Top 20 Songs from Animated Films

This article is dedicated to the late Howard Ashman and Ofra Haza, both victims of the AIDS virus who are still sorely missed – RIP, your music will live on forever

For my third music-themed article, I’m ranking the top twenty best songs from animated films! I love all of these songs myself, but I’ve also tried to consider which ones other fans think are the best, to keep it unbiased. The list spans a whopping seventy-nine years and although it’s dominated by ballads, you can feel the influence of a variety of other genres too, such as jazz, R&B and gospel (no surprise really; more than half of them are from the 1990s).

I have tried to include songs from films made by studios other than Disney, but honestly, there are very few animated musicals which really stand up to their level of quality, so ultimately only three of the songs in the top twenty are from non-Disney films (or two, since Pixar is technically Disney too). Most of these songs have become iconic and are hugely popular subjects for covers, by both professionals in the music industry and amateurs online. I’m sure at least some of your favourites have made it in, as these are some of the greatest songs in animated cinema and all of them are beloved by fans (yes, even Let it Go).

Alan Menken, that epic maestro of animated films, is naturally well-represented here, with eight songs on the list. Lyricist Stephen Schwartz also holds his own with four songs, while Tim Rice has three and Howard Ashman (RIP) has two. On the performing side, Lea Salonga and Judy Kuhn take up almost a quarter of the list with two songs each (Pocahontas is the only film featured twice, since I just couldn’t choose between its two most famous pieces).

Before I get started, I’ve put together a list of honourable mentions – my favourites are in bold, but every one of the songs below is well worth listening to, so please do check out any that you haven’t heard! (To save space, I won’t include all the film names here – I’m sure you’ll be familiar with most of them, so I’ll just list films for the less famous ones).

 

Honourable Mentions

Whistle While You Work, Baby Mine, Bella Notte (Lady and the Tramp), I Wonder (Sleeping Beauty), Cruella De Vil, I Wan’na be Like You, The Bare Necessities, Heffalumps and Woozles, Goodbye May Seem Forever (The Fox and the Hound), Let Me Be Good To You (The Great Mouse Detective), Perfect Isn’t Easy (Oliver & Company), Why Should I Worry, Under the Sea, Be Our Guest, Beauty and the Beast, Prince Ali, Money is Such a Beautiful Word (Tom and Jerry: The Movie), A Dream Worth Keeping (FernGully: The Last Rainforest), Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Eye to Eye, Stand Out, God Help the Outcasts, Heaven’s Light, Zero to Hero, Go the Distance, Wherever You Are (Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin), Always There (The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island), Once Upon a December, The Plagues, When You Believe, Through Heaven’s Eyes, I Stand Alone (Quest for Camelot), I’ll Make a Man Out of You, Strangers Like Me, The Trail We Blaze (The Road to El Dorado), He Mele No Lilo, Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride, I Will Always Return (Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron), Great Spirits (Brother Bear), When Will My Life Begin, Touch the Sky, For the First Time in Forever, Poisonous Love (Rio 2), Where You Are, We Know the Way

 

  1. When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio (1940)

Written by: Ned Washington / Composed by: Leigh Harline / Performed by: Cliff Edwards

To kick things off, we have this rousing classic from Disney’s Pinocchio. When you think of iconic Disney songs, this one has to be up there – it has become a sort of anthem of the whole Company, with the first few notes playing over the logo at the opening of every film and even serving as the melody for the horns of the Disney cruise ships. It starts out with some jaunty woodwind in keeping with the style of the film, but then that brass and choir take over and it suddenly becomes much more moving. Cliff Edwards’ gentle performance is a big part of what makes this so soothing to listen to, and he later recorded other versions with soloist Julietta Novis (who you may remember from the Ave Maria in Fantasia) and Christian Rub (also from Pinocchio). The American Film Institute ranked it as their seventh of the 100 Greatest Songs in Film History (only three other Disney songs made the list at all, including the next song down). Apparently, in Japan, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, it has even become a Christmas standard! It may be a short piece, but it’s certainly a very special one for any fan of Disney animation.

 

  1. Someday My Prince Will Come from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Written by: Larry Morey / Composed by: Frank Churchill / Performed by: Adriana Caselotti

The oldest song on the list is this one, from Snow White. Although it has undoubtedly begun to show its age, this still remains an important classic in animated cinema, because without it we wouldn’t have any of the other songs on the list. It set the standard for future Disney heroines like Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle and all the rest, with Snow White singing sweetly about the thing she most wants. Nowadays, Adriana Caselotti’s rather shrill soprano has received some criticism, and of course the song’s message about waiting around for a man to come and rescue you instead of doing something to help yourself is very of-its-time. Still, the song is loaded with that old-fashioned Disney magic and is undeniably charming, with a sentimental string accompaniment and a soft, lullaby-like melody. Somewhat surprisingly, it became a jazz standard in later years, covered by such artists as Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Sun Ra and Cassandra Wilson, followed even later by pop covers from Sinéad O’Connor, Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews and Anastacia. It’s a song that everybody knows, so whether you enjoy it or not, I think that any song which is able to endure for eighty years is worthy of including on this list.

 

  1. A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes from Cinderella (1950)

Written and composed by: Mack David, Al Hoffman, Jerry Livingston / Performed by: Ilene Woods

Another of those golden oldies, this lilting ballad comes from Cinderella. It has been frequently compared to the Snow White song above for its similar-sounding melody, but actually, the theme of the song was taken from Franz Liszt’s Etude No. 9 Ricordanza of the Transcendental Etudes. The song is another of those gentle lullabies sung with sweetness by Ilene Woods, with a nostalgic theme about faith and hope which so typify the classic Disney films. It has received numerous covers over the years, from artists like Nikki Blonsky, Michael Bolton, Perry Como, Todrick Hall, Hilary Duff, Cher, Better Midler and Linda Ronstadt, with actress Lily James also covering it for the remake in 2015. My favourite thing about this song, which you may have read about in my review of the film, is that it provided joy and comfort to Ilene Woods in her later years, after she sadly developed Alzheimer’s. Ms Woods couldn’t remember appearing in Cinderella, but she retained a fondness for this song, so her nurses would play it for her as often as they could. This is another classic which most Disney fans will know, so it was definitely worth including here.

 

  1. I See the Light from Tangled (2010)

Written by: Alan Menken, Glenn Slater / Composed by: Alan Menken / Performed by: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi

This is the love theme from Tangled, a soft, folk-inspired duet between Rapunzel and Flynn. Menken and Slater had originally written a more anthem-like version of the song, but ended up reworking it into the gentler, simpler form we know today. Menken drew influence from 1960s folk rock, particularly Canadian artists Joni Mitchell, and he was more proud of this song than any of the film’s other numbers. According to Zach Levi, he and Mandy Moore rehearsed the song live before the film’s 80-piece orchestra before going into separate recording booths to record their respective lyrics, verses and harmonies individually. It was one of only two times that they met during production. The song was nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Song, and it’s easy to see why. The song plays during one of the most pivotal scenes in the film, and the soaring of the strings perfectly capture Rapunzel’s wonder upon finally achieving her dream of seeing the lanterns. Later, the guitar and piano accompaniment give it a warmth and sentimentality that supports the budding romance between the two characters. Definitely a standout in both the film and the current Disney Era – it was good to see Alan Menken return to Disney after so many years!

 

  1. Let It Go from Frozen (2013)

Written and composed by: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez / Performed by: Idina Menzel

Please don’t kill me! I know you hate it, I know, but I mean, this power ballad from Frozen didn’t win the Oscar for Best Original Song for nothing. Yes, it’s overplayed, yes, you’re sick of hearing your kids belting it out after their fifteenth viewing of the film in a row, but if you strip away all the hype and really listen to it, it’s a damn good song. The songwriters took inspiration from previous classic Disney songs and various recording artists like Adele, Aimee Mann, Avril Lavigne, Lady Gaga and Carole King. The key moment in the song’s development came one day when they were walking from their home to Prospect Park in New York and began thinking – in their words – from “an emo kind of place.” The song starts out fairly slow and sombre, but gradually builds in intensity as Elsa’s confidence grows until she’s belting it to the icy rafters. Many fans have branded it an honorary “villain song” due to Elsa’s original character as the film’s bad guy, and it does indeed have a sort of defiant, “screw it” kind of feeling to it (which has led to numerous funny foul-mouthed covers!). Demi Lovato provided a showy, pop cover for the end credits (which I personally preferred), but it’s the original which makes the list as a true modern classic.

 

  1. How Far I’ll Go (and the reprise) from Moana (2016)

Written and composed by: Lin-Manuel Miranda / Performed by: Auli’i Cravalho

Our newest song, this is the heroine’s big number from Moana. According to Miranda, he locked himself in his childhood bedroom at his parent’s house for a whole weekend to try and get back into the mind-set of a sixteen-year-old. He wanted to recapture the “impossible distance” he felt at the time, between his middle-class childhood and his dreams of being in show business, in order to help express Moana’s longing to see what lies beyond her family’s island. The song is much brighter and happier than Let It Go, so I’ve put it one spot higher up – the scene in the film is the complete opposite of the corresponding one in Frozen, with lots of tropical colours and sun-drenched backgrounds as Moana races around her island and eventually heads out to sea, still belting joyously. The piece was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar and was performed by Auli’i Cravalho at the ceremony, while the credits version was done by rising star Alessia Cara.

 

  1. Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Written by: Jack Lawrence, Sammy Fain / Composed by: George Bruns / Performed by: Mary Costa, Bill Shirley

I decided to rank Sleeping Beauty’s big ballad a bit higher than the other Golden Age songs, largely because of the wonderful vocal stylings of the opera-trained Mary Costa. This dreamy waltz was based, like the rest of the film, on Tchaikovsky’s ballet of the same name, more specifically the piece Grande valse villageoise (“The Garland Waltz”), and it beautifully shows off the film’s gorgeous animation, the style of which was inspired by the artist Eyvind Earle. There’s a great character moment in it, too, when Prince Philip sneaks up and surprises Aurora mid-song – the look on her face is a scream! Like the other two golden oldies on the list, this one is a timeless classic beloved by almost every Disney fan and easily earned its spot.

 

  1. Almost There from The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Written and composed by: Randy Newman / Performed by: Anika Noni Rose

Here we have another Best Original Song Oscar-nominated piece, this time from The Princess and the Frog. If you were getting tired of the ballads, look no further: this is a bouncy jazz-inspired number performed with gusto by Anika Noni Rose and is certainly one of the film’s best songs. Randy Newman’s distinctive use of brass and piano can be heard all over it, and the animation of the scene dips into a fun sort of 1920s art deco style as Tiana dreams of her restaurant. There is also a better message to this one; whereas all the older songs we’ve looked at tended to focus on dreaming and passivity, this is a very active song – Tiana isn’t about to sit around waiting for her dream to come true, she’s going to work her ass off to make it come true. Definitely an empowering and inspiring number for today’s generation of young Disney lovers!

 

  1. Reflection from Mulan (1998)

Written and composed by: Matthew Wilder, David Zippel / Performed by: Lea Salonga

I’m sure you know this one. Mulan’s heartfelt ballad is the film’s second number and plays just after her disastrous meeting with the Matchmaker. It’s rather short, but Lea Salonga delivers an excellent performance in the two minutes she’s allotted – the song is by turns both powerful and gentle, as Mulan struggles with her identity crisis, knowing that she doesn’t fit in and yet not sure what to do about it. It’s no surprise that the song has become something of an anthem for the LGBT community (much like another song further down the list), as the lyrics can be easily interpreted as the struggle of a young gay girl wanting to come out. Christina Aguilera performed the melismatic pop version heard in the credits, aged just 17 – this song actually kicked off her whole career, as its success landed her a recording deal with RCA! Pretty impressive.

 

  1. Circle of Life from The Lion King (1994)

Written by: Tim Rice / Composed by: Elton John / Performed by: Carmen Twillie, Lebo M.

Perhaps the greatest opening to any Disney film in history, this unforgettable number is, of course, from The Lion King. Tim Rice noted in an interview that the speed at which Elton John composed amazed him, saying “I gave him the lyrics at the beginning of the session at about two in the afternoon. By half-past three, he’d finished writing and recording a stunning demo.” Now, I have to admit, I’m not generally a huge fan of this film’s music – but this particular song is exceptional. From those first, soaring Swahili lines (so often misquoted) to Carmen Twillie’s final dramatic belt and the hard cut to the film’s title, this whole song is an epic win for Disney. The animation of the gathering animals and African scenery is superb, and the staging of Simba’s birth and Rafiki’s presentation of him has become one of cinema’s most recognisable images. It was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar, but lost to Can You Feel the Love Tonight from the same film (I’ve never understood the appeal of that one, but what can you do).

 

  1. Colours of the Wind from Pocahontas (1995)

Written by: Stephen Schwartz / Composed by: Alan Menken / Performed by: Judy Kuhn

To open our top ten, we have the first of two numbers from Pocahontas (the only film with two songs on the list, as I just couldn’t choose). Colours of the Wind is another power ballad, but unlike many of the earlier ones it isn’t dealing with themes of love. Instead, it’s tackling racism! Ah, 1990s Disney… they took so many risks. Of course, that theme isn’t usually forefront in your mind when you hear this – the highlight is Judy Kuhn’s uplifting performance, which was covered by Vanessa Williams for the credits in a very ‘90s pop version. It has since been covered by other talented artists like Lea Salonga (see above), Michael Crawford, Connie Talbot and even Whitney Houston, and it also won the Oscar for Best Original Song that year. If you’ve ever wondered what the phrase “blue corn moon” actually means, you might be interested to know that it actually doesn’t mean anything – it was made up by Stephen Schwartz simply because he liked the sound of it, having been inspired by a Native American love poem with the line “I will come to you in the moon of green corn.”

 

  1. When She Loved Me from Toy Story 2 (1999)

Written and composed by: Randy Newman / Performed by: Sarah McLachlan

This tender piece is the only appearance from Pixar on the list, coming from Toy Story 2. Pixar aren’t usually known for their songs since they’ve not yet created a musical, but every twenty-something will remember Jessie’s sorrowful lament about being abandoned by her owner. Featuring more of Randy Newman’s compelling piano work, the emotional punch comes from Sarah McLachlan’s wistful delivery, coupled with the scenes of Jessie being forgotten, rediscovered and eventually dumped in a charity box, never to see her owner again. The piece was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar and has since been covered by Michael Crawford (big Disney fan apparently), Brigit Mendler and the pop group Steps.

 

  1. Belle (and the reprise) from Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Written by: Howard Ashman / Composed by: Alan Menken / Performed by: Paige O’Hara, Richard White

This is the first song from Disney’s masterpiece, Beauty and the Beast. I know you were probably expecting me to include the famous Angela Lansbury ballad from the ballroom scene (which is also wonderful), but my favourite piece from the film has always been this. A mid-tempo French and classical music-inspired song, it incorporates some clear Broadway and musical theatre elements and has been compared to numbers from such musical greats as West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965), as well as Fiddler on the Roof and She Loves Me. Menken and Ashman initially doubted that the filmmakers would appreciate such a theatrical approach to animation, but thankfully they did and the song was kept in, going on to be nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar but losing to the film’s title song. Belle introduces us to the film’s heroine and its villain, setting up their story and motives, with the best part being Paige O’Hara’s excellent solo section in the middle as she reads her book by the fountain. The reprise, just after Gaston’s hilariously failed attempt to propose to Belle, features the famous scene of Belle running out into the field and singing to the mountains about her longing for something more. The instrumentation of this part is to die for, with booming brass and sweeping harps and strings making your spirits soar with Belle’s as the camera pans up through the trees to a glorious autumnal panorama.

 

  1. Part of Your World (and the reprise) from The Little Mermaid (1989)

Written by: Howard Ashman / Composed by: Alan Menken / Performed by: Jodi Benson

From The Little Mermaid, I made the obvious choice: Part of Your World has been described as the best Disney song ever written, and while it’s not quite my personal favourite, I knew it had to be pretty high on the list. The song was inspired by Somewhere That’s Green from Ashman and Menken’s musical Little Shop of Horrors (1982), and Jodi Benson was selected from that musical’s cast to play Ariel. In an unusual directing technique, Ashman actually directed Benson from inside the recording booth itself, gesturing carefully to prevent the mic from picking up his movements and whispering lines to her before she sang them to ensure she gave the correct delivery (he was very specific about the way he wanted it performed). Then-head of Disney Jeffrey Katzenberg originally wanted the song cut as he feared it would bore the young children in the audience, but everyone else involved in the production fought tooth and nail to keep it in, and Katzenberg would later express sincere regret that he ever considered cutting it in the first place. The ballad made the “I Want” style of song a standard part of all future Disney musicals and has been compared to Judy Garland’s Over the Rainbow number from The Wizard of Oz (which was also nearly cut, funnily enough). Like Reflection, the song has become a popular anthem amongst the LGBT community due to its themes of longing to “belong” and fit in, and it has been covered by Faith Hill, Jessica Simpson, Miley Cyrus, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jessie J, Darren Kriss, Bruno Mars and Sara Bareilles, among others. Incredibly, the song was not even nominated for Best Original Song, which was instead won that year by Under the Sea from the same film – I mean, Under the Sea is a fun tune and all, but come on! Still, it didn’t need an Oscar nod to gain the prestige it deserved, and has cemented its place in people’s hearts as one of the greatest Disney ballads ever made. The reprise is worth noting, too; the phrase “Part of that world” becomes “Part of your world” once Ariel’s met Eric, and her final, dramatic belt of the line as the waves crash against the rock behind her has become another of Disney’s best-known images.

 

  1. A Whole New World from Aladdin (1992)

Written by: Tim Rice / Composed by: Alan Menken / Performed by: Brad Kane, Lea Salonga

Another Disney classic, from Aladdin this time, this was another Best Original Song winner at the Oscars and has remained a huge fan favourite in the years since. This is arguably the greatest duet in animated history, a claim which might sound like an overstatement anywhere else, but I dare you to find one performed with more passion or written with more creative lyrics. The scenes of Aladdin and Jasmine soaring over Agrabah, Egypt, Greece and eventually China have been transporting audiences for twenty-five years now, and the song shows no signs of losing its popularity as the decades creep by. The credits pop version, performed by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, even managed to knock Whitney Houston’s record breaking I Will Always Love You off the top of the charts after it had spent fourteen weeks there, and it remains the only Disney song to top the Billboard Hot 100.

 

  1. Out There from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

Written by: Stephen Schwartz / Composed by: Alan Menken / Performed by: Tony Jay, Tom Hulce

The music of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is so underrated, so what better way to show my appreciation for it than by putting my favourite piece from the film at number five? It really was a tough choice and I nearly included two songs, but I felt that since the list is already so Disney-dominated and Pocahontas already features twice, it would be too much to put up another two from one film. Out There is a male “I Want” song (somewhat rarer than the female ones in Disney films) and actually consists of two separate sections that centre on the opposing themes of entrapment and escape. Frollo’s section at the start is called In Here and functions like a mini-villain song very similar to Mother Knows Best from Tangled, in which the sinister minister of justice belittles and scolds poor Quasimodo, emotionally manipulated him into staying put in the cathedral. Quasi then gets his own Out There section where he challenges Frollo’s idea that “the world is wicked,” belting his heart out as he dreams of living an ordinary life down below in Paris. The piece functions as an excellent piece of character exposition for the pair and is perhaps the most uplifting song Disney’s ever done, with the warmth and innocence of Tom Hulce’s performance greatly endearing Quasi to the audience. It’s during this song that you really begin to connect with the guy, and when he delivers that final, epic, eleven-second belt, you really want him to get out of there in the end.

 

  1. I Won’t Say (I’m in Love) from Hercules (1997)

Written by: David Zippel / Composed by: Alan Menken / Performed by: Susan Egan, Cheryl Freeman, Lillias White, Vaneese Y. Thomas, LaChanze, Roz Ryan

Ah, Hercules – another of Disney’s greatest soundtracks! It was next to impossible to choose between these songs and I still really wish I’d had room for Zero to Hero on the list, but in the end I just couldn’t pass over Meg’s unique, reluctant love ballad. This song was originally going to be a more traditional love song called I Can’t Believe My Heart, but was rewritten to better suit Meg’s strong, independent character – the result is this charming and catchy piece in which we actually see a Disney heroine trying not to fall for the male lead… but of course, she finds she just can’t fight her feelings anymore and lies back in twitterpated bliss by the end. The song is a mid-tempo R&B and doo-wop inspired ballad reminiscent of 1950s music, particularly Motown, but with some teen pop influences too. Apparently, Egan was intimidated and humbled by the talents of the backing singers due to their powerful voices and riffing abilities – one of Egan’s riffs took her half an hour to perfect, while the voices of the Muses recorded multiple takes of theirs within the same time. I have to admit, I didn’t know the names of any of the five performers until I created this list – they really deserve more love, the song wouldn’t be the same without them. Egan would later comment that it was a shame she couldn’t easily perform her song out of context, like Jodi Benson or Lea Salonga could with theirs, because it requires the interplay of the backing singers.

 

  1. Just Around the Riverbend from Pocahontas (1995)

Written by: Stephen Schwartz / Composed by: Alan Menken / Performed by: Judy Kuhn

Here at number three we have my favourite Disney song, the second selection from Pocahontas. I’ve always slightly preferred this to Colours of the Wind as it’s less solemn and better shows off Judy Kuhn’s sensational voice, but that does make it much harder to sing along to! This was another piece which was, astoundingly, almost dropped because the Disney executives didn’t like it at first, but thank goodness they warmed up to it or we might never have gotten to enjoy the power and vibrato of this fantastic song. Stephen Schwartz described it as “the Native American version of Something’s Coming {From West Side Story}” – I love learning about the ways that musical theatre inspired so many of these classic Renaissance Era songs. Pocahontas sings this early in the film before she meets John Smith, making for a more unusual “I Want” song since she doesn’t yet know at that point exactly what she wants; rather like Belle, all she knows is that she wants more than the life that’s being prepared for her by her father.

 

  1. Journey to the Past from Anastasia (1997)

Written by: Lynn Ahrens / Composed by: Stephen Flaherty / Performed by: Liz Calloway

After so much Disney, you’ll probably be pleased to see a song from a film outside of that studio at number two. This ballad comes from Twentieth Century Fox’s Anastasia and is perhaps the most famous song from a non-Disney animated film (the film itself is even frequently mistaken for a Disney film, as it’s one of the few that comes close to matching classic Disney in quality and style). The song was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar, but it had the misfortune (shared by Hercules) of coming out the same year as Titanic, the theme song of which took the award that year  as just one of the film’s record-tying eleven Oscars. Aaliyah covered the song in a pop version for the credits and also performed it at the Oscars ceremony, becoming the youngest performer to do so at the time, but her version has sadly been criticised a lot since (RIP Aaliyah). The Liz Calloway version heard in the film is delivered with power and passion, but it’s the final twelve-second belt as Anastasia gazes out over the roofs of St. Petersburg that really sells it. I couldn’t resist ranking this one so highly, as it is a firm favourite among animation fans and really deserves more attention.

 

  1. Deliver Us from The Prince of Egypt (1998)

Written by: Stephen Schwartz / Composed by: Hans Zimmer / Performed by: Ofra Haza, Eden Riegel

For my number one slot – which I deliberated a long time about – I finally chose this epic opening number from Dreamworks’s vastly underrated masterpiece, The Prince of Egypt, my favourite animated film. In a similar manner to The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, the filmmakers chose here to use music to open their story and set the scene, and Deliver Us stands as a hauntingly beautiful and superbly animated piece of art the likes of which has rarely been matched in any animated film before or since. Beginning with the slaves of Egypt singing mournfully about their oppression and praying for deliverance (combined with some harrowing animation of their brutal treatment at the hands of the Egyptians), the song builds to a gentle midsection in which Moses’s mother, Yocheved, escapes the pharaoh’s systematic slaughter of the Hebrews to set her precious baby free upon the waters of the Nile, singing him a moving lullaby before letting him go forever. Ofra Haza (Yocheved’s voice actress) deserves a lot of credit for the impact the song has – her solo is mesmerising, finishing with some soaring melismatic vocals, and her other sections in the song are also great, even featuring some sections in Hebrew. Haza actually performed her portion of the song in eighteen of the twenty-one languages that the film was translated into – what a feat! Sadly, she passed away in 2000; like Howard Ashman, she was another tragic victim of AIDS, complicated in her case by pneumonia. Eden Riegel’s performance as a young Miriam also deserves to be mentioned – it’s very sweet and natural-sounding, demonstrating the love for her brother which will later prove to be the key to his realisation of who he is. Schwartz used the archaic word “Elohim” in his lyrics because, as he put it, “I wanted an authentic sounding Hebrew reference to God to help set the time and place. My first choice was “Adonai”, but I was told by the religious consultants on the film that it would have been sacrilegious to use that term in that way in those days. So I selected “Elohim” instead, partly because it was slightly archaic, and partly because the scansion of the word fit the music!”

 

There we have it – twenty of the best songs ever made for animated films. Thank you so much for visiting! If you agreed or disagreed with my choices, please let me know your own favourites in the comments below; there are certainly plenty of other good songs out there that I had to drop. I will be doing one more of these music-themed posts as soon as I can, because we can’t wrap this series up without talking about the greatest animated villain songs, now can we? In the meantime, please check out my last two music-themed posts, if you haven’t already:

Top 50 Credits Songs from Animated Films

Top 10 Animated Film Scores

 

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_You_Wish_Upon_a_Star – wiki for When You Wish Upon a Star

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Someday_My_Prince_Will_Come – wiki for Someday My Prince Will Come

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Dream_Is_a_Wish_Your_Heart_Makes – wiki for A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_See_the_Light – wiki for I See the Light

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_It_Go_(Disney_song) – wiki for Let It Go

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Far_I%27ll_Go – wiki for How Far I’ll Go

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_Upon_a_Dream_(Sleeping_Beauty_song) – wiki for Once Upon a Dream

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almost_There_(The_Princess_and_the_Frog_song) – wiki for Almost There

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflection_(song) – wiki for Reflection

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_of_Life – wiki for Circle of Life

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colors_of_the_Wind – wiki for Colours of the Wind

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_She_Loved_Me – wiki for When She Loved Me

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belle_(Disney_song) – wiki for Belle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Part_of_Your_World – wiki for Part of Your World

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Whole_New_World – wiki for A Whole New World

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out_There_(song) – wiki for Out There

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Won%27t_Say_(I%27m_in_Love) – wiki for I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_Around_the_Riverbend – wiki for Just Around the Riverbend

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_to_the_Past – wiki for Journey to the Past

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deliver_Us_(The_Prince_of_Egypt) – wiki for Deliver Us

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4 Replies to “Top 20 Songs from Animated Films”

  1. Great list to read and thanks for taking the time to make it! It definitely looks more objective than subjective, like the top 20 songs in animation like you’ve said, rather than purely on favorites.

    I’m surprised to see ‘Almost There’ there. Maybe I’m just the only person who never cared for that song?

    My fave Disney song is ‘Be Our Guest’, so I was a bit surprised to see that didn’t even make your honorable mentions, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome, I’m glad you liked it!

      I’m sure you’re not the only one. I have to admit, I don’t love many of the other songs in the film – When We’re Human seems really awkwardly written, for instance.

      Ah, good point! I forgot all about it, but it definitely deserves to be there – I’ve added it to the honourable mentions. I love Lumiere haha.

      Liked by 1 person

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