This weeks post is a guest blog courtesy of the awesome Joey Knock!
Last week Good Morning America took us back to an old new world, when Brad Kane and Lea Salonga, the original voices of Aladdin and Jasmine performed that song. I love magic carpet rides, building snowmen and whistling while I work, but if you dig a little deeper into the Disney Songbook, you’ll find fantasmic songs from deleted scenes, sequels, parks and telly programmes. Here are some of my favourites…
If I Never Knew You
Pocahontas’ soundtrack, just like the story is full of romanticism and optimism. This scene, where our heroine meets John Smith one final time before his dawn execution, was cut from the original release before being added back in for it’s 10th anniversary DVD release. It’s Disney’s greatest love song, surprisingly well sung by Mel Gibson.
He Lives in You
Back in the 90s, straight-to-video sequels were big business for Disney. One of the better films was The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride, which opens with this African chant as the animal kingdom gathers to welcome a newborn lion cub again. But it’s on stage in the blockbuster musical adaptation of the original film where the song’s mystique and power comes in its own. Shadowland is also a stand-out original number from the stage.
From Return to Neverland, a theatrical sequel to Peter Pan comes this simple Jonatha Brooke number. I’ve never seen the film but I’ve cried tears of anger, loneliness, frustration and joy to this song enough times over the last decade.
When Can I See You Again
End credit songs can be awful. Ne-Yo’s generic ‘urban’ song definitely told you it was time to go after The Princess and the Frog. But Bolt, Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph all had high energy numbers to send you home smiling. The latter ends with Owl City, in this totally awesome and totally unrelated to video games burst of pop.
Streets of Gold
Some Disney animated films can end up a bit neglected if it doesn’t have a princess, talking snowman or timeless merchandise to sell. Oliver and Company brought back great songs and new animation techniques, paving the way for the Disney Renaissance that started with The Little Mermaid. Why Should I Worry? was my go-to feel-good favourite, until I remembered this perfect slice of 80s synth.
8-time Oscar winner Alan Menken has composed the soundtrack for 10 Disney films, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, is my favourite. While a stage adapation has found success in Germany and New Jersey, it sadly doesn’t look like it’s headed to Broadway or the West End any time soon. So I’ll settle for this spectacular performance by Tom Hulce as Quasi, from the film’s soundtrack.
Just Like We Dreamed It
Anyone who’s been fortunate enough to visit a Disney theme park around the world knows music follows you around. The rides themselves have some fantastic songs, not least Yo Ho A Pirate’s Life For Me! But the sheer joy and magic of Disneyland is always best expressed in a parade song. This one comes from Disneyland Paris’ ‘Once Upon a Dream’ 15th anniversary parade.
Summer Belongs to You
The Disney Channel has also given us some great songs over the years, and they’re not all from High School Musical. Phineas and Ferb follows the brother’s never-ending summer adventures, as well as the Secret Agent life of their pet Platypus. The smash-hit cartoon has a theme song by Bowling for Soup and a movie end credit song by legendary Guns ’n’ Roses guitarist Slash. This ensemble number celebrate the characters’ love of summer.
A Whole New World
You’ve heard this song before. You probably heard a million awful covers of it too. But I promise this one from the album Disney’s Adventures in Jazz, is sublime.
Disclaimer: You may have heard these songs before, and they may not be the best. Listen to my choices on Spotify and comment below to let me know your favourites!
spotify playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/jknock/playlist/4bal61quOMjGUkd0MNqGQt