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Musicals in Popular Songs? A History

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It's a case of opposites attracting, and one song's success piggy-backing on the other. Whether you enjoy the inspired song or not, its popularity can mean a renaissance for the show on which it's based. Follow me on a musical journey back to where the trend began...

"Hard Knock Life" -- Jay-Z (1998)

I have to give Jay-Z credit. It takes a lot of guts to remix a song from Annie (1977) into a self-proclaimed "Ghetto Anthem." If there were any naysayers, they definitely ate their words once the song hit #15 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The following year, Disney released Annie as a made-for-tv movie. Coincidence? I don't think so. It seems the street cred worked just as well on Broadway as on Flushing Ave. (Jay-Z's old stomping ground).

The Source: "It's a Hard Knock Life" (1999 prod.):

"If I Was a Rich Girl" -- Gwen Stefani ft. Eve (2004)

Stefani's take on Fiddler on the Roof's "If I Was a Rich Man" was the jumping off point for her solo career. I don't think the writers of Fiddler could have foreseen their tale of a humble, Jewish man's mid-life crisis inspiring a bleach-blonde Japanophile with a love for pirates' booty. In case I sound too harsh, I do enjoy this mash-up. It's a good reminder that inspiration works in mysterious ways. One must keep their mind open!

Oh... and, of course, Fiddler on the Roof returned to Broadway that same year (after a 14-year hiatus).

The Source: "If I Was a Rich Man" (1971 movie)

"Hung Up" -- Madonna (2005)

Reverse Trend? "Hung Up" sampled the disco beat from Abba's "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" so it's not technically borrowing from a musical. However, Madonna's interest in the '70s correlated with the success of Mamma Mia, the Abba musical (released in 2004).

The Source: Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) (1979)

"Wind it Up" -- Gwen Stefani

"When borrowing from a musical worked so well last time, why not do it again?" Stefani must have thought. This time she sampled The Sound of Music's "The Lonely Goatherd." The music video sticks somewhat close to the source material, if you overlook the whole naughty-nun-turned-pimp thing. It also answers the question no one had: What if Maria told the Von Trapp children about the birds and the bees? Hint: They all go nuts!

The Inspiration: "The Lonely Goatherd"

"Popular Song" -- Mika ft. Ariana Grande (2013)

Sampled from Wicked's "Popular" (2003), "Popular Song" reverses the original songs moral. Where "Popular" held the opinion that one must change to be approved by others, 'Popular Song" says that being true to oneself will make one a more valuable, and appreciated, member of society.

The Source: "Popular"

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Will this trend continue?

I hope so. Maybe a remix of "Truly Scrumptious" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, or "Lovely" from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum?

Any Suggestions? Please let me know in the comments, or via Twitter. Let's discuss!
Happy New Year!