilty Pleasures?

[Barry_Gibb] First one was Golden Dawn

[SueBee] How many songs did your sons help write/sing on Barbara's album?

[Barry_Gibb Ashley wrote 10 with me and Steve wrote 6 with us but he was very busy with Crowbar [editor: Gibb's son's band].

* If Only (You Were Mine)

Guilty Pleasures arrived in stores on September 20, 2005. In its first week on the Billboard Charts, Streisand sold 101,000 units! The album was retitled in the U.K. (due to copyright on the Guilty Pleasures title) to Guilty Too.

Guilty Too cover

Streisand appeared on Good Morning America (Sept. 22 and 26) and was interviewed on ABC Primetime with Diane Sawyer on Sept. 22nd.

Streisand on Good Morning America

Another interview with Streisand was shown on the UK's GMTV October 17 & 18, 2005; and Barbra participated in a weird interview segment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which aired October 24, 2005.

Night of My Life

In October 2005 "Night of My Life", the 12-inch dance single, peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Dance charts. Columbia Records commissioned the king of dance club remixes, Junior Vasquez, to work his magic on the Gibb tune. The 12-inch vinyl single hit stores September 27th.

Billboard Charts

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

Gold: 500,000 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.

Album Cover Outtakes

(Photo, below: Alberto Tolot captures Barry Gibb and Barbra Streisand in the studio for the cover of GUILTY PLEASURES)

Tolot photographing Gibb and Streisand

Here are some of the various photographs of Gibb and Streisand, taken by Alberto Tolot.

Tolot outtakes

End.

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