Disney songs. They send positive messages: Wish upon a star, Give the beast a second chance, Find a whole new world.
Though the name Disney is most strongly connected to film and television, wrapped up within these visual mediums is a subtle but foundational element: song. It might have been awhile since you watched a Disney movie. But chances are, it hasn’t been so long since you heard a Disney song.
These songs have become a part of our culture. Disney songs inspire summer camp skits, spontaneous dance parties, and Disney sing-along sets in the car. Want to get people singing at the top of their lungs? Get someone to start a rendition of Mulan’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” You’ll have an instantaneous choir.
Though these songs have a place within pop culture, there’s a musical basis for the quality of this music. Many Disney songs were Oscar award-winners and nominees–recognized by the film world for excellent original scores and lyrics. In some cases, a film’s song may be more well-known than the film itself. Take, for example, “When You Wish Upon a Star” (Pinocchio, 1940). Disney’s first Academy Award winning best song, “When You Wish Upon a Star” has grown to become Disney’s theme song, a beautiful ode to dreamers young and old.
Though Disney songs were nominated for Academy Awards throughout the second half of the twentieth century, the 1990s were the golden age for Disney songwriters. In 1989, The Little Mermaid had two songs nominated, including the winner “Under the Sea.” In 1991, Beauty and the Beast brought forth three nominees, including best song, “Beauty and the Beast.” One year later, Aladdin introduced us to “A Whole New World,” and in 1994, Elton John composed the score for The Lion King, including the award-winner, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Other best songs from the decade include “Colors of the Wind” (Pocahontas, 1995) and “You’ll be in my Heart” (Tarzan, 1999).
These songs go beyond the films themselves; there’s something compelling about the music which appeals to people, even if they haven’t seen the movies. The Disney Sing Along Songs video/DVD series compiles film clips with the most iconic songs, presenting the words at the bottom of the screen for kids to “sing along.” In 1996 Disney put out “Disney Classics: 60 Years of Musical Magic,” a four-volume set containing 100 of their best songs. These songs span the decades, coming from both live-action and animated film, from the early days of Disney to the dawn of the Disney theme parks.
Here at Sporcle, we enjoy Disney’s film and song by publishing a wide array of Disney quizzes. We have a series of quizzes called Figure out the Disney Lyrics, in which Sporclers are given an empty quiz and asked to literally figure out the lyrics to a mystery song. This process is at first frustrating, and then suddenly magical. Once you get the trigger word, the one that suddenly flips the switch to the light bulb of your brain, you, too, will experience this magic.
Check out these Disney song quizzes, or create one of your own!
If these songs get you in the Disney mood–Sporcle has a whole movie subcategory devoted to Disney. When you wish upon a star, you’ll find awesome Disney Sporcle quizzes.