Legacy Content

Toon Talk Special: The 101 Greatest Disney Songs - Part 1 of 2
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by Kirby C. Holt (archives)
August 17, 2001
In a special edition of Toon Talk, Kirby picks his favorite Disney songs of all time. Part 1of 2.

The Toon Talk Top 101: The Best Disney Songs
Part 1 of 2

I love Disney songs, always have, always will. Ever since I was a kid, spending all day listening to my Pete's Dragon and Rescuers storybook albums over and over again.My mom had to buy me a second Mary Poppins soundtrack, I wore out the first one.

As I grew older, my musical tastes shifted to such 80s pop icons as Duran Duran and the Talking Heads, as well as to a growing love for musical theater.I was just as likely to be listening to the newest Depeche Mode or Oingo Boingo album as I was to be sitting front row center at a performance of A Chorus Line or The Phantom of the Opera.

Then, in 1989, a movie about a little mermaid was released, and my love for the magical music of Disney was reborn.It was this renaissance of the animated musical form that reawakened within me the joys of my musical memories from childhood. Dwarfs yodeling, crickets crooning, chimney sweeps dancing:all there to relive again, and relive crystal clear with the advent
of the compact disc.

And so my Disney song collection grew, and grows even to this day. My anticipation for the newest Disney soundtrack rivals that of a hard-core Aerosmith fan or N'Sync groupie, jonesing for the latest album. And in-between new releases, there is always the happy discoveries of some obscure cover album or newly compiled collection.

Not to be content with the record-makers' choices, I started making my own "Disney mix tapes":the show-stoppers, the Oscar-winners, the best ballads.I was creating my own soundtrack, a soundtrack of joyful escapism from the humdrum of everyday life (well, at least while I was driving my car or washing the dishes).

Below you will find the blueprint for The Ultimate Disney Mix Tape, the best songs from Disney movies, shorts, television shows, theatrical productions, theme park attractions and video.

Here you will find the works of such classic Disney composers as the Sherman brothers, Frank Churchill, George Bruns and Sammy Fain; the best of modern Broadway such as Alan Menken, Tim Rice, Stephen Schwartz and the incomparable Howard Ashman; and pop stars turned tunesmiths like Danny Elfman, Elton John, Randy Newman and Phil Collins.

You'll hear the legendary voices of Cliff Edwards, Burl Ives, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Phil Harris; Broadway veterans Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, Lea Salonga, Nathan Lane and Heather Headley; and pop stars ranging from the traditional (Robert Goulet, Helen Reddy, Tom Jones) to the contemporary (Billy Joel, Sarah McLaughlin, even Madonna).

Some ground rules:

  • All the songs had to be written specifically for the movie, television show, et cetera.In other words, no "Turkey In the Straw" or "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".
  • No instrumentals; this is about singing.Thus nothing from the Fantasias.
  • No compilations of previous songs.This left out a lot of parade and fireworks music, such as "The Main Street Electrical Parade" and "Believe: There's Magic In The Stars".
  • All Disney venues for songs were considered, including Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures releases and direct-to-video movies.Basically, if it was a musical produced by Disney in some form, it was eligible.
  • All tracks are the original versions unless otherwise noted.
  • The rule of thumb for the Source Albums is the most readily available (if possible) CD is noted.With the proliferation of the various "collection" albums, the songs may appear on those as well. (A Discography, including every album mentioned in this feature, will appear with Part 2 next week.)
  • A GREAT resource for finding Disney songs and albums is The Magical Music of the Mouse website, found at http://www.magicmusic.net Their search feature and album notes are excellent.If you're a Disney music fan and haven't seen it already, check it out.
  • Track Notes are comments in regards to the specific track mentioned.
  • Alternate Tracks highlight a notable cover version, which are often times just as enjoyable as the original.In a few cases, the cover song is even better then the original track.
  • Borrowing from VH1, Behind the Music lists awards, history, and other bits of trivia about each song.

So fire-up the CD player, pop in a fresh tape and sit back and take a listen to the
Toon Talk Top 101: The Best Disney Songs.