Saturday, January 5, 2019

Top 10 Underrated Songs from My Childhood

This one almost got away from me.  We went to watch Mary Poppins Returns on Christmas Day.  And since then I've been listening to the soundtrack.  It's not the Sherman Brothers original, but I think it's getting a little overplayed in the reviews of the film that the songs are not as good.  They are different, to be sure, and there is a magic to what the Sherman Brothers write, but the new songs for the film are very well written and very smart, especially for the styles they are trying to pay homage.

This whole process got me thinking of underrated songs from my childhood.  The ones that no one else may remember, but really stuck out to me.  Not the chart toppers, but the B sides.  From there, I've put together of my Top 10 Favorite Underrated Songs of My Childhood, particularly from the movies I grew up with.

Please note, I'm using a loose definition here of my childhood, containing material written long before I was born, but that got major play in the Keeler household.  I've also included at least one song that stretches the length of my childhood a little far, but to me represents one of the most underrated Disney songs of all time.

So, with that introduction, in no particular order:

  • The Girls of Rock and Roll - The Chipmunk Adventure - The Chipmunk Adventure was a favorite movie of mine (and as I would discover, a favorite of Jamie's as well).  Released at the time the Chipmunks were big on Saturday Morning Cartoons, the film had the Chipmunks and Chipettes on a world trip adventure.  The song The Girls/Boys of Rock and Roll is a great call and response where the two groups are arguing over who is greater.  I may still know too many of the lyrics to this song.
  • God Help The Outcasts - The Hunchback of Notre Dame - The most underrated Disney song ever written and perhaps one of the most beautiful songs ever written in a Disney film.  It's the Feed the Birds of the Disney Renaissance.  The juxtaposition of an outcast asking for protection of others like her with those in the church asking for wealth, power, and fame will always resonate.  God help the outcasts or nobody will.
  • Let's Make Music Together - All Dog's Go to Heaven - Ken Page and Burt Reynolds duet as a blues alligator and guardian angel dog in a song about making beautiful music.  Ken Page's voice is amazing and it shines through here even more than it does as Oogie Boogie.
  • I Hope that Somethin' Better Comes Along - The Muppet Movie - Kermit and Rowlf commiserating their luck with women.  Surprising lyrics for a "kids movie" but very enjoyable.  "Made a monkey out of old King Kong, I hope that something better comes along."  All the more impressive that these were both characters Jim Henson voiced, so it's Jim Henson in a duet with himself.  
  • Good Company - Oliver and Company - Oliver and Company is an overlooked Disney film and Good Company is an overlooked song within it.  If any song is remembered, it's usually Why Should I Worry by Billy Joel.  Good Company is a great friendship song that is accompanied by piano practice.  A lot like Scales and Arpeggios in The Aristocats.  Always in good company.
  • Mother Earth and Father Time - Charlotte's Web - A Sherman Brothers classic lullaby overshadowed by Hushabye Mountain.  Debbie Reynolds sings this wonderfully, a beautiful song about time. How very special are we, indeed.
  • Together Again - The Muppets Take Manhattan - Another Muppets classic, this time from an overlooked film, The Muppets Take Manhattan.  A song about reunions that was reused cleverly in Muppets Most Wanted as Together Again Again.  It's not starting over, it's just going on.
  • Gratifaction - Tom Sawyer - A Sherman Brothers madeup word song.  From the version of Tom Sawyer with Johnny Whitaker and Jodi Foster.  How Tom gets the boys to paint the fence.  A deep down inside gratifying satisfaction - gratifcation. 
  • The Neverending Story Theme - The Neverending Story - Released by Limahl in both English and French, this was the song for epic fantasy as we grew up.  The answer to a neverending story.
  • On the Front Porch - Summer Magic - though released well before I was born, I saw this film a lot as a child.  This is the most beautiful song in the film.  An anthem to a slow life, written by the Sherman Brothers, sung by Burl Ives.  One of my favorite songs of all time.  Just a beautiful simple melody.  Oh how I long to linger here like this on the front porch with you.
What are the favorite songs of your childhood?  What other underrated masterpieces can you recommend?

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