It was originally planned to record the original Australian cast, but producer Cameron Mackintosh decided to create an international recording instead, using cast members who were appearing or had appeared in the London, Broadway, Australian, Japanese, and Los Angeles productions.
Kaho Shimada, Japan's original Eponine, did not speak English at the time the recording was made, so she learned all of her lyrics phonetically. She was selected to take part in the recording after she had impressed the producer with her bilingual Royal Variety Performance of a portion of "On My Own" in her native Japanese, followed by "One Day More" with a mix of former and then current cast members in English.
The album was recorded in three different locations: CTS Studios, Wembley, UK; Studio Eleven Eleven, Nashville, USA; and Rhinoceros Studios, Sydney, AUS. It was mixed at The Record Plant, Los Angeles, USA, where much of the original Los Angeles cast lent their vocals to many of the ensemble numbers.
The orchestra was recorded in Wembley and Nashville. Most of the main vocals were recorded in Sydney. But most of the ensemble work was recorded courtesy of the original Los Angeles and past and then current London casts in their respective cities.
The orchestra used for the recording was the 72-member London Philharmonia Orchestra.
Won the Best Musical Show Album Grammy Award in 1991.