Friday, November 6, 2009

Cool Kidsongs: Classic Disney Edition

There seems to be a love/hate relationship with Disney for many people. Some people look at them as corny or overly corporate, but it's hard to deny that over the years there's been some absolutely brilliant music that's been produced for their films. These days, Disney music is often nominated for Oscars, but most people forget that there were many famous musicians that graced Disney films back in the day.

Louis Prima: I Wan'na Be Like You


Perhaps one of the most impressive (to me, at least) pieces of music in the Disney library is the classic "I Wan'na Be Like You" from The Jungle Book (1966). The song was sung by the legendary Louis Prima in a scat jazz style (though written by the amazing Sherman Bros.). As fun as this song is, and as accessible to children, it's difficult to miss the talent and grown-up styling to this music. It's one of my favorites. The character in the movie that sings the song is King Louie, fitting.

Roger Miller: Oo-De-Lally


Roger Miller seems like the perfect fit for doing a kid's song considering his music is often on the silly side, or at least, smirk-worthy. That is part of his charm, part of the reason I like him at least. He wrote and performed the theme the Disney's 1973 telling of Robin Hood. He also did a number of other songs for the movie and had the part of the story-telling rooster Alan-a-dale. I love this song, I think it's classic Roger Miller and could easy stand alone in his catalog without the movie.

Peggy Lee: He's a Tramp


Last, but not least, the fantastic Peggy Lee. She co-wrote all the music for Lady And the Tramp (1955), including the famous "Bella Notte", and performed a few of the songs herself, including this one, "He's a Tramp". The character in the movie who sang the song was named "Peg", after Peggy, and sung in Peggy's signature sultry nightclub style. There's really nothing childish about the song other than the use of dog barks for backing music, but even that somehow doesn't seem like it would be so strange back in the day when things all seemed more innocent. This is one of those things that I always thought was just "sung in the style of Peggy Lee" and was surprised later to find out that it was, in fact, the REAL Peggy Lee, and she had written it herself. Fanastic.

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