Disney Songs Poll!
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.
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 Caballeros, Make 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Posted on May 27, 2015, in Movies, Music, Nostalgia, poll, Trip Countdown and tagged Aladdin, Alan Menken, AristoCats, Bambi, beauty and the beast, Dumbo, Frozen, hercules, Howard Ashman, Jungle Book, Lady and the Tramp, Lion King, Mulan, Pinocchio, Princess and the Frog, robin hood, Sleeping Beauty, snow white, tangled, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the little mermaid, Three Caballeros, Walt Disney. Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.