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Magic in a Box: Decades of Disney Compiled on New Set

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Disney ClassicsA new box set released today chronicles the musical legacy of The Walt Disney Company with a variety that hasn’t been seen in quite awhile. The new Disney Classics celebrates nearly every medium of entertainment the animation studio-turned-film-titan has dabbled in, from film and television to revolutionary theme park attractions.

Disney Classics is touted in a press release as being released in honor of 90 years of musical history as it pertains to the work of Walter Elias Disney (1901-1966). However accurate that might be – Disney’s most meaningful musical contributions really began 85 years ago, when Mickey Mouse whistled a jaunty tune while piloting Steamboat Willie down the river – it’s hard to argue the studio’s contribution to popular song in the 20th century. Virtually any child of any generation can probably commit one Disney song to memory, whether it’s the endlessly singable Mickey Mouse Club theme or the showstopping, Broadway-esque numbers written for animated features in the late ’80s and early ’90s. And while there’s no shortage of beautiful sound to treasure onscreen, those lucky enough to have attended Disneyland, Walt Disney World or any of their international sister parks knows that there’s practically another dimension of music to enjoy on the many rides and attractions you can experience on vacation.

Now, 95 of those tracks – some familiar to longtime collectors of Disney on CD, others exciting, offbeat selections – are collected in this new set. After the jump, we’ll take a look at each of the themed discs and what they have to offer in terms of musical magic!

The first two discs of Disney Classics are all about Walt’s first love and success in the industry: film. Having already enchanted the country with Mickey Mouse and his stunning animated friends, Disney branched out, adding color and characters – particularly some of the most beloved in children’s storytelling history – to his film library. One such example, the short subject The Three Little Pigs, featured a jaunty tune, “Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf?” – which became a crossover hit in its own right. Music was a mainstay when Disney took the major risk of overseeing an animated cartoon that would last the length of a live-action feature: the studio’s first such project, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, featured a number of timeless tunes, including “Someday My Prince Will Come,” “Heigh-Ho” and “Whistle While You Work,” the latter of which appears on the box’s first disc of “Timeless Classics.” Other immortal songs include “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio, “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella and “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” from the controversial live-action/animated hybrid Song of the South (1946). The contributions of treasured Disney associates Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman shine late on the disc, from “Let’s Get Together,” sung by Hayley Mills (and Hayley Mills!) in The Parent Trap and Burl Ives’ jaunty take on “The Ugly Bug Ball” from Summer Magic to masterpieces great (“A Spoonful of Sugar” from the Oscar-winning Mary Poppins (1964)) and small (the title track to The Monkey’s Uncle, performed by Mickey Mouse Club mainstay Annette Funicello and what was then a somewhat unknown band from Hawthorne, California: The Beach Boys).

Disc 2, “Modern Classics,” draws heavily from the traditions of The Great White Way that Disney utilized to its advantage (coupled with a renewed devotion to the craft of beautiful animation) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, touching off a “Silver Age” of company output after a few trying decades. Composer Alan Menken and his songwriting partners Howard Ashman and Tim Rice spearheaded this renaissance, and all their biggest scores, namely The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aladdin (1992), are represented here. (Also making its way into the “modern classics” canon: “Seize the Day,” a showstopping number from the Menken-driven flop film-turned-Broadway smash Newsies.)

This era also saw a wave of strong film work from composers normally known for their pop skills, like former Oingo Boingo frontman-turned-acclaimed composer Danny Elfman (Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)), Elton John (The Lion King (1994)), Phil Collins (Tarzan (1999), Brother Bear (2003)) and Randy Newman (behind the scores for several computer-animated classics produced by Disney and Pixar, including three Toy Story films in 1995, 1999 and 2009, and A Bug’s Life (1998) and Monsters Inc. (2001)). The disc closes out with a medley of songs from these two discs from Alex G. and Peter Hollens, two prominent YouTube video artists.

While some studios were thrown off their game by television in the 1950s, Disney himself embraced it, bringing his brand of entertainment into every home with his own television programs and several afternoon features. Some of those classic themes to series like Davy CrockettZorro and The Adventures of Spin and Marty all make appearances here. The company never left television as the years went on, finding success among a new generation with syndicated animation block The Disney Afternoon (four theme songs from programs in that block appear here) and on the cable station The Disney Channel, which introduced us to the smash hit TV-movie High School Musical and a number of future pop sensations, including Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana), Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place), Demi Lovato and The Jonas Brothers (Camp Rock).

Finally, in a rare appearance outside of Florida or California, a disc of music from the Disney theme parks appears. Classic, singable themes from attractions including The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Enchanted Tiki Room appear, as well as former World’s Fair attractions it’s a small world and The Carousel of Progress. (The latter is represented with two Sherman Brothers compositions: the familiar “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” and its onetime replacement “The Best Time of Your Life.”) Other highlights include ride scores by famous composers including Jerry Goldsmith (Soarin’) and Michael Giacchino (Space Mountain) and a multitude of tracks from Walt’s EPCOT Center project, both familiar (the Shermans’ “One Little Spark” from Journey Into Imagination, the uplifting “Golden Dream” from The American Adventure) and collectibly classic (music from two departed attractions, The Universe of Energy Pavilion and the nutrition-friendly Kitchen Kabaret).

With an attractive price tag (a hair over $30 on Amazon), this looks like a pretty great set for Disney fans of all shades. It’s available starting today and can be pre-ordered below.

Disney Classics (Walt Disney Records D0017873-02, 2013)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Disc 1: Timeless Classics

  1. Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? (from The Three Little Pigs)
  2. Whistle While You Work (from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
  3. When You Wish Upon a Star (from Pinocchio)
  4. When I See An Elephant Fly (from Dumbo)
  5. Little April Shower (from Bambi)
  6. The Three Caballeros (from The Three Caballeros)
  7. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (from Song of the South)
  8. Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly) (from So Dear to My Heart)
  9. A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes (from Cinderella)
  10. All in the Golden Afternoon (from Alice in Wonderland)
  11. You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly! (from Peter Pan)
  12. He’s a Tramp (from Lady and the Tramp)
  13. Once Upon a Dream (from Sleeping Beauty)
  14. Cruella De Vil (from 101 Dalmatians)
  15. Let’s Get Together (from The Parent Trap)
  16. The Ugly Bug Ball (from Summer Magic)
  17. A Spoonful of Sugar (from Mary Poppins)
  18. The Monkey’s Uncle (from The Monkey’s Uncle)
  19. Fortuosity (from The Happiest Millionaire)
  20. The Bare Necessities (from The Jungle Book)
  21. Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat (from The Aristocats)
  22. Whistle Stop (from Robin Hood)
  23. Someone’s Waiting for You (from The Rescuers)
  24. It’s Not Easy (from Pete’s Dragon)
  25. Best of Friends (from The Fox and the Hound)

Disc 2: Modern Classics

  1. Under the Sea (from The Little Mermaid)
  2. Be Our Guest (from Beauty and the Beast)
  3. Seize the Day (from Newsies)
  4. A Whole New World (from Aladdin)
  5. What’s This? (from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas)
  6. Circle of Life (from The Lion King)
  7. Colors of the Wind (from Pocahontas)
  8. You’ve Got a Friend in Me (from Toy Story)
  9. Out There (from The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
  10. I Won’t Say (I’m in Love) (from Hercules)
  11. Reflection (from Mulan)
  12. The Time of Your Life (from A Bug’s Life)
  13. Strangers Like Me (from Tarzan)
  14. When She Loved Me (from Toy Story 2)
  15. Whoop-de-Dooper Bounce (from The Tigger Movie)
  16. If I Didn’t Have You (from Monsters Inc.)
  17. Hawaiian Roller Coaster (from Lilo and Stitch)
  18. Look Through My Eyes (from Brother Bear)
  19. One Little Slip (from Chicken Little)
  20. Happy Working Song (from Enchanted)
  21. Dig a Little Deeper (from The Princess and the Frog)
  22. I See the Light (from Tangled)
  23. We Belong Together (from Toy Story 3)
  24. Disney Classics Medley – Alex G. & Peter Hollens

Disc 3: Television Classics

  1. Mickey Mouse March (from The Mickey Mouse Club)
  2. The Ballad of Davy Crockett (from Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier)
  3. The Triple R Song (Yippi-A, Yippi-I, Yippi-O) (from The Adventures of Spin and Marty)
  4. Theme from Zorro
  5. The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (from The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh)
  6. Winnie the Pooh (from Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree)
  7. Minnie’s Yoo Hoo (from The Mouse Factory)
  8. Who, What, Why, Where When and How Day (from The New Mickey Mouse Club)
  9. Gummi Bears Theme (from The Adventures of The Gummi Bears)
  10. DuckTales Theme (from DuckTales)
  11. Chip ‘N’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers Theme Song (from Chip ‘N’ Dale Rescue Rangers)
  12. Darkwing Duck Theme (from Darkwing Duck)
  13. Theme from Lizzie McGuire (Extended Supa Mix)
  14. Rockin’ At The House of Mouse (Extended Version) (from House of Mouse)
  15. The Naked Mole Rap (from Kim Possible)
  16. Cheetah Sisters (from The Cheetah Girls)
  17. Aloha, E Komo Mai (from Lilo and Stitch: The Series)
  18. Hot Dog! (from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse)
  19. Get’cha Head in the Game (from High School Musical)
  20. Nobody’s Perfect (from Hannah Montana 2)
  21. Gitchee Gitchee Goo (from Phineas and Ferb)
  22. This is Me (from Camp Rock)
  23. What Time is It (from High School Musical 2)
  24. Everything is Not What It Seems (from Wizards of Waverly Place)
  25. Mickey Mouse Club Alma Mater (from The Mickey Mouse Club)

Disc 4: Theme Park Classics

  1. The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room (from The Enchanted Tiki Room)
  2. Swisskapolka (from The Swiss Family Treehouse)
  3. Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me) (from Pirates of the Caribbean)
  4. Medley: How Do You Do/Ev’rybody Has a Laughin’ Place/Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (from Splash Mountain)
  5. The Bear Band Serenade (from The Country Bear Jamboree)
  6. Grim, Grinning Ghosts (from The Haunted Mansion)
  7. It’s a Small World (from it’s a small world)
  8. There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (from Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress)
  9. The Great Outdoors (from The Country Bear Vacation Hoedown)
  10. Space Mountain Medley (Dick Dale Version) (from Space Mountain)
  11. Soarin’ (from Soarin’ Over California)
  12. Theme from It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
  13. California Screamin’ (from California Screamin’)
  14. The Best Time of Your Life (from The Carousel of Progress)
  15. Space Mountain Medley (Michael Giacchino Version) (from Space Mountain)
  16. The Universe of Energy (from The Universe of Energy)
  17. Medley from Kitchen Kabaret
  18. One Little Spark (from Journey Into Imagination)
  19. Canada (You’re a Lifetime Journey) (from O, Canada!)
  20. Golden Dream (from The American Adventure)
  21. Finale (from Fantasmic!)

Written by Mike Duquette

November 11, 2013 at 13:55

2 Responses

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  1. Too bad they still can’t release the Bobby Darin version of “That Darn Cat.”

    Rocky cook

    November 11, 2013 at 14:53

  2. Wow! My jaw dropped when I saw the inclusion of “Who What Why Where When and How Day” from 1977’s New Mickey Mouse Club!! Was not expecting that in a million years. Disney barely acknowledges this show even existed. This was MY Mickey Mouse Club and I have very fond memories of it. Maybe there is a tiny glimmer of hope that Disney will release their album (and non-LP “Disco Mouse” single) on CD or download someday. Hopefully that one track will be available for individual download. Everything else on this set that I would want, I already have from various other sets


    November 11, 2013 at 15:16

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