Barbra Streisand In-depth Biography
Barbra Streisand}'s status as one of the most successful singers of her generation is all the more remarkable not only because her popularity has been achieved in the face of a dominant musical trend -- rock & roll} -- which she did not follow; but also because, despite an amazing singing voice that has enthralled practically anyone who has heard it, she has always used singing as a mere stepping stone to other careers, as a stage and film actress and as a film director.
Streisand} struggled briefly as an actress and nightclub singer in New York in the early '60s before landing her first part in a Broadway show, I Can Get It for You Wholesale}, in 1962. The cast album for that show and a subsequent appearance on a studio revival of Pins and Needles} were her first recordings. Signed to Columbia Records}, she released her first album, The Barbra Streisand Album}, in 1963. It became a Top Ten, gold-selling record, turning Streisand} into one of the best-selling recording artists of the early '60s.
But despite three successful albums by early 1964, Streisand} turned her back on potentially lucrative concert bookings in favor of a starring role in the Broadway show Funny Girl}, in which she appeared for more than two years. "People"} from that show became her first Top Ten single, and the People} album her first chart-topping LP. She turned to television in 1965 with My Name Is Barbra}, the first of five network specials. In 1967, Streisand} went to Hollywood to film Funny Girl}, for which she would win an Academy Award. But by 1970, with her second and third films flops and her recording career flagging in the face of rock}, she seemed consigned to Las Vegas before turning 30. Instead, she returned to hit-making with a Top Ten cover of Laura Nyro}'s "Stoney End"} and a successful non-singing performance in the comedy The Owl and the Pussycat}.
In the 1970s, Streisand} successfully married her musical and film acting interests, first in The Way We Were}, a hit film with a theme song that became her first number one single; and then with A Star Is Born}, which featured her second number one single, "Evergreen,"} a song she co-wrote. From that point on, every album she released sold at least a million copies. In the late '70s, she found recording success in collaboration: her duet with Neil Diamond}, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers,"} hit number one; as did "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),"} a dance record sung with Donna Summer}. She had her biggest selling album in 1980 with Guilty}, which was written and produced by Barry Gibb} of the Bee Gees} and contained the number one hit "Woman in Love."} In 1983, Streisand}'s first directorial effort, Yentl}, became a successful film with a Top Ten soundtrack album. In 1985, The Broadway Album} returned her to the top of the charts. 1991 saw the release of Just for the Record...}, a boxed set retrospective, and her second film as a director, The Prince of Tides}. Streisand} returned to the concert stage in 1994, resulting in the Top Ten, million-selling album The Concert}. In 1996, she directed her third film, The Mirror Has Two Faces}; and in 1999 she released A Love Like Ours}. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide