Saturday, July 21, 2012

Great Disney Tunes: Movie Edition

Wow, where has the time gone? I've been so wrapped up in the real world, I haven't had time to update this sucker.

For those of you not into running, well you are in luck. I'm moving my running posts to a new blog (to be named later). I want to get better at using this space to talk about the great things WDW, with a little extra overall Disney talk here and there. Which brings me to today's post.

First of all, I love music. If I had my choice between a lifetime FastPass or access to the Disney Audio Archives, I would run out an buy the biggest iPod I could find. You may have heard me talk about music in the past (namely, because I spent a good amount of time working in the recording studio at Universal Orlando, as well as being an accomplished musician) so I wanted to devote a post to something I'm incredibly passionate about, Disney music.

The Sherman Brothers, Bruce Broughton, Irwin Kostal, Joel Hirschhorn, Buddy Baker, among others - just amazing and creative artists. To me, they bring Disney to life.

I plan to make this a reoccurring post focusing on different aspects of Disney music - Today, I want to focus on my favorite Disney tunes from Classic Disney movies. Classic? What does that mean? Well, we're going to look at tracks from the early days of Steamboat Willy, up to about the late 90's. I plan to do a more contemporary one, but since the more recent soundtracks are kind of terrible (save any Pixar movie) I'm less motivated to pick them. Plus, as you know, I'm more of a "live in the past" kinda guy.

 Here are my top 15, do you agree?

#15 - Mine, Mine, Mine - Pocahontas
First of all, let me say this was a terrible movie. Just awful. But, the music made it bearable, especially this track which features the talented David Ogden Stiers (Charles Winchester III from TV's M.A.S.H) as the bellowing Governor Radcliffe. He delivers his lines with such passion it's hard not to feel for his character a bit. Not to mention, the orchestration is just superb (especially, the bridge at the 1:52 mark, check out those sweet chimes in the background). Bravo!

They should have just played the soundtrack in a dark theater

#14 - Best of Friends - The Fox and the Hound
If you don't like this song you, simply aren't a human being. Not only was the movie a treasure, but getting the legendary Pearl Bailey to lend her golden voice to this song was a stroke of genius. I still remember listening to this track on a special Fox and the Hound picture record when I was a kid.

"I'm a fox..."

#13 - Candle on the Water - Pete's Dragon
Hang on, kids. You're about to find out I'm a huge Pete's Dragon fan. Ever since my sister bought the VHS for me for Christmas when I was little I have since watched this movie about a million times. Sad, this movie didn't get better attention, as it followed the template - which was the typical Disney movie, filled with cheesy, Disney goodness. A poor protagonist, the evil villains, a red-herring, and of course a mythical best friend. Like every Disney movie, it all works out in the end.
Candle in the Wind really can stand on its own as a pop chart, since it really filled the feel of the time (1970's) and Helen Reddy was a pretty popular singer back then. This track was nominated for an Academy Award, so good on you Pete's Dragon!

"Boy, I sure hope this all turns out okay."

#12 - Out There - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hunchback was another one of those movies that just didn't have an audience. This was really a low point for Disney animation, but luckily for us the music department had Alan Menken and he ate his Wheaties when penning this score. Out There is another Broadway-feeling, uplifting track marrying the audience to our grotesque protagonist through his passionate declaration that he will live life. Back in the day, Disney MGM Studios had a stage show based on this movie and the actors in that show killed it on a daily basis. Drop Beauty & The Beast and bring back Hunchback!

Broadway quality

#11 - Carrying the Banner - Newsies
This movie had so much potential. Unfortunately, it was saddled with a lot of issues - poor writing, acting, directing, and an audience that just wasn't diggin' musicals. The filler score itself was meh, but when you add Alan Menken's themes and Jack Feldman's lyrics, well all bets are off. Carrying the Banner just has that Disney feel to it. And it's just so damn catchy. I'm really glad Disney gave Newsies a second chance and put it where it should have always been, on stage.

"Extra! Extra! This music is awesome."

#10 - Rocketeer to the Rescue/End Title
Everybody: "The Rocketeer? Oh, I love that movie!" Me: "Why?" Everybody: (silence). The Rocketeer is just one of those movies that you just love, but you just don't know why. Dollars to donuts, it's the music. James Horner is a critically acclaimed composer (Apollo 13, Titanic) and man, did he rock this soundtrack. It really captures the campy, cartoony, comic book feeling of the movie, while at the same time really taking the audience on a supersonic flight through the skies. This is a perennial favorite and remains a favorite on my running mix.

Ready for liftoff

So, there you have it, tracks #10-#15 of my favorite Disney music songs. Stay tuned for the next 5!