is the only recording artist to have number one albums in five consecutive decades. She has achieved 51 Gold, 30 Platinum and 18 multi-Platinum albums, each of which, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, exceeds all other female singers. Her most recent GRAMMY® nominated album, What Matters Most, and Release Me became her 31st and 32nd to reach the Top Ten in the charts, with which she passed The Beatles to become the third highest achiever in that significant statistic, exceeded only by the Rolling Stones and Frank Sinatra. She is the only female among the top ten album-selling recording artists and also the only one to have done so in the pop music field during decades dominated by rock and country sales dominance. In her sixth decade of providing music magic, Barbra Streisand continues to reach the top of the charts. Her Back To Brooklyn concert DVD was confirmed as No. 1 on the Billboard Top DVD Music Video chart. Achieving that distinction with the Columbia Records release, Streisand now has topped the DVD charts five times. Her success in the DVD field also includes having earned nine Gold DVDs, six Platinum and three multi-Platinum titles.
The Streisand Foundation has given millions of dollars in more than 2100 grants to over 700 non-profit organizations including her substantial underwriting of The Cedars-Sinai Barbra Streisand Women's Cardiovascular Research and Education Program which addresses the leading cause of death among women in the United States. The legendary artist also has raised many millions more for a variety of causes through her performances. Barbra Streisand was recently honored by the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors for her generous support and dedication to the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center at Cedars Sinai Hospital.
About Funny Girl:
The musical by librettist Isobel Lennart, composer Jule Styne (Gypsy, Bells Are Ringing) and lyricist Bob Merrill (Carnival, New Girl in Town) depicted the rise to fame of comedienne/Ziegfeld Follies star Fanny Brice (Streisand, in her second Broadway role) and her troubled relationship with husband Nicky Arnstein (Sydney Chaplin, son of Charlie and star of Styne’s Bells Are Ringing and Subways Are For Sleeping). Kay Medford and Danny Meehan also starred as Mrs. Brice and Eddie Ryan, respectively, and future All in the Family “Dingbat” Jean Stapleton was featured as Mrs. Strakosh. Funny Girl, directed by Garson Kanin and produced by Brice’s son-in-law Ray Stark, opened on March 26, 1964 after 17 previews at the Winter Garden Theatre (today, home to the musical Rocky). It then transferred to two more theaters before closing in 1967 after 1,348 performances; Mimi Hines succeeded Streisand as Fanny.
The show earned eight Tony nominations, but won none of them thanks to the unstoppable competition from David Merrick’s production of Hello, Dolly!. Streisand would be awarded for her portrayal of Fanny, however, when she won Golden Globe and Academy Awards for the 1968 film version. It would be her first role in a film. The musical produced a number of standards, including “I’m The Greatest Star,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and, of course, “People,” not to mention one of the most electrifying overtures ever composed.
The original cast album, one of Streisand’s only recordings not on Columbia Records, was recorded over just one session (as was standard practice at the time) at the Manhattan Center studios on April 5, 1964 and was produced by Dick Jones. Longtime Broadway champion Goddard Lieberson, the president of Columbia, reportedly passed on the cast album but made a stipulation that Streisand record a number of songs from the score for Columbia which she did in December of that year. (Two – “Who Are You Now” and “Cornet Man” – still remain locked in the Columbia vaults.) Lieberson might have rethought his passing on the album if he could have foreseen its success. In stores just a scant week after it was recorded, it went on to spend 51 weeks on the Billboard chart. It peaked at No. 2, kept from pole position only by The Beatles’ Second Album (illuminating how much the charts have changed over 50 years!). The Original Broadway Cast Recording of Funny Girl would eventually be certified Gold in September of 1964 and go on to win the Grammy for Best Original Cast Album. It was released on CD in 1987 on Capitol and in 1992 on EMI’s Broadway Angel Label, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004.