Barbra Streisand just made music history as her new platter “Partners” debuts atop the Billboard chart this week, making her the first artist to score #1 albums in six consecutive decades. This disc of duets — which features pairings with a dozen men including Blake Shelton, Michael Buble and Elvis Presley — sold almost 200,000 copies this week, easily outpacing Chris Brown‘s long-delayed “X,” which moved about 145,000 units.
Streisand is now tied with Presley at 10 chart-toppers apiece and extends her lead as the female artist with the most No. 1 albums (Madonna has seven while Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and Britney Spears each have six). The men with more No. 1 albums are: The Beatles (19), Jay-Z (13) and Bruce Springsteen (11).
Streisand first topped the charts with her fourth album, “People,” back on Oct. 31, 1964. While that was her only album in the 1960s to hit #1, she scored three more in the 1970s (“The Way We Were,” 1974; “A Star is Born,” 1976; “Greatest Hits: Volume 2,” 1978); a pair in both the 1980s (“Guilty,” 1980; “The Broadway Album,” 1985) and 1990s (“Back to Broadway,” 1993; “Higher Ground,” 1997) and one in the 2000s (“Love is the Answer,” 2009).
Surprisingly, only three of these — “People,” “Guilty” and “The Broadway Album” — number among her six bids for Album of the Year at the Grammys. She has won that top prize just once: in 1964 for her self-titled debut disc (which reached only #8 on the charts). Her other nominations came for “My Name Is Barbra” (1966) and “Color Me Barbra” (1967).
While “The Broadway Album” lost to Paul Simon‘s “Graceland,” Streisand did win the last of her eight Grammys for that return to her rialto roots prevailing in the now-defunct Pop Female Vocal Performance category (Watch her acceptance speech below and take note that she broke this new Billboard record on the same date — “24” — that is her lucky number.)
She had claimed that prize previously in 1964 (“The Barbra Streisand Album”), 1965 (“People”), 1966 (“My Name is Barbra”) and 1977 (“Evergreen”). That last tune, which she composed, also won her Song of the Year (as well as an Oscar). She also was named Best Pop Duo/Group with Barry Gibb for “Guilty” in 1980.
In all, this versatile singer/songwriter has reaped 40 nominations across a dozen Grammy categories. And she could contend for the first time in the country genre for her collaboration with Shelton on the “Partners” track “I’d Want it To Be You.” While Streisand usually produces her own albums, for “Partners” she put her faith in Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.
That change could be just what is needed to get Streisand back into contention for Album of the Year. After all, Edmonds has won 10 of his 36 Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year for his work on “The Bodyguard” soundtrack back in 1994.
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