Blog Archives

Disney Songs Poll Results! #1 – “When You Wish Upon a Star”

No ranking of Disney songs that places “When You Wish Upon a Star” in its top spot can be all bad. After all, this is the song that the Disney company has chosen over the years to feature as emblematic of its entire family-centered entertainment empire.
Read the rest of this entry

Disney Songs Poll Results! #2 – “The Bare Necessities”

Yeah Man!! That’s probably the most joyful song in the entire Disney discography. It pairs a lively melody with a hopping rhythm and it actually has something to say about life. At least the way Baloo the bear sees it. The song was the only remaining composition by songwriter Terry Gilkyson after a falling out between original director Bill Peet and Walt Disney over the tone of the film led to Peet leaving the project and being replaced by Wolfgang Reitherman. Strangely enough, the argument had been over Peet’s insistence on retaining the darker tone of Rudyard Kipling’s original book, which makes the presence of “The Bare Necessities” in this early version a little surprising. Those old standbys, the Sherman brothers were brought in to pen the remainder of the songs to fit in with Walt’s more family-centered approach.
Read the rest of this entry

Disney Songs Poll Results! #3 – “Let it Go”

Okay, so we knew this one was inevitable. What was not expected was the fight “I See the Light” gave this cultural phenomenon for this spot on our list. Until very late in voting, the love duet from Tangled had clung to a slim lead over Frozen‘s iconic anthem of empowerment. But a late surge meant the unexpected upset wouldn’t occur and nudged “Let it Go” into our top 3. Is it the sort of spot in peoples’ hearts we will see it maintain in future years? There’s no telling, but for now, Frozen mania puts the song in rarified company.
Read the rest of this entry

Disney Songs Poll Results! #4 – “I See the Light”

What a beautiful sequence! The amazing environmental design of the film and charming characters pay off as a simple, but lovely melody gives us a romantic ballad that can easily sit alongside the greats in Disney’s discography. Once again, Disney had invited famed songwriter Alan Menken to create the music for their newest animated feature, this time with co-lyricist Glenn Slater. The pair had initially intended to produce the song in a more anthemic style, but later adjusted to a gentler approach that they hoped would echo some of their favorite pop music of the 1960s, like that of Joni Mitchell.
Read the rest of this entry

Disney Songs Poll Results! #7 – “Heigh-Ho”

I promise the voting actually placed the dwarfs at the #7 spot.

We’ve had some lively debate involved with the inclusion, exclusion, or position of some of the songs in our list. Of course there is a lot to consider when voting on this sort of topic. You may simply vote based on what you like the best, which is certainly valid, and that may include considerations such as the sophistication with which something is written, the perfection with which it is performed, the emotions it elicits, or any number of other elements. You may also incorporate a consideration of what is iconic, well-known, or historically significant. While there is charm and musical proficiency on display during Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs‘ song “Heigh-Ho,” I have to assume that its position is rightly held based primarily on its well-established place in pop culture. It is a very famous song, and if you simply sing its title a couple of times, most people, young or old, will be able to follow up with the next line. Although the sequence most familiar to fans (and the one I’ve posted above) shows the dwarfs leaving the mine and singing “it’s home from work we go,” popular memory of the lyrics has emphasized a different lyric that proclaims “it’s off to work we go.” In fact, that friend or family member who joins in singing will probably default to that version, anticipating a day of work rather than going home from work.
Read the rest of this entry

Disney Songs Poll Results! #8 – “Part of Your World”

When I think of the Disney Renaissance which began with their return to the fairy tale musical form with 1989’s The Little Mermaid, this is the song which leaps to mind. If you take the time to watch the movie again it almost seems like the song transforms the company’s animation department mid-film, inspiring proceedings to a whole new level, with more lovingly rendered scenes and a whole different kind of expectations. Up to that point in The Little Mermaid, we are getting an entertaining, but mostly unremarkable tale about an irresponsible teenaged mermaid with a friend named “Flounder” who looks nothing like a flounder. Then, Ariel opens her mouth and her big eyes and sings her heart out and we are all suddenly completely on board.

But things almost didn’t turn out that way…
Read the rest of this entry

Disney Songs Poll Results! #9 – “Once Upon a Dream”

This is one of those timeless melodies that can catch my ear amidst the chaos of a Disney theme park. I’ve taken note of it emitting from the Prince Charming Regal Carousel (as it is now called) just behind Cinderella’s castle, in parades, in resort lobbies, and on the bus to the park. What makes it so indelible? Well, perhaps because its DNA runs deeper than even the most famous of Disney’s other great songs. After all, it had already been famous in its fashion for more than a decade prior to Walt Disney’s birth.
Read the rest of this entry

Disney Songs Poll Results! #10 – “Hellfire”

ummm…Wow. Almost 20 years later and “Hellfire” from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is still stunning in a way Disney pretty much never is. Of course finding it so high on this list is pretty stunning in and of itself. Judge Frollo is one of the more sadistic and twisted villains in any Disney film, much less the animated ones. This got a “G” rating? The themes of forbidden lust, guilt, sexual possession, capital punishment, and damnation are indicative of the film’s greatest strengths and weaknesses, as Disney appears to be pulling against itself in opposite directions.
Read the rest of this entry

Disney Songs Poll Results! #13 – “Ev’rybody Wants to be a Cat”

Okay, you’re just going to have to ignore that Siamese cat and focus on the rest of the experience. After all, “Ev’rybody Wants to be a Cat” is quite an entertainment experience, featuring the notable vocal talents of Phil Harris (Thomas O’Malley), Scatman Crothers (Scat Cat), and Thurl Ravenscroft (Billy Bass) and moving from easy swing to melodic balladry and then to a raucous jazz throw down that literally brings down the house. It is the key audience pleasing scene in The AristoCats and a continued move towards more modern styles and music in Disney’s animated features, with Al Rinker composing the jazzy tune rather than the Sherman brothers who contributed two more traditional songs to the film. The song has been popular enough to be covered by other musicians over and over and over, with versions recorded by artists like Claude Bolling, Brian Setzer, and Roy Hargrove. Unfortunately, the version you all wish you could hear is lost to time…
Read the rest of this entry

Disney Songs Poll Results! #14 – “Bella Notte”

And here we have another example of pure Disney perfection in a song and sequence that have become iconic for the company, and may be rated a little low on our list. “Bella Notte” was one of several songs written for Lady and the Tramp by jazz arranger Sonny Burke and popular singer Peggy Lee. Although the film was released in June of 1955, it had been in production with Disney for close to twenty years by that time, originally being inspired by story artist Joe Grant’s own dog’s struggles with being marginalized when his new baby came into the family’s home. He brought drawings he’d done of “Lady” and showed them to Walt, explaining the basic story idea and was told to start development on it as a feature. This was in 1937…
Read the rest of this entry

Disney Songs Poll Results! #15 – “God Help the Outcasts”

You will hear two different voices for Esmerelda in the above video, but that wasn’t always the intent. It was believed that the streetwise gypsy dancer should have a less dainty voice than many of the famous Disney female leads, so they invited Demi Moore to come in and work with songwriters Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz on the required vocals. Unfortunately, they found after several attempts that she was not feeling like she could accomplish the singing appropriately. Moore herself asked them to find someone else, but was retained to voice the speaking parts for the role.
Read the rest of this entry

Disney Songs Poll Results! #21 – “The Three Caballeros”

Okay, I know I had said I would start with #20, taking us backwards to #1 on June 20th, two days before my flight leaves for Anaheim. But when I saw this gem sitting at #21 on the list I decided I just had to take advantage of that grace day I’d given myself and post right up to the day before my trip.

First, let me thank everyone for participating so enthusiastically in this poll. We ended up with a great number of submissions and there were some very exciting races between songs which were being ranked very similarly. If you’ve been keeping track of the comments section you know that I’ve leaked a few teasers about how things have been going, and it appears that some of you have reacted to the hints there, boosting some candidates and trodding others down. So, without further adieu, let’s talk about the song the readers voted in the #21 spot for our Disney Songs Poll!
Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: