Who Are Duck Sauce and Why "Barbra Streisand?"

2014 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival - Twin Peaks Stage - Day 2
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Watch "Barbra Streisand"

Written by Frank Farian, Heinz Huth, Jurgen Huth, Fred Jay, Alain Macklovitch and Armand Van Helden

Produced by Duck Sauce

Duck Sauce

Duck Sauce was created in 2009 as a side project by the duo of American dance DJ Armand Van Helden and Canadian dance DJ A-Trak. Their first released song was "aNYway." The stylized form of the name was adopted to emphasize their New York City base. The song became a hit in the UK topping the dance chart there and reaching #22 on the pop chart.

Armand Van Helden emerged as a key figure in dance music in the mid-1990s. He released his first official single in 1991 and first hit the US dance chart in 1994 with "Witch Doktor" which peaked at #3. His 1999 single "You Don't Know Me" went all the way to #1 on the UK pop singles chart and #2 on the US dance chart. Armand Van Helden also earned success as a remixer. His well-received mix of Tori Amos' "Professional Widow" topped both the UK pop singles chart and the US dance chart. 

Alain Macklovitch, aka DJ A-TRak, is both a prominent DJ and a record label owner. He helped run the label Audio Research from 1997 through 2007 when he formed the new label Fool's Gold. In 2004 A-Trak was hired to be Kanye West's personal tour DJ, and they have worked closely together ever since. His scratch mixing work was included on the albums Late Registration and Graduation. A-Trak has become known for incorporating elements of hip hop music with his dance music mixes. A-Trak was listed as the seventh best American DJ in 2013 by DJ Times magazine.

Following success with "Barbra Streisand," Duck Sauce released a series of additional singles including "Big Bad Wolf," "It's You," and "NRG." However, none of them achieved significant chart success. 

Why "Barbra Streisand?"

The answer to that question is essentially, "Why not?" The use of the name of a music industry icon as the only words in an otherwise instrumental dance composition did have precedent. In 1991 the Dutch duo L.A. Style took "James Brown Is Dead" to the top 5 of the dance chart with only the worlds, "James Brown is dead," repeated as lyrics.

Some in the dance music community saw "Barbra Streisand," with its retro-sounding house and disco-influenced mix, as five minutes of needless fluff. Others saw insanely catchy humor and a possible reference back to Barbra Streisand's own short-lived success in the disco realm with her hits "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" with Donna Summer and "The Main Event." The rest of the Duck Sauce debut album Quack includes retro sounding dance tracks that reference other movements in dance music.

"Barbra Streisand" includes a sample from the German disco group Boney M's 1979 hit single "Gotta Go Home."

International Hit Single 

"Barbra Streisand" became an international pop and dance hit. It peaked at #3 on the UK pop singles chart and hit the top 10 in most other major pop music markets outside of the US. "Barbra Streisand" was a #1 hit across much of central Europe and Scandinavia. In the US "Barbra Streisand" went to #1 on the dance chart but only climbed to #89 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The album Quack, including "Barbra Streisand," was released in 2014 and reached the top 10 on the US electronic/dance albums chart. Duck Sauce earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Dance Recording for "Barbra Streisand."

Covers and Use In Other Media

The Glee cast covered "Barbra Streisand" in the second season in the episode "Born This Way." The episode celebrated homosexuality and the value of seeing yourself for who you are. "Barbra Streisand" provided the soundtrack for a flash mob performance. The Glee cover of "Barbra Streisand" was not released as an official single from the show. 

Vitaminwater used "Barbra Streisand" in a commercial campaign in 2011.