Greatest musical song of all time revealed in BBC Radio 2 countdown

The all time greatest musical song has been named in a poll by BBC Radio 2.

As part of Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals season, musical theatre fans were asked to vote for their favourite show-tune of all time, whether from a big-screen musical or a Broadway show.

A panel of experts – including American musical theatre actor Marisha Wallace, Baz Bamigboye from the Daily Mail, Sita McIntosh from WhatsOnStage and Radio 2’s Elaine Paige – whittled down 100 years of classic songs to a shortlist of 50.

These were then put to a vote with the top 20 ranked songs revealed live on BBC Radio 2 today (Sunday, 31 January).

Here are the results…

Greatest Song From a Musical results!

  1. One Day More (Les Miserables)
  2. Bring Him Home (Les Miserables)
  3. Defying Gravity (Wicked)
  4. This is Me (The Greatest Showman)
  5. Over The Rainbow (The Wizard Of Oz)
  6. Singin’ In The Rain (Singin’ In The Rain)
  7. Circle Of Life (The Lion King)
  8. Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (Evita)
  9. Somewhere (West Side Story)
  10. America (West Side Story)
  11. Memory (Cats)
  12. You Can’t Stop The Beat (Hairspray)
  13. Summertime (Porgy and Bess)
  14. Alexander Hamilton (Hamilton)
  15. All That Jazz (Chicago)
  16. Gethsemane (Jesus Christ Superstar)
  17. You Will Be Found (Dear Evan Hansen)
  18. The Room Where It Happens (Hamilton)
  19. Send In The Clowns (A Little Night Music)
  20. Seasons Of Love (Rent)

Alfie Boe – who has played the role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables – said: “My goodness, that’s amazing. Thank you to everyone who voted for Les Mis in this wonderful Radio 2 chart. It’s so special to me to be a part of the show and to everyone who’s ever worked on it. The music will never die, the story is so strong, the characters are unique. Valjean is so close to my heart and it’s an honour to play him in this wonderful piece of music.

“One Day More is probably one of the biggest highlights of the show and it resonates to everybody who sings it on stage as a unified piece of music; and in this present day that we’re living during this pandemic we are unified as a nation, we are unified as a world, we are adapting as a world, we are adapting as human beings, and this song resonates so much with the present situation that we’re in. Hopefully we’ll see theatres back open really soon and we’ll all be able to enjoy live music, live performances once again.”

The remaining songs that made up the long-list but did not feature in the top 20:

  • And I Am Telling You (Dreamgirls)
  • As If We Never Said Goodbye (Sunset Boulevard)
  • As Long As He Needs Me (Oliver!)
  • Beauty And The Beast (Beauty And The Beast)
  • Being Alive (Company)
  • Cabaret (Cabaret)
  • Don’t Rain On My Parade (Funny Girl)
  • Electricity (Billy Elliot The Musical)
  • Everything’s Coming Up Roses (Gypsy)
  • Food, Glorious Food (Oliver!)
  • Friend Like Me (Aladdin)
  • I Am What I Am (La Cage Aux Folles)
  • I Could Have Danced All Night (My Fair Lady)
  • I Don’t Know How To Love Him (Jesus Christ Superstar)
  • I Got Rhythm (Girl Crazy / An American In Paris/ Crazy for You)
  • I Know Him So Well (Chess)
  • If I Loved You (Carousel)
  • I’m Here (The Color Purple)
  • The Impossible Dream (Man Of La Mancha)
  • Let It Go (Frozen)
  • Losing My Mind (Follies)
  • Luck Be a Lady (Guys & Dolls)
  • Maria (West Side Story)
  • Maybe This Time (Cabaret)
  • Not While I’m Around (Sweeney Todd)
  • Shallow (A Star is Born)
  • She Used To Be Mine (Waitress)
  • Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat (Guys & Dolls)
  • Waving Through a Window (Dear Evan Hansen)
  • What I Did For Love (A Chorus Line)
About the author: Rachel Wise

UK based freelancer journalist Rachel contributes regularly to Stageberry with features and interviews from the hottest new shows and stage stars.


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