Fascinating music

Barbra Streisand: albums, singles, music

Matt Howe writes this guest post announcing his new book: Barbra Streisand: albums, singles, music.

Happy birthday to Barbra Streisand, who turns 80 today. Singer. Actor. Director. Producer. Songwriter. I created the Barbra Archives website in 2003 in her honor, before there was Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. At the time, I only went to the Amazon site if I wanted to order a book or DVD online (whereas the other day I ordered cat food and a hearth!). In 2003, I didn’t even have a cell phone.

After watching the movie Yentl, I became a fan of Barbra Streisand, and my obsession with her iconic career continued after that. My enthusiastic devotion to Barbra was cemented in 1994 when I finally saw her in concert – she did not disappoint; in fact, she was extraordinary.

Somehow, was I in an AOL chat room? A Yahoo newsgroup? I started connecting with other fans, many of whom lived in my area. I sent a few dollars to Allison Waldman, who distributed the BarbraFile newsletter (printed on paper!), which carried all the latest news about Miss Streisand. I also started collecting UK All about Barbara magazines, which I was able to buy imported from Tower Records (remember the record stores?).

What really appealed to me, however, was all of the rare and enticing things circulating among Streisand fans. Bootlegs are bad for record company business, but Barbra Archives wouldn’t exist if I couldn’t write about all the unreleased recordings she’s made. In the 1990s and 2000s, I could choose tracks or entire CDs from a list, and the seller would mail them to me. Did I send them a money order? This was before PayPal, I believe. Later, in Yahoo groups, we would exchange downloads with each other. I’ve heard Barbra’s 1962 nightclub number at Le Bon Soir, her 1966 concerts, and even rare singles that I could never find at my local record stores.

Here we are, 19 years later, and Barbra Archives is a passion project I’ve been curating all this time. My motivation is purely the love I have for Barbra Streisand’s talent and career, and the joy I receive from cataloging all things Barbra. Yes, I often scream with joy if I discover a rare photo or a juicy recording that we had never heard of before.

The magic around this whole endeavor is that my little website has transcended being a tribute to “the biggest star” and a place of celebration for fans. After a few years, I gradually started assisting Barbra’s team when they had questions or needed photographs. When Barbra started touring more often, I even got to meet the woman herself. I became a fact checker, research assistant and photo provider. Suddenly, when I opened the liner notes of a Streisand CD or leafed through a concert program, I saw my name in the credits! I pinch myself again. I attend a little, and not all the time, but I’m always excited and amazed to be involved in such a capacity.

I’ve met Barbra several times, and the experience is always sweet and, frankly, head-spinning. His eyes are really bright blue. I once told her how much it meant to me to meet her and how happy I was that the website I created about her amazing career was of some use. Now, Streisand has repeatedly admitted that she doesn’t watch herself on the internet, so I don’t want to give the impression that she’s clicking on Barbra’s archives — she has assistants who do that.

Barbra turns 80 today, which is hard to believe. This fall, she also celebrates her 60th birthday in show business (if we count her Broadway debut in 1962, the year she signed a recording contract with Columbia Records). These are important steps. I am inspired when I reflect on Barbra’s long life and accomplishments. Think of the millions of people (who need people) she’s touched around the world with her voice and her acting over the years – all the weddings that have played “Evergreen”… all the drag queens that have lip-synced to “Don’t Rain on My Parade”…all the singers who looked up to her and the female directors who benefited from Barbra’s directorial debut, Yentl.

Today I send my love and best wishes to Barbra on this momentous day. chaimBarbara!

I’ve been writing a book about Barbra Streisand’s recording career for the past year, so it’s time to announce that Barbra Streisand: albums, singles, music will be released one year from today, April 24, 2023. The book will focus on Barbra’s albums and singles. Fans will see album covers, tracks, and catalog numbers that explain all of the different album versions released in the United States. I have sprinkled the book with rare photos which I hope will surprise and delight. I explained each album, giving interesting background information about the songs, including previously unreleased songs; stories about recording sessions; and more.

There are special sections on Barbra’s close collaborators, the talented musicians, composers and arrangers she has collaborated with over the years who are essential to her recording legacy. Other sections highlight Streisand’s iconic songs, with interesting details about those songs. In the book, I give my thoughts on Barbra’s recording projects, with the hope that I can inspire long-time fans (or new ones) to listen to tracks they may not have considered. for a while. After all, Streisand has recorded over 60 albums – there are even some tracks that I don’t like, and I share that too.

Fayetteville Mafia Press will publish Barbra Streisand: albums, singles, music in hardcover and digital; it’s in full color, with oversized pages and photo-quality paper. This book has been created with care, and the quality will not disappoint.

I’m happy to announce that the book is up for pre-order now:

Barbra Streisand: Music

On February 25, 1963, Columbia Records released The Barbra Streisand Album. The first song was “Cry Me a River”, and with that a star was born. Barbra Joan Streisand had a goofy personality backed by a talent that Stephen Sondheim described as “one of the two or three best voices in the world for singing songs”, adding “It’s not just her voice but her intensity, her passion and its control.”

Over the years, some of Barbra Streisand’s best songs have expressed her ambition and inspired us all. First she sang “Nobody’s gonna rain on my parade”, then “The world will know I’ve been here”. Later still, she sang “Everybody Says No, But I Say Yes” and “You Gonna Hear From Me”. After 80 years on the planet and over 60 albums, 19 films, the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai, the Streisand Foundation and her many philanthropic contributions to women’s rights and the environment…Barbra has made her mark and paraded his band outside, beat his drum. She taught me in 1983 that “with all there is, why settle for a piece of heaven?”

Matt Howe created Barbra Archives, an unofficial website he maintains that discusses Barbra Streisand’s decades-long career, in 2003. Barbra Archives has become the go-to site for the Streisand fan community wanting to learn more about her albums, films and gigs. Matt’s encyclopedic knowledge of Miss Streisand’s accomplishments even prompted her to joke that he knows more about her career than she does! Since 2006, Matt has been assisting his team with photo research and fact-checking for concerts and appearances.