Saturday, September 27, 1986

Sept. 27, 1986: Phantom of the Opera opened in London

First posted January 28, 2012. Last updated September 4, 2018.

Phantom of the Opera (cast/soundtrack)

Andrew Lloyd Webber/Charles Hart/ Richard Stilgoe (composers)

Opened in London: September 27, 1986

Cast Album Released: April 20, 1987

Opened on Broadway: January 26, 1988

Soundtrack Released: Nov. 23, 2004


Sales (in millions):
US: 4.0 c, 4.0 h, 1.0 s
UK: 0.9 c
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 14.1 c+h+s


Peak:
US: 33 c, 46 h, 16 s
UK: 1 3-c, 40 s
Canada: --
Australia: --

C cast album
H cast album – highlights
S soundtrack

Quotable: --


Genre: show tunes


Album Tracks:

  1. Prologue
  2. Overture h, s
  3. Think of Me h, s
  4. Angel of Music h, s
  5. The Mirror (Angel of Music) h, s
  6. The Phantom of the Opera (Sarah Brightman, 1/11/86, #7 UK) h, s
  7. The Music of the Night h, s
  8. I Remember/ Stranger Than You Dream
  9. Magical Lasso
  10. Prima Donna h, s
  11. Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh
  12. Why Have You Brought Me Here/
  13. All I Ask of You (Sarah Brightman & Steve Harley, 10/4/86, #7 UK) s
  14. All I Ask of You (Reprise) h, s
  15. Entr’acte h
  16. Masquerade h, s
  17. Notes/ Twisted Every Way
  18. Wishing You Were Here Somehow Here Again (Sarah Brightman, 1/10/87, #7 UK) h, s
  19. Wandering Child/ Bravo Monsieur
  20. The Point of No Return h, s
  21. Down Once More/ Track Down This Murderer h, s

h songs on one-disc highlight version
s songs on one-disc soundtrack version

The soundtrack also adds the brand new “Learn to Be Lonely,” performed by Minnie Driver. A special edition, double-disc version of the soundtrack includes film dialogue.

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Review:

The Phantom of the Opera was originally a 1911 gothic mystery novel by French novelist Gaston Leroux. Ken Hill did a musical version of the book in 1976; ten years later it was adapted again by Andrew Lloyd Webber. “The musical focuses on a beautiful soprano, Christine DaaĆ©, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius known as ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, who terrorizes the Paris Opera House.” WK

Initially Webber approached Jim Steinman, best known for collaborating with Meat Loaf on Bat Out of Hell, to write the lyrics because of his “dark obsessive side.” WK When Steinman declined because of commitments to working on Bonnie Tyler’s album, he recruited Alan Jay Lerner (My Fair Lady, Camelot ), who unfortunately died soon after starting on the project. WK Next up was Richard Stilgoe, who also wrote lyrics for Webber’s Starlight Express. However, Webber deemed his lyrics “too witty and clever, rather than romantic” WK so Charles Hart was brought in to rewrite the lyrics. Stilgoe and Hart both got credit on the final version. WK

Phantom opened on October 9, 1986 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. It celebrated 9000 performances on May 31, 2008 and became “the second-longest-running West End musical of all time, behind Les Miserables.” WK It had similar success after opening in New York in January 1988, becoming “the longest-running Broadway musical of all time, breaking the record held by Lloyd Webber’s Cats.” WK It “won both the Olivier Award and Tony Award as the best musical in its debut years on the West End and Broadway.” WK

The musical has also been named “the highest-grossing entertainment event of all time.” WK The New York production is the “most financially successful Broadway show in history” WK with $600 million grossed. WK The show has played to over 100 million people in 124 cities in 25 countries. WK

Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, who starred in the West End production as the titular character and Christine respectively, also launched the Broadway debut. As such, the London cast album became the official recording and no Broadway version was made. WR Both a two-disc set and a single-disc “highlights” set were made available, each selling 4 million copies in the U.S.

In 2004, Phantom was made into a movie starring Gerard Butler as the Phantom and Emily Rossum as Christine DaaĆ©. It was also released in two editions – the double-disc version was the “the complete, unedited film soundtrack, including dialogue, incidental background music, and sound effects,” WR while the single-disc version was billed as the standard release.

Webber wrote “some extra background music here and there, as well as one new song, and that’s an oddity, too. Minnie Driver, who plays the prima donna Carlotta, had her singing dubbed by Margaret Preece, but she turns up at the end and, over the closing credits, sings Learn to Be Lonely, an irrelevant and musically out-of-place song clearly composed just to have a new tune that would be Academy Award-eligible. The film’s other singers are adequate but no competition to Crawford, Brightman, and their colleagues, and the initial recording remains the one to buy.” WR


Review Sources:

Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):


Friday, September 12, 1986

Billie Holiday charted with “Summertime,” the most recorded song in history, fifty years ago today (9/12/1936)

First posted 1/24/2020.

Summertime

Billie Holiday

Writer(s): George Gershwin (music)/ DuBose Heyward/Ira Gershwin (lyrics) (see lyrics here)


First Charted: September 12, 1936


Peak: 12 US (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, -- streaming

Awards for Holiday’s version:

Awards for Sidney Bechet’s version:

Review:

It has been widely reported and accepted for years that the Beatles’ “Yesterday” is the most recorded song of all time. It isn’t. Not by a longshot. The song has been said to be recorded as many as four thousand times, but a group known as the Summertime Connection says they know of at least 82,000 public performances of “Summertime,” of which more than 67,000 have been recorded. GW

Despite all those recordings, the song astonishingly only charted once in the first 50+ years of recorded music PM when Billie Holiday took it to #12 in 1936. In the rock era, versions by Sam Cooke, Al Martino, the Marcels, Ricky Nelson, and the Chris Columbo Quintet all had minor hits with the song. In 1966, Billy Stewart had a top ten hit with the song. Fun Boy Three hit #18 with it on the UK charts in 1982. Janis Joplin’s blues-rock version with Big Brother & the Holding Company didn’t chart, but is one of the best known versions of the song. SF The song also became a jazz standard, with Sidney Bechet’s being the most popular.

George Gershwin composed the aria in 1934 for folk opera Porgy and Bess, based on the 1926 DuBose Heyward novel Porgy, a top seller about a South Carolina black community. Heyward and his wife Dorothy turned it into a Broadway play and Gershwin, after reading the novel and seeing the play, turned it into a musical, SF with his brother Ira and Heyward contributing lyrics. “Summertime” is sung four times throughout the musical, but most notably as a lullaby to a baby right after the overture.

The song mixed “elements of jazz and the song styles of blacks in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century.” AMG Heyward was inspired by the lyrics for “All My Trials,” a southern folk spiritual lullaby. WK The song has also been considered an adaptation of the African American spiritual “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” WK Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim called the lyrics for this and “My Man’s Gone Now” “the best lyrics in the musical theater.” WM


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