I wanted to showcase the consistency of Barbara Streisand’s live performances over the years. Even in videos with poor quality, the talent can still be heard. Her voice may have changed through the years, but one things for certain, Barbra Streisand is doing what she was born to do. These are some of my favorite live performances by the best-selling female artist of all time in the United States. (A link to a video of each performance is below every image)
Barbra appeared on The Dinah Shore Show in 1963. She performed “Cry Me A River,” a popular torch song that was written by Arthur Hamilton. Even this early in her career you can see the success bubbling below the surface. This performance showed not only is she a talented singer, she is also a talented actress. One that has always had great hair and her trademark nails. Her name is Barbra Streisand, and she’s gonna be a star.
Barbra’s first appearance on The Judy Garland Show she performed “Down With Love,” from the musical Hooray for What!. She showed off her vocal range but also her stage presence. You can’t help but watch her mannerisms as she performs. Each note that she hits causes a reaction in a part of her body. She runs the gauntlet from sassy lounge singer to an old fashion belter, all in the same song. By the end of the performance Judy Garland and the audience may say, “down with love” but never, “down with Barbra Streisand.”
Right after the previous performance Barbra sat down to have an iconic duet with Judy Garland. They sang a mash up of “Get Happy”made popular in Summer Stock starring Garland, and “Happy Days Are Here Again” made popular by Streisand. The pair seemed perfect together, and it’s one of the best duets either of them have ever done. This appearance garnered Streisand her first Emmy nomination.
Barbra appeared on her TV special Funny Girl to Funny Lady singing a song that further cemented her place in music history. This is a song she has sang hundreds of times but manages to make it unique every time. Dick Cavett jokes about another sequel and I’m still waiting for the Funny Grandma film to be made, so that we can have a Fanny Brice trilogy.
Barbra made a surprise appearance at the 2001 Emmy Awards. She performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in memory of lives lost on September 11th and to give hope to those still processing what happened. She was backed by a choir that added extra depth and emotion to an already emotionally performance that garnered a standing ovation.
Barbra performed at the 2013 Academy Awards, during the “In Memoriam” portion of the show. She selected “The Way We Were” because it was composed by her dear friend Marvin Hamlisch who passed away the previous year. Her voice has aged but it only added to the effect that her performance was trying to convey. Fifty years after the first video I listed Streisand still has the signature nails, the signature vocal range, and the signature mannerisms that have captivated millions.