Top Ten: Disney Songs

The death of Disney songwriter Robert B. Sheldon earlier this week got me thinking about how many fabulous songs there have been in Disney films over the years. From Snow White’s Heigh-Ho to I’ve Got A Dream from Tangled, Disney movies have contained some of the greatest songs in celluloid history. These are my top ten songs from Disney films:

1. GastonBeauty and the Beast

There are better songs in Beauty and the Beast than this introduction to villainous Gaston but the lyrics are so witty and match the action so well that it’s my favourite in the film. It’s a wonderful smack-down of all those vain men who seem to be the ones who always get the girl.

2. The Bare NecessitiesThe Jungle Book

Everyone needs a guide in life and human boy Mowgli certainly needs helps as he grows up in the alien environment of the jungle. Baloo the Bear possibly isn’t the best person to be a role model, but his theories on how to survive without trying too hard are certainly tuneful.

3. Part of Your WorldThe Little Mermaid

I’ve previously ranked The Little Mermaid as one of my top ten musicals and this song from Ariel where she expresses her desire to live on land is lovely. Jodi Benson’s sweet voice soars beautifully and many young women will recognise the emotion of this one.

4. Under the SeaThe Little Mermaid

Ariel may be desperate to live on land but her lobster friend Sebastian is determined to show her the error of her ways. He paints a picture of the paradise that is the undersea world. As a diver I can testify that Under the Sea is a great place to be – sadly I’ve yet to encounter a hot crusteacean band!

Circle of LifeThe Lion King

The opening of The Lion King is a stunning achievement by the Disney artists and animators, we watch as the animals of the African savannah race across the amazingly realistic plains to be introduced to new prince, lion cub Simba. We’ll ignore the dubious zoology which shows a lion family as dad, mum and one cub and just enjoy Elton John and Tim Rice’s luscious song.  Oh – and it’s a great game to play with your cat

6. Hakuna MatataThe Lion King

It seems unlikely that a warthog and a meerkat would be best friends, even less likely that they would allow a lion cub to join them in their travels. That’s the beauty of Disney – they make us believe the impossible. Taken from a Swahili phrase this is a joyous philosophy that Timon and Pumbaa live by.

7. The Wonderful Thing About TiggersThe Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh

This is included in my list for very personal reasons. At university I had a close friend who was addicted to Disney and was a bouncy, flouncy chap who sang this song a lot. It’s a real throwback not so much to my childhood but to that time in my life when I thought I was too grown-up for Disney but a very wise friend showed me the truth. No-one is too grown-up!

8. Let’s Go Fly A KiteMary Poppins

It’s the end of the film, all is now right in the Banks household – well, if the father being sacked and the much adored nanny leaving is an example of what’s right in the world. The Banks are finally spending time together as a family and Mary Poppins work is done.  This is an ode to the wonder of spending time together. Despite the bittersweet ending this is a fabulously uplifting song.

9. Marley and MarleyThe Muppet Christmas Carol

The decision to have grumpy old men Statler and Waldorf portray Jacob and Robert Marley in this fabulous adaptation of Dickens A Christmas Carol was genius.  The belligerent old hecklers have some great lines as they warn Michael Caine’s Scrooge that if he doesn’t change his ways he’ll end up in chains for eternity.

10. Zip-a-dee-do-dahSong Of The South

This is one of the few Disney films I haven’t seen, and if I’m honest I’m not rushing out to get hold of it. Yet the fact that I include a song from it in this top ten is a testament to how Disney is such a part of everyday life. This is a great, cheerful tune which never fails to raise a smile.

What are your favourite Disney songs? Let me know in the comments.

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