Disney is a part of everyone’s childhoods. Fueling our imaginations and creativity, Disney gave us great lessons on life, friendship and love. Great memories come from watching classics such as Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse and Snow White. One of the most memorable parts about these movies and TV shows is the songs that accompany them. Even if you think you are too old to watch the movies, you will never forget the lyrics to your favorite Disney song.
Everyone has their favorite Disney songs, but here is a list of my top ten to reminisce to. In order to maintain some variety, only one song per movie is listed. Most of these songs have won Academy Awards along with numerous other awards and several have been nominated for the American Film Institute’s list of 100 years…100 songs.
10) “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” – Song of the South
1946’s Disney live action movie Song of the South may not be a well-known Disney movie, but the song certainly is. Written by Allie Wrubel and Ray Gilbert and sung by James Baskett, the song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Not only is this song featured in Song of the South, but it can also be heard at the beginning and end of several movies. “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” also serves as the main theme song for the Disney World theme park ride Splash Mountain. It has easily become a part of our culture – I mean, who out there hasn’t ever hummed this song to themselves?
9) “The Bare Necessities” – The Jungle Book
Written by Terry Gilkyson and sung by Phil Harris (Baloo) and Bruce Reitherman (Mowgli), this song reveals life lessons on how to live a casual, laid-back lifestyle. The witty lyrics along with the smooth jazz feel helped the movie get nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1967. Baloo provides Mowgli with one of the greatest father figures in any Disney movie. This song is a great reminder that we need to take time out of our busy schedules and all of our stresses to enjoy the simpler things of life.
8) “When You Wish Upon A Star” – Pinocchio
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” This is an extremely popular quote said by Walt Disney, and this song from Pinocchio successfully encapsulates that feeling. Sung by Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) at the beginning and end of the film, it won the 1940 Academy Award for Best Original Song. Matching the theme of Cinderella‘s “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” it has become an iconic song of Disney. So iconic that this song became the official theme of The Walt Disney Company.
7) “You’ll Be in My Heart” – Tarzan
Phil Collins brings the adoptive motherly love to life in this song. When Tarzan starts crying, Kala sings to him she will protect him always. The 1999 release of the movie allowed Phil Collins to make himself known to the younger generation. The song also won the Goldon Globe Award and Academy Award for Best Original Song. Commonly used for a love song for any relationship, the lyrics really speak of parents’ undying love for their children.
6) “Colors of the Wind” – Pocahontas
This beautiful song portrays the earth and everything in it from the Native American point of view, where everything is connected when it comes to nature. Written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, it won the 1995 Oscar and Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Movie. Listening to this song, we all learn to treat the earth with respect and gentleness.
5) “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” – Mulan
“Let’s get down to business…to deafeat the Huns.” This motto has become widely known and used when attempting a dangerous or complicated task. It all started with this song, written by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel and sung by Donny Osmond. Captain Li Shang (Osmond) trains his untalented, hopeless troops to become skilled and talented warriors. The soothing voice of Osmond along with the inspirational lyrics provide any listener with the motivation to do anything and everything.
4) “Under the Sea” – The Little Mermaid
1989’s The Little Mermaid was composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Ariel dreams of one day walking on land with humans. Once her sidekick, Sebastian, discovers this, he tries to convince her that the sea is the greatest place to live. The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1989 as well as an Oscar for the score. Whenever life gets tiring, it’s nice to listen to Sebastian sing of the wonders of sea life.
3) “Belle” – Beauty and the Beast
Paige O’Hara (as well as several other villagers and villain Gaston) sings for five minutes about the provincial town they live in. Belle is a strange girl who lives in her books and wants more in life than what the town has to offer her. Although this song and “Be Our Guest” were both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1992, both songs lost to the song “Beauty and the Beast.” However, this quaint song is a much catchier tune.
2) “Circle of Life” – The Lion King
The opening song to The Lion King provides one of the greatest and most powerful openings to a Disney movie of all time. Written by Elton John and Tim Rice and performed by Carmen Twillie and Lebo M, the song was nominated for the 1994 Acadey Award for Best song along with “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and “Hakuna Matata.” As the new prince of Pride Rock is held up for all of the animals to see, the lyrics of the song tell about the circle of life and how important it is to Earth.
Image courtesy of TwitPic.