Maybe it started because my Director of Marketing was walking around whistling a song from Disney’s Robin Hood. You know the song I’m talking about. It got me in a Disney mood, so I decided to share some of my favorite Disney-related songs.
My absolute favorite Disney song is Everybody Wants to be a Cat from The Aristocats. Not the softened version they put on the compilation albums. I like the unedited, kinda racist version of the song:
It was a different time in 1970. So sure, they really play up the racial stereotypes. But when Disney edited it for just audio release, they also cut out some of the best instrumental bits. I think the piano part where Paul Winchell does Shun Gon (a not very politically correct Chinese cat) is great. And I totally get why they cut out Eva Gabor’s rather sultry singing as Duchess; Disney does have an image to maintain. But I love the movie version of the song, PC or not.
Other notable songs are The Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book (which is good, but I like I Wanna Be Like You more), Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid, and Little April Showers from Bambi. Plus a lot of the music from Robin Hood and Muppet Treasure Island (that was produced by Disney, right?)
Disneyland, though, has some of my favorite music. The Swisspolka from the Swiss Family Treehouse, A Pirate’s Life for Me from Pirates of the Caribbean, but I love. Love. LOVE surf legend Dick Dale’s version of The Aquarium for Space Mountain.
Camille Saint-Saëns composed The Aquarium as one of 14 movements in The Carnival of the Animals suite. He had a really bad tour of something else one year, so hid himself away to work on something “fun” and came up with The Carnival. The original version of the song uses an armonica (not the mouth harp you’re thinking of, but a glass bowl organ) to give it that ethereal feeling.
Here’s a little video with Dennis James that has some history on the armonica and some unaccompanied sound.
The Dick Dale version takes the eerie-ness of the original, then adds some heart-pounding space adventure to it via his Fender Strat.
And in case you ever wanted a bad cover of a Disney song, here’s Pearl Jam throwing a little Let it Go from Frozen into Daughter, one of their own songs.
Sometimes people take a song and do a cover that I never would have even thought of. I heard about these guys – called Postmodern Jukebox – from my friend Randi, who shared their version of the DuckTales theme. I love me some duck, duck, goose. A little while later, I shared their version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme with my coworker, Chris, who is into them. But their best cover has to be of Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine. I know neither TMNT or Guns ‘N’ Roses is Disney related, but it’s a stream-of-consciousness thing because of the band.
When I showed that to my wife, it took her until the chorus to recognize it.
And, lastly, one of my favorite websites is simply the DuckTales theme in Finnish. Except someone wrote the lyrics down as if they were singing in English. It’s pretty funny. Those are some of my favorite Disney (or Disney-related) songs. Feel free to share your favorite Disney songs.