Barbra Streisand tops U.S. pop chart for ninth time

LOS ANGELES Wed Oct 7, 2009 6:17pm EDT

Singer Barbra Streisand poses after performing at the Village Vanguard in New York, September 26, 2009. REUTERS/Chip East

Singer Barbra Streisand poses after performing at the Village Vanguard in New York, September 26, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Chip East

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Barbra Streisand scored her ninth No. 1 album on the U.S. pop chart on Wednesday with a jazz release that overshadowed high-profile releases by some much-younger artists.

Streisand's "Love Is the Answer," her first studio recording in four years, sold 180,000 copies during the week ending October 4, according to her Columbia Records label, a unit of Sony Corp.

Industry observers said the surprisingly strong figure was bolstered by sales in non-traditional outlets like coffee retailer Starbucks Corp, Liberty Media Corp's QVC home-shopping network and Streisand's own website.

The crown had been expected to go to pop-rock band Paramore, which settled for a close No. 2 with sales of 175,000 for "Brand New Eyes."

Pop singer's Mariah Carey's new album "Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel" was considered a disappointment, starting at No. 3 with 168,000 copies.

Streisand extended her lead as the female act with the most No. 1 releases on the Billboard 200. She also became the first artist to top the chart in five consecutive decades.

"You'd think that getting the news that you've been Number One in five consecutive decades would make you feel old, but this makes me feel young," Streisand said in a statement.

At 67, she also is the second-oldest living artist to top the U.S. chart. The record was set earlier this year by her labelmate Bob Dylan, who is 11 months her senior.

Streisand last topped the chart in 1997, when "Higher Ground" started off with 207,000 copies. The music industry has plummeted in the ensuing decade, making Streisand's latest sales tally all the more noteworthy.

Streisand promoted the album last month by playing a free concert at the Village Vanguard, the tiny New York jazz club she last played in 1962. The audience included former U.S. President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, the 168,000-unit tally for Carey's "Memoirs" ended the chart-topping streak of her previous two albums, both of which started off with more than 400,000 copies. It marked her worst debut since the 2001 flop "Glitter" opened at No. 7 with 116,000 units. Carey records for Island Def Jam, a unit of Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group.

Yet another pop diva also underperformed. Madonna's hits collection "Celebration," which fulfills her contact with Warner Music Group Corp, opened at No. 7. Her previous hits package, 2001's "GHV2," also opened at No. 7. But while that set sold 150,000 copies, "Celebration" managed only 72,000.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Will Dunham)

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