I’m conscious that fewer female artists feature in my musical posts so I’m on a mission to rectify that omission with a few of my favourites……..Someone suggested Barbra Streisand who I remember listening to as a teenager because my parents were fans, even going to see her in concert in the early 1990s.
Barbra Streisand (1942 – ) is an American singer, actress and filmmaker. With a career spanning over six decades, she has achieved success in multiple fields of entertainment, and is among the few performers awarded an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony (EGOT).
Streisand began her career by performing in nightclubs and Broadway theaters in the early 1960s. Following her guest appearances on various television shows, she signed to Columbia Records, insisting that she retain full artistic control, and accepting lower pay in exchange, an arrangement that continued throughout her career, and released her debut The Barbra Streisand Album (1963), which won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Throughout her recording career, Streisand has topped the US Billboard 200 chart with 11 albums—a record for a woman—including People (1964), The Way We Were (1974), Guilty (1980), and The Broadway Album (1985). She also achieved five number-one singles on the US Billboard Hot 100—”The Way We Were”, “Evergreen”, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)”, and “Woman in Love”.
Following her established recording success in the 1960s, Streisand ventured into film by the end of that decade. She starred in the critically acclaimed Funny Girl (1968), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Additional fame followed with films including the extravagant musical Hello, Dolly! (1969), the screwball comedy What’s Up, Doc?(1972), and the romantic drama The Way We Were (1973). Streisand won a second Academy Award for writing the love theme from A Star Is Born (1976), the first woman to be honoured as a composer. With the release of Yentl (1983), Streisand became the first woman to write, produce, direct and star in a major studio film. The film won an Oscar for Best Score and a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Musical. Streisand also received the Golden Globe Award for Best Director, becoming the first (and for 37 years, the only) woman to win that award. Streisand later directed The Prince of Tides (1991) and The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996).
With sales exceeding 150 million records worldwide, Streisand is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the highest-certified female artist in the United States, with 68.5 million certified album units tying with Mariah Carey. Billboard ranked Streisand as the greatest female artist on the Billboard 200 chart and the top Adult Contemporary female artist of all time. Her accolades include two Academy Awards, 10 Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Grammy Legend Award, five Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and nine Golden Globes. She must have one helluva mantelpiece to display that lot!
With such an amazing body of work (50 studio albums) there are loads of her songs I could’ve chosen but I’m going for The Way We Were from the album of the same name.
The concept for the record first developed in late 1973, following the success of The Way We Were, which was written specifically for the 1973 film starring Streisand and Robert Redford. American composer and producer Marvin Hamlisch was commissioned to write the melody for the track, which he found to be hugely challenging because Streisand wanted him to produce the composition in minor key. Instead wrote it in major key due to his fear that the song’s lyrics would be revealed too quickly to the listener. These detail the personal life of Katie Morosky, the character Streisand portrays in the previously mentioned film, and her troubling relationship with boyfriend Hubbell Gardiner.