Did you ever think you’d say Barbra Streisand and Lady Gaga in the same sentence?
Not that the duo live in different universes. They’ve been associated as recently as Glamour Magazine’s 2013 Women of the Year Awards, meaning at the very least they’ve been in the same room. Still, the two women couldn’t have less in common–outside of the fact that they’re both singers.
But as the song says, it’s a strange world after all. Or something to that effect.
While there’s no confirmation of title or release date for the album, the list of other collaborators is huge. Afanasieff, producing alongside Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, promises to feature Michael Buble, Bette Midler, Beyoncé, Lionel Richie, Blake Shelton, Babyface, Josh Groban, Stevie Wonder, John Mayer and Billy Joel.
The duets album concept is nothing new, of course, but this particularly format was revolutionized when another legend, Tony Bennett, released The Duets in the 1980s. It ignited a fresh spark in his career, exposing Bennett to a young audience that, at the time, knew nothing about him. Its runaway success led to subsequent Bennett duet albums, DVDs and musical performances.
If the entertainment industry knows anything, it’s that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It wasn’t long before more legends released an album utilizing the format. The most notable is Frank Sinatra, a performer known for sentimental classics. Yet, when his Duets dropped in 1993, it went triple platinum. There turned out to be a big audience for Ol’ Blue Eyes singing with the likes of Luther Vandross, Gloria Estefan and Bono.
In 2004, blues, country, jazz and anything else he chose to do legend Ray Charles jumped on the bandwagon with Genius Loves Company. He died not long after the album was completed, and perhaps that had an impact on its success. Unlikely, though, since it was still one of the best albums released that year and went on to win eight Grammys. Unlike his contemporaries, Charles leaned less towards pop superstars and relied on mainstays like Johnny Mathis, Norah Jones and B.B. King.
These successes do indicate one thing. Music lovers have a taste for the old and the new, especially in the same place at the same time. Streisand fans alone would have gladly snatched up any of her new work. Teaming Babs with Lady Gaga and Beyoncé and opening up their fan bases to her music? One can only call that pure genius.