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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Top 50 Soundtracks of All Time


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This week marks anniversaries for half a dozen of the top-rated soundtracks of all time. The November 13 blog post highlighted the soundtrack for The Sound of Music, which hit #1 in the U.S. on that date in 1965. November 14, 1987, marks the arrival of the Dirty Dancing soundtrack at #1. On that same day in 1995, the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack was released. November 15, 1977, saw the release of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The 8 Mile soundtrack hit the top of the charts on November 16, 2002. Finally, it was on today’s date in 1992 when The Bodyguard soundtrack was released. To top all that off, it was just last week when the DMDB’s list of Top 50 Music Movies of All Time was posted. Obviously the time is ripe for a list of the top soundtracks of all time.

This list was first posted on April 17, 2011, as a Note on the Dave’s Music Database Facebook page. That date marked the birthdays of two artists – Jan Hammer (1948) and Michael Sembello (1954) – who are practically one-hit wonders from a Billboard Hot 100 standpoint. Both artists, however, had #1 hits in the 1980s with soundtrack songs (Hammer’s “Theme from Miami Vice” and Sembello’s “Maniac”) which helped lift the Miami Vice and Flashdance soundtracks, respectively, to #1 album status. It has been revised since then with four new entries now making the list. Note: links will take you to more detailed pages at DavesMusicDatabase.com. Also, the top 32 albums on this list also make the DMDB’s list of top 1000 albums of all time. Anyway, here goes:

1. Purple Rain (1984)
2. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
3. South Pacific (1958) *
4. Grease (1978)
5. A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
6. West Side Story (1961) *
7. The Sound of Music (1965) *
8. The Bodyguard (1992)
9. Superfly (1972)
10. Dirty Dancing (1987)

11. Titanic (1997)
12. The Harder They Come (1973)
13. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
14. Help! (1965)
15. The King and I (1956)
16. The Student Prince (1954)
17. The Lion King (1994)
18. Blue Hawaii (1961)
19. G.I. Blues (1960)
20. Mary Poppins (1964)

21. An American in Paris (1951)
22. Footloose (1984)
23. Top Gun (1986)
24. Music from Peter Gunn (1959)
25. Gigi (1958)
26. Star Wars (1977)
27. That’s the Way of the World (1975)
28. The Graduate (1968)
29. Pulp Fiction (1994)
30. Oklahoma! (1955) *

31. Parade (Under the Cherry Moon soundtrack, 1986)
32. Waiting to Exhale (1995)
33. Evita (1996)
34. American Graffiti (1973)
35. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
36. With a Song in My Heart (1952)
37. Songs He Made Famous (1947)
38. Forrest Gump (1994)
39. Show Boat (1951) *
40. The Commitments (1991)

41. The Jazz Singer (1980)
42. Batman (1989)
43. High School Musical 2 (TV movie soundtrack, 2007)
44. Miami Vice (TV soundtrack, 1985)
45. A Star Is Born (1976)
46. Flashdance (1983)
47. Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
48. The Great Caruso (1951)
49. Loving You (1957)
50. Exodus (1961)

These four were on the original list, but have been bumped: The Wizard of Oz (1939), 8 Mile (2002), High School Musical (TV movie soundtrack, 2006), and I’m Breathless (Dick Tracy soundtrack, 1990). Also check out the Top 10 Show Tune Albums of All Time list, which featured albums which initiated as cast albums for stage productions, but all were later reworked as soundtracks for movies. Those albums marked above with asterisks (*) appear on both lists.


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