Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast is just over a month away, and last weekend we finally heard the title track sang by Arianna Grande and John Legend. Already I have expressed my disappointment in the new updated version in my last post, which you can read here. But I thought about how important the Disney soundtrack really is to their films. The soundtrack can be the icing on the cake to making a Disney film special, original and enjoyable to watch. The music and songs are just as important as the characters and the story in some cases.
Music was definitely the key ingredient during The Renaissance era of Disney’s hits, and since that era, they have not had a successful soundtrack until Frozen. You may be sick and tired of Frozen like a lot of people, but you cannot deny the brilliance of that soundtrack.
Since Snow White, music has been part of the animation and story-telling. Disney certainly felt it was important to telling his stories, so much so, he made Fantasia. Not a box office hit at the time, but a success in animation history. The first of it’s kind. Creating animated stories around well-known musical pieces.
For me, a big part of my growing up in the 90’s was watching Disney films, and listening to the music. Every animated film from Beauty and the Beast to Tarzan had a catchy soundtrack, and at least one song that would be released into the charts, and be the lead song to promote the film or add to it’s box office success.
And usually the track that got released, would be re-recorded by a famous artist who was having their own musical success, or just starting out. For example, Christina Aguilera was first heard around the world when she recorded the hit song Reflection from Mulan. It would be after this release, that she would then go on to earn her first number one with Genie in a Bottle, from her debut solo album.
Hearing the main song that would be released on behalf of the recent animated film was just as exciting for me as seeing the trailer. Like when I heard Eternal’s “Someday” which was released for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, OH MY GOD I was over the moon. At the time I was a massive fan of theirs anyway, and that song is so beautiful, and they sing it beautifully, it gives me huge goosebumps every time I hear it.
When I first heard that “Dum! Dum! Da-da-dum” beat at the beginning of Hercules, with the lead Muse telling Charlton Heston (The Narrator) “We’ll take it from here darling” I INSTANTLY knew I was going to love the film. All from that first beat. The gospel influence in the music was right up my straight at the time, because I was really into Mariah and Mary J.
Michael Bolton was the well-known artist who sang the lead track, “Go the Distance” and every time my mum hears it she cries. She was a fan of Bolton anyway, but his voice is fantastic, and has a gospel feel to it with a slight rasp. He was perfect for that song.
Tarzan, which a lot of Disney fans will say is one of their favourite Disney soundtracks, will be the last Disney animated feature, until Frozen, that will be recognised by it’s music. Don’t get me wrong, Enchanted, Tangled and Princess and the Frog all had fab songs, but the music isn’t recognised as much as it was back in The Renaissance era. Well with the exception of “I see the Light” from Tangled, because my sister and brother-in-law danced to that as their “first dance” as Mr & Mrs.
I hope you can understand the importance though of “the song”as well as the soundtrack. The Beauty and the Beast remake is probably the first live-action Disney film, in which the music has just as much expectation from fans as the movie does itself. If the music is not right, then I’m sorry, but for me, the movie will be a fail.
So come on, tell me your fav soundtrack, or song from the Disney collection, either tweet me or leave a comment.
“And that’s the gospel truuuuuth… The gospel truth…!”