Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I often listen to a weekend oldies radio show, where the host likes to come up with little-known trivia tidbits.

But I do question a comment made after playing Barbra Streisand's “People.”

He said that the 45 years between her first No. 1 LP (1964), and her last (2009), is the most of anyone. Then he added that Madonna has the second longest span, with 23 years between her No. 1 albums.

Streisand's span might be longer than Elvis Presley's, but I am positive Madonna's can't be.

Do you share my doubts?
—Joanne Gibbons, York, Pa.

DEAR JOANNE: You are definitely right to question this information, especially having Madonna at No. 2 — unless he was referring only to female singers. Either way, these are the facts:

From his debut LP, “Elvis Presley” (May 5, 1956) to “30 No. 1 Hits” (October 12, 2002) is 46 years, five months, and one week.

Then comes Barbra: From “People” (October 31, 1964) to “Love Is the Answer” (October 17, 2009) is 44 years, 11 months, and two weeks.

From “Johnny Cash at San Quentin” (August 23, 1969) to “American V: A Hundred Highways” (July 22, 2006) is 36 years and eleven months.

Bob Dylan: From “Planet Waves” (February 16, 1974) to “Together Through Life” (May 16, 2009) is 35 years and three months.

Bruce Springsteen: From “The River” (November 8, 1980) to “Wrecking Ball” (March 24, 2012) is 31 years, four months, and 16 days.

Rod Stewart: From “Every Picture Tells a Story” (October 2, 1971) to “Still the Same — Great Rock Classics of Our Time” (October 28, 2006) is 35 years and 26 days.

From “Barry Manilow Live” (July 16, 1977) to “Greatest Songs of the Fifties” (February 18, 2006) is 28 years, seven months, and two days.

Lionel Richie: From “Can't Slow Down” (December 3, 1983) to “Tuskegee” (April 28, 2012) is 28 years, four months, and 25 days.

Finally comes Madonna: From “Like a Virgin” (February 9, 1985) to “MDNA” (April 14, 2012) is 27 years, two months, and five days.

Lastly, Michael Jackson: From “Thriller” (February 26, 1983) to “This Is It” (November 14, 2009) is 26 years, nine months, and 16 days.

IZ ZAT SO? Later this year, Barbra Streisand will celebrate her 50th year as a recording artist, as well as her golden anniversary with Columbia Records.

How's that working out so far?

Depending on the source, and how the numbers are crunched (albums in the Top 100; Top 50; Top 10; No. 1; million-sellers; etc., etc.), Barbra is among the Top 5. She's right there with Presley, Sinatra, Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. And she is always far ahead of the other females.

We did, however, discover one quirky little niche where Streisand stands completely alone. She is the only person ever with at least one No. 1 album in five consecutive decades. Overall, Queen Barbra has nine:

1964: “People”
1974: “The Way We Were”
1977: “A Star Is Born” (Soundtrack)
1979: “Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits, Volume 2”
1980: “Guilty”
1986: “The Broadway Album”
1993: “Back to Broadway”
1997: “Higher Ground”
2009: “Love Is the Answer”

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