Barbra Joan Streisand (born April 24, 1942 in Brooklyn, New York, United States) is an American singer-songwriter, actress, film producer and director. To date, Streisand has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Peabody Award and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award. She is one of the most commercially and critically successful entertainers in modern entertainment history, with more than 71.5 million albums shipped in the United States and 140 million albums sold worldwide. She is the best-selling female artist on the Recording Industry Association of America's Top Selling Artists list, the only female recording artist in the Top 10, and the only artist outside of the rock and roll genre. Along with Frank Sinatra, Cher, and Shirley Jones, she shares the distinction of being awarded an acting Oscar and also recording a #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.
According to the RIAA, Streisand holds the record for the most Top 10 albums of any female recording artist with a total of 32 since 1963. With her 2009 album, “Love Is the Answer,” she became one of the only artists to achieve #1 albums in five consecutive decades. According to the RIAA, she has released 51 gold albums, 30 platinum albums, and 13 multi-platinum albums in the U.S. alone.
Streisand has recorded over 30 studio albums, almost all with Columbia Records. Her early works in the 1960s (her debut “The Barbra Streisand Album,” “The Second Barbra Streisand Album,” “The Third Album,” “My Name Is Barbra,” etc.) are considered classic renditions of theater and cabaret standards, including her slow version of the normally uptempo “Happy Days Are Here Again.”
Beginning with “My Name Is Barbra,” her early albums were often medley-filled keepsakes of her television specials. Starting in 1969, she began attempting more contemporary material, but like many talented singers of the day, she found herself out of her element with rock. Her vocal talents prevailed, and she gained newfound success with the pop and ballad-oriented Richard Perry-produced album “Stoney End” in 1971. The title track, written by Laura Nyro, was a major hit for Streisand.
During the 1970s, she was also highly prominent on the Billboard Pop charts, with Top 10 recordings such as the #1 hits “The Way We Were,” “Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born),” “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” “You Don't Bring Me Flowers and the #3 hit “The Main Event,” some of which came from soundtrack recordings of her films. As the 1970s ended, Streisand was named the most successful female singer in the U.S. with only Elvis Presley and The Beatles having sold more albums. In 1980, she released her best-selling effort to date, the Barry Gibb-produced “Guilty.” The album contained the #1 hit “Woman In Love” “Guilty” and “What Kind of Fool.”
After years of largely ignoring Broadway and traditional pop music in favor of more contemporary material, Streisand returned to her musical-theater roots with 1985's “The Broadway Album,” which was unexpectedly successful, holding the coveted #1 position on the Billboard 200 Albums chart for three straight weeks, and being certified quadruple platinum. The album received Grammy nomination for Album of the Year and handed Streisand her eighth Grammy as Best Female Vocalist.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Streisand started focusing on her film directorial efforts and became almost inactive in the recording studio. In 1991, a four-disc box set, “Just for the Record,” was released. A compilation spanning Streisand's entire career to date, it featured over 70 tracks of live performances, greatest hits, rarities and previously unreleased material.
Streisand returned to the recording studio and released “Back to Broadway” in June 1993. The album was not as universally lauded as its predecessor, but it did debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart. One of the album's highlights was a medley of “I Have A Love” / “One Hand, One Heart,” a duet with Johnny Mathis.
In 1997, she again returned to the recording studio, releasing “Higher Ground,” a collection of songs of a loosely-inspirational nature which also featured a duet with Céline Dion. The album received generally favorable reviews and, remarkably, once again debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart. In 1999, Streisand released an album of love songs entitled “A Love Like Ours.” It produced a modest hit for Streisand in the country-tinged duet with Vince Gill “If You Ever Leave Me.”
Streisand's more-recent albums have been 2001’s “Christmas Memories,” a somewhat somber collection of holiday songs and 2003’s “The Movie Album” featuring famous film themes and backed by a large symphony orchestra. “Guilty Pleasures” a collaboration with Barry Gibb and a sequel to their “Guilty,” was released worldwide in 2005.
In February 2006, Streisand recorded the song “Smile” alongside Tony Bennett at Streisand's Malibu home. The song is included on Tony Bennett's 80th birthday album, “Duets.”
A collection of performances culled from different stops on her 2006 tour, “Live in Concert 2006,” debuted at #7 on the Billboard 200, making it Streisand's 29th Top 10 album.
In 2009, Streisand and Columbia Records released a studio album, “Love is the Answer,” produced by Diana Krall. This album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and registered her biggest weekly sales since 1997, making Streisand the only artist in history to achieve #1 albums in five different decades.
“What Matters Most,” was released in 2011. The studio album is Streisand's collection of songs by her longtime friends Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman. Streisand produced the album herself. It debuted at #4 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.