Je m’appelle Barbra (1966)

Catalog Number(s):

Album scans by Kevin Schlenker

Je mappell Barbra back cover


Ad for album
  1. Free Again [3:43]
    (R. Colby / M. Jourdan / A. Canfora / J. Baselli)
  2. Autumn Leaves [2:50]
    (J. Mercer / J. Prevert / J. Kosma)
  3. What Now My Love [2:41] *
    (C. Sigman / P. Delanoe / G. Becaud)
  4. Ma Première Chanson [2:19]
    (E. Marnay / B. Streisand)
  5. Clopin Clopant [3:10]
    (B. Coquatrix / P. Dudan / K. Goell)
  6. Le Mur [2:34]
    (M. Vaucaire / C. Dumont)
  7. I Wish You Love [3:01]
    (A.A. Beach / C. Trenet)
  8. Speak To Me Of Love [2:52]
    (B. Sievier / J. Lenoir)
  9. Love And Learn [2:29]
    (N. Gimbel / E. Marnay / M. Legrand)
  10. Once Upon A Summertime [3:37]
    (J. Mercer / E. Marnay / M. Legrand / E. Barclay)
  11. Martina [2:21]
    (H. Shaper / M. Legrand)
  12. I've Been Here [2:31]
    (E. Shuman / M. Vaucaire / C. Dumont)

* Arranged and Conducted by: Ray Ellis

About the Album

Photos of Legrand and Streisand recording the French album

(Streisand in the recording studio—pregnant with her son, Jason—working with Michel Legrand on the French album.)

In 2006 Barbra called Je m’appelle Barbra “the most unpopular album I ever made,” and joked about how long it took to go “gold.”

Je m'appelle Barbra was the beginning of an amazing and enduring collaboration between Michel Legrand and Barbra Streisand. Legrand arranged and conducted all of the songs, except for “What Now My Love,” which was arranged and conducted by Ray Ellis.

Michel Legrand elaborated on the genesis of the project: “[Nat Shapiro] was working for Columbia Records at the time, and Barbra had just recorded two albums under the title My Name is Barbra. They thought of doing a third album of French songs with the title Je m'appelle Barbra .... I met Barbra at night after a performance of Funny Girl. She had a little piano, you know, in her dressing room. Every night we worked after her performance, you know until four or five in the morning in her dressing room. Sometimes she’s impossible, very demanding. But when she fights it’s always for the good. When she’s at home with people of her — not caliber or stature but attitude — she’s a little girl.”

(Below: Legrand holds Streisand's hand during a recording studio session.)

Legrand holds Streisand's hand in recording studio

Je m'appelle Barbra's producer Ettore Stratta recalled, “I was producing recordings by American artists singing in foreign language for the foreign markets. And it came the idea that we would do an EP— four songs— with Barbra in French. And then the project developed to such a point that she was so pleased, and of course she had just met Michel [Legrand] and fell in love with him — with his music, with his arranging and everything — that we extended the project and we made a whole LP.” En Francais

Streisand began performing the French material in her summer 1966 concert tour. “For your entertainment pleasure,” Streisand announced from the stage, “I should very much like to do three songs which are not yet released on a new album of mine called Je m'appelle Barbra. Actually there are two albums. One I did completely in French and the other I did in English and in French ... and I should like to do them for you now — if I can remember the words.”

When the album was finally released in October 1966, it was pruned down to only one disc. Streisand still had an abundance of recorded material, however.

The songs “Non c'est rien”, “Les Enfants Qui Pleurent”, “Et La Mer”, and “Le mur” were released on a European EP album called Barbra Streisand En Français in July 1966.

Another song from the sessions, “Look,” was the b-side of Barbra's “Stout-Hearted Men” 7-inch single in June 1967.

Michel Legrand and Barbra Streisand

(Above: Legrand, at piano, works on a musical passage with Streisand.)

French ad for Streisand's album

Billboard ad for Je Mappelle

Streisand remembered, fondly, “The Je m’appelle Barbra album — oh, I love that because I had written my first song called ‘Ma Premiere Chanson’ and since I was working with them for my French album Je m’appelle Barbra, Eddy Marnay, a dear, dear person—he was doing the lyrics — so I asked him to write a lyric to my melody.”

Recorded March 20, 1966 at Columbia Records’ Studio C in New York, “I’ve Been Here” is the English language version of “Le Mur” (“The Wall”), which also appears on the album.

Earl Shuman wrote the English lyrics. “My approach to writing a lyric to a foreign song was to ignore the original lyric and just get infused with the melody,” Shuman said.

Charles Dumont wrote the stately melody for “Le Mur.” For the English Lyrics, Shuman explained, “My plan was to write something very much for Barbra’s personality and vocal technique. The song built beautifully – it kept modulating, and had a wonderful, fierce ending.”

Nat Shapiro was the head of Columbia Records International, and he and Shuman both went to Barbra’s Funny Girl dressing room to play “I’ve Been Here” for her. “My voice broke on a couple of the important places, but at the end Nat said, ‘Well, Barbra, what do you think?’ And Barbra said, ‘I think it’s very exciting. I love it.’”

Legrand and Streisand in studio

Above: Streisand in the recording studio goes over some music with Michel LeGrand

Streisand recording her French album

Below: Barbra Streisand and CBS/Columbia president Goddard Lieberson—who first signed her to Columbia Records—bid farewell to Columbia's recording studios at 799 Seventh Avenue, New York. Streisand had a recording session for the French album on October 14, 1966, which was the last use of the studio. After the studio closed, Columbia artists used new facilities at 49 East 52nd Street.

Je m'appelle Barbra Recording Sessions

Je m'appelle Barbra was recorded between 1965 and 1966. Please note the unreleased songs below—some of them appear to be Streisand singing in complete French; whereas some of the final tracks used on the album were either all-English, or a combination of English and French.

Streisand in the recording studio

November 16, 1965 — [Studio unknown]

* unreleased Legrand arrangement

January 13, 1966 — Studio A (799 7th Avenue, New York)

* unreleased
** Viola solo by Emanuel Vardi

March 20, 1966 — Studio C (207 East 30th Street, New York)

September 14, 1966 —Studio C (207 East 30th Street, New York)
2:00pm — 6:30pm

Arranged & Conducted by: Ray Ellis

* unreleased

October 14, 1966 —Studio A (799 7th Avenue, New York)
2:30pm — 6:30pm

Arranged & Conducted by: Ray Ellis

* unreleased

Billboard Charts

The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine.

Here's the numbers for this Streisand album:

Gold: 500,000 units shipped

Note: The record company must submit an album to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) where it undergoes a certification process to become eligible for an award. The process entails an independent sales audit, which calculates the quantity of singles or albums shipped for sale, net after returns. The audit surveys shipments to the entire music marketplace, including retail, record clubs, television sales, Internet orders and other ancillary markets. Based on the certification of these shipments, a title is awarded Gold, Platinum, Multi-Platinum or Diamond status. The data here comes directly from official sources, mainly the RIAA online database.

Album Cover Outtakes

Richard Avedon shot the cover photo for Je m’appelle Barbra. Two photos from Avedon's sitting with Streisand appeared earlier in the December 1965 issue of Harper's Bazaar.

Avedon photos of Streisand

This was Streisand's first sitting for Richard Avedon. They managed to take many beautiful photographs of Streisand that day, including several rolls with Streisand wearing the paper-mâché bracelets; some of Streisand bare-shouldered, touching her nose; and about four rolls of Streisand wearing a wide-brimmed Spanish-styled hat, which Streisand published in her 1991 Just For the Record booklet.

Je mappelle outtakes


<-- Previous Streisand Album

Next Streisand Album -->

[ top of page ]