NEW YORK - Hair has become big business. Productions of the rock musical in the U.S. and abroad are bringing in a take of almost $1 million every 10 days, and royalties are now being paid on close to 300 different recordings of the score, making it, according to Mike Stewart, president of United Artists Music, "the most successful score in history as well as the most performed score ever written for the Broadway stage."
And, according to Nat Shapiro, who put together the Hair package and who manages the musical's writers, Gerome Ragni and James Rado (lyrics) and Galt MacDermot (music), the Hair harvest is still growing. Negotiations for a film version and its offshoot soundtrack album are underway, with bids now coming in for as high as $3 million and a share of the gross, and additional Hair companies are being planned for the U.S. and abroad. Murray Deutch, vice president of United ARtists Music, also projects that an additional 100 recordings of songs from the score will be made before the end of the year.
On the stage production level, plans have already been wrapped up to open another Hair company in Miami in August and one in Rome in September. Plans are also to bring Hair to Japan within the next few months. And, just a few weeks ago, a Hair company opened in Tel Aviv and CBS ISrael brought out an album of the production. The Israeli album now joins the list of original cast albums that were made of productions in England, France, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Holland, and Australia. The French (Philips), English (Atco) and Japanese (RCA) versions are now in the market in the U.S. RCA Records original Broadway cast album, which was released about two and a half years ago, has passed the two million sales mark.
In addition to the long-running New York company and the upcoming Miami company, there are Hair companies in Seattle, Toronto, Chicago, Detroit and Boston. Overseas there are companies running in England, Germany, Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, Belgrade, Sydney, Australia, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The chart-making songs from the score are Aquarius, Let The Sunshine In, Good Morning Starshine, Easy To Be Hard, I Got Life/Ain't Got No, and Where Do I Go? UA Music reports sheet music sales continue strong in all areas such as marching bands, duets, chorales, and straight piano copies, in addition to vocal and orchestral arrangements.
Shapiro pointed out that despite constant demands and offers of big money, all requests for use of the songs in advertising commercials have been turned down. Some of the songs, however, have been given free to public service organizations such as the Urban Coalition, the Peace Corps, and the Anti-Pollution Committee.
Hair also has served as an incubator for a flock of performers. Among those who've stepped out on their own are Melba Moore, Jill O'Hara, Herm (sic) Keller (Editors Note: I believe the author is referring to Hiram Keller), Murray Head, Ronnie Dyson, Jennifer, Bert Sommers, and Lynn Kellogg.