- Many animated Disney movies come with a unique original soundtrack.
- Disney songs like “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” have been nominated for or have won Oscars.
- “The Bare Necessities” and “Under the Sea” are some of Disney’s upbeat and popular songs.
- “Friend Like Me” from “Aladdin” was nominated for an Academy Award.
There are very few things that trigger an immense feeling of childhood nostalgia quite like belting out your favourite Disney song as an adult. Not only do you remember the exact scene said the song is sung in, but also you can (attempt to) sing the background vocals while simultaneously singing the lead.
There’s no denying that Disney has perfected the formula of producing entertaining and long-lasting family-friendly films. A heartfelt and emotionally genuine story coupled with some great original tunes is essentially a recipe for success in the Walt Disney universe.
Combining their award recognition and Billboard success with their long-lasting popularity, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best Disney songs of all time.
“Under the Sea” is a joyful ode to living a simple life underwater.
“Under the Sea” is a sing-songy tune that lists the benefits of living life underwater as opposed to on land. Sebastian the crab attempts to lure Ariel the mermaid from the idea of a future with Prince Eric where “up on the shore they work all day.”
In true Disney form, the song won an Oscar for best original song in 1989 and three decades later it still remains a popular staple in Disney music history.
As far as sensational villain songs go, “Cruella De Vil” is one of Disney’s best.
Gluttony and arrogance lead to her downfall, but at least viewers were blessed with the snappy number that was “Cruella De Vil.” “101 Dalmatians” only has three songs, but this one truly stands out.
Struggling songwriter Roger sings the jingle to his wife as a distraction from writer’s block, and the rhyming of “De Vil” with everything Disney fans could imagine. Audiences young and old can appreciate the short melody; it has just enough impact to land on this list.
“Friends on the Other Side” gives a modern day Disney villain their own song.
When it comes to Disney tunes, it seems like anything Randy Newman touches turns to music gold. From writing songs for the “Cars” to the “Toy Story” franchise, the longtime songwriter provides incredible anthems that you couldn’t get out of your head if you tried.
“Friends on the Other Side” is no different. It’s such an underrated Disney song, and one of the few in which the villain gets their time in the spotlight. Performed by Keith David as the mischievous Dr. Facilier, he belts out this delightfully sinister tune just as he transforms Prince Naveen into the cursed frog.
Similar to Scar’s “Be Prepared” in “The Lion King,” “Friends on the Other Side” is exquisitely eerie in its visuals, reminding audiences of the vast creativity that Disney writers and animators possess.
“Let it Go” continues to be one of the most memorable songs from “Frozen.”
The song is just over five years old, but “Let it Go” has already solidified itself as an instant Disney classic. As Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel, grapples with leaving the kingdom when members of her community discover her unusual talent of generating ice, she belts out the signature song with such gusto that you have no other choice but to understand the ice queen’s conflict
On the charts, “Let it Go” crept into the top five of the Billboard Top 100. Similar to other Disney songs on this list, the icy anthem also won an Oscar for best original song in 2014.
“Friend Like Me” showcased the range of the beloved Rob Williams.
Sung by the late Robin Williams as the Genie, “Friend Like Me” perfectly eclipses the drama and extravagance of “Aladdin.” Released on Halloween in 1992, the blueberry-hued giant grants protagonist Aladdin three wishes with an incredibly grandiose performance.
There are several great songs on the “Aladdin” soundtrack; however, “Friend Like Me” supersedes them all. It’s the audience’s first introduction of the thief’s trusty mentor and it reminds fans young and old that no wish is unimaginable.
Even though Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman didn’t come home with the trophy, “Friend Like Me” was nominated for an Academy Award in 1993 for best original song.
“How Far I’ll Go” was penned by a Broadway legend.
Since the debut of “Hamilton,” Broadway has been forever changed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and he’s also brought memorable songs to Disney. The tune is only two years old, but it’s already become one of modern Disney’s chart-topping hits thanks to his catchy but relatable lyrics. In the song, Moana is yearning for more but is resisting her path to royalty for a more humble fate.
Taking himself back to when he was 16 and pondering his adult plans, Miranda told Dinner Party Download that he sequestered himself in his childhood bedroom at his parents’ house to pen “How Far I’ll Go.” He not only wanted to grasp the struggles of choosing a future meant for while highlighting the excitement of making such an adult decision.
“Be Our Guest” is a welcoming song with an ironic connotation.
Captured by eventual love interest the Beast, our heroine Belle has no choice but to acclimate herself with her new living quarters in 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast.” The bookworm is welcomed with open arms by human turned candelabra Lumiere who serenades the young girl. As she comfortably sits at the longer than life table, a plethora of delectable plates appear to her in an assembly line.
“The Bare Necessities” was a different, jazzy sound for Disney.
Who would have imagined they’d hear a jazzy, soulful number in a film about a young boy living with animals in the jungle? Proving they can combine anything into a reputable jingle, “The Bare Necessities” has both a laid-back theme to fit jungle bum Baloo the bear’s casual demeanour.
The song was nominated for an Academy Award for best original song in 1967 and there is also an immensely popular cover of the song sung by the late Louis Armstrong.
Few opening sequences captivate audiences quite like “Circle of Life.”
As the animals ready themselves to meet young Simba, the eventual king of Pride Land, the a capella Zulu introduction combined with the rising sun is the perfect introduction to one of Disney’s best hits.
Elton John and Tim Rice deserve the credit for writing this remarkable hit. “Circle of Life” was nominated for an Oscar for best original song in 1994 but unfortunately, did not win. That’s ok – the inevitable victor was another “The Lion King” tune: “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
“Can You Feel The Love Tonight” won an Oscar for best original song
When it comes to Disney ballads, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is in a league of its own. Sung at the crux of Simba and Nala’s revelation that they’re in love, the tune is nothing short of first-dance worthy.
Lyricist Tim Rice authored the song,and singer Elton John provided the arrangement and lead vocals. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” peaked at number four on US Billboard charts and went on to earn an Academy Award in 1994 for best original song.
Cinderella had children dreaming of their own princess moment in “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.”
In the movie of her namesake, Cinderella sings the romantic melody to her gaggle of animal confidants. The message in the song is clear: never stop dreaming. As a young girl left to serve as a servant by orders of her evil stepmothers and stepsisters, Cinderella longs for a life outside the small quarters of her bedroom.
Thankfully, like all Disney movies, this movie has a happy ending and she realises the dreams she’d been singing about.
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