5 Deleted Disney Songs

Back in January, we took a deep dive into the song “Snuff Out the Light” from Kingdom of the Sun, the movie that eventually became The Emperor’s New Groove. With music and lyrics by Sting and Eartha Kitt’s vocals, it’s one of the most stunning Disney songs that fans never got to hear (at least in the finished product). But it’s hardly the only example.

The history of Disney music is littered with abandoned or deleted songs. In some cases they were cut for time, or because changes in the script necessitated it, but it’s rarely a reflection of the quality of the number. 

This week, we’re taking a look at five deleted songs from five classic Disney films.     

Never Smile at a Crocodile (Peter Pan)

This may very well be the most famous of all the deleted Disney songs. The piece was written in 1939 by Frank Churchill (music) and Jack Lawrence (lyrics) for Peter Pan. Sadly, the project was shelved for a decade, and Churchill died in 1942. 

While the melody was included in the final film (which was released in 1953), the version with lyrics was cut. However, the song was included on the soundtrack released the same year. As noted in the Disney Song Encyclopedia, “The song has long been a favorite on children’s records, and other recordings have been made by Henry Calvin, Gracie Lou, Joe Reisman and His Orchestra, the Paulette Sisters, and Mitch Miller and His Singers.” 

(2) Never Smile At A Crocodile | Peter Pan – YouTube

Beware the Jabberwock (Alice in Wonderland)

Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” is one of literature’s most famous poems, and perhaps the greatest example of nonsense verse ever written. Composed by Lewis Carroll and included in his 1871 novel Through the Looking, and What Alice Found There, the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, it tells the story of a fearsome beast known as the Jabberwock and the boy who slays it.

Both novels inspired Disney’s 1951 film Alice in Wonderland. The film contains a lot of classic songs, such as “In a World of My Own,” “All In the Golden Afternoon,” and “Painting the Roses Red,” but one of the most interesting didn’t make the final cut. A song entitled “Beware the Jabberwock,” written by Don Raye and Gene de Paul was recorded in 1947. Supposedly, it was meant to be sung by Stan Freberg. Instead, the piece was replaced by the Cheshire Cat singing the opening lines to Carroll’s poem.

The animated sequences intended for the song were stored in the Disney Archive and later used as images in a picture book version of “Jabberwocky” published in 1992.

(2) Beware the Jabberwock – 1947 Demo – Alice in Wonderland – YouTube

Don’t Buy a Parrot from a Sailor (One Hundred and One Dalmatians)

When fans think about the music of One Hundred and One Dalmatians, they likely think of “Cruella de Vil” and not a lot else. Die-hards may also remember the Kanine Krunchies jingle, but Cruella’s song is definitely the star of the show. 

It likely always would have been (it is, after all, a masterpiece), but there was another rather amusing song intended for the movie. To be sung by the characters of Jasper and Horace, “Don’t Buy a Parrot from a Sailor” was meant to mirror the style of Cockney pub songs like “Knees Up Mother Hubbard” and “Any Old Iron.” 

The song was written by Mel Leven (the same man who penned “Cruella de Vil”). While it doesn’t appear in the movie, it’s a fun and ridiculously singable piece. One that would be perfect to sing while tipping back a frosty mug of root beer. 

(2) 101 Dalmatians – Abandoned Song: Don’t Buy a Parrot from a Sailor – YouTube

I’m In the Middle of a Muddle (Cinderella)

In Cinderella, we get to hear about all of the miserable chores that Cinderella’s stepmother and step-sisters force her to do in “Work Song (Cinderelly, Cinderelly).” It’s performed by Jaq, Gus, and the rest of the mice. However, the audience was originally meant to learn about her troubles in Cinderella’s own words when she sang “I’m In the Middle of a Muddle.” 

Like the rest of the soundtrack, it was written by Mack David, Jerry Livingston, and Al Hoffman, a trio of Tin Pan Alley composers. Walt Disney brought the trio on board after hearing their song “Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba,” which was popularized by Perry Como. The three can be heard performing the track on a demo recording on Cinderella: The Legacy Collection, a double-disc album released in 2015. The album also includes a recording of actress Kate Higgins performing the number.

(2) I’m In the Middle of a Muddle – YouTube

Admiral Boom (Mary Poppins)

The story of Mary Poppins is populated with memorable characters, from Bert the Chimney Sweep to Uncle Albert. One of the most eccentric, and endearing, is Admiral Boom, portrayed by Reginald Owen (best remembered as Ebeneezer Scrooge in the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol).

Boom and his partner Mr. Binnacle are neighbors of the Banks family. A pair of retired Navy men, they live in a house with a ship on its roof. Twice a day, they fire a cannon to mark the time at precisely 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The Sherman Brothers, who composed all of the songs in Mary Poppins, wrote a ditty called “Admiral Boom” for the character. However, Walt Disney ultimately decided that the song was superfluous to the plot of the film. However, one line was kept as a bit of slightly paraphrased dialogue. It is spoken by Bert, who declares, “The whole world takes its time from Greenwich, but Greenwich, they say, takes its time from Admiral Boom!” 

(2) Admiral Boom – Deleted Mary Poppins Song – YouTube

7 Disney Covers You Need to Hear

With a catalog containing some of the best popular music ever written, it’s no surprise that a multitude of artists have turned to Disney when looking for something to record. The depth and breadth of the songs rival that of the Great American Songbook, and it has given birth to some of the greatest covers ever recorded. 

There have been so many gorgeous cover versions of Disney songs, that it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out where to start. To help, we’ve gathered seven of the best. 

When You Wish Upon a Star – Dion and the Belmonts

In 1960, the vocal trio of Dion and the Belmonts released the record “Wish Upon a Star.” Disney’s “When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio was the first track on the album. Their performance featured the smooth vocals and gorgeous harmonies that were the groups trademark, taking the classic tune and re-imagining through the lens of doo-wop.

The track would have a curious effect on the world of popular American music. A young Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys was moved by the Belmonts performance and used it to inspire the composition of the song “Surfer Girl,” the opening track on the 1963 album of the same name. 

The Three Caballeros – Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters (featuring Vic Schoen & His Orchestra)

Originally composed by Manuel Esperón González and based on the ranchera song “¡Ay, Jalisco, no te rajes!” the song “The Three Caballeros” was originally featured in Disney’s anthology film The Three Caballeros, which premiered in December of 1944. 

The following year, Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters released their version of the song, which became an immediate hit, rising to #8 on the charts. Crosby and the Andrews take turns singing lines from the song, imbuing them with the same playful charm they brought to recordings like “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better” and “Mele Kalikimaka.” 

I Wan’na Be Like You – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

The song “I Wan’na Be Like You” by Richard and Robert Sherman is one of the swingingest songs in the Disney canon, and one of the highlights of The Jungle Book. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the song is performed by Louis Prima.

So any band that decided to cover the sing needed to be just as swinging. That’s why Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were the perfect candidates. As one of the leading forces of the 90’s swing revival, their music has always sounded like it spilled right out of a speakeasy. 

Included as the second track on their 1999 album This Beautiful Life, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy took the song and ran it through the streets of Havana with Cuban influenced horns, piano, and percussion. 

Not in Nottingham – Los Lobos

When Los Lobos began in East Lost Angeles, they were drawn together based around on shared love of musicians like Randy Newman and Ry Cooder. Before long, they began incorporating the sounds of the Mexican music they heard as children.

Over the course of their career, they’ve experimented with sounds including zydeco, rock and roll, norteño, blues, and more. They brought all of these experiments to their 2009 album Los Lobos Goes Disney. Their rendition of Roger Miller’s “Not in Nottingham” from Disney’s Robin Hood, is one of the album’s highlights, and sounds as though it is being played beneath the stars in Barrio Antiguo.  

I’ve Got No Strings – Diana Ross & The Supremes

In 1987, Diana Ross & The Supremes released The Never-Before-Released Masters, a compilation album gathering 27 songs recorded between 1961-1969. A significant portion of the collection centered around recordings which were made for Diana Ross & The Supremes Sing Disney Classics, an album which the group recorded, but which was never released.

As you’d expect from these Motown legends, each of the songs are packed with charm and made spectacular by the brilliance of Diana Ross’s voice. However, there’s something particularly perfect about “I’ve Got No Strings.” The song was originally written for Pinocchio with music by Leigh Harline and music by Ned Washington. As reinterpreted by the Diana Ross & The Supremes, the song is given a lush backing built (somewhat ironically) around some gorgeous strings, though the sound of the stand-up base also goes a long way toward anchoring the piece. As it builds toward a climax, horns are added into the arrangement. By the time the song finishes, it’s been transformed from playful into a powerful affirmation of independence. 

Lavender Blue – The Jackson 5

We can quibble about whether or not this should count as a Disney song. As an English folk song, it’s centuries old. Earliest attestations of the song date back to the 1670s. However, it was the 1948 recording made by Burl Ives for the Disney film So Dear To My Heart that brought renewed interest in public attention to the song, so I’m fairly comfortable including it.

The performance by The Jackson 5 is something of an oddity. Despite my best efforts, I’ve yet to find when it was recorded, and it appears it was never officially released. The track starts with Michael Jackson singing with a simple bell accompaniment that retains some of the folksy approach you’d expect with the song. But before long, it brings in the disco funk you’d expect from the Jackson 5 (while maintaining the song’s familiar melody). 

Cruella de Vil – Dr. John

There’s no two ways about this. Dr. John performing the Disney classic “Cruella de Vil” may be the most perfect pairing of artist and subject ever captured on tape. The recording was made for the soundtrack of Disney’s live action remake of 101 Dalmatians starring Glenn Close. 

The legendary “Night Tripper” and king of gris gris music, Dr. John takes Mel Leven’s 1961 song and deepens its jazz chops with his incredible piano playing and a swinging horn line. As brilliant as the music is, Dr. John’s voice is the true star of the recording. His soulful rasp is playful and funky, as are his half spoken improvisations near the end of the track. It doesn’t hurt that the subject, Cruella, seems like she could have been a character pulled from a Dr. John original.  

2 Disney Soundtracks You Need to Hear Today

When we talk about Disney soundtracks, we usually think of films. It’s easy to see why. From Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Encanto, the studio is responsible for some of the most memorable music ever recorded. But the brilliant music isn’t just reserved for the silver screen. Two of Disney’s best soundtracks come from television: the soundtrack for Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and music from The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder

While the traditional Disney soundtrack is a bit like a Broadway cast recording, these two collections are more like a traditional album. In fact, they’re the sort of brilliant gems you’d be thrilled to find digging through the crates of your favorite record store, with tunes you’d listen to on the radio without a second thought. 

Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

In February, Disney introduced the animated series Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, based on the Marvel comic series of the same name. The cartoon follows the adventures of a brilliant 13-year-old girl named Lunella Lafayette and her gigantic T-Rex, Devil Dinosaur. Set in New York’s Lower East Side, the show’s roster of characters is a paragon of diversity and representation, with each story depicting a tight knit community and family at its core. 

The animation is an explosion of color and the action is packed with the sort of frenetic energy you’d expect when dealing with characters who have just exited the tween years. So, it only makes sense that the soundtrack would need to be just as dynamic. 

Disney turned to GRAMMY Award winning musician and producer Raphael Saadiq to write and produce the soundtrack. A member of the multi-platinum selling band Tony! Toni! Toné!, Saadiq has also produced music for artists like Jill Scott, D’Angelo, Stevie Wonder, Erykah Badu, and others. Along the way, he’s amassed industry accolades and recognition as one of the most important voices in music. 

Speaking with The Verge about his work on Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Saadiq stated, “When I watched cartoons as a kid, there was a lot of serious orchestration. A lot of funk, a lot of R&B, and a lot of soul — all kinds of different styles of music. I wanted that for Moon Girl, too. Every episode was a challenge — which I knew it was going to be — because they were pushing me to do very different things week in and week out.”

The star of the series, Diamond White, performs frequently on the soundtrack, including on the show’s theme song, “Moon Girl Magic.” The album also features appearances by performers like Daveed Diggs, Jane Handcock, and Taura Stinson. While not included on the actual album, the show also features music by Childish Gambino. 

When describing the sort of musical journey that the music should provide, Saadiq stated, “It’s almost like listening to a concert, and there’s variations of a Bill Withers — the emotions of a Stevie Wonder and a little Prince. But sometimes the emotion’s more like Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, or you’ll hear drops of A Tribe Called Quest and just hardcore SP 1200 hip-hop.”

The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder: Music from the Series

Creating the soundtrack for Disney’s The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder can’t have been an easy task. After all, the original soundtrack featured a theme song performed by Solange and Destiny’s Child, as well as some of the greatest music ever made. With songs like “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys, “Use ta Be My Girl” by The O’Jays, “More Love” by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, and “Video” by India.Arie, to name just a few, it was a powerhouse collection of soul and R&B. How on earth do you follow that? 

But to make the show they envisioned, creator Bruce W. Smith knew that music would remain integral, stating, “You can’t mention our show without mentioning music. Solange and Destiny’s Child did a fantastic job of really laying out the original theme song, so we wanted to hand over that mantle to someone else to realize the full potential of what they laid out for today.”

It starts with the theme. Kurt Farquhar, the composer for the original The Proud Family theme song, returned for The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder. This time, singer-songwriter Joyce Wrice would perform the song. 

Speaking to Rolling Stone, she once said, “Music was my first love. My sibling I never had.” Her 2021 debut album, Overgrown, was described as drawing,  “on the classic R&B of the late Nineties and early 2000s, showing the range that fans of the genre were accustomed to seeing from artists like Aaliyah, Brandy, and Mariah Carey, and combines that sound with modern songwriting and guest appearances from some of today’s rising artists.” 

Despite all of that, she did admit some nerves stepping into the shoes previously filled by artists like Solange and Beyoncé, telling Billboard, “It was really intimidating in the beginning, because I respect them so much. But I feel great. I listen to them even to this day, so it’s really an honor to be in this position. I feel very fortunate.”

In addition to the music by Wrice, the soundtrack features performances by CeeLo Green, Tone-Loc, and a surprisingly brilliant rendition of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” performed by Tommy Davidson (who plays Oscar in the series). 

Farquhar served as the composer for the series, as well as the songwriter for the original songs featured throughout. An article in Animation Magazine noted that the song writing process involved going, “back and forth from current needle drops like Lizzo to redoing songs by older artists like Shuggie Otis and The Brothers Johnson.” The end result is an album’s worth of songs that you’d love to get on vinyl and listen to any time, day or night.  

10 Fun and Fancy Free Disney Songs

Over the last few weeks we’ve looked at some of Disney’s best love songs, as well as some of the most heart breaking songs in the Disney canon. In the past, we’ve even looked at some of the company’s best villain songs. But sometimes you just want to let down your hair and have a little fun. That’s why this week we’re looking at 10 fun and fancy free Disney songs (although they aren’t songs from 1947’s Fun and Fancy Free. Sorry for any confusion). 

Hakuna Matata (The Lion King)

“Hakuna Matata” is a Swahili phrase that literally means “no trouble” or “no worries.” It perfectly captures the philosophy of the characters Timon and Pumba in 1994’s The Lion King. According to a special feature on The Lion King DVD, the phrase was learned from a tour guide in Kenya. With words by Tim Rice and Music by Elton John, it has become one of the most popular songs in Disney history. It was even nominated for Best Song at the Academy Awards (but lost to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from the same film). 

Why Should I Worry? (Oliver & Company)

Featured in the criminally overlooked 1988 animated feature Oliver & Company, “Why Should I Worry” was composed by Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight. It was performed by Billy Joel, who also provided the voice for the character of Dodger (Artful Dodger in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist”). The animation sequence features Dodger dancing through the streets of New York City after stealing a chain of sausages from a street vendor. It would become the first Disney song nominated for a Golden Globe, though it ended up losing to two songs as both “Let the River Run” by Carly Simon, and “Two Hearts” by Phil Collins tied for the award. 

The Bare Necessities (The Jungle Book)

Written by Terry Gilkyson (co-composer of the popular “Memories are Made of This” made famous by Dean Martin), “The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book is a foot-tapping celebration of life’s simple pleasures. Gilykson wrote multiple songs for the film, but Disney deemed most “too heavy and ponderous,” which is why the remainder of the film’s songs were provided by the Sherman Brothers. Gilykson’s composition would earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Song, though it lost to “Talk to the Animals” from the musical comedy Doctor Doolittle starring Rex Harrison.  

Trashin’ the Camp (Tarzan)

As the drummer for Flaming Youth, and later Genesis, Phil Collins likely never pictured himself becoming a composer for Disney. But by the mid-90s, it probably didn’t seem as far-fetched. Disney had teamed with Elton John for The Lion King, which was a massive hit. They’d also brought Sting onboard to be a part of Kingdom of the Sun (which would later become The Emperor’s New Groove). Collins had entered the “adult contemporary” portion of his career, and Disney executive Chris Montan suggested bringing him onboard for Tarzan.

“Trashin’ the Camp” appears in the movie as Terk’s signature number, and is the only song on the soundtrack which is actively performed by an on-screen character. The number would later be used at Hong Kong Disneyland’s version of The Jungle Cruise, playing on a 1930s style radio as gorillas raid the Jungle Navigation Company’s camp. 

Under the Sea (The Little Mermaid)

When you think of a Danish fairy tale, calypso music probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. Then again, neither is a Caribbean crab. Fortunately, composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman saw the possibility when writing a song celebrating life lived beneath the surface of the sea. The brilliant performance of Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian the crab took it from notes and words on a page to the ecstatic, joyous celebration of the life aquatic. The combination earned Disney their first Academy Award for Best Song since Mary Poppins’ “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” 

The Three Caballeros (The Three Caballeros)

In 1941, Manuel Esperón and Ernesto Cortázar Sr. teamed up to write the ranchera song “¡Ay, Jalisco, no te rajes!” for the film of the same name. The song became a huge hit in Mexico, and would eventually provide the melody for the Disney song “The Three Caballeros.” After learning of Esperón’s success writing songs for the Mexican film industry, Walt Disney reached out and asked him to be a part of the movie The Three Caballeros. The reinterpretation of “¡Ay, Jalisco, no te rajes!” would receive new lyrics by Ray Gilbert. 

The characters of Donald Duck, Panchito Pistoles, and José “Zé” Carioca perform the song in the movie. Today, fans of the song can also hear it on the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros located in the Mexico pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase.  

Gonna Take You There (The Princess and the Frog)

It’s hard to think of a happier, livelier type of music than zydeco. It’s like a party in musical form. In the hands of composer and lyricist Randy Newman, it became the perfect vehicle for the song “Gonna Take You There” from The Princess and the Frog, a song celebrating the joys of family and friends. The song is sung by Jim Cummings as the voice of Ray, with musical accompaniment from zydeco musician and educator Terrance Simien.  

In a movie that overflows with musical joy, it remains one of the standout pieces and is sure to make you jump up out of your seat to start dancing.

Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride (Lilo & Stitch)

Written by Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu and Alan Silvestri, “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” is heard during a scene that features Lilo, her sister Nani, Stitch, and David surfing. It was performed by Ho’omalu as well as the children’s chorus from the Kamehameha School. Talking about the movie later, co-writer and co-director Chris Sanders noted how Ho’omalu and the Kamehameha School helped lend authenticity to the Hawaiian experience in the film. He stated, “So Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu was our kumu hula. He told us everything we needed to know about everything. And he was one of those people that gave us more than we ever could have hoped for — culturally, language-wise, just stories, everything. We also partnered with Kamehameha Schools. And their choir is the choir that sings in the movie, for example. So that was just for us an exercise in humility and letting people who know what they’re doing help us.”

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Mary Poppins)

Arguably Walt Disney’s greatest cinematic accomplishment, Mary Poppins remains a peerless masterpiece nearly sixty years after its release. The music, penned by the Sherman Brothers, is a big reason for the film’s success, and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” was definitely one of the movie’s most memorable songs. Over the years, the Shermans have given several different stories about the origins of the word “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” In one recollection they wrote, “When we were little boys in the mid-1930s, we went to a summer camp in the Adirondack Mountains, where we were introduced to a very long word that had been passed down in many variations through many generations of kids. … The word as we first heard it was super-cadja-flawjalistic-espealedojus.” That may very well be true, but on other occasions they claimed to have invented the word themselves as children. Either way, the mouthful was transformed into an unforgettable song.

Ev’rybody Wants To Be a Cat (The Aristocats)

With music by Al Rinker and words by Floyd Huddleston, “Ev’rybody Wants To Be a Cat” has proven the most enduring song from The Aristocats. Given that fact, it might be a surprise to learn that a song by the Sherman Brothers, “Le Jazz Hot” was originally intended to be the “showstopper” in the film. The primary performers on “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” are Scatman Crothers, Phil Harris, and Robie Lester. Crothers in particular lends the song its jazz credibility, having begun his professional career as a musician in the speak easies of Terre Haute, Indiana. His nickname, Scatman, even came from this time, and was a reference to his scat singing, a style of improvisational vocals unique to jazz. It’s easily one of the swinginest, most happenin’ songs ever created by Disney, and guaranteed to make you smile.