Broadway or West End, musicals are beloved the world over. Whether it is ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ with its 10,000+ Broadway performances or the much beloved ‘Cats’, the musical is a format that is appreciated by young and old alike. The gaiety, drama, musicality, and sheer spectacle of the musical is difficult to match in sheer entertainment value.
Songs, of course, are the staple of musicals. Composers such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sheldon Harnick, Stephen Sondheim, Stephen Schwartz have entertained generations of theatre enthusiasts and shaped our collective culture with their work. Their compositions have spanned across physical boundaries and become cultural artefacts in their own right.
On that note, here is a list of the top 10 songs from musicals around the world:
1. One Day More – Les Miserables
The most popular song from one of the most successful musicals of all time, ‘One Day More’, was composed by Claude-Michel Schönberg. With sweeping vocal harmonies and a grand, evocative arrangement, this song has been winning fans since its 1985 West End premier.
2. Summer Nights – Grease
A generation grew up on this Olivia Newton, John Travolta collaboration. Even though it is from a film and not a stage musical, it still retains a spontaneous vibe. The simple, catchy melody sparks with innocence that still resonates with audiences.
3. Music of the Night – Phantom of the Opera
A seminal song from Andrew Lloyd Webber, the ‘Music of the Night’ is easily one of the most recognizable pieces of music from any musical. Sung by the Phantom as he seduces the female protagonist, Christine, this song escalates with every movement into a rich, complex crescendo.
4. I Don’t Know How to Love Him – Jesus Christ Superstar
Another composition by Lloyd Webber, ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’ is sung by the female protagonist, Mary Magdalene, for her unrequited love for Christ. The song has been popular since the musical’s 1970 launch, and even reached the top 40 of the Billboard 100 charts.
5. One Song Glory – Rent
‘One Song Glory’ from the rock-musical, Rent, is arguably the musical’s finest song, composed by Jonathan Larson.
6. Time Warp – Rocky Horror Picture Show
‘Time Warp’ from the parody/satirical musical, Rocky Horror Picture Show, has endured decades of appeal since its 1975 birth. Composed by Richard O’Brien, the song is at once a tribute and a parody to the dance-song genre and still resonates with audiences.
7. A Spoonful of Sugar – Mary Poppins
From Disney’s 1964 theatrical version of Mary Poppins, ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ has been especially popular with children over the years.
8. Memory – Cats
No top 10 songs from musicals list would be complete without a mention of one of the most sung songs of all time, ‘Memory’ from Lloyd Webber’s Cats.
9. Somewhere – West Side Story
A song of hope and love from a musical with cross-cultural appeal, ‘Somewhere’ is evergreen and still relevant after all these years.
10. No One Knows Who I am – Jekyll & Hyde
A haunting melody sung with incredible grace and power by Linda Eder, this song captures the essence of the titular character of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.
This article was written in collaboration with LSBO, supplying tickets to the greatest London shows.