Why Barbra Streisand Was Uncomfortable With Her Donna Summer Duet at First

Although she’s a seasoned veteran, Barbra Streisand was somewhat uncomfortable singing her Donna Summer duet “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough).” In addition, the writers of the song had to change it somewhat so it would fit the theme of Streisand’s album. One of the writers of the song admitted that the session where Streisand and Summer worked together boggled his mind.

Barbra Streisand with curly hair
Barbra Streisand | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Why the writers of ‘No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)’ changed it

The 1970s was a golden age for concept albums — in other words, albums based on a specific theme or which tell a cohesive story. Streisand recorded her own concept album in the 1970s — Wet — which is based around the simple theme of water. Songs on Wet feature references to rain, tears, baths, etc. The most famous song on the album — “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” — initially didn’t fit into the album’s theme at all.

According to The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, the song was initially called “Enough Is Enough “and had nothing to do with water. Ultimately, its writers — Paul Jabara and Bruce Roberts — added a lyrical reference to water so it would fit the theme of Wet. Jabara first introduced Streisand and Summer to the song at a lunch Streisand threw for Summer. Both singers were excited by “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” — but Roberts recalled Streisand took issue with the track.

Donna Summer wearing red lipstick
Donna Summer | Jack Mitchell/Getty Images

The ‘mid-boggling’ studio session where Barbra Streisand collaborated with Donna Summer

“Barbra was not as comfortable in the genre of disco or dance music,” Roberts told The Hollywood Reporter, “so I first went in and sang Barbra’s part as a guide vocal. It was finished overnight. It was just finished so quickly. Before any of the lawyers could stop it, it was out as a record. They didn’t know what hit them.” According to The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, Jabara had fond memories of the session where Streisand and Summer collaborated.

“There was Streisand, hands flaring, and Donna, throwing her head back, — and they’re both belting, sparking each other,” Jabara said. “It was a songwriter’s dream. Seeing them on their stools opposite each other was so mind-boggling, my head nearly turned 360 degrees, like Linda Blair’s did in The Exorcist.” There are certainly few things as representative of 1970s pop as Streisand and Summer performing a disco song together.

“No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)”

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How the public reacted to the song

“No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the fourth No. 1 hit for both artists. The song proved Summer could be compelling when she blended her vocals with those of another artist — and that Streisand mastered the disco genre.

Streisand would later perform “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough” with Ariana Grande onstage, which feels fitting as Grande is one of the few prominent artists making disco tracks today. Though Streisand would release other disco songs after it, “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough” remains one of her most famous dance tunes.