Before Glee became Fox’s newest musical juggernaut, invading shopping malls, concert halls, record stores and the Tony Awards, rock stars weren’t sure what to make of the concept of young theater actors portraying high school students remaking their tracks. And while some artists eagerly let their songs get covered by the members of New Directions, others held back — namely Coldplay and Bryan Adams, the show’s creator Ryan Murphy revealed at the Hollywood Reporter ‘s Emmy comedy showrunners roundtable.
“At the beginning a lot of people didn’t know what we were and asked to see pages [in advance], but I refused because I didn’t want to set precedent of them having any involvement,” Murphy said. But while Adams, whose tracks pop up on American Idol‘s Hollywood Week with great frequency, hasn’t offered a mea culpa, Chris Martin and Co. have since reached out to the show. “Coldplay called a week ago and said, ‘We’re sorry, you can have our catalog,’ ” Murphy reports.
Glee has partnered with Columbia Records to release music from the series, and the resulting albums have been rocketing to the Top 10 of the Billboard 200, including The Power of Madonna , the disc named after the full episode of the show devoted to the Queen of Pop’s catalog, which hit Number One. Digital downloads from each episode have dominated single sales, as well. The cast’s version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” has gone gold. Total sales for the cast’s singles, according to the Los Angeles Times , tallies up to a massive 4.1 million copies.
Journey’s Steve Perry admitted to the L.A. Times that his initial skepticism about the show has given way to, well, glee. “They really worked hard to make it their own … it’s actually brought people’s attention to go check out the original,” he said. “It’s something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime.” And the numbers do start to add up: the show’s cover of Jazmine’s Sullivan’s “Bust Your Windows” gave the single a 231 percent sales boost the following week, the paper notes.
While Journey ultimately proved brave enough to lend their music to the show’s pilot well before it became a tent pole in Fox’s Wednesday-night lineup, big names quickly followed suit. In addition to Madonna, who has said she loved the way Glee handled her music, pop divas Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna and Beyoncé have offered songs to the show. John Lennon’s “Imagine” and the Beatles’ “Hello Goodbye” have both appeared on the series, along with U2’s “One,” the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” ” “Do the material. I already told them, use my songs,” Joel recently told Rolling Stone . “I was in chorus in high school, so I know what that stuff’s all about. I love stuff like that.”