Barbra Streisand's Partners is set to enter The Billboard 200 at #1 next week. Unless current projections are way off base, it will beat out the latest albums by Chris Brown and Tim McGraw. This will be the sixth consecutive decade in which Streisand has landed a #1 album. “I was proud to have it in five decades; that was good,” Streisand told Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, when asked about her streak. Then she playfully added, “But I’d like six. It’s an even number.” In honor of Streisand’s historic achievement, here are 12 facts you may not know about Streisand and this album.
1. Streisand will have the longest span of #1 albums in chart history, just shy of 50 years. She first topped the chart in October 1964 with People. Elvis Presley will fall to second place, with a 46-year span of #1 albums (May 1956 to October 2002). (Coincidentally, Presley is one of Streisand’s duet partners on her album).
2. This will be Streisand’s 10th #1 album, which will extend her lead over Madonna as the female artist with the most #1 albums in chart history. Madonna has had eight. Only four other artists have had 10 or more #1 albums: the Beatles (19), Jay Z (13), Bruce Springsteen (11) and Presley (10).
3. Streisand, 72, will be the second-oldest artist ever to notch a #1 album. Tony Bennett was 85 when he topped the chart in October 2011 with Duets II. (Streisand is as old as the next two artists on next week’s chart combined: Chris Brown, 25, and Tim McGraw, 47.)
4. Following up on the remarkable fact I mentioned in the lead, Streisand has had at least one #1 album in every decade since the 1960s. She had one #1 album in the ’60s, three in the ’70s, two in the ’80s, two in the ’90s, one in the 2000s and will soon have one in the 2010s. John Lennon and Paul McCartney had a #1 in each decade from the 1960s through the 2000s, but only if you combine solo and Beatles albums. Streisand did it all by herself.
5. Eight of Streisand’s 12 duet partners on the regular edition of the new album have had #1 albums of their own: Michael Buble, Stevie Wonder, John Mayer, Billy Joel, Blake Shelton, Lionel Richie, Josh Groban and Elvis Presley.
6. This is Streisand’s second album of collaborations. Duets, featuring pairings she had recorded throughout her career plus two newly-recorded tracks, reached #38 in 2002. It was certified gold the following year. Josh Groban is the only guest artist who is featured on both Duets and the regular edition of the new album.
7. All of Streisand’s duet partners on the new album are men—a curious choice for a woman who is known as a strong feminist. (By contrast, four of Streisand’s partners on Duets were women: Judy Garland, Donna Summer, Kim Carnes and Celine Dion. Make that five if you count one track in which Streisand sang a duet with herself.)
8. The new album includes a duet by Streisand and her son, Jason Gould, on Irving Berlin's “How Deep Is The Ocean.” This is their first studio-recorded duet. Deep trivia: Streisand had an album (Je m’appelle Barbra) in the top 10 the week Gould was born in December 1966.
9. This will be Streisand’s 33rd top 10 album, a total equaled or topped by only one artist since the album chart became a regular weekly feature in March 1956. The Rolling Stones lead the pack with 36 top 10 albums in that time frame (though they haven’t added to their tally since 2005). Streisand is far ahead of Madonna (20) as the female artist with the most top 10 albums.
10. Streisand first hit the top 10 in the summer of 1963 with The Barbra Streisand Album. In all that time, she has never gone five years without a top 10 album. Her longest shut-out was four years and seven months between Till I Loved You in December 1988 and Back To Broadway in July 1993. (During that period, she made the movie The Prince Of Tides.)
11. Streisand’s new album was released just in time for Grammy eligibility. If it wins for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, it will be Streisand’s first Grammy in 28 years—since The Broadway Album took the award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in February 1987. That would be nearly as long (and surprising) a shut-out as Meryl Streep's 29-year gap between her Oscars for Sophie’s Choice and The Iron Lady.
12. Streisand really hustled to land this #1 album. She appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America and The View, as well as such shows as Entertainment Tonight and Extra. I think this shows that even legends care about their career stats.
Here’s a bonus item for you: This isn’t the first time that Columbia Records has released an album titled Partners. Willie Nelson released an album by that title in 1986. It made the top 20 on Top Country Albums. (P.S. And when are these two great vocalists going to record a duet?)
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