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A soundtrack album is any album that incorporates music directly recorded from the soundtrack of a particular feature film or television show. The first such album to be commercially released was Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the soundtrack to the film of the same name, in 1938. The first soundtrack album of a film's orchestral score was that for Alexander Korda's 1942 film Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, composed by Miklós Rózsa.
When a feature film is released, or during and after a television series airs, an album in the form of a soundtrack is frequently released alongside it.
A soundtrack typically contains instrumentation or alternatively a film score. But it can also feature songs that were sung or performed by characters in a scene (or a cover version of a song in the media, rerecorded by a popular artist), songs that were used as intentional or unintentional background music in important scenes, songs that were heard in the closing credits, or songs for no apparent reason related to the media other than for promotion, that were included in a soundtrack.
Soundtracks are usually released on major record labels (just as if they were released by a musical artist), and the songs and the soundtrack itself can also be on music charts, and win musical awards.
By convention, a soundtrack record can contain any kind of music including music "inspired by" but not actually appearing in the movie; the score contains only music by the original film's composers.
Contemporaneously, a soundtrack can go against normality, (most typically used in popular culture franchises) and contains recently released or exclusive never before released original pop music selections, (some of which become high-charting records on their own, which due to being released on another franchises title, peaked because of that) and is simply used for promotional purposes for well known artists, or new or unknown artists. These soundtracks contain music not at all heard in the film/television series, and any artistic or lyrical connection is purely coincidental.
However depending on the genre of the media the soundtrack of popular songs would have a set pattern; a lighthearted romance might feature easy listening love songs, whilst a more dark thriller would compose of hard rock or urban music.
In 1908, Camille Saint-Saëns composed the first music specifically for use in a motion picture (L'assasinat du duc de Guise), and releasing recordings of songs used in films became prevalent in the 1930s. Henry Mancini, who won an Emmy Award and two Grammys for his soundtrack to Peter Gunn, was the first composer to have a widespread hit with a song from a soundtrack.
Before the 1970s, soundtracks (with a few exceptions), accompanied towards musicals, and was an album that featured vocal and instrumental, (and instrumental versions of vocal songs) musical selections performed by cast members. Or cover versions of songs sung by another artist.
After the 1970s, soundtracks started to include more diversity, and music consumers would anticipate a motion picture or television soundtrack. Majority of top charting songs were those featured or released on a film or television soundtrack album.
Nowadays, the term "soundtrack" sort of subsided. It now mostly commonly refers to instrumental background music used in that media. Popular songs featured in a film or television series are instead highlighted and referenced in the credits, not a part of a "soundtrack".
In advertisements or store listings, soundtrack albums are sometimes confused with original cast albums. These are albums made with the original stage cast of a musical, and are recorded by the cast either in live performance or in a studio, not transferred from a movie soundtrack.
In some cases, recorded dialogue may be incorporated into the soundtrack album. This comes in two kinds: audio clips from the movie itself (used on the albums for Pulp Fiction and Apollo 13, for example) or radio dramas that involve the characters from the movie involved in other events (example: King of Pirates, from FLCL). The unusual first soundtrack album of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, issued in 1956 in conjunction with the film's first telecast, was virtually a condensed version of the film, with enough dialogue on the album for the listener to be able to easily follow the plot, as was the first soundtrack album of the 1968 Romeo and Juliet, and the soundtrack albums of The Taming of the Shrew (1967 version), Cromwell, and Little Big Man. In the case of Patton, the bulk of the album featured the film's musical score, while the opening and final tracks featured George C. Scott's opening and closing speeches from the movie. The highly unusual soundtrack album of the 1972 mystery film Sleuth was designed as a sort of teaser, with Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine's voices heard for the first three minutes, after which the dialogue was abruptly cut off and the musical score of the film took over, forcing listeners to "see the film if they wished to know what the mystery was all about."
In a few rare instances, the complete soundtrack for a film — dialogue, music, sound effects, etc. — has been released. One notable example was a 3-LP set of the 1977 Rankin-Bass film The Hobbit. Because this particular film was produced for television, it lent itself well to the LP format: built-in commercial insert points were used to end each LP side, thus avoiding any additional editing. Another example was the above-mentioned Zeffirelli Romeo and Juliet – the movie proved so popular that two years after the film's original release, an album set of the complete soundtrack was released. Still another example was the Laurence Olivier Richard III, the soundtrack of which was released as a 3-LP album by RCA Victor in 1955.
Sometimes tracks not in the movie are included in the album, especially on a CD release of the soundtrack as opposed to an LP. Some of these may be "outtakes" (songs or instrumental music recorded for use in the movie but "cut" in the final edit as released), or they may have been used in trailers but not in the movie itself. Examples include the South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut soundtrack. Two other well-known examples are the soundtrack albums to Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel and The King and I both of which include two or more songs not heard in the finished film.
Popularity in cultures
Best-selling soundtrack albums
|1||1992||The Bodyguard||Whitney Houston & Various||45,000,000|||
|2||1977||Saturday Night Fever||Bee Gees & Various||40,000,000|||
|4||1997||Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture||James Horner & Various||30,000,000|||
|5||1978||Grease: The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture||Various||28,000,000|||
|7||1995||Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge||Jatin Lailt||20,000,000|||
|1984||Purple Rain||Prince & The Revolution||20,000,000|||
|1983||Flashdance: Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture||Various||20,000,000|||
|10||1995||Bombay||A. R. Rahman||15,000,000|||
|1994||The Lion King||Hans Zimmer & Various||15,000,000|||
Best-streaming soundtrack albums
|1||2015||Furious 7 ("See You Again")||Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth||4.9|||
|2||2018||A Star Is Born||Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper||4.3|||
|3||2017||The Greatest Showman||Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Various||4|||
|4||2013||Frozen ("Let It Go")||Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell||3.1|||
|5||2016||Moana||Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina, Opetaia Foa'i, Auliʻi Cravalho, Alessia Cara||2.5|||
|6||Suicide Squad||Skrillex, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Various||2.5|||
|7||2015||Fifty Shades of Grey||Ellie Goulding, The Weeknd||2.4|||
|8||2016||Trolls ("Can't Stop the Feeling!")||Justin Timberlake||1.7|||
|9||2017||Tiger Zinda Hai||Vishal–Shekhar, Irshad Kamil, Atif Aslam, Vishal Dadlani, Neha Bhasin, Various||1.6|||
|10||2018||Bohemian Rhapsody ("Bohemian Rhapsody")||Queen||1.6|||
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- The Bodyguard Soundtrack worldwide sales:
- Kimberly, Nordyke (30 October 2017). "American Music Awards: Christina Aguilera to Honor Whitney Houston With 'Bodyguard' Tribute". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- Patrick, Ryan (9 November 2017). "Exclusive: Whitney Houston's 'Bodyguard' turns 25 with never-before-seen performance". USA Today. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- Chuck, Crisafulli (15 May 2017). "Deep 10: Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard — Original Soundtrack Album". Grammy. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- Zach, Johnson (30 October 2017). "Christina Aguilera Will Honor Whitney Houston and The Bodyguard's 25th Anniversary at the 2017 AMAs". E! News. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- Bianca, Garwood (13 October 2017). "Whitney Houston Estate to Reissue 'The Bodyguard' Soundtrack for 25th Anniversary". Ebony. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
- Byrne, Katie (20 May 2012). "Bee Gees' Robin Gibb Dead At 62". MTV. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- The Associated, Press (12 January 2013). "Maurice Gibb, 53, of disco's Bee Gees: 'Saturday Night Fever' album defined era". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- Lee, Chris (10 May 2009). "'Dirty Dancing,' the mega-hit musical". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- Ellwood, Gregory (16 November 2009). "Leona Lewis follows in Celine Dion's 'Titanic' shadow for 'Avatar'". HitFix. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- NZ Staff, MSN (22 January 2012). "Grease stars making new music". MSN. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- Chopra, Anupama (2002). Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge ("The Brave-Hearted Will Take the Bride"). British Film Institute, London. ISBN 978-0-85170-957-4.
DDLJ has sold an estimated 25 million copies of its soundtrack.
- Ganti, Tejaswini (2012). Producing Bollywood: Inside the Contemporary Hindi Film Industry. Duke University Press. p. 390. ISBN 9780822352136.
- "India Today". India Today. Aroon Purie for Living Media India Limited. 19: 70. 1994.
- Michaels, Sean (16 September 2011). "Stevie Nicks: Prince asked me to write Purple Rain lyrics". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- "Top 25 Movie Soundtracks". Time. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
- "The "Mozart of Madras" AR Rahman is Performing LIVE in Australia". SBS. 14 February 2017.
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- "Wiz Khalifa – See You Again ft. Charlie Puth [Official Video] Furious 7 Soundtrack". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- "Interscope Execs Salute Lady Gaga as 'A Star Is Born' Soundtrack Hits Sales, Streaming Milestones". Billboard. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- "THE GREATEST SHOWMAN Soundtrack Earns Top Spot As Best Selling Album Globally For All Of 2018". BroadwayWorld. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- "Why "Let It Go" is the most streamed Disney song". Quartzy. Quartz. 24 March 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- "Three Disney Music Group Soundtracks Ranked Top Selling Albums Of 2017". PR Newswire.
- "'Suicide Squad' Songs Have Been Streamed Over 2.5 Billion Times". Heroic Hollywood. 2 April 2017.
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- "Tiger Zinda Hai". YouTube. Yash Raj Films. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
- "'Bohemian Rhapsody' now most-streamed 20th century song". Reuters. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2019.