Journey's arena-rock anthem "Don't Stop Believin'" have sold a combined total of 1 million digital copies, as of this week. The song has become a signature of the top-rated series. New Directions, the glee club on the show, performed the song three times in the first season. The versions from the pilot and the season closer were made available for download. The former has sold 921,000 copies; the latter, 84,000.
It's remarkable for a song performed by fictional TV characters to become a million-seller. The biggest digital hit from Hannah Montana, "Nobody's Perfect," has sold 906,000 copies. The top-seller from High School Musical, "Breaking Free," has sold 627,000.
Two others are mash-ups of disparate songs that demonstrate the show's creative flair. No one but Glee creator Ryan Murphy would have thought to combine Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" and Usher's "Confessions Part II," or Beyonce's "Halo" and Katrina & the Waves' "Walking On Sunshine."
Here are the 20 Glee renditions that have sold the most downloads. The number after the title is the total number of paid downloads, according to Nielsen/SoundScan. I include info on who originally popularized the song, who performed the song on Glee and (for you total Gleeks, the title of the episode from which the performance was drawn.)Journey hit in three episodes: "Pilot," "The Rhodes Not Taken" and "Journey." Idina Menzel (a future Glee guest star) introduced the song when the musical premiered in 2003. From the episode "Wheels." Beyonce's Grammy-winning 2009 hit with Katrina & the Waves' 1985 hit. From "Vitamin D." Queen. From "The Rhodes Not Taken." Bon Jovi's 2000 hit with Usher's #1 hit from 2004. From "Vitamin D." Lady Gaga's #1 hit from 2009. From "Theatricality." Bonnie Tyler's #1 hit from 1983. A cover version by Nicki French hit #2 in 1995. From "Bad Reputation." Rick Springfield's Grammy-winning #1 hit from 1981. From "Laryngitis." Neil Diamond's 1969 hit. From "Mash-up." Barbra Streisand introduced on Broadway in Funny Girl in 1964 and reprised in the 1968 movie. Michele also sang the song on the Tony Awards in June. From "Sectionals." Rihanna's #1 hit from 2008. From "Showmance." Madonna's #1 hit from 1989. From "The Power Of Madonna." The All-American Rejects' hit from 2008. From "Hell-O." Aerosmith's 1973 classic (which finally became a top 10 hit in 1976). Harris won an Emmy for this episode. From "Dream On." Avril Lavigne's 2006 hit. From "Throwdown." Celine Dion's 2007 single. From "Preggers." Kristin Chenoweth and Matthew Morrison teamed for Heart's smash, a #1 hit in 1987. From "The Rhodes Not Taken." Journey's 1983 hit. From "Journey." Jay-Z and Alicia Keys from 2009. From the second season opener, "Audition." Patti LuPone made famous when Les Miserables opened in London in 1985. The song was also the title track of Susan Boyle's chart-topping debut album from 2009. From "Dream On."
Two other Glee renditions have topped 150,000 in sales: "Lean On Me" (155,000) and "Bad Romance" (154,000). "Lean On Me" was a #1 hit twice (for Bill Withers in 1972 and for Club Nouveau in 1987.) "Bad Romance" never quite reached #1 on the Hot 100. Lady Gaga's original version logged seven weeks at #2 in late 2009 and early 2010.
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- Lea Michele