Well, due to the popularity of my last “Top 13” list, I decided to make another one! And today’s post takes a dive into an aspect of Disney’s animated films that is loved by everyone: its songs!
The vast majority of the Disney Canon films are musicals, or at least feature a song or two. And the magic of Disney along with the magic of many of Disney’s songwriters including the Sherman Brothers,
Alan Menken and Howard Ashman,
and many others whose names are relatively unknown to the majority of the world, make these songs enjoyable, cherished, and memorable to us all!
So the question is, “Which of the songs are my favorites?”. To find that out, I went through all the songs of the Disney Canon films and picked out the ones that I really loved…all 40 of them!
Yeah, then came the nigh impossible challenge of shortening that “shortlist” to 13! (This was soooo much harder than figuring out my top 13 favorite animated Disney canon films)! So if you don’t see your favorite Disney song on here, don’t be mad! It most likely was in my shortlist to begin with and didn’t make my top 13!
Oh, why top 13? Because I’m not superstitious!
Note: I personally believe that one’s favorites can change over time, so this is my list as of February 2013. With that said, I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!
#13: I WANNA BE LIKE YOU (THE JUNGLE BOOK)
This catchy swinging number performed by the “King of Swing” himself, Louis Prima,
along with the distinguishable voice of comedian and singer, Phil Harris,
definitely had to make my list! Sadly, it ranked 13, but nevertheless was saved from total eradication!
Written by the Sherman Brothers, the song takes place when King Louie’s “monkey cronies” kidnap Mowgli and take him back to their hangout.
King Louie then persuades..no…tries to persuade Mowgli to teach him how to make fire! Well, actually, the song is more about King Louie desiring to be like a man, and only near the end, does he actually slip in a line about learning to make “Man’s red flour”!
So why do I like this song? Well, like I said, it’s extremely catchy and features lovable banter-like scatting between Louis Prima and Phil Harris! King Louie may want to be like men; but many men’s songs want to be like this one!
#12: THE BARE NECESSITIES (THE JUNGLE BOOK)
Ok, I know you’re suspicious because I put two songs from the same movie back-to-back.
I’m sorry, that’s just how my rankings came out. I promise you this is the last song from this movie on my list.
When “The Jungle Book” was in production, the original drafts featured a much darker movie than what the final product actually became. And along with the darker quality of the movie were darker songs for the movie written by Terry Gilkyson (you can see/hear demos of the songs that he wrote in the “Bonus Features” section of the 40th Anniversary 2-Disc DVD Edition of the film).
Now when Walt decided to lighten the movie’s mood and give it a complete reform, he also let Terry Gilkyson go and brought the Sherman Brothers to write new songs for the movie. So all of Terry Gilkyson’s work was scrapped except for one song which everybody loved, and that song was “The Bare Necessities”!
This song plays when Mowgli meets Baloo the bear and Baloo explains his way of life to Mowgli. The song teaches the basic lesson of being content with the “bare necessities” of life and not yearning for luxuries because worry and strife may come along with them. And the song itself is even more catchy than “I Wanna Be Like You”. I find myself singing this song unconsciously many times in my daily life.
Many songs try to be overcomplicated and too complex, but this song has the basic foundations of a wonderful song, i.e. the bare necessities!
#11: KILL THE BEAST/THE MOB SONG (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST)
Well, as you all know, “Beauty and the Beast” is my favorite Disney film! Hence, I also love all the songs from this movie, well except the title song!
Back to what I was saying, since I loved all the other songs, they all were definitely on my shortlist of 40. But sadly, in the elimination process, I got rid of most of them including “Gaston”, “Human Again”, and “Belle”. But to my surprise, “Kill the Beast” wasn’t struck off and maintained a spot in my top 13 list!
First off, “Kill the Beast” is an extremely underrated Disney song! The average person, I think, forgets this song and remembers the more popular ones like “Be Our Guest” and “Beauty and the Beast”. But, I always have loved this song and find myself singing it to myself quite often!
The song describes the fear that the people have of the mysterious beast and the conclusions that they all jump to regarding him. In the end, they all decide to storm the castle and, well, “kill the beast”!
I love this song because it’s catchy and dark, of course! But I also love it because it’s quite relevant in society and explains how people fear that which they don’t know. And through their own erroneous reasonings, they tend to assume that violence and oppression are the correct methods to deal with their doubts and fears.
If you’ve never liked this song, screw your courage to the sticking plate, and give this song one more chance!
#10: PRINCE ALI (ALADDIN)
“Aladdin” is a musical masterpiece, so I’m sure you expected to see at least one song from it on my list. And behold, we have “Prince Ali”!
Composed and written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, the song plays while Aladdin makes his entrance into the city under the guise of Prince Ali Ababwa. And naturally, a prince needs some sort of introduction to the people. What better introduction than have Robin Williams as the genie sing an extremely catchy song highlighting the admirable qualities of the prince himself?
The song is also fun to watch because of the many characters that the genie transforms into as well as the magic that the genie performs during the span of the song!
What else can I say except “Hey, clear the way in the old bazaar” for this royal treat!
#9: FRIEND LIKE ME (ALADDIN)
Sorry, I did it again! Two songs from the same movie in succession on my list! Again I’m sorry, that’s just how the ranking played out.
This is my favorite song from “Aladdin”, so it definitely had to make my list.
Ignore them! Composed and written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, the song plays in the Cave of Wonders when Aladdin gets trapped there by Jafar. While down there, he accidentally rubs the magic lamp and the genie emerges. And, believe it or not, Aladdin is skeptical about the genie and his powers!
So to introduce himself better and showcase some of his powers, the genie sings a song! Wow, Robin Williams gets to sing two songs in this film! Nice!
The song, like the previous one, is extremely catchy and has quite clever lyrics! But the best thing about the song is the genie himself! True, the genie showcased his magic and transformed into different characters for “Prince Ali”; but this introductory song is where he goes all out!
If you’ve never heard this before, hurry up and befriend it!
#8: OUT THERE (THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME)
We have another underrated Disney song on my list!
Composed and written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, “Out There”, is a traditional Disney song in which a character yearns for something more. In this case, the song starts out with Frollo telling Quasimodo that he is ugly and that he should stay secluded in the tower for his own protection against the people who would hate and revile him for his appearance. What a horrible man!
After Frollo leaves, Quasimodo picks up the song by singing about how he would just like to spend one day “out there”, i.e. amongst the people that he’s seen and loved from above since the beginning of his life.
I love this song because it can apply to any type of outcast in real life and how he/she wants to be accepted by the world for who he/she is. And it gives us a lesson by reminding us how we should view people and not judge.
What I’d give, what I’d dare, just to have the world loving and appreciating this song more!
#7: UNDER THE SEA (THE LITTLE MERMAID)
“The Little Mermaid” was the movie that fueled the start of the Disney Renaissance and started the musical resurrection of the Disney films. So of course, at least one song from the film had to make my list!
Composed and written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, “Under the Sea” utilizes great Caribbean-style music to make an extremely catchy and Oscar-winning song!
The song plays when Sebastian tries to convince Ariel that “life under the sea is better than anything they’ve got up there”. The song allows for a plethora of colorful underwater creaturs (with a plethora of underwater animal names included in the song) as well as some interesting underwater musical instruments!
If you haven’t heard this song, listen to it because it definitely is “hotter under the water”!
#6: O’MALLEY, THE ALLEY CAT (THE ARISTOCATS)
Not only is this an underrated Disney song, but I believe that this is THE MOST UNDERRATED DISNEY SONG EVER!
Sung by Phil Harris and written by Terry Gilkyson,
the song plays in “The Aristocats” when Duchess and the kittens are kidnapped…umm….catnapped and left by a bridge in the countryside. After wondering what to do, they hear someone singing and see that it’s none other than Abraham de Lacy Giuseppe Casey Thomas O’Malley, the Alley Cat himself!
This song is extremely catchy and fun to sing! It’s basically about O’Malley’s outlook on life and doing what he wants and introducing himself over and over again!
I love this song “and I’m very proud of that, yeah!”
#5: THE PHONY KING OF ENGLAND (ROBIN HOOD)
Wow, this list is filled with underrated Disney songs! Well “Robin Hood” is quite an underrated film and one of my favorite animated Disney films! So of course, you can expect to find an underrated song from an underrated film!
Written by Johnny Mercer (an interesting choice),
the song plays after Robin Hood and his supporters flee from being captured by Prince John and his army. Well actually, after the fleeing there’s a short love song, and then right after that, comes this song! Hmm…pacing problems? Oh well, I don’t care!
The song is sung about Prince John and how he’s the phony king of England! It mentions the horrible things that he does, but also mentions that as long as we have Robin Hood and his “wily pack”, things will be alright!
What else can I say? The song is lovable and catchy! If you don’t like this song, you’re a “breezy, uneasy, snivelin’, grovelin’, measely weaselly, blabberin’, jabberin’, jibberin’, jabberin’, plunderin’, plottin’, wheelin’, and dealin’ phony fan of Disney”!
#4: POOR UNFORTUNATE SOULS (THE LITTLE MERMAID)
Everybody loves a good villain song and I’m no exception!
Composed and written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, the song plays while the evil sea witch, Ursula tries to convince Ariel to give up her voice in exchange for becoming human!
Surprisingly, I never really loved this song all that much until very recently. I think the problem was I found the song too short, like it needed one extra verse. That’s when I discovered that the original version did indeed contain an extra verse! And while searching through Youtube, I found an audio clip of Howard Ashman himself singing the original version of the song!
And this is the version that I find myself singing to myself! So if this original version didn’t exist, I’m sure that this song would have been much further down on my list!
In the end, you “poor, unfortunate souls” who dislike this song, I pity you!
#3: HELLFIRE (THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME)
We have yet another Disney villain song on my list! Always considered one of the best villain songs, if not the best villain song, “Hellfire” is visually stunning!
Composed and written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, the song plays while Frollo battles with his inner sexual, lusty desires! That’s pretty much what the song is about! But it’s so amazingly recreated!
The animation and visuals just tell the struggle that Frollo is going through by themselves! And the tone of the music and lyrics is incredibly dark and incredibly enjoyable! I know that they had to take special care with this scene to ensure a G rating; but still I think the subject matter of the song ensures a PG rating! Regardless, I just love this song!
In the end, choose this song “or your pyre”!
#2: BE PREPARED (THE LION KING)
Don’t worry, this is the last villain song!
Composed and written by Elton John and Tim Rice, “Be Prepared” is another visually entertaining song!
The song is basically Scar describing his plans to his hyena minions. The background starts out with nice greenish/darkish colors, then as the song gets more menacing, it goes into a yellowish background, and then finally into a devilish red! That color contrast is just phenomenal!
Also, the song’s lyrics are quite clever and not exactly kid-fare! There are some words and phrases in here that kids will learn to increase their vocabulary such as “retention”, “successions”, “sordid”, “dues”, “squared” (I myself have no idea what that means in its intended context), “quid pro quo”, “on board”, “addressee”, “coup”, “meticulous”, “tenacity”, and “bared” (as in to bear one’s teeth or ambitions). This goes to prove that Disney movies were never meant to be kiddie films!
What else can I say? Just “be prepared” for my favorite Disney song!
AND MY #1 FAVORITE ANIMATED DISNEY (CANON) SONG IS:
BE OUR GUEST (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST)
Sigh, what to say about this masterpiece? Like I said before, I was surprised that songs such as “Gaston”, “Belle”, and “Human Again” got struck off my list, but “Kill the Beast” remained! But, “Be Our Guest” was never in danger of being struck off! It’s always been my number one favorite Disney song, still is, and hopefully, always will be!
Composed and written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, the song takes place in the castle after Belle is taken prisoner. Fun fact: The song was originally meant to be sung for Maurice when he enters the castle in the beginning; but they quickly decided that they shouldn’t waste such an amazing song on a supporting character!
The song is the enchanted objects’ way of welcoming Belle to the castle and making her feel at home! I really don’t know what else to say! If you haven’t heard this song, be my guest and check it out!
Well, that’s the end! Let me know in the comments what you thought of this post! Also, let me know what your favorite Disney songs are! Also, let me know if you have any ideas for other “Top 13” lists that you’d like to see!