With any Disney movie, we can always count on the music making the film one to remember. Whether it’s Michael Bolton flawlessly belting out “Go the Distance” from Hercules, or a villainous solo reminiscent of “Hellfire” from the Hunchback of Notre Dame, one thing is for certain is that music certainly draws us into any Disney film.
When Disney first announced they were remaking several of their classic animated films, the first thing that came to mind was “Omg the music, who can do it like the original artists?” Peabo Bryson, Celine Dion, Regina Hall all have all solidified their places on my Disney playlist thanks to their beautiful soundtrack renditions of the songs. While I have not been a fan of the some of the re-imagined versions of these classic songs, The Lion King has lived up to the original in every way.
Music from the animated film released in 1994 won two Academy Awards (best original song and best original score), four GRAMMY Awards and two Golden Globes®. The soundtrack was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart for 10 nonconsecutive weeks and was certified Diamond by the RIAA, for 10 million units sold.
The soundtrack for the live-action film features unforgettable music by an award-winning team, including John and Oscar- and GRAMMY-winning lyricist Tim Rice, score by Oscar- and GRAMMYwinning composer Hans Zimmer, plus African vocal and choir arrangements by GRAMMY-winning South African producer and composer Lebo M (“Rhythm of the Pride Lands”). Oscar-nominated and GRAMMY-winning singer, songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams (“Hidden Figures”/producer, “Happy”), produced five songs on the soundtrack.
Elton John’s solo version of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” is not on the soundtrack, however, he did contribute a new song called “Never Too Late” which adds the perfect amount of pop flair to the soundtrack! Also added is the song “Spirit” performed by Beyonce. Beyonce also produced The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack which is a tribute to Africa.
Another much talked about song from the original film is “Be Prepared”. While the updated take on the song is much different compared to the original, I still think that Chiwetel Ejiofor does a great job during the two minute song.
Hans Zimmer who created the original 1994 score, was brought back to once again work on this film. In revisiting the score for “The Lion King,” Zimmer realized that the original themes and music were the emotional
spine of the story. “It surprised me that the themes I’d wriƩ en all those years ago actually held,” says Zimmer.
“What I had done 25 years ago—not really knowing how an animated movie works—I’d written these huge, epic themes. What happened this Ɵ me by having this photoreal look and Jon’s direction, we just opened it up so that the themes could really breathe.”
The composer brought back many who worked on the original film, including Lebo M—who recorded choirs in South Africa, orchestrator Bruce Fowler, conductor Nick Glennie-Smith, arranger Mark Mancina, plus several singers from the choir including Carmen Twillie (who performed “Circle of Life” in the 1994 movie).
Can You Feel The Love Tonight
Listed as track number one, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” performed by Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Billy Eichner, and Seth Rogen is, of course, the song many of us have been waiting to hear.
As soon as the soundtracked dropped, I immediately headed to Amazon music to take a listen. The song lived up to all of my expectations and then some. While I was initially a little worried that it would be too R&B-ish (ya’ll know Beyonce can be heavy on the runs), it turned out amazing.
“Can You Feel The Love Tonight” is written by Elton John and Tim Rice; produced by Pharrell Williams; co-produced by Stephen Lipson. You can listen to the song below.
What are you most excited for with the live-action Lion King? You can download a fun activity guide for the kids here!
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