…And the funny thing is I realized it when I bought the soundtrack from a non-Disney classc, An American Tail. For those born after 1995, you probably have no memory of what I like to call the final days of children’s movie blockbusters. In plain English: Hugely popular movies geared towards younger audiences that became smash hits by fans of all ages.
I consider myself lucky to have grown up when movies like Aladdin, Home Alone, Hook and The Lion King premiered. For TOO LONG, there hasn’t really been a kid-centric movie since the late 90s that would easily have folks talking about it 20 years later. Then Frozen came on to the scene two years ago.
Let’s take a look at the hit song, Let It Go:
Not ashamed to say I bought two copies of Frozen’s soundtrack and have listened to this song over 400 times. Now, you millenials are new to the runaway hit phenomenon that is this song. It also asks the question of which is more popular: The song or the movie?
Disney did this almost every year during the 1990s starting with 1991’s The Little Mermaid. Here’s the hit song from that movie that I know parents are not ashamed to sing acapella in the family car/minivan, Under The Sea:
Samuel E. Wright voiced Sebastian, Triton’s majordomo and royal composer. Wright himself is an experienced musician. After the movie’s release, he recorded some kids’ sing-alongs. Here’s one of them:
…He’s got range to say the least! According to an interview with him, Disney approached him to offer him the role. He’s still in the business though obviously, the royalties from his work with Disney ALONE will ensure he’s set for life!
Moving on to Aladdin next. I’ll skip over Beauty & The Beast though the track Gaston (who, by the way is the movie’s bad guy BECAUSE he’s awesome in every way) has been enjoying renewed popularity due to cosplayers. That movie’s hit song Beauty & The Beast, like Aladdin’s hit song A Whole New World has two versions: The movie version and a single post-production version. Here’s the movie version:
We’ll look at three more songs before we stop. I’ll pause for a moment to remind folks the legendary Robin Williams had been tapped for this movie, contributing my personal favorite Prince Ali as well as the smash hit Never Had a Friend Like Me to the film. Disney established its dominance with this film. It was a powerhouse as a movie maker.
Then 1995’s The Lion King changed the game: Three years after its release, Disney was forced to change the movie’s rating from G to PG. The reason: Mufasa’s death scene and the aftermath involving Simba and Scar. That was pretty dark for Disney as they’d never done anything like that up until this movie. The other reason they changed the rating were the high-profile school shootings in America at the time (Columbine happened in 1997). The movie has a number of memorable songs but it’s the opening number that draws you in:
The Lion King was the highest-selling film in studio history until Frozen was released. It nuked all expectations when it was released. The Broadway Adaptation, which launched in 2005 for the movie’s 10-year anneversary has toured all over the world. Here’s the opening number:
Before I forget, the moment where Rafiki raises Simba atop Pride Rock is an homage to Alex Haley’s Roots. Here is the famous scene:
Oh and yes a woman is cast as Rafiki in the Broadway version. No biggie. Johnathan Taylor Thomas voiced young Simba while the legendary James Earl Jones (aka Darth Vader) voiced Mufasa. Moving on, we’re looking at another big budget film that had its teaser included in the original VHS release of The Lion King: Pocahontas.
Like The Lion King before it, Disney did its homework to be as accurate and respectful as possible to the descendants of the Native American tribe featured in the movie. I mean in terms of how they were depicted in the film and its sequel. In the movie’s teasier, Disney did something it hasn’t done since and gave audiences the movie’s lead song almost a year ahead of the movie’s theatrical release, Colors of the Wind:
…By the way, I didn’t miss an interesting message portrayed in the movie: The arrival of the Englishmen and Jamestown’s settlement heralded the beginning of the end of Native American life as they knew it. I don’t think this underlying message was intentionally put in but that message was pretty obvious. It’s more overtly done in James Cameron’s Avatar. The call to protect the unspoiled parts of our world is raised as well. America looked very different from how it does now 100 years ago.
Anyway, I say it’s about time the Disney and knew and loved as a kid made a comeback. The generation before mine has fond memories of The Sound of Music. The current generation now has Frozen. It was a movie that came in at just the right time. The musical numbers carried the movies. Thanks to Frozen, it looks like Disney is going back to its roots ^_^
The more I seriously think about, the happier I am with my decision to only watch network TV for sports, the news and Cartoon Network’s Anime block Saturday at 11:30PM to 6:00AM Sunday morning (though I only watch the first hour for Attack on Titan and Bleach, both of which are in their final episodes) . Anything else I might want to watch is where DVDs/Blu-Ray sets, Netflix and Crunchyroll come in.
What’s really sad is there are alot of sensible people out there who would rather watch junk on TV than do something else with their time. This isn’t like the 80s and 90s where you just knew not to watch Daytime TV. These days, it’s rare to find meaningful programming outside PBS. For those with Cable/Satellite you can no longer rely on The History Channel, The Discovery Channel or even TLC.
Controversial from the start, Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo was finally cancelled by TLC last month despite having just recorded a new season (which will reportedly cost the network $19 Million). The reason: The matriach of the family’s new boyfriend is a convicted child molester. What’s worse: The ex-con was convicted of molesting her now 21-year old daughter, who was the age of the show’s star at the time. Major props to TMZ for breaking the story and Kudos to TLC for doing the right thing in both cancelling the show and offering counseling to the family.
Moving on, I make it a point to avoid network TV (CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX and CW) during state and national elections. The only real way to stop the special interest groups is to not watch at all. I think I mentioned this during the election for Boston mayor last year but many people do not do their own research on candidates or wait until the day before an election to try to do research. A considerable number of folks in this demographic decide who they’re gonig to vote for based on the TV Spots, candidate personality, party affiliation or a combination of all three. This was how Mitt Romney became Governor of Massachusetts and Scott Brown became a Senator in Massachusetts. Yes, the same Scott Brown who tried and failed to run for Senate in NH and the same Mitt Romney who ran for President in 2012.
Anywho, I’m content paying the $15 a month I pay for Netflix and Crunchyroll to watch what I want to watch when I want to watch it on demand. I’m also fine with buying DVD or Blu-Ray box sets of my favorite TV Shows or buying digital copies from iTunes, Xbox Live or The Playstation Network. Yes, I hate Political Ads THAT much and no, I don’t use Pandora either. I like being able to own the music I listen to be it digital or physical. Everyone who would prefer to go to the pirate sites for movies are not as smart as they think they are and they are taking money out of someone’s paycheck. Not the actors and the guys on the top but the unsung middlemen who do 80% of the work and are only mentioned by name in the closing credits.
Don’t wanna buy alot of movies? Just wait until it comes out on Netflix.
On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson died. He was 50 years old.
The five years since The King of Pop’s sudden death stunned the world saw the release of a Movie (Michael Jackson’s This Is It), A video game on multiple consoles (The Michael Jackson Experience) and two new Albums (Michael and Xscape). Only a month after his death, Michael Jackson surpassed Elvis Presley to become the richest dead musician in history. Yet another record he broke that will likely ever be surpassed.
As many of you know, I am a lifetime fan of his music and have nothing but respect for the man behind the music. As many people all over the world take a moment to remember the King of Pop, now more than ever his music is a great source for inspiration.
Here is my Top 20 list of songs meant to inspire with the Album they come from in parentheses. I was originally going to only list 10 but let’s face it, that wouldn’t be enough 😄
- Human Nature (Thriller)
- They Don’t Really Care About Us (HIStory: Past, Present and Future)
- Man in the Mirror (Bad)
- Jam (Dangerous)
- Heal the World (Dangerous)
- Black or White (Dangerous)
- Will You Be There (Dangerous)
- Gone Too Soon (Dangerous)
- Keep the Faith (Dangerous)
- History (HIStoryL Past, Present and Future)
- Speechless (Invincible)
- Cry (Invincible)
- Hold My Hand (Michael)
- Keep Your Head Up (Michael)
- Best of Joy (Michael)
- A Place With No Name – Both Versions (Xscape: Deluxe Edition)*
- Love Never Felt So Good – Both Versions (Xscape: Deluxe Edition)*
- You Are Not Alone/I Just Can’t Stop Loving You (Immortal)
- Planet Earth/Earth Song (Immortal)
- Never Can Say Goodbye (Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection and Jackson 5: Anthology)
* Only the Deluxe Album has both versions of this song. The Standard Version only has the remixes.
Let’s be honest: All of his songs are inspiring. This playlist in and of itself…whew.
In a separate blog post we will explore so of Michael Jackson’s more…forboding songs. It’s sure to be interesting ^_^