Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Top 10 Best Disney Songs (1937-1988)

This was a hard list to make, so I decided to take all the weight off myself and ask others their opinions on top of mine. That being said, these choices are not the same as my own Top 10. There are a few rules to this list. First off, all songs are from the Disney canon. Secondly, they are all songs written for their respective movies, not a song like "Night on Bald Mountain." I decided to split up my lists, since there are far too many to just squeeze them down to ten. Enjoy!

10. "Bella Notte" (Lady and the Tramp)

Bella Notte translates to "Beautiful Night" in Italian, in case you were wondering, which makes sense since Tony sings it in the first line. This song is probably one of the most iconic love songs in Disney, and probably everywhere. It's a beautiful song, and an even more beautiful scene. Who can forget the famous the Spaghetti Kiss? The scene is so famous that it's been parodied numerous times over the years. It's a short song, which they remedy by singing it twice, once by Tony, and another by a chorus. Whether you like this movie or not, you have to admit that this song is pretty moving.

9. "Winnie the Pooh" (The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh)

This song is a childhood favorite of many and it's easy to see why. It's very catchy and just a lot of fun. Also, who doesn't love Winnie the Pooh? For me, this right up there with another certain Winnie the Pooh song. This song serves as the opening to both The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and its sequel Winnie the Pooh. We're going to go with the original song as the better one just because it's a classic. The newer version was sung by Zooey Deschanel. I always like the opening because of the Winnie the Pooh character stuffed animals and the zoom in on the book, which contains the map of the 100 Acre Wood, complete with misspellings and backward letters.

8. "I Wanna Be Like You" (The Jungle Book)

This is probably one of the swinging-est, jazzy songs Disney has ever produced, and it is awesome. This is one of my personal favorite Disney songs, and it's easy to see why. This song just makes you want to dance, and sing-a-long. King Louie is a great character and this song just makes him cooler. The Sherman Brothers penned this song, while Louis Prima provided the vocals. The Sherman Brothers based it off of Prima and his band, who were huge hits in Las Vegas with their Dixie-Land style Jazz music. It was a winning combination, as this song, along with the rest of The Jungle Book soundtrack is considered one of the better all around musicals of pre-Renaissance Disney.

7. "You Can Fly" (Peter Pan)

This is probably the most well known song in Peter Pan, and it's a good one. No other song has made anyone want to fly more than this one. Every child has tried it at least once: they've stood on the edge of their bed, thought of a happy thought and jumped, hoping to fly off instead of awkwardly hitting the floor. This is another trademark of Disney music, popping up in ads and Disney theme parks. It's not my favorite Peter Pan song (that goes to "Never Smile at a Crocodile"), but it's a million times better than the embarrassingly racist, "What Makes the Red man Red?"

6. "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (Cinderella)

No other phrase is more synonymous with magic, save for abrakadabra or alakazam, than bibbidi-bobbidi-boo. This song, if you haven't noticed, is almost completely gibberish, and it's still good. The song ended up being a hit in its own right, later being performed by Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters. Cinderella has plenty of good songs, but I think this one made it on the list because it's probably the most fun. The scene is great too, with everyone getting turned into different things. This is one of those songs that makes people wish that they had that backup, a fairy godmother if you will, when things go terribly wrong.

5. "He's a Tramp" (Lady and the Tramp)

As you can see, I'm letting a few repeats on the list. This is definitely the coolest song in Lady and the Tramp, with it's bluesy feel and the outstanding vocals by Peggy Lee. Lee also did many of the other songs in this movie, but this is the highlight. "He's a Tramp" was actually a very late addition into this movie, being submitted by Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke. Disney liked it so much that they fit it into the movie by putting it during the pound scene. I always liked this song, mostly because it gave me a reason for singing in dog howls, but I hated the immediate scene after it. Lady finds out that Tramp has had quite a time with the ladies before her and decides to shun him. Still, it's a great song, and I can see how it made the list.

4. "Bare Necessities" (The Jungle Book)

As I said before, The Jungle Book is full of great tunes, and this is probably the best known one from it. Sung by Phil Harris and written by Terry Gilkyson, this song is the only hold-over from an earlier draft of The Jungle Book. Gilkysons songs were considered too moody for the picture, so Disney got the Sherman Brothers to take over. The crew begged Disney to let them keep it, and boy are we glad they did. This song is a ton of fun and has Disney written all over it. I've always considered this to be the pre-cursor to Hakuna-Matata. The song revolves around Baloo trying to convince Mowgli that any thing you need will come right to you, so don't bother worrying about anything. That is sound advice! Baloo is one of my all time favorite Disney characters, and he basically makes an appearance in another movie (Robin Hood) and a TV show (Talespin). He's the prototypical fun uncle, and this is his lazy anthem.

3. "Cruella De Vil" (One Hundred and One Dalmatians)

"Cruella De Vil" is the most iconic villain song Disney has. The biggest difference between this villain song and the others is that this one is sung not by a villain or their henchman, but a protagonist. Songwriter Roger Radcliffe (Bill Lee) pens the song on the spot after meeting his wife's boss, Cruella De Vil. The song is equal parts funny and terrifying, depending on what age you are. The song is also the only main song in this whole movie, save for an outro and a TV commercial, even though one of the characters writes songs for a living. Luckily the song is so great that it makes up for the lack of other musical interludes.

2. "Once Upon a Dream" (Sleeping Beauty)

There had to be a song from Sleeping Beauty. They're all good, but this whimsy song takes the proverbial cake. It has a great duet, a chorus, and woodland creatures pretending to be a person. Disney decided to make a nod to Snow White's "I'm Wishing/One Song" by having a Prince unexpectedly becoming part of the song. This song also sticks out because they use it in the opening credits. The songs in this movie are about the only bright and happy things, as this is one of the darker Disney films, so it's nice that the songs aren't crazy depressing. That being said, with the new Maleficent movie coming out, "Once Upon a Dream" has been redone, albeit in a darker, moodier way.

1. "When You Wish Upon a Star" (Pinocchio)

I'm sure a lot of you saw this coming. This song is heard almost anytime you see a Disney commercial, it's logo, or watch one of its movies. It's probably the most beautiful and hopeful song Disney, or anybody has ever made. It, like Mickey Mouse, has become an icon of the Disney company and is instantly recognizable. This song best represents the true essence of Walt Disney, a dreamer if there ever was one. This was far and away our top choice for best song before the Disney Renaissance. Is this the greatest song Disney has ever made? According to AFI it is, but what do you think? Is this better than the rest of the Disney song library?