Les Misérables Tops Billboard Chart

In the Jan. 19 issue of Billboard, the Les Misérables soundtrack has claimed the top spot on the “Billboard 200” chart, supplanting Taylor Swift’s country-pop Red, which held that perch for the past four weeks. In doing so, the soundtrack becomes the first cast album to reach No. 1 in this decade. In fact, since 2000, the top spot on the album chart has been held by only 18 film and TV soundtracks of any kind. There have been a handful of background compilations (Hunger Games, two from Twilight, Juno, Bad Boys II), a few deigetic scores (three from Glee, three from Hannah Montana, O Brother Where Art Thou, 8 Mile), and just four film cast albums (adaptations of Mamma Mia! and Dreamgirls, two original High School Musical TV movies). The last Broadway cast album to reach the top spot was Hair in 1969, though Book of Mormon came close in 2011, when it peaked at No. 3.

DID YOU KNOW? The first Broadway cast album to top the charts was Song of Norway, the 1944 operetta that Robert Wright and George Forrest adapted from the music of Edvard Grieg, portrayed by Lawrence Brooks in the show. It was the first of many Wright-Forrest adaptations from classical themes, perhaps their best being the Tony-winning Kismet. The first soundtrack to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts was Words and Music, the 1948 sanitized bio-musical starring Tom Drake and Mickey Rooney as Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, respectively, with cameos from a half dozen MGM stars, including Judy Garland. The film was the last in which Mickey and Judy both appeared.

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