So, in my opinion, Disney…is life! I love Disney! And I think people who say they don’t like Disney are freaks, mad, lying, or just plain wrong. How can you not like Disney?! How can you not like the magic that produced The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast – can you guess these probably might feature further into this post?
Disney is a fabulous world of wonder and magic, and in truth is frequently an outlet for stressed adults(not that we all admit it). You’d be surprised how many people I talk to who admit they take younger siblings or cousins to the cinema to give them an excuse to go and see the latest Disney movie without shame. Me, being me and having no shame, I am quite happy to be seen in the theatre minus a small child – in fact, frequently my Disney companion is my Gran, because she’s the only one willing to be seen in public with me going to see Cinderella for the third time( the live-action one, I’m not that old my darlings).
On a side note, if you haven’t seen the live action Cinderella…what are you doing with your life?!
Anyway, I do have to admit that Disney would absolutely NOT be Disney without the marvel that is Disney music. It’s music that is so recognisably Disney, and is just so ingrained in pop culture that you just know the tunes. You just know them. Upon hearing them they just take you back to that childhood feeling, that contented, safe feeling that is Disney. I have spent many nights around a piano with friends bashing out the Disney tunes and crooning along.
Just like anyone else though, I do have my favourites because, who doesn’t?
1. The Circle of Life
Movie – The Lion King
Written By – Elton John/ Tim Rice
When you think Disney, what’s the first song you think of? It’s got to be the opening few seconds of this iconic song, don’t you? It’s just too memorable not to think of. I love the fact that reportedly the opening Zulu lyrics performed by Lebo M. translate to “I am a Lion, a big scary lion” or something to that effect. Only Disney! And just think of how many references there are to this song in pop culture! The symbolic raising of Simba to the gathered animals of the Savannah has been parodied so often its ridiculous! Heck, even U.S President used it to make light of the controversy surrounding his heritage, when he used the clip as his “birth video”. Say what you want, but the man has a sense of humour.
2. Let It Go
Movie – Frozen
Written by – Kristen Anderson – Lopez/ Robert Lopez
Yes, it’s gonna be stuck in your head all day. No, I will not apologise. Just take all that irritation and
let it go(I’m sorry, that was poor). Now even if you hate Disney, there is no way you’ve not heard of Frozen, and even if you’re in the same boat as me, having seen it a few several times, then you maybe don’t know that Elsa, our fab, fantastic, free snow queen was originally the villain of the movie, but when producers heard the marvellousness of husband and wife team Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez’ take for the character’s solo performance, they rewrote the bloody script they thought it was that great! No wonder the movie is one of Disney’s greatest hits.
3. I See The Light
Movie – Tangled
Written by – Alan Menken/ Glenn Slater
Okay, I’m gonna say something controversial. Don’t shoot me but… I think Tangled is better than Frozen! There, I said it, in public, and magically I’m still alive. Clearly not that controversial then. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Frozen’s a brilliant movie, and the tunes from it are fab-u-lous! But I just prefer Tangled. My bad. Might have something to do with the fact that the film’s producers took all of its female employees, put them in a room, asked them about their thoughts on most attractive physical features on a man, and then had their animators produce Flynn Rider, the most attractive animated character ever! Might help, just a wee bit!
4. Beauty and the Beast
Movie – Beauty and the Beast
Written by – Alan Menken/ Howard Ashman
Perhaps one of Disney’s most iconic songs, and performed by the wonder Dame Angela Lansbury in her role as Mrs Potts, Beauty and the Beast is just one of a kind in my opinion. I’m not sure there’s anything else quite like it in Disney’s repertoire. The film itself is dedicated to the songs lyricist Howard Ashman, who passed away shortly before the film was released, and wrote many of the films songs from his deathbed. The movie’s soundtrack itself made history by becoming the first ever soundtrack to an animated movie to be nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy, and the film’s title song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song! How cool is that?! Go Disney!
5.Colours of the Wind
Movie – Pocahontas
Written by – Alan Menken/ Stephen Schwartz
I love Pocahontas! It really is one of my favourite Disney films, if you can forgive that it is eternally and unbelievably historically inaccurate! It really is so bad! But anyway, historical issues aside, the soundtrack to this film is undoubtedly fantastic! Colours of the Wind, considered the film’s lead song, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, making it composer Alan Menken’s fourth win in the category! Show off. The song has been covered numerous times, notably by Tori Kelly for We Love Disney
and by the infamous Whitney Houston.
6. Be Prepared
Movie – The Lion King
Written by – Elton John/ Tim Rice
The ultimate Disney villain song in my opinion! The sass is just…I don’t think there’s a word for the fabulousness of this song. It’s maybe rivalled only by Hellfire from The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Be Prepared is Scar’s moment in the Lion King, and was recorded by the movie by Jeremy Irons and, after Iron’s blew his voice out on a big note, voice actor and singer Jim Cummings, who provides the voice of Ed the Hyena in the film. The choreography of the animation is perhaps a little choice for a children’s Disney movie, as the hyenas are animated to resemble the marching of Nazi soldiers, and the song is animated to resemble Nazi propaganda. Not quite what you’d expect from Disney, and not quite sure what they were thinking there, but it’s one of their most successful films, so who am I to judge?
7. Friend Like Me
Movie – Aladdin
Written by – Alan Menken/ Howard Ashman
This song is Disney in a nutshell. Magic, Razzmatazz, and just pure entertainment GOLD! Aladdin just would not be the movie it is without this tune, and, of course, the comedy genius of the man himself, the irreplaceable Robin Williams. His performance as the Genie just makes the movie, and I really, truly doubt the film would have been anywhere near the success it is without him. The centrepiece of the movie, Friend Like Me is also pretty successful on the Broadway stage, with NewYork.com‘s review stating
“Rarely does a production number receive a standing ovation in the middle of a show, but Friend Like Me’ […] has them standing in the aisles before intermission.”
8. Zero to Hero
Movie – Hercules
Written by – Alan Menken/ David Zippel
Hercules has some pretty decent tunes, including Go The Distance (check out this version by Kurt Hugo Schneider and Shawn Hook) and I Wont Say I’m In Love, but, in my humble opinion, the real musical talent of this movie are The Muses. Seriously, those ladies are just too fabulous! They have several numbers throughout the piece, serving as the narrators of the story, but my favourite is Zero to Hero. It’s sassy, it’s gospel, it’s just marvelous. ‘Nuff said.
9. You’ve Got a Friend in Me
Movie – Toy Story
Written by – Randy Newman
Written and recorded by Randy Newman, You’ve Got A Friend in Me plays over the opening credits of Toy Story, and highlights the friendship between Andy and his beloved cowboy doll Woody. The happy-go-lucky nature of the song can’t help but put a smile on your face, it just can’t! When the song is reprised in the second movie as part of Woody’s Roundup, it is performed by Woody’s voice, the one and only Mr Tom Hanks!
10. Make a Man Out of You
Movie – Mulan
Written by – Matthew Wilder/ David Zippel
Considered the best song of the entire movie (and I agree) I’ll Make a Man Out of You is performed by Donny Osmond, and serves as the accompaniment to the training montage that takes Mulan and her fellow soldiers from hapless recruits to legitimate fighters. The irony of the song is Mulan, being female, turns out to be better and more efficient than her male counterparts (isn’t this just life, ladies?). I love Mulan, Disney insinuating its position on feminism and equality long before Frozen or Brave (two movies I also love, but for different reasons).
Side Note: when the song was dubbed for release in Mandarin and Cantonese, Jackie Chan(!) provides the singing voice, a performance that was very widely received as a positive, worthwhile performance.
As I have mentioned just once or twice in this post, I love Disney, and could rattle on about Disney music all day. But I won’t, because you’re all busy people, and don’t have forever to listen to me rattle on. I don’t have time to listen to me rattle on, and probably couldn’t cope, I’d slap myself and tell myself to shut up.
Anyway, I could rattle on, but I won’t, promise. But I just couldn’t write this post without a few honorable mentions.
- Bibbidi-Bobidi-Boo – Cinderella
- A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes – Cinderella
- Hellfire – The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- Part of your World – The Little Mermaid
- Under the Sea – The Little Mermaid
- Hakuna Matata – The Lion King
- Do you Wanna Build a Snowman? – Frozen
- When You Wish Upon a Star – Pinocchio
- Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Mary Poppins
- A Whole New World – Aladdin
Well, that’s my Disney ramble for today! What do you think? Have I missed anything? What’s your favourite Disney tune?
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