Like Rice and Lloyd Webber's previous hit, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita began life as an album, released in 1975, with Julie Covington singing the lead role. Other parts were played by Paul Jones (Juan Peron), Barbara Dickson (the mistress), Mandy Patinkin (Che Guevara, the narrator) and Tony Christie (Magaldi). Hit songs included "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina", "Another Suitcase, Another Hall", and "Night of a Thousand Stars".
When it arrived on the West End stage on June 21, 1978, Evita was played by Elaine Paige, who had been selected from a large number of hopefuls after Julie Covington elected not to take the role. Che was played by David Essex and Peron by Joss Ackland. The show successfully transferred to Broadway and starred Patti LuPone.
Plans were soon in place for a film, which was originally to have starred Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb and to have been directed by Ken Russell. This did not materialise, and it was not until 1996 that Evita came to the big screen with Madonna in the title role, Antonio Banderas as Che and Jonathan Pryce as Peron.