Following on from spending a magical afternoon listening to the eight time Oscar winning composer perform some of his best known and loved songs, here is Love London Love Culture’s personal favourites:
10. Under the Sea, Little Mermaid: great rhythm, great spirit and certainly a strong favourite. The lyrics are fun and capture the joy that anyone watching this scene really does wish that they were under the sea.
9. Colors of the Wind, Pocahontas: a celebration of nature and how we could all do more to protect it is a message that we could do well to listen to more than ever. Musically full of drama and passion it is also poetic and a joy to listen to.
8. Something There, Beauty & the Beast: Alan Menken always shows a great ability to compose music that signals a change in feelings at key moments during any Disney film and it is particularly seen during this moment in Beauty & the Beast, done with such charm and elegance through the music.
7. One Jump Ahead, Aladdin: everything about this song is sharp and enjoyable, filled with the sense of humour that runs throughout the film. It sets the tone for the film as well as giving an insight into Aladdin and his life up until the film begins.
6. I See the Light, Tangled: like so many of other Alan Menken’s romantic songs in Disney films such as ‘A Whole New World’ for example, I See the Light is genuinely heartfelt and tender addition to the film. It is full of grace and is easy to enjoy and sing along to.
5. A Whole New World, Aladdin: another absolute classic song (which has been covered numerous times) that is probably one of the first songs that people think of when it comes to Alan Menken, once again demonstrating his deep understanding of music and how it can be used to create memorable moments in films.
4. Be Our Guest, Beauty and the Beast: this is one of two of the best known and loved songs from the animated classic. Once again, Alan Menken has injected plenty of fun and drama into it that is instantly recognisable from the very first note.
3. Prince Ali, Aladdin: of course this is best remembered for the performance of Robin Williams as Genie, but it should also be remembered for its sense celebration,over the top nature and quirky rhythm that is again instantly recognisable.
2. Friend Like Me, Aladdin: this hilarious and joyful song was quite rightly nominated for the Best Original Song at the 65th Academy Awards, fusing pop with elements of Big Band that never fail to put a smile on the face – helped of course by the wonderful performance of Robin Williams.
1. Beauty & the Beast: this title song is still one of the most beautiful to have been composed for any Disney film being wonderfully haunting and tender in its composition that just works. One of the best Disney songs ever created.