Sunday, December 5, 2021

"Till I Loved You" by Barbra Streisand & Don Johnson

Song#:  3692
Date:  10/22/1988
Debut:  67
Peak:  25
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Following the Grammy-winning #1 success of The Broadway Album, Streisand chose to return to pop music for her twenty-fifth studio effort Till I Loved You. The LP was developed using a loose concept that had the songs ordered to reflect the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship. It was a big budget affair with top songwriters and producers such as Quincy Jones, Burt Bacharach, and Phil Ramone. Other stars showed up in the background with Dionne Warwick, Luther Vandross, James Ingram, and Siedah Garrett lending vocal support. Another celeb who was hot at the time also showed up to perform on this title-track duet. Don Johnson was riding high from being on Miami Vice and having his own Top 10 hit with "Heartbeat." He just also happened to have been dating Streisand at the time. The pair met late in '87 at a party in Aspen. By coincidence, Johnson was signed to the same record company as Streisand (she was on Columbia, he was on the Epic subsidiary). In an interview with Johnson, he seemed to suggest that it was the label's idea to bring them together for a duet. The pair would record "Till I Loved You" and it would be the first single lifted from the LP. It would be a winner at AC reaching #3. The mature, romantic tune crossed over to the Pop chart, but it could only make the Top 30. Two other singles from the album made the AC chart, but failed to click at Pop. "Till I Loved You" would be Streisand's last song to make the Pop chart in the 80s. The album would get to #10 and go platinum.

ReduxReview:  I admit that I was a little miffed when this song came out. I positively adored La Streisand and when she started dating Don Johnson, whom I had a dislike for, I wasn't having it. I thought - okay, she can have her fling and soon it will be over. It was not even a year later, but unfortunately during their time together someone got the awful idea to pair them for a duet. While Johnson's voice was not horrible, it had zero nuance and was more suitable for pop/rock song like his "Heartbeat" hit. For him to sing smooth, romantic, AC tunes like this it was just painful. How could one of my biggest idols fall prey to the bf of the moment and actually record with him? Ugh! And the song itself was bleh. It was a schmaltzy showtune-turned-pop-song that no one needed to hear and adding Johnson's voice made it nearly excruciating. That said, of course Streisand elevates the song enough to make it listenable. Who knows what would have happened had she done it with a real singer like Luther Vandross. Now that might have been magic. As-is, the song remains a weird relic in Streisand's catalog that somehow in the late 80s got close to the Pop Top 20.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song came from a musical theater work that was released as a concept album, but was never transferred to the stage. Goya: A Life in Song was about the famous Spanish painter Francisco de Goya. Based on an idea by opera singer Placido Domingo, a score was written by Maury Yeston. Domingo would perform as Goya and initially it was to be a staged musical. But Domingo's time constraints killed off that goal and the project turned into a 1989 musical concept album featuring Domingo. In addition to Domingo, there would be a few guest performers. Depending on what territory or region the LP was to be released, the lineup of guests change. For example, "Till I Loved You" was recorded by Domingo and Dionne Warwick for the US released. On the European release, Jennifer Rush was Domingo's duet partner. In Japan it was Seiko Matsuda. For the Latin market, the song was sung in Spanish with Gloria Estefan. The version with Jennifer Rush was released as a single in '89 and it got to #24 in the UK. Although a cover, Streisand/Johnson version was released as a single prior to the Goya album coming out. In the UK, the single would get to #16.  2) While Streisand's popularity as a hit making pop star dwindled after this, she did have one more big Pop hit. In 1996, she teamed up with Bryan Adams for the duet "I Finally Found Someone." The tune was written by Streisand with Adams, Marvin Hamlisch, and Robert John "Mutt" Lange, and produced by David Foster. It was done for the Streisand-directed film The Mirror Has Two Faces. Released as a single, it would get to #8 Pop/#2 AC and go gold. The song would go on to be nominated for and Oscar for Best Original Song. It would be Streisand's last major Pop hit. However, that didn't mean her career as a recording artist was over. Streisand would continue to record studio albums and as of this posting date, of the eleven LPs she released after Till I Loved You, five of them hit #1. All of them would make the Top 15. Two would go multi-platinum, three platinum, and three gold.


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