HITS Daily Double


By Grammy Whisperer Paul Grein

Today, in the next-to-last installment of our series previewing key Grammy races, our Grammy seer looks at Best Compilation Soundtrack and Best Musical Theater Album.

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
Frozen is a lock, of course, and so is Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix, Vol. 1. Both soundtracks reached #1. Frozen spawned Idina Menzel’s top five smash "Let It Go." Guardians was widely acclaimed for its fun use of 1970s hits, both classics and guilty pleasures.

The Fault in Our Stars is a near-lock. The soundtrack cracked the top five and spawned Charli XCX’s top 10 hit "Boom Clap."

Get on Up: The James Brown Story also looks strong. Brown received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy in 1992. Finding Fela is also eligible. The late Fela Kuti’s name recognition could lift it to a nomination.

Other eligible soundtracks from music-themed movies include Jersey Boys, Take Me to the River and CBGB.

Other movie soundtracks with a good shot include American Hustle, Begin Again, Chef, Divergent (Deluxe Edition), Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Muppets Most Wanted, Rio 2, The Wolf of Wall Street, 22 Jump Street and Boyhood.

TV soundtracks also compete in this category. (Boardwalk Empire: Volume 1 won three years ago.) Small-screen soundtracks vying for a nomination this year include Arrested Development; House of Lies; The Walking Dead: Volume 2; The Music of Nashville: Season 2: Volume 2 (Deluxe Edition) and Sons of Anarchy: Songs of Anarchy: Volume 3.

Best Musical Theater Album
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical can’t miss. The show received seven Tony nominations, including Best Musical. And King is Grammy royalty. For 1971, the year of Tapestry, she famously became the first woman to win Album, Record and Song of the Year in the same year. (Alas, King wouldn’t take home a Grammy if the cast album were to win. The award would go to the album producers.)

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder and Aladdin were both Tony-nominated for Best Musical and Best Score. (Gentleman’s Guide won for Musical.) As such, they’re in a very strong position here.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch won four Tonys, including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Actor in a Musical for Neil Patrick Harris.

The Bridges of Madison County won the Tony for Best Score. If/Then (starring Idina Menzel) was nominated in that key category.

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
, which stars Jesse Mueller, is one of three shows about legendary singers with eligible cast albums. The others are Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, with Audra McDonald channeling Billie Holiday, and A Night with Janis Joplin, with Mary Bridget Davies playing the rock legend. (Mueller and McDonald both won Tonys for their performances. Davies was nominated, but lost to Mueller.)

Deep trivia: That outcome, where the actress playing King beat the actress playing Joplin, echoed the 1971 Grammy race for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, where King’s Tapestry beat Joplin’s "Me and Bobby McGee."

Russ Titelman co-produced the cast album from A Night with Janis Joplin. He’s not the only music veteran with an eligible album. David Byrne & Fatboy Slim are in the running with Here Lies Love. They co-wrote the songs and co-produced the cast album.

The latest treatments of two classic shows are also eligible: West Side Story (the 2013 Broadway Cast with the San Francisco Symphony) and The Sound of Music (the soundtrack to the 2013 TV version, which starred Carrie Underwood).

Other cast albums with a reasonably good chance of making the finals: Violet (with Sutton Foster), Bullets over Broadway, Rocky the Musical and I Am Harvey Milk. The cast album to the latter show was co-produced by Leslie Ann Jones, former Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy.

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