Listen to Barry Gibb's haunting original demo of Barbra Streisand's 'Woman In Love'

17 January 2022, 11:36 | Updated: 19 January 2022, 17:14

'Woman In Love' is Barbra Streisand's is the most globally successful song of her career.
'Woman In Love' is Barbra Streisand's is the most globally successful song of her career. Picture: Columbia Records

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

'Woman In Love' was a resounding global hit for Barbra Streisand upon its release.

Entering the world in 1980, it is widely considered as Barbra Streisand's most enduring song, reaching the No.1 spot in no less than 22 countries. No mean feat, no doubt you'll agree.

But if you didn't know (which we're sure you already do), the song was actually the handy-work of a little known act called the Bee Gees.

After their immense success following Saturday Night Fever, the brothers Gibb retired from the spotlight temporarily having populated the charts for a number of years.

Though, it's not like they'd stopped working entirely, in fact, quite the opposite.

Barry Gibb's services were still very much in demand, and as history would tell us, they began writing for many artists. One of which was Barbra Streisand.

His contributions would go on to formulate Streisand's biggest-selling album, Guilty.

Co-written with his younger brother Robin Gibb, he recorded a demo version solely for Barbra to get an understanding of his arrangement and the tone of the song.

Given the fandom surrounding the two, it wasn't going to be kept tucked away in a studio basement forever.

Barry's version was eventually released in 2006 as part of The Guilty Demos, 27 years after its original recording.

His impeccable falsetto lends a haunting quality to the despairing song, hitting impossibly high notes throughout. This was Barry Gibb at the peak of his powers.

It also indicates the sheer talent of a songwriting trio who wrote so many hits for other artists, which they could've easily claimed for themselves.

On Streisand's iconic version, Barry's vocals don't feature at all. He only features on the song playing acoustic guitar.

He did duet with Barbra on Guilty with 'What Kind of Fool', seeing the pair win a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal by Duo or Group.

There's no known footage of Barry singing 'Woman In Love' live, however he did include a rendition of the song in a medley with his brothers as you can see above.

Barbra rightly received various plaudits for her rendition of the song, with Guilty eventually going platinum.

But it began with the magic of Barry and Robin Gibb's songwriting craft. The two rightly received acclaim themselves for 'Woman In Love', however, winning the 1980 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

Guilty was Barbra Streisand's 22nd album to date, and it became her most successful album globally.

Without the talent of Barry Gibb behind her, that may have not always been the case.