Barbra Streisand Makes Chart History With ‘Release Me 2′ Billboard 200 Debut

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Barbra Streisand adds another chapter to her storied Billboard chart career, as her latest album, Release Me 2, debuts at No. 15 on the Billboard 200 chart (dated Aug. 21). With the debut, she becomes the only woman with new top 20 — or even top 40 — albums in every decade from the 1960s through the 2020s.

The rarities compilation includes archival recordings from Streisand’s vault, including duets with Willie Nelson (“I’d Want It to Be You”), Barry Gibb (“If Only You Were Mine”) and even Kermit the Frog (“Rainbow Connection”). The set was released via Columbia/Legacy on Aug. 6 and launches with 22,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Aug. 12, according to MRC Data. It’s the sequel to the 2012 album Release Me, which debuted and peaked at No. 7.

Streisand made her Billboard 200 chart debut 58 years ago this week, on the Aug. 17, 1963-dated chart, when The Barbra Streisand Album bowed at No. 17. It later peaked at No. 9 on the Nov. 8, 1963-dated chart.

The only other act with a new top 20, or top 40, set in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, 2000s, ’10s and ’20s is Bob Dylan. He most recently visited the region with the No. 2-peaking Rough and Rowdy Ways (July 4, 2020-dated chart).

Streisand and Dylan not only share sustained success on the Billboard 200, but also a longtime label home: Columbia Records. Dylan’s debut album arrived in 1962 and Streisand’s first set bowed in 1963, both on the label. Nearly every one of both act’s charting albums has been released through Columbia. For Streisand, who has been signed to Columbia her entire career, her only non-Columbia efforts were the 1964 Funny Girl original Broadway cast recording, on the Capitol label, and the Funny Lady film soundtrack, on Arista, in 1975. Dylan only stepped away from Columbia for about a year, when he released two albums in 1974 via Asylum Records: his first No. 1, Planet Waves, and the live set Before the Flood.

Streisand also extends her record for the most top 40-charting albums among women in the history of the chart (which began publishing on a regular, weekly basis in 1956). Release Me 2 brings her total of top 40-charting albums to 54. In second place among women is Aretha Franklin, with 26. Among all acts, Frank Sinatra has the most top 40 albums, with 58.

Streisand additionally remains the woman with the most No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, with 11. And she’s the only artist with No. 1 albums in every decade from the ’60s through ’10s.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multimetric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram.

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