Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Barbra Streisand, The #24 Artist of the Seventies*

Barbara Streisand gave her first solo singing performance at age seven at the Jewish Orthodox Yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York.  She was in the Freshman Chorus and Choral Club at Erasmus Hall High School.  Streisand recorded demos at age 13 in 1955, and sang in nightclubs in her teens. 

Streisand aspired to be an actress, and appeared in several Off-Off Broadway productions.  She got a gig at The Lion in Greenwich Village in New York City, and while there, changed her first name to Barbra.  Streisand also performed at the Bon Soir and the Blue Angel.  Barbra became a semi-regular on the talk/variety television show PM East/PM West in 1961.

Streisand landed a role in the play I Can Get It for You Wholesale, her first appearance on Broadway.  Her first album, The Barbra Streisand Album, captured two Grammy Awards.  Barbra received rave reviews for her role in Funny Girl at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway.  She was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, and scored her first big hit with "People" in 1964.

From that point on, everything Streisand did turned to Gold, as 12 of her 13 albums in the 60's were certified by the RIAA.  In 1970, Streisand starred in the movies On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and The Owl and the Pussycat.  
The title song from the former remains a fan favorite.

By 1971, Barbra's voice was recognized as one of the best in the business, and she was established both as an actress and a singer.  In 1971, she released the album Stoney End, which went sold over one million copies.  The title song landed at #2 on the Adult chart and #6 overall in the U.S. and #5 in Canada. 

Later in the year, Barbra released the album Barbra Joan Streisand, which went Gold, and includes a nice cover of the John Lennon song "Love". 

The album also contains this fine track--"I Mean To Shine".

 In 1972, her album Live at the Forum sold over one million copies.  Streisand starred in the hilarious movie What's Up Doc?  that year as well.  In 1973, Streisand released the album Barbra Streisand...And Other Musical Instruments.  Barbra continued to enjoy success on the Easy Listening chart, but she would have to wait another year for another big hit.

In 1974, Barbra starred opposite Robert Redford in the great movie The Way We Were, and she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.  Streisand's 1974 album The Way We Were went to #1 on the Album Chart and went Double Platinum.  The theme for the movie became one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*, topping charts in the U.S. for three weeks and also going to #1 in Canada.  "The Way We Were" has now sold over two million copies.

Streisand's one-of-a-kind vocal ability is showcased on the song "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?"

The album also contains this version of "All In Love Is Fair".

Streisand captured a People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Singer of the Year.  She proceeded to release the albums ButterFly, Lazy Afternoon, and Classical Barbra in 1974, 1975, and 1976, respectively.  All were certified Gold, and Classical Barbra, which featured Streisand singing classical songs, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance.  "Beau Soir" is a great track on the album. 

In 1976, Streisand starred in the movie A Star Is Born, and sang on the movie soundtrack as well.  Her single "Evergreen" also rose to #1 for three weeks in the U.S., reached #1 in Canada, and peaked at #3 in the U.K. and #4 in Ireland.  The Soundtrack for "A Star Is Born" was a #1 album and has gone over four million in sales.  Streisand won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Female Vocal Performance, and was nominated for Record of the Year.  She also earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Evergreen". 

In 1977, Barbra released the album Streisand Superman, a #1 album in Canada and #3 in the United States.  It has now sold over two million copies.  The single "My Heart Belongs To Me" got up to #1 on the Adult chart and #4 on the Popular chart in the United States and #3 in Canada.

In 1978, Streisand released the album Songbird, which went Platinum.  The title song became one of The Top Adult Songs of the 70's*.

Barbra also released her second compilation album, Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits, Volume 2.  It went straight to #1 on the Album chart in the United States, the U.K., Canada, and New Zealand.  It has now sold over five million copies in the U.S. alone, and was also certified 5x Platinum in Canada.  Streisand placed her new duet with Neil Diamond on the compilation album, and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" topped charts in both the U.S. and Canada.

Streisand earned Grammy nominations for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus, and "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" was nominated for Record of the Year.  In 1979, Streisand starred in the movie The Main Event, and "The Main Event/Fight" peaked at #3 in the United States and #5 in Canada. 

The following year, Streisand released the album Wet.  Barbra recorded another high profile duet, this time with Donna Summer, and "Enough Is Enough (No More Tears)" soared to #1 in the United States, #2 in Canada, #3 in the U.K., and #7 in Ireland.

Wet became her seventh consecutive Gold album, and incredibly, her 19th out of 21 studio albums to achieve the coveted status.

In 1981, the compilation Memories gave Streisand another #1 album in the U.K., and has been certified 5x Platinum in the U.S., 5x Platinum in Canada, and 6x Platinum in Australia.

Streisand's biggest career studio album came in 1980, with Guilty on the other side of the cutoff for this special.

In 1988, Streisand earned Favorite All-Time Musical Performer at the People's Choice Awards.  In 1992, she received the Legend Award at the Grammys, and earned a Lifetime Achievement the following year.  In 1995, Barbra received an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Humanities by Brandeis University. 

In 2000, Streisand received the National Medal of Arts, she was inducted as an offer of France's Legion of Honour in 2007, and then received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2008.  In 2011, Barbra was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year.  Streisand received an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.

Streisand's Funny Girl was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006, and "The Way We Were" was inducted in 2008. 

Streisand just released her latest album, Partners, an album of duets, in September.

Barbra sold over 21 million albums in the decade.  She scored 17 hits, but only seven went Top 10, with four #1 smashes.  She excelled on the Adult chart, with 22 hits, with 12 Top 10 songs and four #1's.

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