“Woman in Love” is a song performed by Barbra Streisand and taken from her 1980 album, Guilty. The song was written by Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, who received the 1980 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. It is her fourth of four Platinum records, and is considered her greatest international hit.
After the success enjoyed by the Bee Gees in the late 1970s, the band was asked to participate in musical endeavors for other artists, and Streisand asked Barry Gibb to write an album for her. This album ultimately became Guilty. “Woman in Love”, as the lead single, became one of the most successful songs of Streisand’s music career. It reached the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Streisand’s fifth (and last to date) number one hit on that chart. It notably replaced Queen’s mega smash hit “Another One Bites the Dust”, spent three weeks at number one, and was itself replaced by “Lady” by country singer Kenny Rogers. It also spent five weeks atop the adult contemporary chart, her sixth number one on that tally. The song also proved very popular internationally, reaching number one in many countries, including in the UK Singles Chart. The song sold more than 2.5 millions till December 1981, according to Billboard. The lyrics refer to Streisand’s eternal devotion to her lover. No matter the obstacles they face, they will always be in love with one another.
About midway through the song, Streisand holds a note for 11.1 seconds while singing the line: I stumble and fall / But I give you it all (the word “all” is the one held for that duration). During the chart run of “Woman In Love”, Casey Kasem claimed in an edition of the radio program American Top 40 that this was the longest unaltered note held by a soloist in a number-one song. However, this was corrected a few weeks later as at the time, “All Out Of Love” by Air Supply (16.2 seconds) and “Dim All The Lights” by Donna Summer (16 seconds) had longer notes held (though neither one of these songs reached number one on the charts, but “Woman in Love” did). Streisand, though, held the record at this time for her performance on a duet with Summer, “Enough Is Enough (No More Tears)”, holding the note “tears” at about the 1:44 mark for 16.3 seconds. It was also determined that “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers held the Rock Era record for the longest-held note of any song on the Billboard Hot 100. At about the 3:05 mark, Withers held the note “day” for 18.3 seconds.
All those chart records were broken by lead singer Freddy Curci of Sheriff on the song “When I’m With You”, originally released in 1983 and re-released in 1988. Curci began the last note “you” at the 3:19 mark, before settling on the final note at 3:26, which he held for held for 19.4 seconds.
Streisand has openly stated that she doesn’t like “Woman In Love” because she doesn’t believe in the meaning of the lyrics. She has rarely performed the song live; she did, however, sing it on a couple of dates on her 2013 European tour and the Barbra: The Music, The Mem’ries, The Magic.