Welcome to today’s Weekend Wround-Up: The Diva Edition!
Nobody – no, nobody! – is going to rain on Barbra Streisand’s parade. Columbia Records, the singer’s home since 1963, has announced that Streisand will remain with the label that guided her to stardom. Speculation had arisen some months back that the singer might decamp for a new artistic residence, but those rumors have now officially been set to rest. "From the day [legendary Columbia President] Goddard Lieberson signed me almost 50 years ago, Columbia Records has been my recording home,” said Streisand in a statement, “and I am thrilled to continue that partnership for many years to come.” Steve Barnett, Chairman and COO of Columbia Records, confirmed the news: "There are stars and there are superstars, and there's Barbra Streisand...Columbia Records is proud to play a vital role in her extraordinary career. We're looking forward to the next chapter in our long and fruitful relationship." Indeed, Tony Bennett is the rare artist with a longer tenure at Columbia, and unlike Streisand, he took a sabbatical from the label's ranks in the 1970s.
After the release of 2009′s Diana Krall-produced Love is the Answer, Streisand became the only artist ever to have No. 1 records in five consecutive decades in America. Her 2011 tribute to the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, What Matters Most, didn’t make a sixth decade at No. 1 (though she still has time!) but opened at a still-impressive No. 4 on the Billboard chart. As her 31st album to make the Top 10, Streisand moved into third place in that overall category of achievement, passing The Beatles! (Frank Sinatra and The Rolling Stones are still in the lead.) And Streisand’s other chart stats are no less remarkable. She’s in a three-way tie at sixth place for the most charting No. 1 singles by a female performer, and is second only to Reba McEntire for worldwide No. 1 albums with thirteen.
So how is Columbia celebrating Streisand’s near 50-year tenure? A 12-DVD box set has been promised which, according to Billboard, will feature “unprecedented access into Streisand’s professional and personal life. The DVD set will consist of never-before-seen footage directly from Barbra’s archives.” Rest assured, The Second Disc will report on that exciting project once official details have arrived. But in the meantime, what Barbra Streisand albums would you like to see reissue, and in what form? Sound off below! I’ll start the ball rolling with a suggestion of a mono/stereo edition of 1963’s The Barbra Streisand Album, the album which started it all for the girl from Brooklyn with the big voice. I’ll add the original recording of “When the Sun Comes Out,” the B-side of its single “Happy Days Are Here Again,” as one possible bonus track!
Which Bette Midler album has Friday Music selected for reissue this April? Hit the jump to find out!
1977’s 2-LP Live at Last was the first live album from The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, and her fourth album for Atlantic Records. Friday Music has announced that this title, currently out-of-print, will return to CD on April 10. Recorded in Ohio at The Cleveland Music Hall, Live at Last preserves all aspects of a Midler concert, from brassy vocals to bawdy routines and everything in between, including The Harlettes!
From her already-rich repertoire came such favorites as “Friends,” “Do You Wanna Dance” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” but Midler also expressed her tender side via affecting songs like John Prine’s “Hello in There” and Tom Waits’ “Shiver Me Timbers.” Even Neil Young’s “Birds” gets the Midler treatment on this typically eclectic album. Live at Last dedicated much of one LP side to The Vicki Eydie Show, Midler’s lounge spoof, and there’s also The Story of Nanette, a lengthy segment incorporating Kurt Weill and Johnny Mercer as filtered through Miss M’s unique sensibilities. Of course, no Midler concert to this very day is complete without a Sophie Tucker routine, and so “Soph” makes her obligatory appearance. Two studio recordings filled out the original Live at Last LP: Ashford and Simpson’s “Bang, You’re Dead” and Midler’s own, irresistible “You’re Moving Out Today,” co-written with Carole Bayer Sager and Bruce Roberts. (Sager recorded the song on her self-titled solo debut, and it actually topped the charts down under!)
Might there be more Midler on the way? Friday Music has previously hinted that Songs from a New Depression, the 1976 studio album which preceded Live at Last, might be in the pipeline, as well; “Shiver Me Timbers” and “Mr. Rockefeller” both originated on that album. In the meantime, Live at Last, a Top 50 charting album upon its release, arrives from Friday Music in a remastered edition on April 10. It's available for pre-order now from Amazon.