After a lengthy break on the bench, ‘TGJ Replay’ is back!
Designed much like our ‘Retro Rewind’ and ‘From the Vault’ features, ‘Replay’ is That Grape Juice‘s latest retrospective segment to act as a written quest, if you will, to re-spin the gems and jams of yesterday. Unlike its ‘Rewind’ and ‘Vault’ predecessors, ‘Replay’ looks to dust off and showcase entire albums (and eras) from a library of pop and Urban pop music hits.
As this month brings with it the 8th anniversary of the ‘Dreamgirls’ motion picture soundtrack, we thought there would be no better time than the present to ode this amazing collection of new and revamped tunes. Tuck in below for more on one of the most celebrated soundtracks of all time…
Late 2005 brought with it news that an all-star African American cast was on board to remake the prized 1981 Broadway hit ‘Dreamgirls.’ A tough adaptation to create given the show’s impact on pop culture at its height, singer/actor/comedian Jamie Foxx, singer/actor/comedian Eddie Murphy, pop megastar Beyonce, ‘American Idol’ finalist Jennifer Hudson, and Tony award winning actress Anika Noni Rose were tapped to bring the award-winning play, loosely based on the rise of Diana Ross & the Supremes, to the big screen for its first wide release.
The pressure to create a sonic body of work worthy of being deemed the play’s revamped successor was met when production group The Underdogs signed on to helm the film’s accompanying soundtrack. Reworking the stage edition’s signature tunes ‘Move,’ ‘Dreamgirls,’ ‘It’s All Over,’ and more, the album also listed four original tracks absent from the Broadway play (‘Listen,’ ‘Love You I Do,’ ‘Patience,’ and ‘Perfect World’). While fans were thrilled to see the newest musical endeavors of chart toppers Jamie Foxx and Beyonce, it would be the lesser known ‘American Idol’ gem, Hudson, who would steal the show with her stirring rendition of the show’s most memorable number ‘And I Am Telling You’ (originally performed by Jennifer Holliday).
Talk about a knock out!
Packed with powerhouse vocal displays and wrapped with a gripping, testimonial delivery, early screenings of the film were flooded with reports that audiences were literally responding with standing ovations to the scene in the movie theater! Quickly met with Oscar buzz of Oscar, the performance and subsequent release of ‘And I Am Telling You,’ though not cited as the “first official single” of the set, kicked interest in the film into overdrive.
While it made its way to the R&B singles’ chart top 20 (where it would peak at #14), elsewhere, the movie would dominate box offices as its Columbia Records-backed soundtrack would gear up to use its star player’s contribution to the film as its official first single.
Enter Beyonce’s ‘Listen’:
Like Hudson, Beyonce lent what many would argue is her best recorded vocal performance to date. An emotional affair exhibiting a depth displayed in dearth from the diva’s prior recordings, ‘Listen’ would lead Bey to her latest notch on the Hot 100 and R&B songs (peaking at #61 and #23 respectively).
With the buzz of its action packed cast and on the wings of ‘Telling,’ the soundtrack would storm the Billboard 200 to make a modest #20 debut with 92, 000 sold. By the time the film began its full on domination of the box office competition, its success would be reflected not only there but in soundtrack sales as well. With 68,000 sold in its fifth week of availability, the album would be hoisted to the perch of the Billboard 200. Marking the lowest number of albums sold to hold the #1 spot (a record later broken by Taylor Swift), the critical acclaim that accompanied the release would help it maintain its grip on Billboard album charts’ upper ranking well into 2007.
As expected, award season 2007 was greeted with ‘Dreamgirls’ fever.
A critical shoo-in for film industry top honors, the set’s only original single ‘Listen’ would land a Golden Globe nomination (but lose to Prince). Later welcoming 8 overall nods at the year’s Academy Awards, the soundtrack would dominate monopolize mention in the ‘Best Original Song’ category with three nominations for ‘Love You I Do,’ ‘Patience,’ and ‘Listen.’ Losing there as well, fans cried “foul” for the absence of honors bestowed to the soundtrack, but were redeemed when Hudson walked away with the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ Oscar for her role as “Effie.”
The real “winners” of the night were showcased when the film’s leading ladies joined other cast members to lend a rocking ode to the celebrated soundtrack.
Released in December 2006, the album would not be eligible for Grammy recognition until the 2008 ceremony where it received ‘Best Compilation Soundtrack Album’ and ‘Best Song from a Motion Picture, Television, or Visual Media’ nominations, winning the latter.
The win would only help stall the album’s descent down Billboard 200 as it maintained a notable stance on the tally lasting well into 2008.
If ever there was a time casting directors got it absolutely right on every front, ‘Dreamgirls’ the motion picture and its soundtrack would be it. Even Murphy and Foxx, who received less notoriety than their female counterparts, rendered solid performances via their solos ‘Jimmy Got Soul’ and ‘When I First Saw You’ respectively.
Unveiled in an era where megasoundtracks (a la ‘Saturday Night Fever,’ ‘The Bodyguard’) were believed to be dead and done, a megawatt composite of talented gents and gems would prove otherwise.
As we at TGJ HQ press play on our jam ‘Heavy Heavy,’ ease on down and tell us: