Broadway’s Top Ten Pop Hits

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4. People, from Funny Girl

“People” is Barbra Streisand’s signature song. It originated in the 1964 Broadway play, Funny Girl, in which Streisand starred. Streisand’s recording was released in 1964 and reached number five in the US and spent three weeks at number-one on the Pop-Standards charts. She won a Grammy Award for the album. Ella Fitzgerald, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Nat King Cole, Perry Como and The Supremes, amongst others, have recorded “People.”

 

 

3. Send in the Clowns, from A Little Night Music

Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” was his most popular song– the only of his to become a Billboard Top Forty hit. Originally composed for Glynis Johns, the actress who first played the role of Desiree in the show, “Send in the Clowns” was subsequently recorded by Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, The Tiger Lillies, Sarah Vaughan, Judi Dench, Barbra Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Glenn Close, Cher and, perhaps most famously, by Judy Collins. The song appeared on her album “Judith.” Her recording remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for 11 weeks in 1975 and again in 1977 for 16 weeks. At the 1976 Grammy Awards, Collins’s recording was named “Song of the Year.”

 

 

2. Aquarius/Let the Sunshine, from Hair

This track hit number-one in 1969 and stayed there for six weeks after The Fifth Dimension released the medley. Their version combined songs from the opening and closing numbers of the successful Broadway production of Hair. It was the first medley to top American pop charts and was later certified Platinum by the RIAA The song was also named the most played song on U.S. radio and television in 1970 by American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. In 2004, AFI ranked “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine 33rd on its list, 100 Years…100 Songs.

 

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