Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Music History Monday: A Voice Like Buttah!

Barbra Streisand (born 1942) in 1965
Barbra Streisand (born 1942) in 1965

We mark the birth on April 24, 1942 – 81 years ago today – of the American singer, songwriter, actress, and filmmaker Barbara Joan “Barbra” Streisand, in Brooklyn, New York.  

But first, before we get to the magnificent Babs, a brief but spirited edition of “This Day In Music History  . . .” okay, “stupid” is too strong a word, so let’s just call it, “This Day In Music History . . . Dumb.”

On April 24, 2007 – 16 years ago today – the American musician, actress, singer, and songwriter Sheryl Crowe (born 1962) declared on her website that in order to help the environment, the use of toilet paper should be limited to:

“only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required.” 

We cannot help but wonder precisely what “pesky occasions” Crowe might be referring to.  Additionally, we must assume that Ms. Crowe’s proscription again TP overuse was intended to be voluntary, as the issues surrounding enforcement are, indeed, troubling.

Sheryl Crow’s environmental concerns extended, as well, to what she deemed to be the profligate use of napkins. She went so far as to design a line of clothing that featured what she called a “dining sleeve.” Those sleeves – what amounted to wearable napkins – were “replaceable”: they could be detached after diners had used them to wipe their mouths and replaced with clean sleaves.  What a shock that “dining sleeves” never caught on!

Sheryl Crowe demonstrating (wastefully demonstrating!) how to properly employ toilet paper
Sheryl Crowe (born 1962) demonstrating (wastefully demonstrating!) how to properly employ toilet paper

While we would acknowledge that Sheryl Crowe’s environmental heart is in the right place, we would respectfully suggest she aim a bit higher than toilet paper and for example, stop drinking from plastic water bottles, as seen in the image above. 

Just suggesting.

Barbra Streisand (born 1942)

There is nothing I can say about Maestra Streisand that has not already been said a thousand times.  Regarding her talents as a singer, actress, and filmmaker; her command of the stage; her intelligence and sense of humor; her ego and ambition; her philanthropy and activism; the clichés be damned, she is truly a force of nature: one-of-a-kind.  She has been a constant presence in our cultural lives for seven decades: her first network television appearance occurred on April 5, 1961, when she appeared on The Jack Paar Show (later, The Tonight Show), which was guest-hosted that evening by Orson Bean (1928-2020).  

Orson Bean (1928-2020) in 1965
Orson Bean (1928-2020) in 1965

Bean late recalled:

“I met Barbra when she was 18 and singing at a place in Greenwich Village.  When I guest-hosted The Jack Paar Show I got them to fly her in from a club she was playing in Detroit. She was a nervous wreck.  But then when she started singing – [the song] ‘A Sleepin’ Bee’ – it was like God singing through her. She got a standing ovation, which doesn’t happen on TV. It was an incredible moment.”

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