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Christmas Music Playlists with Barbra Streisand Songs
What Kind of Fool Doesn't Listen To Streisand At Christmas?
Factfile - Barbra Streisand
- Streisand released A Christmas Album in 1967. It has amassed sales of over 5 million copies in the US alone and is ranked the 10th best-selling Christmas album of all time by the RIAA.
- Streisand's 1970 compilation Seasons Greetings from Barbra Streisand...and Friends re-issued many tracks from her first album. It was originally sold for $1 in stores and is now out of print.
- Streisand's receieved her 37th Grammy award nomination for her second Holiday album in 2001 - Christmas Memories. It has attained platinum certification in the US and peaked at #15 in the US Album Charts.
- In 2013 Streisand duetted with Mary J. Blige on When You Wish Upon A Star which appeared on Blige's Holiday album A Mary Christmas.
With over 30 studio albums and countless movies to her name Barbra Streisand is one of the world’s most recognisable stars. And given that her recording career stretches as far back as the early sixties it is hardly surprising that she has given Christmas a piece of her mind. The first of these interactions occured in 1967 when ‘A Christmas Album’ showed Streisand for the individual that she is. So while ‘Jingle Bells’ has been done a thousand times in pretty much the same way Babs threw caution to the wind in a performance that is as manic as a bag of cats. That’s not to say that it isn’t enjoyable for it truly is, it’s just it takes you by complete surprise. She then tackles ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ which is again turned inside out but at least holds onto its traditional principles. By the time ‘The Christmas Song’ hoves into view you’ll have begun to see the wood from the trees and Streisand’s unique twist on cherished perennials. Her voice reigns supreme and the orchestration by Marty Paich is never less than lush throughout.
Like most Christmas albums of the time ‘A Christmas Album’ was neatly split into secular songs on Side A and religious ones on the flip. And what a glorious way to open Side B with ‘Silent Night’ (called ‘Sleep in Heavenly Peace’ on this occasion), again Babs distorts the accepted approach to this famous carol but it never grates, merely enhances the feeling that this is a unique record. On ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ the album reaches its quiet crescendo with atmospheric background vocals and instrumentation set to minimum. Streisand’s vocals are crisp and close-mic so ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ feels like a personal performance just for you. It all adds up to a mesmeric debut Christmas album that has to date sold over 5 million copies.
It would the new century before Barbra Streisand recorded her second Christmas album. 2001’s ‘Christmas Memories’ perhaps lacked the zeal and vitality of her first effort but it was still a classy production with Streisand again interpreting some of the best known Christmas songs and in process giving them new traits. This is evident from the off when ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ is cast in her own image and plays out at even a slower pace than normal. ‘Christmas Memories’ included several new songs including ‘Closer’, a contemplative piece for those quieter Christmas moments. Elsewhere there are shards of happiness on ‘It Must Have Been The Mistletoe’ and an inspired cover of Frank Sinatra’s ‘Christmas Mem’ries yet the underlying feeling is that of sombre reflection, not exactly a funny girl no more – just one that just highlights the way we were.
Christmas 2013 saw the release of a compilation of the best tracks from Barbra Streisand's two Christmas albums. 'The Classic Christmas Album' did not contain any new material but offered a fine retrospective of Babs Christmas output to date. This holiday season also introduced the world to Streisand's duet with Mary J. Blige on 'When You Wish Upon A Star'. The cinematic scope of the duet was helped by the orchestral sweep but it was the chemistry in the two voices that so convinced. 'When You Wish Upon A Star' was a featured track on Blige's 2013 album 'A Mary Christmas'.
It must have been the mistletoe
Douglas Konecky, It Must Have Been The Mistletoe
The lazy fire, the falling snow
The magic in the frosty air
That feeling everywhere
It must have been the pretty lights
That glistened in the silent night...
Barbra Streisand Christmas Album & Single Covers