The Barbra Streisand Album

The Barbra Streisand Album
Studio album by Barbra Streisand
Released February 25, 1963
Recorded January 23–25, 1963
Genre Classic pop
Length 32:52
Label Columbia
Producer Mike Berniker
Barbra Streisand chronology
The Barbra Streisand Album
The Second Barbra Streisand Album
Singles from The Barbra Streisand Album
  1. "Happy Days Are Here Again"
    Released: November 1962
Professional ratings
Review scores

The Barbra Streisand Album is the debut album by Barbra Streisand, released February 25, 1963, on Columbia Records, catalogue CL 2007 in mono and CS 8807 in stereo. It peaked at #8 on the Billboard pop albums chart, and has been certified a gold album by the RIAA.

The album won Grammy awards for Album of the Year and Best Female Vocal Performance. [2] In January 2006, the album was inducted in Grammy Hall of Fame.


Initially, Columbia label president Goddard Lieberson resisted signing Streisand to a contract, finding her style too close to the cabaret singers he disliked and too far from the understated approach of Jo Stafford or Rosemary Clooney, who recorded for the label in the 1950s.[3] After exposure to a television interview of Streisand by Mike Wallace on PM East/PM West and pressure from associates, Lieberson relented and agreed to sign her. In Just For the Record..., Streisand indicated that:

The most important thing about that first contract - actually, the thing we held out for - was a unique clause giving me the right to choose my own material. It was the only thing I really cared about. I still received lots of pressure from the label to include some pop hits on my first album, but I held out for the songs that really meant something to me.[4]

Despite Lieberson's early objections, Streisand would go on to spend her entire career to date recording for Columbia.

Initially Streisand's first album was to be a "live" recording. Streisand had made a name for herself performing at the Bon Soir nightclub in New York City, which attracted primarily a gay clientele.[5] Her producer Mike Berniker brought a crew to the club to record Streisand accompanied only by the Bon Soir house pianist, Peter Daniels.[6] These recordings were scrapped, although the cover shot for the album was taken during a performance at the Bon Soir.. Material from the Bon Soir sets later appeared on her CD boxed set "Just For The Record".

Barbra chose the title for the album, rejecting Columbia's suggestion of "Sweet and Saucy Streisand".[7]


Recording studio sessions took place January 23–25, 1963, at Columbia's Studio A in New York City with a budget of $18,000. Material was mostly chosen from Broadway standards, many of which were fairly obscure.[6] "I'll Tell the Man in the Street" was originally performed by Dennis King in the 1938 production of I Married An Angel, and "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" was taken from the 1933 Disney cartoon Three Little Pigs. Not one of his well-known numbers, "Come to the Supermarket (in Old Peking)" appeared in a 1958 television special with music by Cole Porter, while "A Sleepin' Bee" came from the 1954 musical House of Flowers.

"Soon It's Gonna Rain" and "Much More" were both introduced in the 1960 off-Broadway musical The Fantasticks, and the 1930 film Chasing Rainbows provided "Happy Days Are Here Again". "Cry Me A River" was a signature song of Julie London, while "A Taste of Honey" had coincidentally just been recorded over in England by The Beatles for their 1963 debut album, Please Please Me.

"Happy Days Are Here Again" was released as Columbia single 42631 with "When the Sun Comes Out" on the b-side, but it did not chart.[8] Notwithstanding, at the 1964 Grammy Awards, The Barbra Streisand Album won awards in the categories of Album of the Year, Best Female Vocal Performance, and Best Album Cover - Other Than Classical, the latter presented to art director John Berg.[9]

The only song recorded but not included on this album was "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered which Streisand and Mike Berniker recorded on two separate dates (including a later session on January 29). The song was included instead on Streisand's" The Third Album" using a Peter Daniels arrangement.[10]

Streisand chose Century Italic typeface for the album sleeve of her debut album, which would also be used on 19 other Streisand album covers.[10]

The album made its digital debut on CD in 1987 and was re-released in a remastered CD edition on October 19, 1993.

Critical reception

AllMusic gave the album a retrospective five (out of five) stars, and called it "an essential recording in the field of pop vocals because it redefines that genre in contemporary terms",and "the first thing that strikes you listening to it, is that great voice. And it isn't just the sheer quality of the voice, its purity and its strength throughout its register, it's also the mastery of vocal effects that produce dramatic readings of the lyrics -- each song is like a one-act musical."

Track listing

Side one

1."Cry Me a River"  Arthur Hamilton3:37
2."My Honey's Lovin' Arms"  Joseph Meyer, Harry Ruby2:14
3."I'll Tell the Man in the Street"  Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers3:09
4."A Taste of Honey"  Ric Marlow, Bobby Scott2:51
5."Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"  Frank Churchill, Ann Ronell2:35
6."Soon It's Gonna Rain"  Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt3:44

Side two

1."Happy Days Are Here Again"  Milton Ager, Jack Yellen3:04
2."Keepin' Out of Mischief Now"  Andy Razaf, Thomas Waller2:11
3."Much More"  Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt3:02
4."Come to the Supermarket in Old Peking"  Cole Porter1:56
5."A Sleepin' Bee"  Harold Arlen, Truman Capote4:21

CD bonus 2014

1."My Coloring Book"  John Kander, Fred Ebb3:11


Weekly charts

Chart Peak
Australian Albums Chart (Kent Music Report)[11] 6
US Billboard 200[12] 8

Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[13] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. AllMusic review
  2. Inc, Nielsen Business Media (23 May 1964). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. via Google Books.
  3. Gary Mamorstein. The Label: The Story of Columbia Records. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2007. p. 321.
  4. Barbra Streisand. Just for the Record... Columbia C4K 44111, 1991, liner notes.
  5. Mamorstein, p. 320.
  6. 1 2 Mamorstein, p. 322.
  7. Mann, William J. (2012). Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 306. ISBN 978-0-547-36892-4.
  8. Barbra Archives website retrieved 10/02/11 The November release date for the single as stated in most histories conflicts with January recording sessions for the album of two months later, unless this track was recorded for single release earlier, or derived from the rejected club recordings.
  9. "Past Winners Search".
  10. 1 2 "Barbra Streisand Archives - 1963 The Barbra Streisand Album - LP, CD".
  11. David Kent (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970 - 1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. "Barbra Streisand – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Barbra Streisand. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  13. "American album certifications – Barbra Streisand – The Barbra Streisand Album". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
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