At the start of 1980, Barbra Streisand, then 37, was in the middle of a red-hot streak on the Billboard Hot 100, having landed eight consecutive top 40 hits in just two years. Among those were the No. 1s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” with Neil Diamond and “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” with Donna Summer. At the same time, Barry Gibb, 33, was enjoying his own career high: He had just notched six straight No. 1 singles with the Bee Gees between 1977 and 1979.
A collaboration between the two might have sounded like a no-brainer, but it almost didn’t happen. Streisand approached Gibb with the idea after seeing the Bee Gees in concert in 1979, but Gibb told Billboard in 1983 that he was “very nervous at first” about the offer because of “stories about how tough she is.” His concerns proved unfounded. “She was … a true lady in every sense of the word,” said Gibb, who co-produced the album Guilty and co-wrote its songs.
The record became the biggest-selling studio release of Streisand’s career, shipping 5 million copies in the United States, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. On Oct. 25, 1980, she simultaneously topped the Billboard 200 with the album and the Hot 100 with the single “Woman in Love.” The album yielded two more top 10 hits: the Grammy Award-winning title track and “What Kind of Fool.”
Twenty-five years later, Streisand and Gibb reunited for Guilty Pleasures, which reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200.
A version of this article first appeared in the Nov. 1, 2014 issue of Billboard magazine