Legacy Collection Lion King

If you’re a Disney fan, you most likely have a music library of at least the most classic and memorable songs in your music collection. If you’re a super fan, you probably have the soundtrack to most of the animated classics. But if you’re a super-duper fan, than your Disney music library is incomplete without Walt Disney Records’ The Legacy Collection.

Making its debut on June 24th, Disney released the first volume with The Lion King to celebrate the films’ 20th anniversary. You’re probably thinking what I was thinking. I already had the ‘Special Edition’ soundtrack in addition to repeated versions on numerous compilation albums. The beauty of The Legacy Collection is that it seeks to present the full film soundtrack. That means they’ve included what appears to be every bit of score by Hans Zimmer from the film (only 17 minutes of score was on the previous soundtrack spread across 5 tracks). 

The album is housed in a matte finished digipack that opens like a book. The booklet features a forward by Don Hahn, lyrics, notes from Hans Zimmer and album credits. The cover and book feature newly created artwork by Walt Disney Animation Studios artist Lorelay Bové, who will be designing every title in this collection. The final part of the book features concept artwork from the film and some information about the character and story development written by Dave Bossert.

Disc 1 presents all of the music from the film spread across 21 tracks. All of the memorable Elton John songs heard in the film are here (“Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” “Be Prepared,” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”) as well as Hans Zimmers amazing score with Lebo M’s swahili choirs. My biggest concern was that it would omit a song heard in the film that was also absent from the previously released soundtracks. I’m talking about “The Hula Song.” You know, the one that features this gem of a line: “Are you achin’? (Yup yup yup) For some bacon’? (Yup yup yup)” To my explicit delight, “The Hula Song” is presented here, but not as a separate track. You can find it at the end of track 20, which is called “This Is My Home.”

Disc 2 begins with two songs that didn’t make it into the original film. “The Morning Report” is featured in the Broadway show and was recorded with the film’s cast and inserted back into the film in 2003. “Warthog Rhapsody” is a song written for Timon and Pumba that was replaced with “Hakuna Matata” and was professionally recorded for the album “Rythm of the Pridelands.” Six score demos by Hans Zimmer follow, which are a treat to listen to. It peels back a few layers on the songwriting process and also allows you to hear the score before Lebo M’s choirs added their influence. A demo instrumental for “Circle of Life” is the final demo. Lastly, the three pop versions “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” are presented as performed by Elton John.

“The Legacy Collection: The Lion King” is an extremely satisfying auditory experience. It was refreshing to listen to the entire score outside of the film and be able to appreciate it on its own merits. The previously unheard demos were insightful and a nice inclusion to round out the set. The presentation is gorgeous and is sure to make each release a must-have collectible for Disney music fans.

More importantly, I intend to support The Legacy Collection because I love the potential for the series. Those of you who became addicted to “The Lost Chords,” which appeared to end in 2013 with Cinderella, will be happy to know that the series is being revived through this one. The next release, Mary Poppins, will feature a “Lost Chords” section with original demos and newly created versions of never-before heard songs. Disney currently has plans for 12 volumes, each one celebrating an anniversary milestone of some classic Disney music, but I sincerely hope the line extends beyond that. The lineup for future releases will be:

  • Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary – 8/26/14
  • Sleeping Beauty 55th Anniversary – 10/7/14
  • The Little Mermaid 25th Anniversary – 11/17/14
  • Fantasia 75th Anniversary1/3/15
  • Pinocchio 75th Anniversary – 2/3/15
  • Toy Story 20th Anniversary – 3/17/15
  • Disneyland 60th Anniversary – 4/7/15
  • Lady and the Tramp 60th Anniversary – 5/12/15
  • Pocahontas 20th Anniversary – 6/23/15
  • The Aristocats 25th Anniversary – 8/14/15
  • Cinderella 65th Anniversary – 8/14/15