Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman were a songwriting team who wrote many of the most popular Disney songs, including my favorite original movie song of all time, “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins. Walt Disney loved using them. Their songs often have simple melodies, creative lyrics, and a throwback feel. My favorite songs written by this duo are listed below with commentary.
Let‘s Get Together (The Parent Trap)
One of the Shermans’ earliest assignments at Disney. This has a pop rock feel that is unlike my later favorites. Lyrics are serviceable and cute (Let‘s get together/yeah, yeah, yeah/why don‘t you and I combine/let‘s get together/what do you say/we can have a swingin‘ time) but the melody is super catchy, easy to dance to, and very twist-friendly, as were most dance songs of the late fifties/early sixties era.
On the Front Porch (Summer Magic)
This lazy country tune paints a vivid picture of a summer day and even brings emotion into the lyrics (Oh how I love to linger here like this/hold your hand and steal a kiss or two/on the front porch with you). Brilliant combination of lyrics and melody to create a mood.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Mary Poppins)
This song is a celebration of nonsense. Mary Poppins herself admits that it has no meaning, but it’s fun to say, which is reason enough for its existence. Is there any other song so shamelessly and refreshingly unpretentious?
Feed the Birds (Mary Poppins)
Where do I begin? I don’t know what it is exactly, but this song just wrecks me. The lyrics celebrate the goodness of mankind, no matter how small the act of kindness may be, and the melody is somber but the tone is gentle and convincing. A masterpiece of composition that never fails to lift my spirits.
I Wan’na Be Like You (The Jungle Book)
The inclusion of this song is purely due to the melody, which not only makes this one of my favorite Sherman Brothers songs but one of my favorite Disney songs. Disney music began sounding less classical with the emergence of the Sherman Brothers, and this jazzy swing number was the amalgamation of that shift. Easy favorite. It has the kind of beat that demands dancing.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)
One of the most creative songs ever written, all arranged to the rhythm of a noisy car and brilliantly rhymed (Oh–you–pretty chitty bang bang/chitty chitty bang bang we love you/and–in–chitty chitty bang bang/chitty chitty bang bang what we‘ll do). Just as brilliant in the bridge (You‘re sleek as a thoroughbred/your seats are a feather bed/you‘ll turn everybody‘s head today/we‘ll glide on our motor trip/with pride in our ownership/the envy of all we survey).
Chin Up (Charlotte‘s Web)
All Sherman Brothers songs cheer me up but this one is the quintessential feel-good song. The sincerity of Debbie Reynolds’ vocals and the consistently high notes at the ends of each sentence (in a song with the word “up” in the title) sell the message well, even when the lyrics may feel TOO optimistic (Think sad/your troubles double/think glad/they burst like bubbles). What a good friend that spider is!
I could go on, but these are the best of the best in my opinion. I hope you enjoyed my list!
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a fun tune. I copy/pasted the song title by the way. Typing it out is too hard.
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Anytime I see the Sherman Brothers behind a movie’s music, I’m automatically interested.
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