Hamilton: An American Musical logs its 246th week on the Billboard 200 this week, which allows it to move up to sixth place on the list of cast albums with the longest runs on that chart (which originated in March 1956).
Hamilton climbs up one spot from No. 86 to No. 85 on the Billboard 200 this week, having previously peaked at No. 3 in 2016. With its 246 weeks on the chart, it now pulls ahead of The Music Man – another classic American musical, albeit one as white (the show was set in Iowa in 1912) as Hamilton is multiracial — in the longevity rankings.
Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the book, music and lyrics for Hamilton. The late Meredith Willson did the same for The Music Man (he co-wrote the book with Franklin Lacey). Both shows won the Tony for best musical and the Grammy for best musical theater album. And, not to belabor the comparison, but the patter song “Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man was one of the closer things to what would become known as rap that most Americans had heard when show opened in December 1957.
To mark Hamilton’s achievement, here is an updated list of the 10 cast albums with the most weeks on the Billboard 200.
My Fair Lady, 480: Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews headlined this Lerner and Loewe musical, an adaptation of Pygmalion. The cast album topped the Billboard 200 for 15 weeks beginning in July 1956. Harrison also starred in the 1964 film adaptation. The album was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1977 and the National Recording Registry in 2007. Key songs: “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “On the Street Where You Live,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.”
Highlights from The Phantom Of the Opera, 331: This single-disk album of highlights from the original London cast album of The Phantom Of the Opera (see below) peaked at No. 46 on the Billboard 200 in January 1992.
The Sound of Music, 276: Mary Martin starred in this Rodgers & Hammerstein musical. The cast album topped the Billboard 200 for 16 weeks beginning in January 1960 — longer than any other cast album. Key songs: “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “My Favorite Things,” “Maria.”
Camelot, 265: Five years after they first worked together on My Fair Lady, Andrews reteamed with Lerner and Loewe on this musical. Her co-stars were Richard Burton and Robert Goulet. The album topped the Billboard 200 for six weeks beginning in June 1961. The show became legendary when former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy told journalist Theodore White that the cast recording was a favorite of the recently assassinated President Kennedy. From that day forward, his “one brief shining moment” in the White House was referred to as Camelot. The album was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006. Key songs: “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “How to Handle a Woman,” “Lusty Month of May.”
The Phantom Of the Opera, 255: Michael Crawford led the original London cast, which also included Sarah Brightman and Steve Barton. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart wrote the musical. This double album peaked at No. 33 on the Billboard 200 in March 1988. Key songs: “All I Ask Of You,” “Music Of the Night,” “Masquerade.”
Hamilton: An American Musical, 246: In addition to writing the book, music and lyrics, Miranda starred in this show, along with Leslie Odom, Jr. and Phillipa Soo. The double album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 in June 2016. Key songs: “My Shot,” “Room Where It Happens,” “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done).”
The Music Man, 245: Robert Preston was the likable con man in this show, which also starred Barbara Cook. The cast album topped the Billboard 200 for 12 weeks beginning in March 1958. Preston also starred in the 1962 film adaptation. Key songs: “Till There Was You” (later covered by The Beatles on Meet the Beatles!), “Seventy Six Trombones,” “Ya Got Trouble.”
Fiddler on the Roof, 206: Zero Mostel headlined this musical, which was written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. The cast album peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 in January 1965. The album was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 and the National Recording Registry in 2019. Key songs: “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”
West Side Story, 186: Carol Lawrence, Larry Kert and Chita Rivera starred in this musical, which was written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. The cast album peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 in June 1962, after the film adaptation swept 10 Oscars, including best picture. The album was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1991 and the National Recording Registry in 2008. Key songs: “Tonight,” “Somewhere,” “Something’s Coming.”
Man of La Mancha, 167: Richard Kiley headlined this musical, an adaptation of Don Quixote. The show was written by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion. The cast album peaked at No. 31 on the Billboard 200 in March 1967. The album was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2009. More than any other show on this list, Man of La Mancha was known for just one classic song: “The Impossible Dream (The Quest),” a top 40 hit on the Hot 100 for Jack Jones and a 1966 Grammy nominee for song of the year.