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Top 10 Disney Songs That Shaped Our Childhood

Top 10 Disney Songs That Shaped Our Childhood
VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Andy Hammersmith
These Disney songs are still shaping childhood. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we're counting down the Disney tracks that delighted us as kids and have stuck with us as adults. Our countdown includes "Toy Story," "Aladdin," "Mulan," and more!

#10: “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” “Toy Story” (1995)

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While this animated film isn’t a musical, it features the memorable music of composer, pianist, and singer Randy Newman. The main song from “Toy Story” is a definitive buddy anthem. Charming to kids and adults alike, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” is also an easy tune to sing. It’s a folksy track that works as a tribute to relationships between both toys and humans. The heartwarming song invites younger viewers to learn about friendship through the lens of Woody, Buzz, and Andy. The cheerful piece also brings us happy memories as we remember popping the movie into the VCR and hearing Newman’s voice over the opening credits.

#9: “You’ll Be in My Heart” “Tarzan” (1999)

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The talents of Phil Collins made “Tarzan” a gem for its soundtrack. The ballad-lullaby “You’ll Be in My Heart” is heard as Kala soothes the infant Tarzan, establishing a moving bond between the two characters. Performed partially by Glenn Close in the movie version, the song is a touching tribute to parental love and protection. It inevitably makes us think about the connections we share with loved ones. For kids that grew up with this film, the lyrics probably hit close to home. While Phil Collins contributed several great numbers for the film, this Oscar-winning tune gives us an instant dose of the feeling of a warm hug.

#8: “The Bare Necessities” “The Jungle Book” (1967)

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After meeting an easygoing bear named Baloo, Mowgli learns about the best way to enjoy life in the jungle. “The Bare Necessities” is a mantra that transcends the plot of “The Jungle Book.” The loveable character delivers his appealing philosophy with a laid-back charisma. It might be especially alluring to younger viewers trying to make sense of a complicated world with a simple set of rules to live by. It also has its fair share of danceable moments, similar to the lively hit from later in the film, “I Wan’na Be Like You.”

#7: “Part of Your World” “The Little Mermaid” (1989)

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While “Under the Sea” is a memorable tune with impressive visuals, this ballad sticks out more. Inspired to leave her ocean home, Ariel wonders about joining humans on dry land in “Part of Your World.” It’s a song with all the hope and wonder you could want from a Disney composition. Whether or not you were a fan of Disney princesses as a kid, you can still find something to relate to in this moving anthem. It inspires feelings of excitement as well as anxiety about growing up and taking a leap into the great unknown. Jodi Benson’s vocals manage to find that sense of pining for a larger world in all of us.

#6: “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” “Mulan” (1998)

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Showing the challenges Mulan must face to fit in as part of the Imperial Chinese Army, this sequence wouldn’t be complete without the accompanying song. Donny Osmond sings as the ruthless Captain Li Shang trying to inspire his troops. The memorable choreography and animation make for a musical number that’s pleasing to adults and kids alike. Even if they don’t comprehend the full meaning, younger viewers can join in on the excitement of watching a determined Mulan prove herself. It’s a rousing piece that accompanies one of the most triumphant sequences of the film. It stands out alongside the contemplative beauty of “Reflection.”

#5: “Be Our Guest” “Beauty and the Beast” (1991)

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Belle’s introduction to the enchanted occupants of the Beast’s castle comes with gorgeous visuals, inventive choreography, and a beautiful presentation. It’s an undeniable highlight for the film, engaging younger viewers with dancing objects and the promise of satisfying treats. You might remember wanting to be in Belle’s position as she takes in the incredible performance. Lumière and Mrs. Potts guide the audience through the impressive sequence, making you wish you could jump through the screen and join the show-stopping chorus line. All the bells and whistles that come with this lauded number make it a standout in our memory.

#4: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” “Mary Poppins” (1964)

If you could spell the name of this song as a kid, you were probably the envy of all your friends. This track from “Mary Poppins” helps explain that unique feeling of happiness that defies categorization. The title character sings it after winning a race, but the song really works for any occasion. The fun musical number manages to feel classic and new at the same time. The film has its fair share of memorable tunes, from the Oscar-winning “Chim Chim Cher-ee” to the feel-good song “A Spoonful of Sugar.” Even if you couldn’t quite remember all of the letters, you likely had as much fun trying to sing along.

#3: “Friend Like Me” “Aladdin” (1992)

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What would the animated “Aladdin” be without Robin Williams? His incredible spirit makes a song like “Friend Like Me” unforgettable. The comedian’s whirlwind style adds a boatload of humor to this number, combining his high-velocity jokes and charming personality in one stellar showcase. Watching this as a kid, you could really start to think about how cool it would be to know a genie. It’s a bit of wish fulfillment that takes the viewer out of their living room and into the wonderful world of the fairy tale. Add in the imaginative visuals, and this song stands out in our memory even more than the romantic duet “A Whole New World.”

#2: “When You Wish Upon a Star” “Pinocchio” (1940)

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Based purely on recognizability, Disney arguably doesn’t have any other song that tops this one. You can say others are better, but this one boils down the very essence of imagination into an absolute masterpiece. After so many decades, “When You Wish Upon a Star” from “Pinocchio” still feels like the ultimate nostalgia generator. The song has become something of a motto for anybody that may need a little hope in their life. Hearing the composition as an adult, the power of the message really comes through as much as the classic melody. It also doesn’t hurt that Disney uses the tune to accompany its logo before many of its films. Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions. “Cruella De Vil,” “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” (1961) No Song Better Illustrates the Bad Reputation of a True Disney Villain “Baby Mine,” “Dumbo” (1941) A Tearful Lullaby Represents the Love between Mother & Child “Why Should I Worry?” “Oliver & Company” (1988) Billy Joel’s Voice Translates Perfectly to This Ode to Street Smarts “Colors of the Wind,” “Pocahontas” (1995) A Moving Meditation on Our Relationship with Nature “Once Upon a Dream,” “Sleeping Beauty” (1959) Aurora & Phillip Share Their Feelings in a Dreamlike Number

#1: “Circle of Life” “The Lion King” (1994)

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Among the best opening numbers of all time, “Circle of Life” establishes “The Lion King” as a formidable entry in the Disney canon. Using the track at the beginning of the movie perfectly illustrates the themes of the story, preparing the audience to grow with Simba. And as one of the best-sounding songs in the Disney universe, we couldn’t imagine a better way to deliver the message of the film to kids. The powerful song almost instantly makes us cry happy tears. “Circle of Life” stands out, even on a soundtrack of Elton John and Tim Rice bangers that includes iconic numbers like “Be Prepared,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” and “Hakuna Matata.” Did we forget your favorite Disney tune? Let us know in the comments below.

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