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Disney Songs Poll!

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As will become very obvious in the coming days, Lebeau and I are both taking Disney-related trips later this month. Lebeau and family are taking their first Disney cruise while I am in Anaheim at roughly the same time. As such, Disney and vacations in general will dominate much of June here at Le Blog.

Instead of our typical bracket game, I’ve decided to fill the first three weeks of the month by writing about one song from an animated Disney feature film each day. You, our faithful readers, will have a hand in deciding which songs I will write about by ranking four different lists of songs provided below. Polldaddy only allows ten candidates in each ranking group, so I separated forty famous songs from the house of mouse into four different groups.

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Group 1: 1937-1949 (Gold and Wartime eras)

Walt and company took a big risk, practically emptying the company’s coffers (and mortgaging Walt’s house) to produce what was the first full-length cel animated film ever at a cost of nearly $1.5 million, but turned out to be an enormous success in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Other masterpieces like Pinocchio, Fantasia, and Bambi were produced, also at great expense, and with varying levels of success at the box office. Eventually, the risks of soaring costs and the beginning of the second World War resulted in a series of “package films” like The Three CaballerosMake Mine Music, and Fun and Fancy Free, using multiple stories released together with popular characters appearing in them to help sell these lower cost features to the public.

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Group 2: 1950-1988 (Silver and Bronze eras)

With Cinderella, Disney returned to the single story and fairytale formats which had marked their early efforts and found success with a formula they would return to again and again. While the overall quality of the films over this period of time was inconsistent, the Disney “magic” continued to pop up here and there, nowhere more decidedly than in the soundtracks. Some of the most iconic songs in the Disney discography appeared in features like The Jungle Book, Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, and The AristoCats.

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Group 3: 1989-1994 (The Disney Renaissance)

Disney animation was still respected, but it had been many years since it had had any consistent relevance at the box office, or inspired widespread enthusiasm with its feature films. So when The Little Mermaid landed in theaters, film fans were delighted to find a piece of work completely worthy of the studio’s previous reputation. The songwriting team of Menken and Ashman contributed mightily to this resurgence, penning multiple absolute classics for inclusion in The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin prior to Howard Ashman’s untimely death. Tim Rice picked up his mantle more than capably and contributed to both Aladdin and The Lion King, which became the highest-selling soundtrack for any animated film. The Disney Renaissance was such a productive era, that I found it necessary to jam its latter bits into Group 4.

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Group 4: 1995-present (Renaissance to Revival)

Not long after Disney had apparently hit its stride with a series of successful animated musicals, PIXAR changed the game with films made completely with computer animated images. While I still personally prefer hand-drawn animation, there’s no denying the dominance of pixels and their continued improvement as an art form. After a brief dip in production to adjust to this new state of things, Disney has managed to apply its traditional story structures to modern ideas, characters, and production styles (and managed to purchase PIXAR outright). While Tangled seemed like a pretty big hit at first, nobody could be prepared for the international mania that exploded with the release of the empowering story of Scandinavian sisters, Frozen. Youtube was suddenly jam-packed with videos of little girls in princess dresses belting out “Let it Go”…and grown men in combat fatigues doing the same thing.

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Okay, so that’s a very basic explanation of the different eras of Disney animation you’ll be looking at in each group as you rank some of the finest songs to emerge from their films. As you pull up each group of 10 songs, click on the ↔ next to a song you’d like to move up or down the list and simply drag it to the spot where you think it belongs. Once every tune is properly ranked (at the top for the best, at the bottom for those which are only good), just move on to the next 10. I’ll be letting votes come in for most of a week before I finalize the overall rankings, as decided by you and other readers, and begin posting each song and a little write-up about it. I’ll start on June 1st with your #20 ranked choice and follow on backwards up the list to your #1 choice on June 20th, just 2 days before I jump on a plane to visit Walt’s first theme park!

Feel free to vote based on any criteria you see fit and let us know your opinions in the comments section!

Ready? Here…we…Go!!

 

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Posted on May 27, 2015, in Movies, Music, Nostalgia, poll, Trip Countdown and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.

  1. I’ll be interested to see how this turns out. Kudos for trying something new.

    I suppose my preference is for the Renaissance period. I found that era to be over-stuffed with songs I like whereas there were songs I was very ambivalent about in the Gold and Silver Ages. Some songs I would have ranked highly in the “revival” period were missing in favor of songs I can’t recall from Hunchback. But I imagine quite a few songs fall into that time frame. It’s a 20 year stretch during which Disney has been popping out movies pretty regularly.

    Not that Pixar movies are known for their music, but it looks like this list sticks to Disney Feature Animation. No You’ve Got a Friend in Me.

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    • daffystardust

      Yes, I erred towards stuff produced specifically for Disney movies that were Disney movies at the time. You’ll also note that I tended to leave out songs sung by invisible non-characters, though I did include a couple that fit that description. I’m interested to know what other “revival” period songs you would have included.

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      • We’re big Mulan fans in the lebeau household. The soundtrack gets a lot of play. I was surprised not to see any Phil Collins/Tarzan. But maybe that’s due to the invisible character rule. Also no Pocahontas. Not my favorite movie, but some memorable tunes. I thought PatF and Hunchback might have been a bit over-represented. I like the music from PaTF but it seems to be a love it or hate it affair for many. And I think Hunchback is just forgotten.

        Also, I’d have probably made different choices for some of the movies represented. For instance, Mother isn’t among my favorite songs from Tangled. I’ve Got a Dream or even When Will My Life Begin would get my vote over the bad guy song.

        I have tried to spread the word about this among the Disney communities I participate in. Hopefully you get some good participation.

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        • daffystardust

          Yeah, it was tough to make some of the decisions about what to include. I actually did quite a lot of research about what is ranked highly in other online polls and opinion pieces on the topic.

          What I found out was that most of those are done by people who are a good deal younger than I am. I actually ran across a couple that did not include ANY songs from prior to 1989, which is part of why I broke this up into eras so that one time period of the company would not dominate or get totally ignored.

          In the end I defaulted to my own tastes at times. As such, Phil Collins and Pocahontas got left out. I know that “Reflection” and “I’ll Make a Man out of You” from Mulan are popular, but “Honor to us All” ranked pretty well too, and that was the one I really liked from that movie. If people have forgotten Hunchback, then they should check out these songs. The movie is frustratingly imperfect considering how truly great some of its parts are, but these two songs really stand out to me.

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        • I think the opening “Bells of Notre Dame” song is probably my favorite from Hunchback. Much like with “Belle”, I think it’s probably mostly about the fact that singing along includes doing a lot of different voices, honestly. I amuse myself.

          “Honor to us All” will always irk me because of one line–“Help me not to make a fool of me”. Like nails on a chalkboard. Cringe.

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        • daffystardust

          Keep that in mind songwriters- Annie hates bad grammar in songs!

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        • That line never jumped out at me before, but it will from now on. Eek.

          For the longest time, I have had trouble with Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die. I always hear it as “this world in which we live in” which is wrong. Those aren’t the actual lyrics but the appearance of bad grammar annoys me.

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        • daffystardust

          I guess bad grammar in songs doesn’t bother me because it is a largely colloquial art form. Now if somebody like Lady Tremaine or Cogsworth delivered poor grammar that might bother me because it wouldn’t be appropriate for their characters.

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        • It’s situational. I know my writing wouldn’t always suggest this to be true, but I am something of a stickler for grammar. Under the right circumstances, I can let it go (hehe). I’m more willing to look the other way for music than prose. But “Help me not to make a fool of me” crosses a line. I’m amazed I never noticed it before.

          Of course we usually blow past that song to get to the ones we like. 😉

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        • Hey, I’m not a total stickler but that is just egregious. Egregious!!

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        • Nice use of egregious.

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  2. Whew, that was a challenge! I tried not overthink it, to place things at the top and bottom first and then sort out the middles. I also hit submit before I could go back and start agonizing.

    I’m sure you’d be able to tell which results are mine. Phil Harris all day and Snow White’s voice can rot. ROT. Had to rank “You Can Fly!” up there, too. It’s one of those songs that just puts a big smile on my face.

    Renaissance was the hardest to sort out. Not a song on that list I don’t love. Actually, the last group was pretty difficult to rank, as well. I tried to ignore the fatigue I’m currently feeling for a few of the movies (Frozen, Little Mermaid) but easier said than done.

    I’m excited for all the Disney content coming, but I’m sure you knew I would be! 🙂

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    • daffystardust

      Hey Annie!
      Thanks for voting! There’s no block on voting multiple times this time around, so feel free to come back as often as you please!
      I’m sure “Little April Showers” will be high on your list too, since I included it at your behest. So far, it’s not doing that well with the other voters, though.

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      • Pretty sure I ranked it #1! I have to think it wouldn’t do as well because people aren’t as familiar with it. It’s just such a neat song. Creative and pleasing use of human voices. There’s just something really special about it.

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    • Daffy has one article in particular that I am excited to read. It’s gonna be good stuff.

      I took a very similar approach. I don’t remember my rankings, but I know Bear Necessities and You Can Fly ranked on the high end. I like Someday My Prince Will Come but had to knock points off for Snow White’s voice.

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      • the voice may be an acquired taste. I found it to be such a sweet bird warbling

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      • daffystardust

        My Grandmother used that same girly vibrato when she sang, and she was a young woman when Snow White was released (my Dad was born in 1941), so maybe it was in style at the time. I loved hearing her sing (in part because she was often singing to me) but I must confess that the singing style always seemed strange to me. I attributed it to her age at the time, which is not entirely wrong.

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      • For me the Dwarfs are the real stars of Snow White anyway, so “Heigh Ho” is going to come in way ahead of “Someday” for me any day.

        Lots of good songs from Pinocchio; hard to decide which one I like the best.

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        • daffystardust

          It looks like most of our voters agree with you so far, Jestak. “Heigh Ho” is the song that entered the social consciousness and stayed there.
          Pinocchio is a great film. Maybe the greatest animated film of all time…but that’s a topic for a different poll! 🙂

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        • Heigh Ho probably the song you are most likely to hear independent of the movie. It gets referenced a fair amount in relation to the workplace. Some Day My Prince Will Come will get used in Disney marketing and not a lot else.

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  3. This looks like an interesting topic (more so, for me, than zombie movies). It looks like it must have been a tough job getting the lists down to 10 each, so I won’t complain too much about the absence of “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin or “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” from Cinderella. 🙂

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    • Cinderella didn’t make it at all, did it? I may’ve replaced “Un-Birthday” with something from Cindy. I adore Verna Felton and “Bibbidi” is iconic, but personally I’d’ve gone with “So This is Love”. Or maybe even “Sing, Sweet Nightengale”, but that’s largely because I think the animation with the bubbles is great. Really stands out in a movie with such mediocre animation (for Disney). And Ilene Woods has such a gorgeous voice.

      So difficult to rate things when they’re truly all great.

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      • daffystardust

        “Bibbidi” was the final cut from the second group, and a tough one since I know it is pretty iconic. I looked into separating the silver and bronze ages, but that would have meant including songs that neither I nor the voters would have had much enthusiasm for. Heck, Lebeau is already shrugging over a few of the songs from the second group as it is. I’m still considering posting a wild card round, but if I do, I’ll have to do it soon or apply different rules to it. ideas?

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        • I’m probably not the best barometer for such things. Most of my Disney music appreciation comes from listening to Pandora in the car on the 7-minute drive to drop off the girls in the morning. We listen to Disney songs and they have control of what we listen to and what we don’t. So Frozen gets a lot of play and older songs tend to get a thumbs-down.

          Although, yeah, the second grouping is the era of Disney animation I am most ambivalent about despite the fact that it includes my own childhood. Between Jungle Book and The Little Mermaid, there’s a lot of shoulder-shrugging for me.

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        • daffystardust

          I had records with songs from lots of the Silver and Bronze age Disney films as a kid, including full soundtracks for The Jungle Book, Robin Hood, and Lady and the Tramp. Sometime around ’71 or ’72 my Dad bought a Disney songbook so he could play songs on the piano and we could stand with him and sing. These were actually the main ways I became familiar with the songs because back then there was no such thing as a VCR. When I was about 10 years old I had to do a presentation in school on a subject and from the topics I could choose from I decided on cats, which led to me in a cat costume singing “Ev’rybody Wants to be a Cat” in front of my 4th grade class. I did not have Hugh Grant around to tell me this was a bad idea.

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        • I would very much like to see a recording of that performance. It’s amazing how many situations could be improved by having Hugh Grant around.

          We had those little Disney storybook records which usually had two songs on them I think. We had The Aristocats so I knew the title song and Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat from that. We bought the movie when it came out on DVD and have watched it probably once. Amazingly, it never gets played on Pandora. I don’t think the girls have even had a chance to go Nero and thumbs down a lot of these songs. They play some older songs but most of them are princess-related. No Dumbo or Pinocchio. Certainly nothing from the 70s or pre-renaissance 80’s. There’s some Mary Poppins and even The Sound of Music, but the older animated features are barely represented.

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        • daffystardust

          Mercifully, this was from before the wide proliferation of home video cameras. One of the benefits of being older is that our most embarrassing moments are typically not plastered all over social media at the same time that we are trying to figure out who we are.
          It is sad that the older songs are not getting any play at all. I’m of the opinion that for most people, if you play a song a bunch of times they will decide they like it, so why not go ahead and play good songs so people will like good songs?

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        • Yeah, I’m thankful not to have been young during the rise of social media. That would have been embarrassing.

          It is possible that someone else listening to Disney music on Pandora would hear more of the old songs. It picks and chooses based on your preferences. The girls control thumbs up and thumbs down which may be why we never hear any of these songs. They are very quick to hit the thumbs down button.

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        • I think you’re not giving your kids enough credit. I just turned on my Pandora Disney station. It started with “I Wanna Be Like You”, then “My Favorite Things” from Sound of Music for no known reason.

          Then Arabian Nights, a State Farm ad, and Supercalietc. Hmm.

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        • That’s pretty much in line with our experiences. We used to hear a little more variety before the girls started down-voting. They will down-vote the Broadway version of any song, anything they can’t sing along too, or any song in which Gaston sings. They really don’t like Gaston.

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        • daffystardust

          but!….He’s EVERYONE’S favorite guy!!……

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        • This is what I keep telling them.

          There is very little my kids like more than disagreeing with their daddy. Everything I say is wrong. Since our last Disney trip, Gaston has become the center of a playful disagreement. I pretend like he’s my favorite Disney character and they go out of their way to hate on him as much as possible. On the way to school while we are listening to Disney songs on Pandora, it’s not unusual for the girls to threaten to punch Gaston in the face. They are violent little things.

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  4. I’m going to be happily, hopelessly mired in the first group alone for a while… might have to pace around a bit before making decisions. SO MUCH good stuff there… instrumentation… vocal stylings…..melodies… jazz…. how much time do I have??

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    • daffystardust

      I won’t be compiling the results until Sunday night, but unlike some of our other interactive games, this one allows for multiple visits, so feel free to vote several times. I’m glad you’re enjoying the assignment I’ve given you! I’m already wondering if I should have added another group of ten to include some other favorites.

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  5. Given the ability to resubmit, I went ahead and sent in my list for the first 2 time periods. It wasn’t easy. Such excellent selections! The rankings might change slightly but it’s been both fun and necessary to listen to clips and ponder songs familiar to me from childhood… the second 2 groupings will require more homework and input from household members who have strong opinions on the songs.
    The old LP from days gone by that used to be given out free at gas stations, “Disney’s Merriest Songs” lives up to its title and is out there in various forms if anyone else is similarly entranced by the music from this time period.

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  6. daffystardust

    Plenty of responses already and “I See the Light” from Tangled has unexpectedly crept up to 3rd place overall ahead of some powerhouses!

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    • So every time I submit, it’s giving an edge to the current default in the last 2 lists… I’ll have to enlist some help from the younger generation in order to properly cast a meaningful vote there. Alas, it doesn’t seem that others share my devotion to the songs from the first Jungle Book… “NOT YET BALOO!!!” was and is one of the most energizing moments in animation ever.

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      • daffystardust

        Oh, the two Jungle Book songs included here are doing pretty well so far!
        The default rankings are entirely random and different every time, so at least it’s not favoring any one or two songs unfairly.

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      • I ranked JB highly. When Josie was little, it was one of the only Disney movies she would watch. She couldn’t say Mowgli so she called him Ugly. She would feel bad for him when he was dejected and she would say “Ahh, poor Ugly”. It was cute. But I appreciate the Jungle Book long before then. I remember showing the rerelease at the student theater in college. It got a tremendous response from students and faculty. And it was terrific to see it on the big screen.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a good song, but I wouldn’t have expected it to rank 3rd overall. I was wondering how you would keep score across eras. But it sounds like you have a system figured out.

      I’m very impressed with the level of participation so far.

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      • daffystardust

        Yes, it’s gone pretty well so far. We’ll see how it holds up over the next few days. Hopefully the link is getting passed around. I’ve seen it shared a couple of places.

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        • That’s awesome. I have posted at WDWMagic but I don’t think it’s gotten a lot of bites. My ability to motivate the Disney community is pretty weak.

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  7. daffystardust

    Based on this morning’s numbers, two songs have separated themselves from the pack (I’ll leave which two a mystery for now). The big news is the continued strength of Tangled’s “I See the Light” which is clinging to a small lead over “Let it Go” for third place overall. Both “Oo-de-Lally” and “Honor to Us All” have made pushes into the top 20, but are hardly safe, as we’ve got two more days of voting in which things can change quickly!

    Everybody should vote again!

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  8. Bonus Trivia question: What is this from?
    “Careful! You’re gonna shoot him in the head!”

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  9. daffystardust

    Just another 32 hours to vote and although the top 3 songs appear to have separated themselves from the pack, spots 4-8 are tightly contested, with “Be Our Guest,” “Under the Sea,” and “Heigh Ho” battling others for a place in our top 5. Meanwhile, “Honor to Us All” and “Hellfire” both have higher aspirations than we could have predicted and “For the First Time in Forever” and “You Can Fly!…” are in danger of dropping out of the top 20.

    You can vote as many times as you like, so let your 2 cents be counted over and over!

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  10. daffystardust

    Voting on the Disney Songs Poll is now closed!

    I’ll be posting my first write-up tomorrow morning, with another one each day until I leave for my trip to Disneyland!

    I hope you’ve enjoyed participating in this event!

    Like

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