Nowadays, it’s hard to go to the cinema without seeing a Disney film – whether you know it or not. The Mouse House owns Lucasfilm, Pixar, Marvel Studios, and most recently 20th Century Fox. That means Disney owns a LOT of content and are releasing new films almost twice a month.
However, we can often look back to some of the more classic films to find some of the best aspects of a Disney film: its music! It’s through their songs that we remember these classic films. So, let’s take a look at some of the best Disney songs of all time.
For this list, we will only be counting original Walt Disney Studio songs and none of its subsidiaries (Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, etc.).
‘Someday My Prince Will Come’ from Snow White
This song from Disney’s first feature-length animated film set the tone for decades of songs to come. Unfortunately, that might not have been such a good thing. It was way back in 1937 that Snow White would sing about wanting to be rescued by a man.
Well, fast forward a few years and it doesn’t quite fit in with the current societal feelings. Someday My Prince Will Come has been included in our list due to its significance, but we’re placing it at the bottom.
26. ‘God Help The Outcasts’ from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
History hasn’t been very kind to The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While we can expect to see its live-action remake hit cinemas in the future, it’s not really something anyone has asked for.
God Help The Outcasts is a song that some claim has problematic undertones. The idea that God needs to ‘help’ those who are different doesn’t sit too well in a world today where everyone thinks they are different.
25. ‘A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes’ from Cinderella (2015)
Of course, many people look back to this classic Disney movie from 1950. However, we have chosen to select the 2015 updated version for our list. The remake, which starred Lily James, was one of the first live-action remakes from Disney in recent years.
The song is an unmistaken ballad that goes to show the character of Cinderella – all while keeping the cheese! Part of what makes Disney songs so great is how cheesy they are, and we love it here. There is one song from the original that we still love…
24. ‘Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo’ from Cinderella
We couldn’t make a list of Disney’s greatest songs and not include this fantastic piece from the 1950 original film. It’s the song that introduced us to the Fairy Godmother and paved the way for countless examples of Disney magic.
Even today, the role of a ‘fairy godmother’ has been satirized in films like Shrek 2 and other animated films. Still, it was this one that got us the version we know and love today. We loved it!
23. ‘Second Star To The Right’ from Peter Pan
It’s not one of the most famous Disney songs, but Peter Pan’s Second Star To The Right can certainly pack a punch. From the 1953 film, it is an unabashedly cheesy and classic song from the golden age of animation.
The song is the main anthem as we learn all about Peter and his adventures in Neverland. And since it’s sung by a boy who doesn’t want to grow up, it’s as cheeky as you would expect.
22. ‘How Far I’ll Go’ from Moana
Moana’s How Far I’ll Go is a rare Disney song that is actually sung by a 16-year-old. As time goes on, we can see how some of the soundtracks change over the years and become more empowering for women.
How Far I’ll Go is a great example of how songs can show our characters’ motivations and desires. Since its release in 2016, the film has impressed and inspired young girls everywhere. Would you like to see a sequel?
21. ‘Steady As The Beating Drum’ from Pocahontas
There are a few good songs in Pocahontas, and Steady As The Beating Drum is definitely up there as one of our favorites. Sung by the tribe, it is a great way to start the film and throw us into where we are and who we are meeting.
Pocahontas hasn’t had so much of an impact as other Disney films, and there doesn’t seem to be any plans to turn it into a live-action film. Regardless, Disney fans can enjoy this song from the original film.
20. ‘Tale As Old As Time’ From Beauty And The Beast
Another film that has been remade in recent years, Beauty and the Beast was more impressive in its original form. The 1991 film introduced us to Belle and Beast as they meet and eventually fall in love.
Tale As Old As Time is a sweet and charming song as we get to see more of how they met and who they are as people. Did you like this version or the original?
19. ‘Painting The Roses Red’ from Alice In Wonderland
First up is one of the lesser-known songs from the early years of Disney animation. Alice In Wonderland was recognized as groundbreaking in its time for the trippy story and colors. Well, audiences had more to enjoy than just the vibrancy of the film – it also had one of its catchiest songs.
Painting The Roses Red has many of the soldiers from the Queen of Hearts as they paint roses. It’s a strange scene, of course, but one that was destined to be one of the most memorable parts of the film.
18. ‘Everybody Wants To Be A Cat’ from The Aristocats
Cat lovers, rejoice! There are few songs that highlight the greatness of cats as much as Everybody Wants To Be A Cat. The song seems to be one of the most memorable parts of an otherwise forgettable The Aristocats.
In the 49 years since its release, The Aristocats has more or less been left in history. Still, this one song is one of the more redeeming aspects of the film and is still played today.
17. ‘Zero To Hero’ From Hercules
One of the best parts of Hercules is James Woods’ Hades. When Disney tackled Greek mythology in the 1997 hit film, it left no stone unturned in making of the most underrated films in its filmography. One of the best parts is the Zero to Hero anthem we get to hear.
The song is accompanied by a fantastic montage created to help boost your motivation – and boy does it work! We’re not surprised if you end up hitting the gym straight after this film.
16. ‘I’ll Make A Man Out Of You’ from Mulan
When Mulan was released in 1998, there wasn’t much like it. It tackled gender stereotypes and gave Disney one of its first strong female leads. One of the best songs to come out of the film was its iconic I’ll Make A Man Out Of You.
The montage that accompanies the transformation is a proud moment in reaching your potential and being as strong as you can be – regardless of your gender.
15. ‘Under The Sea’ from The Little Mermaid
Who doesn’t immediately yell ‘UNDAAAAA DAAAA SEAAAAAAAA’ as soon as this classic song comes on? As Sebastian tries to convince Ariel to stay under the water, where he believes she belongs, it’s a sensational show of color and magic.
Aside from the overall aesthetic, the song is just so catchy. We bet you’re singing it right now in your head as you read this. We wouldn’t blame you – it’s one of the best parts of 1989’s The Little Mermaid.
14. ‘Prince Ali’ from Aladdin
We love both versions of Aladdin but we will be talking about the 2019 remake in this article. The song might not have the best message – lying who you are to impress a girl – but it’s still darn catchy.
The 1992 version of Prince Ali was an impressive song that captured the imagination of young kids for years. Don’t pretend that you don’t remember meeting him in Disneyland and falling in love! It was one of the best moments in the film.
13. ‘Circle of Life’ from The Lion King
What an amazing way to start a film! 1994’s The Lion King was seen as a gamble at the time – but history would treat it very differently. It seems like a sure bet today, with one of the most iconic moments being the opening Circle of Life.
With the entire community gathering to meet the future King, the opening song immediately shows us exactly where we are and what we’re going to experience. Even though this picture is from the 2019 remake, we still love the 1994 version, too!
12. ‘I Won’t Say (I’m In Love)’ from Hercules
Even though Megara isn’t technically a Disney princess, it doesn’t mean we can’t root for her in the same way when watching Hercules. Her charming character traits and one-liners made her one of the standout stars.
I Won’t Say (I’m In Love) is her chance to shine by breaking the classic damsel archetype. Some critics have even called this the best song in the whole film. What do you think? We won’t say.
11. ‘When Will My Life Begin’ from Tangled
2010’s Tangled added another princess who sang a song about how she was waiting for something, anything, to happen. While it may not have been the most original Disney song out there, it was certainly enough to make it on our list.
When Will My Life Begin proved to be catchy and emotive enough to be one of the standout moments in the film. While Tangled has not aged as well as other Disney films, there is still a small and dedicated group of fans who enjoy it.
10. ‘Be Prepared’ from The Lion King
A second entry for The Lion King (spoiler: it’s not the last!), Be Prepared is a chilling yet iconic song performed by Scar. Immediately recognizable as one of Disney’s best villains, Scar evokes some surprising dark subtext by promising to take the throne from his brother, Mufasa.
While it’s loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it also evokes some striking imagery that is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Today, Be Prepared is one of the best songs out there.
9. ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman?’ from Frozen
The opening of 2013’s Frozen was just ONE of the hints that parents’ lives would never be the same again. It doesn’t get cuter than seeing two young sisters wanting to go out and play with each other. Even though the kids will love it, the parents will also gain a sense of nostalgia for young days.
It’s not even the most iconic song of this instant classic – can you guess the other song? Well, for now, we can enjoy Do You Want To Build A Snowman as one of the catchiest opening songs in Disney’s film catalog.
8. ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ from The Lion King
Yet another song from The Lion King only shows just how great Elton John and Tim Rice’s soundtrack really was. Simba’s song and dance with Nala about waiting to be king was a fantastic show of animation, color, and musical talents.
Blending classic tunes with visual humor made this one of the most memorable songs of the 1994 classic film. Watch out: we have a few more Lion King songs on our list! Let’s see what else we have…
7. ‘Arabian Nights’ from Aladdin
Disney’s venture into Middle Eastern culture may not have been pitch-perfect, but we can’t deny the catchiness of Arabian Nights. Despite some considering it culturally insensitive, we can’t deny how much we love to sing it from our lungs.
‘ARRRRAAAAAAIIIIIIIAAAAANNNNN NIIIGHHHHHTTTSSSS’ came on and you immediately knew you were thrown into Aladdin. In 2019’s remake, it was performed by Will Smith and hit more of the right notes. Still, the original stays in our hearts as the classic we know and love.
6. ‘When You Wish Upon A Star’, from Pinocchio
When You Wish Upon A Star remains one of Disney’s most memorable songs – despite being all the way from 1940! There have been countless remakes of the classic Disney film but one thing is for sure: this one takes the cake.
Even today, it remains one of Disney’s most iconic songs that is instantly quoted and recited in 2019. When the Mouse House eventually remakes Pinocchio into another live-action remake, we’re sure they’ll include this one.
5. ‘A Whole New World’ from Aladdin
The final Aladdin song on the list has to go to A Whole New World. The romantic ballad that was sung on a flying magic carpet instantly became one of the most iconic moments in the film.
It also helps that A Whole New World is objectively a great song. The melodies and lyrics come together to create one of the most charming songs in all of Disney history. Today, you can see celebrities and pop stars cover the song simply because of its high quality.
4. ‘Bare Necessities’ from The Jungle Book
We had many songs to choose from when it comes to The Jungle Book. However, since space was getting tight we had to settle for Bare Necessities. The classic tune is sung by Mowgli and Baloo from the 1967 film was an instant classic – even earning an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.
In the 2016 ‘live-action’ remake, Bare Necessities was one of the few songs to make it back into the soundtrack. It was performed by Bill Murray but it’s the original that will always have our hearts!
3. ‘Hakuna Matata’ from The Lion King
Of course, we couldn’t make a list of Disney songs and not include the iconic Hakuna Matata. In case you didn’t know, it means ‘no worries’ – and is only one of the best songs in The Lion King. Performed by Timone and Pumba, it provided a whole generation with a mantra that still rings true today.
It will be interesting to see how Disney modernizes it for the 2019 remake it has planned this year. Either way, the 1995 original has the charm and nostalgia that puts it so high on this list.
2. ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen
Parents today will probably hate this song. For six years now, Let It Go has been the most popular song for young girls all over the world. The iconic anthem that promotes inclusivity and staying true to yourself is played on repeat in most homes today.
It’s irresistibly catchy and was actually responsible for writers reworking the most pivotal story beats of the whole film. Parents better watch out: its sequel is hitting cinemas at the end of 2019. Before we get to number one, let’s have a look at an honorable mention from this year…
HONORABLE MENTION: ‘Friend Like Me’ from Aladdin (2019)
We couldn’t make a list of some of the best Disney songs without including one from Will Smith himself! This year, he wowed audiences as the Genie in the remake of the classic cartoon. Much like his other roles, his performance included a rap at the end of the film.
Smith performs his own version of Friend Like Me during the end of the credits with a little help from DJ Khaled. The original version was performed by the late Robin Williams. Originally, it was supposed to be a Cab Calloway-style song until Disney updated for him. Finally: let’s take a look at number one…
1. ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ from The Lion King
Well, here it is. The best Disney song finally revealed and it’s been upgraded for the 21st Century. Can You Feel The Love Tonight? is Elton John at his best as he creates a romantic ballad about two old friends getting reunited and falling in love.
Tim Rice’s lyrics put it over the edge as a compelling and dramatic piece of art. When played over the two lions bonding in the forest, we couldn’t help but think it was a little provocative, too. In the new version, Beyonce and Donald Glover take the lead.
Do you agree with our list? Are we missing anything? Let us know!
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