Chart Watch

Chart Watch Extra: A Milestone For ‘Glee’

Chart Watch

Glee's renditions of 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.

To mark the milestone, I have compiled a list of the 20 Glee renditions that have sold the most digital copies to date. Lea Michele, who was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, is the most popular Glee performer in terms of song downloads. She has billing on nine of the 20 Glee songs with the most downloads. Heartthrob Cory Monteith is second with three of the show's 20 hottest downloads.

In the first episode of the second season, Matthew Morrison, in his role as glee club director Will Schuster, encouraged the kids to work up a version of the hip-hop smash "Empire State Of Mind." He said that New Directions had to prove that they're about more than just show tunes and '80s rock. Actually, that's a pretty fair description of what has worked best on Glee. Three of the top 20 Glee renditions are show tunes. Six are '80s pop or rock songs.

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."

The oldest song in Glee's top 20 is "Don't Rain On My Parade," which Barbra Streisand introduced on Broadway in 1964. Second oldest is "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good," which Neil Diamond introduced in 1969. (Those two superstars teamed in 1978 for a chart-topping duet, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers." Glee will no doubt get around to that song one day.)

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.)

1. "Don't Stop Believin'," 1,005,000. New Directions sang this 1981 Journey hit in three episodes: "Pilot," "The Rhodes Not Taken" and "Journey."

2. "Defying Gravity," 335,000. Chris Colfer and Lea Michele teamed to perform this song from the Broadway show Wicked. Idina Menzel (a future Glee guest star) introduced the song when the musical premiered in 2003. From the episode "Wheels."

3. "Halo"/"Walking On Sunshine," 317,000. The female members of New Directions performed this medley which coupled Beyonce's Grammy-winning 2009 hit with Katrina & the Waves' 1985 hit. From "Vitamin D."

4. "Somebody To Love," 315,000. New Directions sang this 1976 hit by Queen. From "The Rhodes Not Taken."

5. "It's My Life"/"Confessions, Part II," 301,000. The male members of New Directions performed this medley which coupled Bon Jovi's 2000 hit with Usher's #1 hit from 2004. From "Vitamin D."

6. "Poker Face," 284,000. Lea Michele and Idina Menzel teamed for this version of Lady Gaga's #1 hit from 2009. From "Theatricality."

7. "Total Eclipse Of The Heart," 263,000. Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Jonathan Groff, Mark Salling and New Directions teamed for this version of Bonnie Tyler's #1 hit from 1983. A cover version by Nicki French hit #2 in 1995. From "Bad Reputation."

8. "Jessie's Girl," 257,000. Cory Monteith sang Rick Springfield's Grammy-winning #1 hit from 1981. From "Laryngitis."

9. "Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good)," 187,000. Mark Salling and New Directions performed Neil Diamond's 1969 hit.  From "Mash-up."

10. "Don't Rain On My Parade," 182,000. Lea Michele performed the show-stopper which 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."

11. "Take A Bow," 181,000. Lea Michele teamed with Amber Riley and Jenna Ushkowitz to perform Rihanna's #1 hit from 2008. From "Showmance."

12. "Like A Prayer," 174,000. New Directions tackled Madonna's #1 hit from 1989. From "The Power Of Madonna."

13. "Gives You Hell," 171,000. Lea Michele and New Directions performed The All-American Rejects' hit from 2008. From "Hell-O."

14. "Dream On, "167,000. Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris teamed for this version of Aerosmith's 1973 classic (which finally became a top 10 hit in 1976). Harris won an Emmy for this episode. From "Dream On."                                

15. "Keep Holding On," 166,000. New Directions offered their take on Avril Lavigne's 2006 hit. From "Throwdown."

16. "Taking Chances," 163,000. Lea Michele performed her take on Celine Dion's 2007 single. From "Preggers."

17. "Alone," 159,000. Kristin Chenoweth and Matthew Morrison teamed for Heart's smash, a #1 hit in 1987. From "The Rhodes Not Taken."

18. "Faithfully," 159,000. Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and New Directions sang Journey's 1983 hit. From "Journey."

19. "Empire State Of Mind," 158,000. New Directions performed this version of the #1 smash by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys from 2009. From the second season opener, "Audition."

20. "I Dreamed A Dream," 156,000. Lea Michele and Idina Menzel sang the song which 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.

Follow Yahoo! Music:

View Comments