The List: The very best songs of Webber and Rice

Madonna starred as Eva Peron in the 1996 film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical Evita. (Courtesy Walt Disney Home Entertainment)

The musical “Evita” is back on Broadway, as is “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Both classic musicals were created by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice in the 1970s.

Mr. Lloyd Webber (composer) and Mr. Rice (lyricist) collaborated on “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (1968), “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1971), “Evita” (1978), “The Likes of Us” (2005) and “The Wizard of Oz” (2011 ). The List this week looks at the Top 10 songs written by the talented duo.

  • 10. Close Every Door — It’s one of the most powerful songs from the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” the first musical written by Mr. Rice and Mr. Lloyd Webber to be performed. The musical originally was commissioned as a 15-minute piece for a London prep school. This song is sung by the biblical character Joseph while he’s imprisoned for his supposed relationship with the Egyptian official Potiphar’s wife. Donny Osmond produced a fine version of the song in the 1999 video of the musical.
  • 9. One More Angel in Heaven — Joseph’s brothers sing a folksy country-western homage to their brother Joseph, whom they have sold into slavery in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The sarcastic lyrics are Tim Rice at his best: “His body may be past its peak, but his soul’s in paradise.”
  • 8. Everything’s Alright — The song, performed by the character of Mary Magdalene, is one of the hits from the concept album that spawned the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.” The Broadway musical opened in 1971, and the London West End version opened in 1973. Yvonne Elliman sang the song on the concept album, in the original Broadway show in 1971 and in the film in 1973.
  • 7. Oh What a Circus — This is the opening song from “Evita,” as Che (the narrator) ponders the life of Eva Peron. It shares the same tune from “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” but has a faster tempo and different lyrics. Irish singer Colm Wilkinson first sang the song on the 1976 album “Evita.” David Essex, who starred as Che in the London show had a No. 3 hit in the United Kingdom with the song in 1978. Mandy Patinkin sang the song in the American production of the show, while it was sung by Antonio Banderas and Madonna in the 1996 film “Evita.”
  • 6. High Flying Adored — Another song from the musical album “Evita.” The character Che analyzes Eva Peron’s rise to power. Eva responds: “My story’s quite usual: Local girl makes good, Weds famous man.”Colm Wilkinson’s version of the song is probably the best.
  • 5. Another Suitcase in Another Hall — In the musical “Evita,” Juan Peron’s mistress sings the song. The best version is by Barbara Dickson, who had a hit with it in 1977 in the U.K., where it reached No. 3.
  • 4. Any Dream Will Do — This probably is the most popular song from the musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” David Daltrey, frontman of the British psychedelic band Tales of Justine, was the first to sing the song, on the album. The tune is sung at the beginning and the conclusion of the musical. It was voted Broadway Song of the Year in 1981 and won an Ivor Novello Award in 1991. The tune has been performed by Jason Donovan, Donny Osmond, Andy Gibb and David Cassidy. More than 20,000 schools and amateur theater groups have successfully put on productions of “Joseph.”
  • 3. Superstar — Murray Head sang the song on the concept album “Jesus Christ Superstar” in 1969. Mr. Head, along with the Trinidad Singers, had a No. 14 hit with the song in the U.S. in 1971. (Later, Mr. Head had a No. 3 hit in the U.S. in 1985 with “One Night in Bangkok,” from Tim Rice’s musical “Chess.”) Ben Vereen, cast as Judas, sang the song in the Broadway show from 1971 to 1973, while Carl Anderson’s version in the 1973 film is excellent.
  • 2. I Don’t Know How to Love Him — One of the most popular songs from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar,” sung by the character of Mary Magdalene. Helen Reddy had a No. 13 hit with the song in the U.S. in May 1971, while Miss Elliman’s version reached No. 28 in the charts in the same month.
  • 1. Don’t Cry for Me Argentina — This is the marquee song from “Evita” and probably the duo’s best collaboration. Julie Covington sang it for the original 1976 studio album, and the single reached No. I in the U.K. in 1977. Elaine Paige sang the song in the London West End musical production, while Patti LuPone performed it in the original Broadway production. Madonna sang the song in the 1996 film, and her version reached No. 8 on the Billboard Top 40.

Special mention: Mr. Lloyd Weber and Mr. Rice won an Oscar for best original song in a film with the song “You Must Love Me,” which was written specially for the 1996 movie “Evita.” It was sung by Madonna, and the single reached No. 18 on the U.S. charts.

Compiled by John Haydon
Source: The Washington Times and Wikipedia

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