After a long pandemic lockdown Barbra Streisand had a lot of things on her mind when she Zoomed in for a chat with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show on Tuesday night (Aug. 10). The 79 year-old stage, screen and studio legend tucked into a comfy high-backed chair to talk meeting her husband James Brolin and explain why it’s taken this long to get her iconic duet “Rainbow Connection” with Kermit the Frog onto an album.
“My A&R said, ‘You recorded with Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra and all these people and modern people, too … Jamie Foxx, John Mayer.’ He said, ‘But you’ve never sang with a frog!’”
Truth be told, the track — finally included on the recently released Release Me 2 — was originally cut for her 1979 Wet Album, a disco-ish collection that included the No. 1 Donna Summer duet “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” and “Kiss Me In the Rain.”
But the album was “more romantic songs, more sexy,” she said. “And it wasn’t right for Kermit until now.”
Fallon also noted that her new Release Me 2 rarities collection has only her last name on the cover, which made him wonder if Babs ever considered using a stage name. “People wanted me to be called Barbra Sands. I thought, ‘What? No.’ Streisand is my name. I don’t want to change it,” she told the late-night host. “For my first record, they wanted me to call it Sweet and Saucy Streisand. I am neither too sweet nor too saucy.”
Fallon congratulated Streisand for her 25th anniversary with husband, actor Brolin, whom she met after they were set up on a blind date. The singer revealed that she was so shy at first that she went downstairs to play with the children, waiting until the last moment to sit at the table, where she expected to see a “mountain” man with long, wavy brown hair and a beard.
“And I saw a guy that had all his hair cut off, no beard, and I walked by him and I put my hand through his hair and I said, ‘Who f—ed up your hair?’” Streisand said as Fallon laughed.
Streisand also revealed that her long-in-the-works memoir is still, well, in the works. The singer said she started writing notes in longhand in 20 journals, and in 1984, late first lady and Doubleday Books editor Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis came to her and said she would like to edit the project.
After “really” getting started in 1999 on the project and being waylaid by albums and concerts and then, again, “really” hitting it hard in 2008, 2020 really seemed like the time to finally hunker down. “What year is it now?” she asked. “Fortunately the pandemic helped me finish the book. I’m almost finished.”
And while the studio audience cheered the news, a skeptical Fallon said, “This is what happened last time!” insisting on knowing how far she’s gotten. The answer: Streisand is up to 824 pages and expects to release the as-yet-unnamed memoir next year.
As for whether she’d like to see a biopic, Streisand quipped, “I don’t want to see that. I’m alive, I’m still here!” There is a documentary in the works, though, which she said is also close to being finished.
Check out Streisand’s Tonight Show chat below, and listen to “Rainbow Connection.”