Although Ed claims to have discovered her singing in a Greenwich Village nightclub, she had in fact already had a Broadway hit (I Can Get It For You Wholesale), received a Tony nomination and recorded her first album by the time she appeared on Ed’s show. On December 16th 1962, she walked onto the Sullivan stage wearing an elegant white dress and performed a charming rendition of “My Coloring Book.” She followed that with a dynamic version of “Lover Come Back to Me.”
While Barbara may have been accumulating awards and accolades in the early 1960’s, her exposure to the American public was still limited. To correct this, she returned to The Ed Sullivan Show twice in 1963. On March 24th she sang the torch song “Cry Me a River,” and on June 9th she performed “When the Sun Comes Out,” which was her first commercial hit.
Miss Streisand was invited to perform on Ed’s September 28th 1969, which was taped at the Las Vegas International Hotel (now the Hilton). In a beautiful dress and a fashionable bouffant, she sang a medley of songs from Hello, Dolly!
Streisand had become one of the iconic artists on The Ed Sullivan Show, so much so that she was awarded the “Best Female Singer of the Year Award” in 1970 on a special “Sullivan” awards show. First she commanded the stage in her performance of “On a Clear Day,” and then was presented the award by New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay. Barbra graciously accepted and paraphrased George M. Cohan by saying, “He said, ‘I don’t care what they say about me as long as they spell my name right.‘ As for me, I don’t care what they say about me as long as they spell my name wrong.”
Streisand’s success has continued through the years and she has set the bar high for other female artists. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (the RIAA), Streisand is still the number-one selling female artist with 71.5 million units sold. She has earned 51 gold, 30 platinum, and 13 multi-platinum certified albums. Within the plethora of awards she has won, the list includes 10 Grammys, 2 Academy Awards, 4 Golden Globes, 4 Emmys, a Special Tony, an American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement award and a Peabody for her special, “My Name is Barbra.” Her spotlight still has a lot of shine left as she continues to record and occasionally perform live to sold out audiences.