West Side Story (soundtrack)

West Side Story is the soundtrack to the 1961 film West Side Story. 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" and Johnny Richards orchestrations of the movie score (on Kenton's West Side Story) also winning a Grammy in 1962 for "Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album" further bolstering the popularity of the movie and soundtrack. 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.

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

Though the album was released just a few years after the release of the original broadway cast recording, it is according to Broadway Babies 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 spoke of singing the role of Maria and of her observations of some of the other singers whose voices were dubbed into the film. According to Nixon, very little of the singing on the soundtrack was contributed by the on-screen top-billing stars of the film; while George Chakiris provided vocals for the character of Bernardo, Nixon claims, even Russ Tamblyn's voice was dubbed over by Tucker Smith because Tamblyn had contractual obligations with MGM Records.[6] (While the film was released by United Artists, the soundtrack album was produced by Columbia Records as part of rights it acquired in producing the Broadway cast album.)[7] Final determination of which voices would be used and how much 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] After filming was complete, Nixon recorded several songs while watching film loops so that she could synchronize her voice to Wood's action.[8] Nixon also dubbed several lines for Wood and contributed co-dubber Betty Wand's part to the song now called "Tonight".[9] 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".[10]

Track listingEdit

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

CD versionEdit

  1. "Overture" – 4:39
  2. "Prologue" – 6:37
  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[11]
  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[12]
  11. "I Feel Pretty" (Nixon, 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 versionEdit

Side 1Edit

  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 2Edit

  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

Chart positionsEdit

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[13]
1963 Columbia OL 5670 (Mono) / OS 2070 (Stereo) Billboard Pop Albums (Billboard 200) (mono and stereo)
UK Albums Chart[13]



  • 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 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
France (SNEP)[14] Platinum 300,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[15] Gold 50,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[16] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[17] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[18] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

*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. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Nixon, 135-136.
  9. ^ Nixon, 136.
  10. ^ Nixon, 137.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ This song was not present on original lp pressings, but was added for the 2004 cd re-release.
  13. ^ a b "The Official Charts Company - Original Soundtrack - West Side Story". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  14. ^ "French album certifications – B.O.F. – West Side Story" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Soundtrack – West Side Story" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 6 May 2019. Enter West Side Story in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  16. ^ Sólo Éxitos 1959–2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979–1990 (in Spanish). Iberautor Promociones Culturales. 2005. ISBN 8480486392.
  17. ^ "British album certifications – Original Soundtrack – West Side Story". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 6 May 2019. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type West Side Story in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  18. ^ "American album certifications – Soundtrack – West Side Story". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 6 May 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.