Disney

Disney: The Music Behind the Magic

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The double-disc set Disney: The Music Behind the Magic was conceived as a celebration of 50 years of Walt Disney Records, but it also works very well as a collection of greatest hits from the studio's films, theme parks, and TV shows. The first disc does a comprehensive and creative job of chronicling Disney's golden age, including required tracks like "Mickey Mouse March," "Some Day My Prince Will Come," "When You Wish Upon a Star," and "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" but also making room for some slightly less-expected songs like Bambi's "Little April Shower" and The Parent Trap's "Let's Get Together." Annette Funicello's title song for The Monkey's Uncle features the Beach Boys on backing vocals, and famous songs from Disneyland's main attractions, like "It's a Small World," Pirates of the Carribean's "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)," and the Haunted Mansion's "Grim Grinning Ghosts" show just how expansive the Disney world became by the end of the '60s. It would be easy to fill up two discs with classic Disney music from the '30s to the '60s, but the second disc of Disney: The Music Behind the Magic does a good job of spotlighting the best and most interesting moments in Disney music from the '70s to the 2000s. Those aren't necessarily the same songs: 1979's "Home on the Range" comes from Disney's Children's Favorites, which is the studio's longest-running album to stay in print since its release, while "Ducks Dance, Too," from 1982's Mousercise, reflects the aerobics craze of the early '80s. The creative renaissance Disney experienced later that decade and in the early '90s is commemorated with The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World," Beauty and the Beast's "Be Our Guest," and Aladdin's "A Whole New World." The Nightmare Before Christmas' "What's This?" and The Lion King's "Hakuna Matata" show that creativity stretched into the mid-'90s. Pixar's earliest collaborations with Disney are also represented by Toy Story's "You've Got a Friend in Me" and Toy Story 2's Oscar-winning "When She Loved Me." The teen pop songs that round out the second disc, such as Lizzie McGuire's "Why Not?" could be seen as the Annette Funicello or Haley Mills songs of current times, but without the nostalgia to give them charm. Either way, Disney: The Music Behind the Magic offers a great overview of Disney's musical history, enhanced by Leonard Maltin's liner notes and fun bits of trivia about each release represented here.

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