I thought I’d do something a little different for my Disney column this week. Sometimes I like to set myself challenges that are damn near impossible, just for fun. In a moment of inspiration, I thought how great it would be to pick the ten best Disney songs, and list them for you.
Well. It’s like trying to pick your ten favourite blades of grass from a whole field. I have dithered, I have dallied and I have very nearly broken down in tears of desperation but… I have my list.
Feel free to agree or disagree, and I must point out that this list is by no means exhaustive. I decided, for my own sanity, to play by the following rules; only songs from Disney Animated Classics are allowed. No live-action, no Pixar and no shorts or original Disney Channel Movies (sorry, High School Musical). Only one song allowed per film, otherwise The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast would have filled the list, and the song must be featured in the film, not just over the end credits.
So, not in any particular order, because how could you ever rank them definitively? Here is my top ten Disney Songs:
“Wanna Be Like You”- Jungle Book
A fantastically fun and uplifting song from King Louie and Baloo. I defy anyone not to sing along and tap their toes.
“Under the Sea”- Little Mermaid
One of the best Disney movies ever, though granted there are lots of those, I adore this song. It makes me feel happy, I love to sing along and it should also be noted that I am a master at this on Just Dance Disney.
“You’ll Be in My Heart”- Tarzan
I love this beautiful love song to a baby. It really expresses the sentiment of a parent, or indeed any adult who has held a newborn in their arms and felt that overwhelming love and need to protect this tiny baby. Wonderful.
“Colours of the Wind”- Pocahontas
Although Pocahontas isn’t the greatest of films, its soundtrack is sublime and this track in particular has the most incredible lyrics. It’s not the same after you’ve heard Darren Criss sing it live, acoustically… it’s even better than it was before, if that were possible. This is one of my favourite songs to belt out while doing expressive hand gestures.
“Baby Mine”- Dumbo
Okay, so it is not sung by a character in the film, but this song expresses Mrs Jumbo’s thoughts and feelings perfectly. One of the saddest cinematic scenes I have ever witnessed, I am not exaggerating when I say I can’t even speak about this without crying.
“Go the Distance”- Hercules
Another belter, this song from Hercules has great, uplifting lyrics that really make you feel good inside. Who doesn’t love to feel like they can accomplish anything they dream of?
“Little Town/ Prologue”- Beauty and the Beast
Possibly the second best Disney opener ever, I can still remember watching this for the first time and just thinking “wow.” It sets the tone for the whole of the film’s soundtrack, which is grade A, Broadway musical stuff. The entire score is outstanding, but this song in particular is brilliantly written and perfectly captures the hustle and bustle of a busy French village. “Marie! The baguettes!”
“Circle of Life”- Lion King
Now this song really is the best film opener EVER! Picking the best Lion King song was always going to be a tough one, because each and every one is a winner. In the end I went for “Circle of Life” because it is a great opener to the film and the lyrics are wonderful. This is a family sing-along favourite.
“Let it Go”- Frozen
I don’t care if your Frozen fever has broken, mine hasn’t and never will. For many reasons, I adore the song “For the First Time in Forever,” but “Let it Go” is a true anthem. Just listen to the lyrics! They tell you all you need to know. Let it go, take a deep breath and belt that tune out! Go on, you know you want to! (I put the singalong version in just for you!)
“Friend Like Me”- Aladdin
The best Disney character ever, and very much missed. The Genie gave himself the greatest introduction of all time when he illuminated all the possibilities of having him for a friend. I know every single word to this fast-paced, high energy song and yes, I’ll admit it, Mr 4YE and I duet on it frequently (we’re Disney nuts). However, as good as we may be, there really is none finer than the immense talent that was Robin Williams.
And honourable mention goes to….
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”- Mary Poppins
Because how could we leave this wonderful film out? Not an Animated Classic, Mary Poppins still has an amazing score and the songs are sublime. Yet again, there are many I could have chosen, but this one is a childhood favourite of mine.
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