West Side Story (soundtrack)

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West Side Story
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedOctober 1961
Genrestage & screen
LabelColumbia Masterworks
ProducerDidier Deutsch
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic5/5 stars[1]

West Side Story is the soundtrack album to the 1961 film West Side Story, featuring music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Released in 1961, the soundtrack spent 54 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's album charts, giving it the longest run at No. 1 of any album in history,[2] although some lists instead credit Michael Jackson's Thriller, on the grounds that West Side Story was listed on a chart for stereo albums only at a time when many albums were recorded in mono.[3] In 1962, it won a Grammy award for "Best Sound Track Album – Original Cast." In the United States, it was the best-selling album of the 1960s,[4] certifying three times platinum by the RIAA on November 21, 1986.

Though the album was released just a few years after the release of the original broadway cast recording, it is according to musical theater historian Ethan Mordden preferred by some to the earlier version both sentimentally, as the film succeeded in establishing the musical as a "popular masterpiece", and musically, as it contains "beefier orchestration".[5]


In her autobiography, I Could Have Sung All Night, Marni Nixon writes about singing the role of Maria and of her observations of some of the other singers whose voices were dubbed into the film.[6] Very little of the singing in the finished film and on the soundtrack album was contributed by the on-screen stars of the film; while George Chakiris did all of his own singing for the few solo lines of his character Bernardo, Jim Bryant entirely dubbed the singing role of Tony for Richard Beymer, and Rita Moreno's singing as Anita was partly dubbed by Betty Wand (and by Nixon, see below). According to Moreno herself, Wand dubbed all or part of her singing in "A Boy Like That," although it's not clear if that was the total extent of the dubbing she did. Russ Tamblyn, who plays Riff in the film, provided his own vocals for the song "Gee, Officer Krupke" and for a few lines in the "Tonight" ensemble, but in the "Jet Song" he was dubbed by Tucker Smith, who plays the role of Ice in the film. Smith himself sings his character's song "Cool" and his own lines in the "Tonight" ensemble.

Final determination of which voices would be used and to what extent for the film's songs was left to producer Saul Chaplin, who at various times told Nixon that her voice would be used to supplement or extend that of actress Natalie Wood or to replace it altogether.[6] According to various sources, Wood was assured throughout the recording and filming process that her vocals would be used for most of Maria's singing in the film, with Nixon's voice dubbed in only for the higher, more challenging vocal sections, and Wood did lip sync to her own pre-recorded tracks of the songs during filming. But after filming was complete, Nixon post-dubbed or "looped" all of Maria's songs while watching film loops. Nixon also dubbed several lines for Moreno in the latter part of the "Tonight" ensemble, because the range of that section was too high for both Moreno and Betty Wand. Although it was not industry standard at the time, Nixon arranged to receive a small percentage of the royalties for sales of the soundtrack, which, as she did not receive credit for her performance on the album, she indicates helped "salve any wounds".[7]

While the film was released by United Artists, the soundtrack album was produced and released by Columbia Masterworks Records as part of rights it acquired in producing the Broadway cast album.)[8]

Track listing[edit]

All music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Vocal performers listed parenthetically after song title.

CD version[edit]

  1. "Overture" – 4:39
  2. "Prologue" – 5:37
  3. "Jet Song" (Tucker Smith, Jets) – 2:06
  4. "Something's Coming" (Jim Bryant) – 2:32
  5. "Dance at the Gym" (Blues, Promenade, Mambo, Cha-cha, film dialogue, and Jump) – 9:24[9]
  6. "Maria" (Bryant) – 2:34
  7. "America" (Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Sharks & Girls) – 4:59
  8. "Tonight" (Jim Bryant, Marni Nixon) – 6:43
  9. "Gee, Officer Krupke" (Russ Tamblyn, Jets) – 4:14
  10. "Intermission" – 1:30[10]
  11. "I Feel Pretty" (Nixon, Yvonne Wilder credited as Yvonne Othon, Suzie Kaye) – 3:35
  12. "One Hand, One Heart" (Bryant, Nixon) – 3:02
  13. "Tonight Quintet" (Bryant, Nixon, Moreno, Jets, Sharks. "The counterpoint section of Anita's vocals are performed here by Nixon") – 3:22
  14. "The Rumble" – 2:39
  15. "Somewhere" (Bryant, Nixon) – 2:03
  16. "Cool" (Tucker Smith, Jets) – 4:21
  17. "A Boy Like That/I Have a Love" (Betty Wand, Nixon) – 4:28
  18. "Finale" (Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer) – 4:20
  19. "End Credits" (Instrumental) – 5:09

Original Lp version[edit]

Side 1[edit]

  1. "Prologue" - 5:39
  2. "Jet Song" - 2:11
  3. "Something's Coming" - 2:38
  4. "Dance at the Gym" (Blues, Promenade, and Jump) - 3:37
  5. "Maria" - 2:40
  6. "America" - 5:05
  7. "Tonight" - 3:35

Side 2[edit]

  1. "Gee, Officer Krupke" – 4:14
  2. "I Feel Pretty" – 3:35
  3. "One Hand, One Heart" – 3:02
  4. "Tonight Quintet" – 3:22
  5. "The Rumble" – 2:39
  6. "Cool" – 4:21
  7. "A Boy Like That/I Have a Love" – 4:28
  8. "Somewhere" – 2:03

Film (1961) soundtrack song start times[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Year Label & number Chart Position
1962 Columbia OL 5670 (Mono) / OS 2070 (Stereo) Billboard Pop Albums (Billboard 200) (mono and stereo) 1
UK Albums Chart[12]
1963 Columbia OL 5670 (Mono) / OS 2070 (Stereo) Billboard Pop Albums (Billboard 200) (mono and stereo)
UK Albums Chart[12]



  • Richard Beymer – performer (Tony)
  • Jim Bryant – performer (voice double for Richard Beymer)
  • George Chakiris – performer (Bernardo)
  • The Jets – performers
  • Suzie Kaye – performer (Rosalia)
  • Jo Anne Miya – performer (Francisca)
  • Rita Moreno – performer (Anita)
  • Marni Nixon – performer (voice double for Natalie Wood)
  • Yvonne Wilder credited as Yvonne Othon – performer (Consuelo)
  • Sharks – performers
  • Tucker Smith – performer (Ice; voice double for Russ Tamblyn on "Jet Song")
  • Russ Tamblyn – performer (Riff)
  • Betty Wand – performer (voice double for Rita Moreno on "A Boy Like That/I Have A Love")
  • Natalie Wood – performer (Maria)



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Austria (IFPI Austria)[13] Platinum 50,000*
France (SNEP)[14] Platinum 300,000*
Germany (BVMI)[15] Gold 250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[16] Gold 50,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[17] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[18]
Original Soundtrack: 2012-2013 sales
Gold 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[19]
Studio Cast Recording: 1985-1986 sales
2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[20] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^
United States (RIAA)[21]
Original Cast
Gold 500,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ West Side Story at AllMusic
  3. ^ Ash, Russell (2006). The Top 10 of Everything. Sterling Publishing. p. 112. ISBN 0-600-61557-X.
  4. ^ Simpson, Paul (2003). The Rough Guide to Cult Pop. Rough Guides. p. 181. ISBN 1-84353-229-8.
  5. ^ Mordden, Ethan (1983). Broadway babies: the people who made the American musical. Oxford University Press. p. 225. ISBN 0-19-505425-3.
  6. ^ a b Nixon, Marni; Stephen Cole; Marilyn Horne (2006). I Could Have Sung All Night. Billboard Books. p. 133. ISBN 0-8230-8365-9..
  7. ^ Nixon, 137.
  8. ^ Krasilovsky, M. William; Sidney Shemel; John M. Gross (2003). This Business of Music: The Definitive Guide to the Music Industry. Watson-Guptill. p. 232. ISBN 0-8230-7728-4.
  9. ^ This song was released in a shorter three-part version on original lp pressings, omitting the "Mambo" and "Pas de Deux"; the complete five-part version was added for cd releases.
  10. ^ This song was not present on original lp pressings, but was added for the 2004 cd re-release.
  11. ^ all times from the 1961 film
  12. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company - Original Soundtrack - West Side Story". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  13. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Soundtrack – West Side Story" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  14. ^ "French album certifications – B.O.F. – West Side Story" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  15. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (O.S.T. - Various; 'Westside-Story')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  16. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Soundtrack – West Side Story" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved May 6, 2019. Enter West Side Story in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  17. ^ Sólo Éxitos 1959–2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979–1990 (in Spanish). Iberautor Promociones Culturales. 2005. ISBN 8480486392.
  18. ^ "British album certifications – Original Soundtrack – West Side Story". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  19. ^ "British album certifications – Studio Cast Recording – West Side Story - (Studio)". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  20. ^ "American album certifications – Soundtrack – West Side Story". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 6, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  21. ^ "American album certifications – Soundtrack – West Side Story". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved November 20, 2020. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.