Do you love musicals? Of course you do. Why do you love musicals? Is it because of the intriguing story lines and drama that ensues? Sometimes. Or could it be because to the comic relief we get from some of our favorite musically backed stories? Sure. We think these factors are very important if not necessary.
Of course, the first, foremost, and most important ingredient for success with any musical are the songs. The songs can make or break a musical, it’s as simple as that. Could you imagine some of your favorite musicals without the songs? Nope. Neither can we.
As diehard fans of movie musicals and the sing along songs they bring into our lives, we would like to celebrate them with this list of musicals with our favorite songs.
1 – Grease
Grease has great songs. From the “Summer Nights” in the very beginning when Danny and Sandy are reminiscing about their beach fling to their friends to the ending when the whole cast sings “We Go Together”, the adored musical Grease does not disappoint when it comes to songs. Who can forget Rizzo’s teasing number “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” when she offends Sandy. Or her confident verses in “There are Worse Things I Can Do.” Our hearts melt when Danny sings to his beloved “Sandy” and there isn’t a dry eye when Sandy laments in “Hopelessly Devoted to You” Of course you can’t forget “Beauty School Dropout” nor help singing along. Of course, the title track of the movie Grease is evidence in itself of the amazing tunes this musical has given us.
2 – The Sound of Music
This particular musical keeps finding its way on our lists, but that just tells us it has the kind of songs musicals need to make it. What kind is that? The catchy kind. “I Have Confidence” is a great sing along song with a declaration of being happy with who you are. “My Favorite Things” has found its way into our Christmas song list as of later years. “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” not only takes us through one of the sweetest love scenes it also confirms a tight relationship between a seventeen-year-old girl with her new step-mother. Of course, one cannot think of this musical without being reminded of “So Long, Farewell” and the way the children choreographed their musical number for the party guests. Then there is “Edelweiss,” a lovely number praising Austria and a flower that grows there. “Something Good” is the tune playing when Maria and The Captain realize they love each other in the gazebo and “The Lonely Goatherd” gets us yodeling every time. Mix these musical numbers with the title track “The Sound of Music” and this is the stuff that legendary musicals are made of.
Trying to hear this song live this year? Check here to find out when and where “The Sound of Music” will be showing!
3 – Rocky Horror Picture Show
Opening with the haunting “Science Fiction – Double Feature a pair of red stained lips begin the story of Brad and Janet. The next number just so happens to utilize on of the character’s names, “Damn It, Janet,” where our hero proclaims his love to his would-be bride. Our duo has car trouble and find themselves at the home of Dr. Frankfurter, who makes his presence known singing the forever sensual musical number “Sweet Transvestite.” Of course, “The Time Warp” is arguably the most popular of all the songs from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Still, we remember Janet begging in “Touch-A-Touch-A-Touch” and are instantly in love with Eddie when he proclaims “Hot Patootie (Bless My Soul).” There is a reason this sexually driven musical has been showing in theaters every year at midnight on Halloween, we have a sneaking suspicion it’s the catchy rockin’ songs.
4 – Purple Rain
Kid is a rising star at the club he plays with his band The Revolution and the songs are proof as to why this group is making waves. With tunes like “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Take Me With U,” Prince takes us on a journey through his alter ego’s experiences at a trying time in his life.
Of course the lead character The Kid closely resembles Prince in personality so it is hard for us to distinguish between the two. For the sake of the piece though, we will try. “The Beautiful Ones” is another testament to the top notch songwriting that makes this musical so good breaking our heart with every chord. We watch Prince, or The Kid, dance his way across stage during “I Would Die 4 U” and are turned on when he becomes overtly sexual during “Darling Nikki.” When you add “Baby I’m a Star” the upbeat numbers in this musical are as good as it gets.
Of course, Prince being the entity he was, couldn’t leave it at that. We have the iconic “When Doves Cry” and title track “Purple Rain” solidify Prince at the top of musical songwriting by a single artist. If anything, Purple Rain proves that the music in a musical is vital for its success. Without it, we don’t believe Prince’s attempt at movie making would have done as well as it did at the box office.
5 – The Wizard of Oz
This list couldn’t be around without the Wizard of Oz. Somewhere “Over the Rainbow” draws us in at the very beginning and from there we are propelled with Dorothy into a new colorful and musical world. We sing along with “The Witch is Dead” and watch the infamous “Lollypop Guild” praise Dorothy’s bravery.
After the mayor promise to build a bust of her in the Hall of Fame for killing the Wicked Witch we go along with Dorothy when she is told to “Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” Do you remember the first time you met Scarecrow and heard him sing “If I Only Had a Brain?” We bet you can sing every word of it right now if you wanted to. Of course you could and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. So could we. Then the Tinman utilizes the melody to ask for a heart, then the Lion asks for nerve. The four and Toto make their way to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard to grant their wishes.
When they first arrive it would seem that they aren’t welcome until Dorothy shows the guard her ruby slippers and he proclaims that’s “a horse of a different color.” The doors to the city open and the group walks into a magical green city filled with people proclaiming the best place to live is “The Merry Old Land of Oz.” This is where we learn that they “get up at noon and start to work at one. Take an hour lunch and then at two their done. Jolly old fun!”
Of course, the musical greatness does not end there. The Lion graces us with his performance of “If I Were King of the Forest” and the group is off to meet the Wizard. We all know the rest of the plot but these particular songs are especially memorable to us. They are etched in our musical brains for generations past and many more to come.
6 – The Wiz
Just like its inspirational story we just went over, The Wiz is able to pat itself on the back for providing us with some of the best musical numbers any screen has ever seen. The story line is pretty much the same. Girl get thrown into a world she is unfamiliar with.
She meets a cast of unique characters who lead her on a crazy adventure to find her way back home. This time though, Diana Ross plays Dorothy and Michael Jackson is Scarecrow. Nipsey Russell is untouchable is Tin Woodman while Richard Pryor plays the unreliable Wizard. The same friends are made with a few new ones here and there.
The difference is the distinct groove that just isn’t a force in the original Wizard of Oz.
“He’s The Wizard-March of the Munchkins” introduce us the little people who are frozen as graffiti by Evilene the Wicked Witch. Then we are honored with an unforgettable musical performance by the King of Pop with “You Can’t Win.” Dorothy helps him get rid of the evil dominating crows and frees Scarecrow from his restraints. The duo along with Toto “Ease on Down the Road” toward the Emerald City.
Just like the 1939 version with Judy Garland, they are hoping the Wiz can grant them their wishes. When they meet Tin Woodman, he urges them to “Slide Some Oil to Me-Now Watch Me Dance” in a vaudeville-esque musical number that only Nipsey Russel can pull off.
After meeting Lion, the group gets caught by the “Poppy Girls”, who are a drastic difference than the bed of flowers that incapacitate our original players. This version has the song “Lion” where Dorothy sweetly lifts the Lions spirits when he is feeling like all is lost.
Of course, when meeting the Wiz, he insists they kill the Wicked Witch and they set out to find her and complete the task. “Nobody Bring Me No Bad News” shows us just how evil Evilene truly is. Lena Horne’s smoky vocals on “Believe in Yourself” is one of the best numbers this musical has to offer. Her exceptional talent is evident in every note.
Finally, we are given “Home”, a number that can make any heart long for that place where they hang their own musical hat. So by time Dorothy makes it back to her snowy street we feel like we’ve been taken on a musical adventure like no other, and that feeling is apropos.