Disney animated movies are famous for having extremely high quality soundtracks. Most Disney songs are touching, cheerful or impactful in some way, shape or form. However, there are a few soundtracks that stand out from the rest. This list thrives to showcase the very best Disney songs of all time!
Soundtracks are essential to any movie and there are some legendary movie songs out there. We’ve already published multiple articles on this subject. If you’re interested, check out our articles about the Top6 Movies with Iconic Soundtracks, Top6 Best Marvel Soundtracks and Top6 Best DC Soundtracks.
Walt Disney Animation Studios has created a plethora of fantastic movies. In the following list, we are trying to showcase some of the very best Disney songs. If you want to see the full list of Disney theatrical animated features before we start, take a look at this Wikipedia page.
Let’s start off the list with a classic Disney movie with a heroic soundtrack:
6. Mulan – I’ll Make a Man Out of You (1998)
- Composed by: Matthew Wilder
- Performed by: Various artists
- Lyrics by: Donny Osmond
“Let’s get down to business, to defeat the Huns
Did they send me daughters, when I asked for sons?”
I’ll Make a Man Out of You is undoubtedly a great Disney song, but it is also very important in the movie’s story. The piece is performed by Captain Li Shang (B. D. Wong) who is a highly trained soldier, but the recruits he got to stop the Huns is a pathetic bunch to say the least. It is not until this song that Mulan and company become fairly competent at fighting. I’ll Make a Man Out of You is basically a training montage, showcasing how Mulan became the heroine we all love. Throughout the song we not only see Mulan grow as a character, but also the whole rag-tag squad of wannabe soldiers. By the end of the song, the group of misfits become a skilled army, ready to fight back the Huns.
Mulan is a Disney classic and it has acquired a lot of praise over the years. The animated movie holds up by today’s standards and it’s still an entertaining film. The story is epic (as we would expect from a Disney classic) and all of the songs fit in the scenes perfectly, making them ten times funnier or more impactful.
5. The Little Mermaid – Under the Sea (1989)
- Composed by: Alan Menken
- Performed by: Samuel E. Wright
- Lyrics by: Howard Ashman
“You dream about going up there
But that is a big mistake”
Under the Sea is a very catchy tune and even if you haven’t seen The Little Mermaid, you have probably heard this song somewhere, somehow. In the film, Sebastian (Samuel E. Wright) sings the song to Ariel (Jodi Benson) who eagerly wants to up to the surface. Sebastian shows us exactly how awesome it is under the sea with this musical piece. The song has fishes and sea creatures dancing and playing various instruments, all perfectly choreographed by our favorite animated crab.
Under the Sea received a lot of positive reviews and it has also won a couple of prestigious awards. In the year the animated film was released, it received the Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. There are also many musicians who have created covers or parodies of the song too. The song was lampooned on comedy shows, such as The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live.
The Little Mermaid is full of great songs, such as Kiss the Girl, Poor Unfortunate Souls and Part of Your World. Any of those songs could have easily made the list. This proves that 1989’s The Little Mermaid has a fantastic soundtrack that you need to listen to if you haven’t already!
4. Aladdin – A Whole New World (1992)
- Composed by: Alan Menken
- Performed by: Brad Kane and Lea Salonga
- Lyrics by: Tim Rice
“I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering splendid”
The number four spot on our best Disney songs toplist goes to A Whole New World from yet another Disney classic; Aladdin. The song is sung by Aladdin (Brad Kane) and Princess Jasmine (Lea Salonga). Jasmine takes a ride on Aladdin’s magic carpet and he literally shows her a whole new world. They fly around the world, visiting Egypt, Greece, China and many other places. This musical piece is beautiful and the performance by the voice actors is also stellar.
A Whole New World has won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1992 and it is also the only Disney song so far that has won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year. American R&B and soul artists Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle also created their own version of the song and it got to the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1993.
Aladdin is full of talented voice actors. In addition to the two main characters, we also have Robin Williams as the Genie, Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, Gilbert Gottfried as Iago and many others. The film is still a lot of fun, especially if you would like to hear Robin Williams in his prime. His comedic timing is perfect as always and he delivers some hilarious lines. I personally watch this film once every couple of years solely because of his performance. Of course, the storyline of Aladdin is also very engaging and the myriad of interesting characters makes for a great time while watching this animated film.
3. Beauty and the Beast – Tale as Old as Time (1991)
- Composed by: Alan Menken, Howard Ashman
- Performed by: Angela Lansbury
- Lyrics by: Alan Menken, Howard Ashman
“Tale as old as time
Song as old as rhyme
Beauty and the beast”
Tale as Old as Time is all about Belle (Paige O’Hara) and Beast (Robby Benson) accepting each other and slowly falling in love with one another. This is the part of the movie where we first see the chemistry between our two main characters. Their relationship completely changes after this musical piece and we believe that they might end up together.
This Disney classic song has acquired many awards, such as a Golden Globe for Best Original Song in 1992, an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and a Grammy for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television and many others.
The song is performed by Angela Lansbury (the voice of Mrs. Potts) in the original, but there have been so many covers of it that it’s hard to count. The most famous cover of this beautiful song might be Ariana Grande and John Legend’s version. But there are numerous other covers on YouTube and other video sharing websites too.
The original Disney animated movie is a gorgeous and engaging film filled with magnificent songs. If you haven’t seen the original Beauty and the Beast yet, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Of course, if you prefer live-action movies, then the 2017 remake might be more your cup of tea. Either way, the story is amazing and both releases have spectacular music in them!
2. Frozen – Let It Go (2013)
- Composed by: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
- Performed by: Idina Menzel
- Lyrics by: Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway”
Let It Go shows Princess Elsa (Idina Menzel) embracing her powers and letting go of any worries that she had as the princess of Arendelle. She goes into exile and basically creates a Fortress of Solitude for herself. This Disney song is the first time Elsa is actually free to do whatever she wants. She becomes the Snow Queen over the course of the song and we get to see her true self. Disney managed to pack a lot of sheer talent, emotion and character development into this four minute song, that’s for sure!
When Frozen was released in 2013, this song became a viral video overnight. Everybody was singing it and it became one of the most popular things to reference. Idina Menzel’s superb performance reached over 1.3 Billion views on YouTube. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as there are literally millions of Let It Go covers on the internet. In addition to amateur singers, many famous artists also covered this iconic song. While Idina Menzel sang the song for the movie, Disney also asked Demi Lovato to perform it for a single.
Disney made some fine casting choices for Frozen and it turned out to be a great success. Idina Menzel, the unbelievably talented Broadway singer as Elsa, and the widely acknowledged and adored film actress Kristen Bell as Anna. Other voice actors, such as Josh Gad (Olaf), Jonathan Groff (Kristoff), Alan Tudyk (as the Duke of Weselton) and many others can also be heard.
Frozen has become one of Disney’s best newer releases and for a very good reason. The storyline of the animated film is engaging throughout the movie and there are some amazing songs on the soundtrack as well. If somehow you have never watched Frozen, I highly recommend giving it a go, as it is great fun!
1. The Lion King – Circle of Life (1994)
- Composed by: Elton John
- Performed by: Carmen Twillie, Lebo M.
- Lyrics by: Tim Rice
“On the path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life”
The number one spot has to go to Circle of Life from The Lion King! Everybody knows this iconic Disney song and most people have quoted the beginning of the soundtrack at least once in their life. The moment Rafiki (Robert Guillaume) holds Simba (Matthew Broderick) up in the sky is one of the most memorable moments of any Disney movie. And Circle of Life perfectly fits the scene, as animals of all species come to see the newborn prince. This scene flawlessly starts the story that is magnificently written, funny and quite dramatic.
Circle of Life was composed by Elton John, who is a legendary musician and songwriter. This musical piece has not won any awards, but it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song in 1994. However, the award was won by another Lion King song; Can You Feel the Love Tonight. Nevertheless, Circle of Life is still being referenced in pop culture and the internet is filled with videos that have the song in them.
The Lion King is undoubtedly one of the best Disney movies ever released and there are numerous fantastic musical pieces in this animated film. The movie is also full of interesting and engaging characters, such as Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella), Shenzi (Whoopi Goldberg), Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and many others. The villainous Scar is also a character that everybody knows. He has damaged countless childhoods with his actions in the movie. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will have to watch the animated movie; trust me, it’s worth it.
Considering the sheer size of Disney’s animated movie repertoire, we had to add a couple of honorable mentions that did not make the list. The following songs are just as good as our top6; some might even argue that they are in fact better. So, without further ado, let’s listen to a few more amazing Disney songs, shall we?
Pinocchio – When You Wish Upon a Star (1940)
- Composed by: Leigh Harline, Ned Washington
- Performed by: Cliff Edwards
- Lyrics by: Leigh Harline, Ned Washington
“When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true”
When You Wish Upon a Star is the first song in Pinocchio and it perfectly tells the story of this Disney classic. Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) sings about wishing upon a star to make all of your dreams come true. Pinocchio (Dickie Jones) dreams about becoming a real boy, so the song is fitting to say the least. It is also nicely sang by Cliff Edwards and it starts the movie off perfectly.
Pinocchio is one of the oldest Disney movies, but it is has become a cult classic since then and many people regularly watch it for the loveable characters and endearing story. There are some heartfelt moments, as well as strange ones (talking about the elephant sequence). If you haven’t already, you should watch this classic Disney animated movie!
The Lion King – Can You Feel the Love Tonight (1994)
- Composed by: Elton John
- Performed by: Various artists
- Lyrics by: Tim Rice
“Can you feel the love tonight?
The peace the evening brings”
Since this is the song that won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1994 (not Circle of Life), we had to showcase it as well. The scene shows a touching moment between Simba and Nala and the song is ideal for it. Of course, our two favorite comic relief characters are there to lighten the mood up.
Elton John actually released Can You Feel the Love Tonight as a single a month before the movie’s release and it became the bestselling single on Billboard Hot 100. According to Elton John, the song was meant to follow Disney’s traditional love songs and that it expresses the lions’ feelings for each other far better than dialogue could. He wasn’t wrong.
Moana – How Far I’ll Go (2016)
- Composed by: Lin-Manuel Miranda
- Performed by: Auli’i Cravalho
- Lyrics by: Lin-Manuel Miranda
“See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes”
Disney’s Moana was a refreshing breath of fresh air and it shows that Disney is still able to bring magnificent stories to the big screen. Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) sings the song, as she’s trying to decide whether or not to follow the sea’s calling. On one hand, she wants to go beyond the reef and see what the ocean has to offer. Her other choice is to stay on her island of Motunui and become the chief. The song exquisitely shows her struggle in making the right choice.
Moana is an animated movie that can be enjoyed by the whole family. It might even be one of those movies that adults can appreciate more than children. The smart and humorous dialogue, the beautiful musical pieces and the compelling characters ensure for an entertaining cinematic experience.
The Jungle Book – The Bare Necessities (1967)
- Composed by: Terry Gilkyson
- Performed by: Phil Harris, Bruce Reitherman
- Lyrics by: Terry Gilkyson
“Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities”
This iconic Disney song is performed by Phil Harris as Baloo and Bruce Reitherman as Mowgli. Baloo sings about looking for the simple bare necessities in life and forget about our worries. It’s good to sit back, relax and listen to a song like The Bare Necessities after a long and stressful day. And this is why I love Disney in general. It makes us forget about our problems and gives us a fantastic world to immerse ourselves in.
1967’s The Jungle Book has numerous great songs in it. Some memorable songs from the soundtrack: I Wan’Na Be Like You (The Monkey Song), Trust In Me (The Python’s Song) and Monkey Chase. The Jungle Book received positive reception and it was specially appraised for its soundtrack. The movie was a great success around the world, with millions of people watching it in cinemas and VHS tapes. If you have similar memories, you can easily watch the movie again, but in much better quality.
Hopefully, we were able to quench your thirst for Disney soundtracks with our top6 best Disney songs list. We tried to feature as many songs as we could, to ensure that everybody’s favorite is on the list. If you want to watch any of the movies that we have featured today, be sure to check out the Amazon deals we collected.
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