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The Barbra Streisand Album

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Barbra Streisand Album
Studio album by
ReleasedFebruary 25, 1963
RecordedJanuary 23–25, 1963
StudioColumbia 7th Ave, New York City
GenreClassic pop
ProducerMike Berniker
Barbra Streisand chronology
The Barbra Streisand Album
The Second Barbra Streisand Album
Singles from The Barbra Streisand Album
  1. "Happy Days Are Here Again"
    Released: November 1962

The Barbra Streisand Album is the debut album by Barbra Streisand, released February 25, 1963, on Columbia Records, catalogue CL 2007 in mono and CS 8807 in stereo. It peaked at #8 on the Billboard pop albums chart, and has been certified a gold album by the RIAA. By 1966, the album had sold over one million copies worldwide.

The album won Grammy awards for Album of the Year and Best Female Vocal Performance.[1] In January 2006, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.


Columbia label president Goddard Lieberson initially resisted signing Streisand to a contract, finding her style too close to the cabaret singers he disliked and too far from the understated approach of Jo Stafford or Rosemary Clooney, who recorded for the label in the 1950s.[2] Lieberson relented and agreed to sign her. Nearly three decades later Streisand said:

The most important thing about that first contract – actually, the thing we held out for – was a unique clause giving me the right to choose my own material. It was the only thing I really cared about. I still received lots of pressure from the label to include some pop hits on my first album, but I held out for the songs that really meant something to me.[3][4]

Streisand exercised her creative control and chose the straightforward album title, rejecting Columbia's choice of Sweet and Saucy Streisand.[5] Streisand said, "'What is the truth of it? It's the Barbra Streisand album.' If you saw me on TV, you could just go [to the record shop] and ask for the Barbra Streisand album. It's common sense."[4] Despite Lieberson's initial reservations, Streisand went on to become one of Columbia's most enduring artists.

The album was originally conceived as a live recording, since Streisand had made a name for herself performing at New York City nightclubs such as the Bon Soir and the Blue Angel. Her producer Mike Berniker brought a crew to the Bon Soir to record Streisand accompanied by the nightclub's house musicians and her pianist, Peter Daniels.[6] The live recordings were shelved in favor of studio recordings, although the photograph for the album cover was taken during the Bon Soir session.[citation needed] Some material from the Bon Soir sets would later appear on Streisand's Just for the Record... retrospective box set in 1991; and, coinciding with the sixtieth anniversary of those sessions, the full recordings were released as Live at the Bon Soir in 2022.[7]


Recording studio sessions took place January 23–25, 1963, at Columbia's Studio A in New York City with a budget of $18,000. Material was mostly chosen from Broadway standards, many of which were fairly obscure.[6] "I'll Tell the Man in the Street" was originally performed by Dennis King in the 1938 production of I Married An Angel, and "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" was taken from the 1933 Disney cartoon Three Little Pigs. Streisand's rendition of the Disney song began with the quoting of the first 11 notes from the "Cat Theme" from Russian composer Serge Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf", which did result in a lawsuit against Columbia Records, from Prokofiev's estates, which was settled out of court, with Prokofiev's widow receiving half of the proceeds for the unapproved quote. The Disney song ended on a Spike Jones style of rhythm and slide whistles, heard at the end of the track, before the song's fade. Not one of Cole Porter's well-known numbers, "Come to the Supermarket (in Old Peking)" appeared in a 1958 television special with music by Cole Porter, while "A Sleepin' Bee" came from the 1954 musical House of Flowers.

"Soon It's Gonna Rain" and "Much More" were both introduced in the 1960 off-Broadway musical The Fantasticks, and the 1930 film Chasing Rainbows provided "Happy Days Are Here Again". "Cry Me A River" was a signature song of singer Julie London, while "A Taste of Honey" was coincidentally recorded less than three weeks later by the Beatles for their 1963 debut album, Please Please Me.

"Happy Days Are Here Again" was released as Columbia single 42631 with "When the Sun Comes Out" on the b-side, but it did not chart.[8] Notwithstanding, at the 1964 Grammy Awards, The Barbra Streisand Album won awards in the categories of Album of the Year, Best Female Vocal Performance, and Best Album Cover - Other Than Classical, the latter presented to art director John Berg.[9]

The only song recorded but not included on this album was "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered which Streisand and Mike Berniker recorded on two separate dates (including a later session on January 29). The song was included instead on Streisand's The Third Album using a Peter Daniels arrangement.[10]

Streisand chose Century Expanded Italic, the typeface for the album sleeve of her debut album, which would also be used on 19 other Streisand album covers.[10]

The album made its digital debut on CD in 1987 and was re-released in a remastered CD edition on October 19, 1993.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores

AllMusic gave the album a retrospective five (out of five) stars, and called it "an essential recording in the field of pop vocals because it redefines that genre in contemporary terms," and "the first thing that strikes you listening to it, is that great voice. And it isn't just the sheer quality of the voice, its purity and its strength throughout its register, it's also the mastery of vocal effects that produce dramatic readings of the lyrics -- each song is like a one-act musical."

Track listing



Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[17] Gold 500,000^
Worldwide 1,000,000[18]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (23 May 1964). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Gary Mamorstein. The Label: The Story of Columbia Records. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2007. p. 321.
  3. ^ Barbra Streisand. Just for the Record... Columbia C4K 44111, 1991, liner notes.
  4. ^ a b Savage, Mark (4 August 2021). "Barbra Streisand: 'I've always had the right to sing what I want'". BBC News.
  5. ^ Mann, William J. (2012). Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 306. ISBN 978-0-547-36892-4.
  6. ^ a b Mamorstein, p. 322.
  7. ^ Blistein, Jon (Sep 23, 2022). "Barbra Streisand Unearths 'Live at Bon Soir' Nightclub Recordings That Were Supposed to Be Her First Album". Rolling Stone.
  8. ^ Barbra Archives website retrieved 10/02/11 Archived 2011-01-01 at the Wayback Machine The November release date for the single as stated in most histories conflicts with January recording sessions for the album of two months later, unless this track was recorded for single release earlier, or derived from the rejected club recordings.
  9. ^ "Past Winners Search".
  10. ^ a b "Barbra Streisand Archives - 1963 The Barbra Streisand Album - LP, CD".
  11. ^ AllMusic review
  12. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970 - 1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "Barbra Streisand Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  14. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1963". Archived from the original on October 10, 2012.. Cash Box magazine.
  15. ^ "Billboard 200 Albums - Year-end charts". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  16. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1964". Archived from the original on August 26, 2012.. Cash Box magazine.
  17. ^ "American  album  certifications – Barbra Streisand – The Barbra Streisand Album". Recording Industry Association of America.
  18. ^ Lurie, Diana (18 March 1966). Stricken with phenomenal success at 23, Barbra Streisand is more ridden than ever by self-doubts and fears. Life. Time Inc. pp. 93–. ISSN 0024-3019.

External links

This page was last edited on 28 September 2022, at 00:49
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