The pilot episode for a new television show named Glee was aired May 19, 2009 on Fox. At that point no one knew what an impact on pop culture and particularly pop music that Glee would ultimately have. A cover version of Journey's 1981 hit single "Don't Stop Believin'" caused a sensation among new fans of the show. It sold enough copies to hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. When the show's first season got under way in the fall of 2009, the hits just kept coming. In less than two years Glee generated more Billboard Hot 100 songs than any other act in history. Read on for more details and coverage of the phenomenon that is the music of Glee.
The Creation of 'Glee'
Glee was created by the trio of Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and Ian Brennan. The first two had created the successful HBO series Nip / Tuck together. However, the original germ of an idea for Glee came from Ian Brennan who wrote the first draft intending it to be a film, but he was unsuccessful for a number of years at generating interest. The script made its way to Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk through a mutual friend, and they suggested it be rewritten as a TV series. After the reworking of the script, Fox Television quickly picked it up, and Glee was underway.
A number of plot elements for Glee are based on Ian Brennan's own experience in his high school show choir. Some of the characters have relationship to real life individuals as well.
'Glee' In a Nutshell
The primary focus of the show Glee is a high school in Lima, Ohio, and, in particular, the school's show choir New Directions. Primary characters include Spanish teacher and New Directions director Wil Schuester and his arch-nemesis, cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester. Among the New Directions members are Rachel Berry and her on-again off-again boyfriend, football player Finn Hudson. Others include black diva Mercedes Jones, bullied gay male member Kurt Hummel, Asian female student Tina Cohen-Chang, fellow football player Noah "Puck" Puckerman, and paraplegic guitar player Artie Abrams. The episodes of the show address serious social issues as well as following the choir's progress through competitions with other show choirs.
Singles Chart Success
As of April 1, 2011, Glee had placed 131 songs on the Billboard Hot 100. This has happened in less than two years time and is more chart hits than any recording entity in the history of the chart. Three of those songs made it all the way to the top 10, and 40 of those have reached the top 40. All of the charting songs have been cover versions except the two original songs "Get It Right" and "Loser Like Me" released in March 2011. More than 20 million digital downloads have been sold worldwide.
Top 10 Glee Songs on the charts.
Albums and EP's released by Glee with chart placing.
- Glee, The Music, Volume 1 - November 2009 - #4
- Glee, The Music, Volume 2 - December 2009 - #3
- The Power Of Madonna - April 2010 - #1
- Glee, The Music, Volume 3 - May 2010 - #1
- Journey To Regionals - June 2010 - #1
- The Rocky Horror Glee Show - October 2010 - #6
- Glee, The Christmas Album - November 2010 - #3
- Glee, The Music, Volume 4 - November 2010 - #5
- Glee, The Music, Volume 5 - March 2011 - #3
- Glee Presents The Warblers - April 2011 - not yet charted
Glee's success has not been limited to the US. In the UK the show has generated 69 songs that have reached the top 75 and six top 10 hits on the album chart. In Canada Glee has been repsonsible for 132 chart songs and nine top 10s on the album chart. Six Glee albums have been certified gold or platinum in Australia.
Reviews Of 'Glee' Music
Glee's pattern of releasing songs at the same time that they are debuted on the show is new and primarily possible because of the digital market for tracks. This has allowed fans to purchase their favorites immediately after seeing them on the show. Glee has proven there is a strong market for distinctive cover versions of favorite pop hits. It is now not uncommon to have two versions of a pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100, the original and Glee's version. This has not happened frequently since the 1950s and early 1960s when it was common to have versions of a song chart in an original R&B or rock and roll version as well as a mainstream pop recording. A recent innovation for the show itself is to demonstrate it can sell original songs.