Until Wednesday, the 72-year-old diva was the only recording artist to have No. 1 albums on Billboard's chart of best-selling albums for five decades in a row. She's now added a sixth consecutive decade withPartners, a collection of duets with noted male singers that sold 196,000 copies in the week ending Sept. 21, according to Nielsen SoundScan .
Streisand marked the occasion by thanking her fans on Facebook, where she noted "an overwhelming feeling of joy" at hearing the news. "I feel you rooting for me and I so appreciate all your energy and support," she wrote, also acknowledging her "wonderfully talented partners" on the album, among them Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Michael Buble, John Mayer, Josh Groban, Blake Shelton and John Legend.
Released Sept. 16, Partners faced competition from Chris Brown's X, which came in at No. 2 with sales of 146,000 (11,000 more than Brown's last release, 2012's Fortune, in its first week), and Tim McGraw's Sundown Heaven Town, which entered at No. 1 on the country albums chart with sales of 71,000. (A live George Straight album and releases by Train, OneRepublic, Maroon 5, Lecrae, Motionless in White and Slash completed the Top Ten.)
For Keith Caulfield, associate director of charts/sales at Billboard, Streisand's victory confirms that "if you combine the name Barbra Streisand with all-star collaborations and her return to The Tonight Show (where Streisand performed with Jimmy Fallon the day before Partners' release) you can generate a lot of interest."
Caulfield points out that Partners has also given Streisand the best sales week of any female artist this year, as well as her biggest sales frame since December 1997.
Streisand is already the single most recognized female artist in the history of the Recording Industry Association of America, with 51 gold, 30 platinum and 13 multiplatinum albums spanning half a century, dating to 1964's People. Liz Kennedy, director of the RIAA's communications and Gold and Platinum Program, adds that the singer is the only woman to surpass sales of 70 million albums.
Kennedy notes, "Her awards span each decade of our program," which dates back to 1958. (Nielsen SoundScan launched in 1991.) "It's terrific to see her still grow and reach fans, and we look forward to having the opportunity to award her next album soon."