Disney

A Musical History of Disneyland

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While the Disney name is more commonly known for its animation, theme parks and countless other attributes, it has produced more than its fair share of popular culture anthems for the past century via its movies, animated shorts and TV specials. And though the marriage of music with the other projects is symbiotic, Disney's soundtracks have always been able to stand alone and remain instantly recognizable to anyone who has grown up with exposure to the Disney brand, a testament to the musicians, songwriters and arrangers that quietly stood in the background for decades while making timeless music. So with nearly a half century behind it, Disney's first theme park, Disneyland, was due for an anthology capturing the essence of visiting the park without actually being there. Collected over six discs, there are field recordings, rare radio excerpts, and soundtracks to the major attractions. To describe it as overwhelming would be a gross understatement, even for the most dyed-in-the-wool Disney fanatic. Divided up by Lands (for those who have yet to visit the park, it is divided into several themes, each with its own atmosphere, which are glued together by a section of the park known as Main Street USA), each disc features musical nuances so minute and in the background of the whole experience, it's easy to take their brilliance for granted. This box set not only rectifies that problem, it helps to bring a greater appreciation to the level of musical detail Disney invested into the theme park. It also unearths long-lost audio excerpts from such events as Walt Disney's dedication on opening day to the big band sounds of Disney's big band. During the '50s, Disney catered to adults during the evening by featuring a band that would play all sorts of music and provide the ideal atmosphere for a date, including carriage rides and fireworks (a precursor to the Pleasure Island aspect Disney would introduce decades later). Virtually every sound imaginable is crammed into this box set, and for this alone it's well worth the price for Disney collectors. As a bonus, there's also a lavish hard-bound book, The Sounds of Disneyland, featuring rare photos, conceptual drawings and in-depth essays. The price may seem steep for such a collection, especially for casual listeners. But for diehards, it's simply essential and one of the finest collections of Disney music ever assembled.

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