With the release of the live-action Beauty and the Beast remake later in 2017, it will be exciting to hear Emma Watson sing classic Disney songs, such as “Belle” (Little Town) and “Something There.” In the meantime, take a look at the song recording sessions from 10 classic Disney movies.
1. “BE OUR GUEST” // BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991)
When Broadway star Paige O'Hara was cast as Belle in Beauty and the Beast, she had a little trouble adjusting and projecting her voice from performing to sold out large theaters to singing and acting in a small recording booth. In fact, lyricist Howard Ashman jokingly gave her the nickname “Ethel Merman” because of the full range of her voice.
2. “A WHOLE NEW WORLD” // ALADDIN (1992)
Although the pair didn’t perform Aladdin and Jasmine’s speaking voices, Brad Kane and Lea Salonga were the animated couple’s singing voices, respectively, in Aladdin. Co-director John Musker emphasized to the pair to really put real emotion and the thrill of flying behind their performance to capture the correct mood of the scene.
3. “PART OF YOUR WORLD” // THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989)
Voice actor Jodi Benson performed both the singing and speaking voices for Ariel in The Little Mermaid. Watch as lyricist Howard Ashman coaches Benson during a recording session for “Part of Your World” in 1989. She would later reprise her role in The Little Mermaid's straight-to-video sequels, as well as taking on Barbie in the Toy Story film series.
4. “LET IT GO” // FROZEN (2013)
Oh, we all know this song! In 2013, Disney unleashed the box office juggernaut Frozen on the world. The animated film gained global success partly due to the hit single “Let It Go,” which was performed by Broadway star Idina Menzel, as well as 24 other wonderful singers from around the world.
5. “I SEE THE LIGHT” // TANGLED (2010)
In 2010, Disney released Tangled, a CGI-animated film about Rapunzel. Singer Mandy Moore voiced the Disney Princess, while Zachary Levi played the dashing rogue “Flynn Rider.” “I See The Light” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, but lost out to "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3.
6. "A GUY LIKE YOU" // THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1996)
Seinfeld's Jason Alexander performed the speaking and singing voice of Hugo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Charles Kimbrough and Mary Wickes join Alexander as Victor and Laverne, respectively, as a trio of gargoyles that befriends Quasimodo. Watch as they perform "A Guy Like You."
7. “STRANGERS LIKE ME” // TARZAN (1999)
In 1999, Disney hired Phil Collins to write and perform the soundtrack for Tarzan. He later won an Academy Award for Best Song for "You'll Be in My Heart." Watch Collins’s recording session for “Strangers Like Me” in multiple languages above.
8. “REFLECTION” // MULAN (1998)
Lea Salonga returned to Disney as the singing voice for the titular character in Mulan. A 65-piece orchestra accompanied her while she belted out the animated film’s hit ballad, “Reflection.”
Fun Fact: While B.D. Wong and Donny Osmond provided the speaking and singing voices for Captain Li Shang, respectively, Jackie Chan performed the voice for the three different versions of Mulan in China.
9. “FROM ZERO TO HERO” // HERCULES (1997)
Before Hercules was animated, singers Lillias White, Cheryl Freeman, LaChanze, Roz Ryan, and Vanéese Y. Thomas were brought in to record the song “From Zero To Hero,” while co-directors John Musker and Ron Clements blended live-action sequences and storyboards to help animators visualize the musical number.
10. INTO THE WOODS (2014)
In 2014, Stephen Sondheim’s hit Broadway musical Into The Woods was adapted to the big screen with a number of Hollywood A-listers, including Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, and Johnny Depp as The Big Bad Wolf.