Lin-Manuel Miranda’s charity single “Almost Like Praying,” featuring Artists for Puerto Rico, is this week’s bestselling digital hit. The title phrase comes directly from “Maria,” a song from West Side Story, which opened on Broadway 60 years ago last month.
“I wrote this song the day after the hurricane hit Puerto Rico,” Miranda told Billboard. “We realized this storm was the worst storm to hit the island in modern history, and its name was Maria; that’s the name of my favorite song from West Side Story. So I thought, How can I flip that negative connotation into something [positive] for Puerto Rico?”
Miranda contacted Stephen Sondheim and the estate of the late Leonard Bernstein, who collaborated on the songs from West Side Story. They gave their approvals to the sample the same day Miranda made the request.
Among the guest artists on “Almost Like Praying” are Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Camila Cabello, Luis Fonsi, and Gloria Estefan. Proceeds from the song will benefit the Hispanic Federation’s Unidos Disaster Relief Fund.
“Almost Like Praying” is the top new entry on the Hot 100 (which reflects radio airplay and streaming activity in addition to digital sales) at No. 20. The song has already climbed higher than “Maria” ever charted. Two versions of that song made the Hot 100 — a vocal version by balladeer Johnny Mathis (No. 78 in July 1960) and an instrumental version by pianist Roger Williams (No. 48 in January 1962).
This is Miranda’s first top 40 hit on the Hot 100, either as artist or composer. His previous biggest hit as a composer was Auli’i Cravalho’s “How Far I’ll Go” (from Moana), which reached No. 41 early this year.
“Almost Like Praying” sold 111K digital copies in its first week, which enables it to enter Top Digital Songs at No. 1. It’s the first charity single to top that chart since Artists for Haiti’s “We Are the World: 25 for Haiti” spent its first two weeks at No. 1 in February 2010. “Almost Like Praying,” which is sung primarily in Spanish, displaces J Balvin and Willy William’s “Mi Gente” (featuring Beyoncé) from the No. 1 spot. This marks the first time that songs sung primarily in Spanish have ranked No. 1 on this chart back-to-back.
While West Side Story was a hit on Broadway, it was the 1961 film adaptation that made the show legendary. The movie won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The movie soundtrack, which spawned such prized songs as “Tonight,” “Somewhere,” and “America,” logged a record 54 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The soundtrack received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year.
Post Malone’s “Rockstar” (featuring 21 Savage) jumps to No. 1 in its fourth week on the Hot 100. It’s the fifth rap song to reach No. 1 so far this year. It follows Migos’s “Bad and Boujee” (featuring Lil Uzi Vert), Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.,” DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One” (featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, and Lil Wayne), and Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves).” This is the first year since 2006 in which five rap hits have topped the Hot 100. (Five rap songs also ruled the Hot 100 in 2003 and 2004.)
“Rockstar” also holds at No. 1 for the second week on the Official U.K. Singles Chart. “Rockstar” is the fifth song to reach No. 1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. so far this year. It follows Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” “I’m the One,” Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” (featuring Bieber), and Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.”
“Rockstar” also jumps to No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, displacing “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves).”
“Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” dips from No. 1 to No. 2 in its 15th week on the Hot 100. The song logged three weeks at No. 1.
Logic’s “1-800-273-8255” (featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid) rebounds from No. 4 to No. 3 in its 24th week. This equals its highest ranking to date.
Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” rebounds from No. 5 to No. 4 in its eighth week. The song spent three weeks on top.
Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still” moves up from No. 6 to No. 5 in its 17th week. The song is No. 1 on Top Rock Songs for the third week. It’s No. 1 on the Alternative Songs airplay chart for the 17th week. Only one song has had a longer run at No. 1 on the alternative chart in this decade — Muse’s “Madness,” which spent 19 weeks on top in 2012-13.
J Balvin & Willy William’s “Mi Gente” (featuring Beyoncé) drops from No. 3 to No. 6 in its 15th week. Last week, it tied Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” as Beyoncé’s highest-charting featured credit. “Telephone” reached No. 3 in April 2010.
Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes” rebounds from No. 13 to No. 7 in its fifth week. The song has climbed as high as No. 5.
Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder” dips from its No. 7 peak to No. 8 in its 24th week.
Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry” dips from its No. 8 peak to No. 9 in its 14th week.
French Montana’s “Unforgettable” (featuring Swae Lee) French Montana’s “Unforgettable” (featuring Swae Lee) holds at No. 10 in its 27th week. The song peaked at No. 3.
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” (featuring Justin Bieber) drops out of the top 10 this week. The song spent a record-tying 16 weeks at No. 1.
Christian rapper NF enters the Billboard 200 at No. 1 with Perception. This is the first Christian album to reach No. 1 since Chris Tomlin’s Burning Lights debuted at No. 1 in January 2013.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits holds at No. 2 in its 236th chart week. The album was released in November 1993 (when Bill Clinton was in his first year as president and Home Improvement was TV’s top sitcom.) The nearly 24-year-old album is the oldest album to rank as high as No. 2 since the Rolling Stones’ 1971 classic Sticky Fingers, then 39 years old, ranked No. 2 in June 2010. Greatest Hits holds at No. 1 on Top Catalog Albums for the third nonconsecutive week. It first topped that chart in February 2008 following the group’s halftime performance at Super Bowl XLII.
Lil Pump’s debut album, Lil Pump, debuts at No. 3.
Post Malone’s Stoney finally cracks the top five as it jumps from No. 6 (its previous high) to No. 4 in its 44th week.
Kane Brown’s Kane Brown finally cracks the top five as it vaults from No. 56 to No. 5 in its 45th week, due to the release of a deluxe, expanded edition. The album had previously climbed as high as No. 10. The album returns to No. 1 on Top Country Albums, displacing Shania Twain’s Now. This is the album’s second week on top of the country chart. Brown’s “What Ifs” (featuring Lauren Alaina) jumped to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs last week, ending a record-setting 34-week run at No. 1 by Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road.” “What Ifs” is the first collaboration to top the country chart since Kenny Chesney’s “Setting the World on Fire” (featuring P!nk) a year ago.
A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s debut album, The Bigger Artist, drops from No. 4 to No. 6 in its second week.
Lil Uzi Vert’s first full-length album, Luv Is Rage 2, holds at No. 7 in its seventh week. The album debuted at No. 1. The album includes his former top 10 hit, “XO Tour Llif3.”
Marilyn Manson lands his ninth top 10 album as Heaven Upside Down debuts at No. 8. Manson first cracked the top 10 in October 1996 with Antichrist Superstar, giving him a 21 year span of top 10 albums.
Imagine Dragons’ Evolve dips from No. 8 to No. 9 in its 16th week. The album debuted and peaked at No. 2.
Ed Sheeran’s ÷ holds at No. 10 in its 32nd week. The album spent its first two weeks at No. 1.
Shania Twain’s Now drops from No. 1 to No. 29 in its second week. Twain’s last studio album, Up!, spent its first five weeks at No. 1; its first eight weeks in the top 10.
Three other albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Demi Lovato’s Tell Me You Love Me drops from No. 3 to No. 13. Miley Cyrus’s Younger Now drops from No. 5 to No. 38. Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. drops from No. 9 to No. 11.
Liam Gallagher’s first solo album, As You Were, debuts at No. 30. The album debuts at No. 1 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart this week.
The Moana soundtrack dips from No. 30 to No. 31 in its 47th week. The album peaked at No. 2. It’s No. 1 on Top Soundtracks for the 25th week.
Look for P!nk to land her second No. 1 album next week with Beautiful Trauma. The album is on track to move 360K or more in “equivalent units,” which would give P!nk the biggest week for an album by a female artist since Beyoncé’s Lemonade debuted in May 2016 with 653K.
Also due: Beck’s Colors, Robert Plant’s Carry Fire, Gucci Mane’s Mr. Davis, St. Vincent’s Masseduction and Carly Pearce’s Every Little Thing.