34th Grammy Awards

Broadcast February 25, 1992 (CBS)

Inaugurated in 1990 by The Recording Academy, the GRAMMY Legend Award is presented to individuals or groups for ongoing contributions and influence in the recording field. On the 34th Grammy Awards, Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim presented the award to Barbra Streisand.

Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim: The lady we're honoring tonight recently released a remarkable recording. It covered in one extraordinary musical package a career that might well be the envy at any performer who ever stood in front of a microphone and made music. We can hear the early beginnings, the growing confidence, the exploratory experiments, the overwhelming successes. We can, in fact, hear the whole auditory history at a unique career and an exceptional artist. She's the delight of every writer who hopes for a performance of his song better than what he heard in his head. She not only possesses one at the most exceptional voices in the world, but her musical instincts are unsurpassed, and that's a formidable combination. She's as good as they come. Tonight she's a Grammy Legend, and her name is Barbra Streisand.

[A short video tribute to Streisand is played. Streisand comes out on stage and receives a standing ovation.]

Sondheim and Streisand on Grammy stage

Barbra Streisand: Thank you, thank you so much!

Stephen Sondheim: I'd like to read the citation. This is presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, it's the Grammy Legend Award, it honors your outstanding contributions to and influence in music, your dedication to excellence in every endeavor, and your relentless pursuit of perfection, and I can't think at anybody who deserves it more!

Streisand on stage giving speech

Barbra Streisand: Thank you, Steve. In all honesty, I don't feel like a legend, I feel like a work in progress. Over the last 30 years the Grammy Awards have been very generous to me in acknowledging the work I've done, and I can't tell you how gratifying it is to be appreciated for what you do by your peers, I mean that. In accepting this award I'd like to thank a few people who've played a major part in my musical career. Two have been there from the beginning; Marty Erlichman, and my family at Columbia Records who, like most families, listened patiently to every album notion I ever had, and told me not to do it! Others who were there even before the beginning were the composers and lyricists who gave me such wonderful material to sing. And if anyone deserves legendary status, it's the fans who have stayed with me as the musical taste of the country changed from decade to decade. You were there when I attempted to change with the times, and you were there when I came back home. I made my first recording when I was 13 years old, and at that time I stood in front of a microphone and I sang a standard, and the sentiment in that song is even more true for me today than it was all those years ago. (Sings) You'll never know, just how much I love you . . . ' Who said I'd never sing live again?! Thank you, thank you all!

Below: Streisand and Sondheim pose with the award in the Grammy press room.

Sondheim and Streisand pose


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