With the help of serious mainstream press coverage and 9 Tony wins, The Book of Mormon Cast Album rose to #3 on the Billboard 200 chart this week, the highest placement for a Broadway album in 42 years. Helping push it to the top, producers took a page from Lady Gaga’s playbook and offered the recording last week on Amazon for $1.99.
All this talk of Broadway and Billboard got me thinking about the last time a showtune hit the top of the singles chart…not counting jukebox musical songs that were hits before they were inserted into shows. After the jump, let’s take a look at videos of the three highest charters from the post-Broadway-Standard era. (Or, at least the ones I could find without a research staff at my beck and call…)
“Day by Day” from Godspell. #13 in 1972. Although the clip above is from the film version, it’s the same singer (Robin Lamont). And how could I resist sharing Alias “Spy Daddy” Victor Garber with a ‘fro and face paint? No words.
“I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar. #13 in 1971. Mormon, Godspell and now JC…I’m starting to sense that the Man Upstairs has some sway with the Hot 100. In any case, song originator Yvonne Elliman charted with this song as well, but it was our Delta Dawn that pushed it into the top 20. Helen Reddy is woman, here her roar.
“Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” from Hair. #1 in 1969. I’m not sure I can even type while this is playing. Has there ever been a more wonderful, funkadelic sound? My friends and family know this The 5th Dimension recording as my “Dance of Joy,” the one song you can put on anywhere, anytime and I start to boogie. I’ve been doing the same unorthodox dance since I was about 4, so my pleasure at finding out America agreed and propelled this song to the top of the charts is overwhelming. I’m also pleased to discover from the video that The 5th Dimension seem to be the lone survivors from the destruction of Alderaan. (Star Wars and Music Theater Geeks unite!)