ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 5.01 - APRIL 2000
Sibling Songs: Richard & Robert Sherman And Their Disney Tunes
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Tourists have the Shermans to thank for the songs that they find themselves humming as they exit The Enchanted Tiki Room and The Carousel of Progress. In addition, the brothers also created what must be one of the world's most recognizable songs - the theme for It's a Small World.
After their "Disney decade," the Shermans continued to write for film, including the animated features Snoopy Come Home (1972) and Hanna-Barbera's 1973 adaptation of E.B. White's Charlotte's Web. Through the years, the brothers have also acumulated enough honors to topple both of their mantles. In addition to their Oscars, these include: two Grammys, 23 gold and platinum albums and a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
Returning to the Fold
In 1990, the Shermans were also honored as "Disney Legends." Last year, they published their autobiography, a coffee table scrapbook entitled Walt's Time: From Before to Beyond and this year, they've returned to their Disney roots by writing the songs for The Tigger Movie, this winter's surprise hit.
Richard and Robert Sherman have created songs synonymous with characters like Tiggers "The Wonderful Things About Tiggers." © Disney. All Rights Reserved.
The brothers Sherman were the perfect men for this job, as they know the denizens of the Hundred Acre Wood, almost as well as author A.A. Milne. Songs such as the "Winnie the Pooh" theme, "Heffalumps and Woozles" and "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers," which was revived for the new film, are all their creations.
Also on The Tigger Movie soundtrack of is a collaboration between the Shermans and Kenny Loggins entitled, "Your Heart Will Lead You Home," a fitting title, as the brothers feel that, with this film, they too have come home again.
"Walt was on our shoulders while we were writing the score for this film," says Richard of The Tigger Movie. "We feel as if, in a sense, Walt produced this film, spiritually."
The Shermans enjoyed a close, personal relationship with their former boss, whose status, today, has risen to mythical proportions. "He was the most creative talent we have ever met," notes Richard. "He could steer you and inspire you like no one in the world. We've met many talented wonderful people in our career, but there's never been anyone who has been one tenth of who Walt Disney was."
(left to right) Robert and Richard Sherman today. © Disney. All Rights Reserved.
It was through Disney's creative ignition that the startlingly prolific Shermans have been able to call upon everything that they are, in order to craft songs that live in hearts and memories forever.
"Your sensitivity is based on your experiences," states Robert. "When you're writing a song, your sensitivity and your experiences dictate how you think and how you write."
Adds Richard, "We're often asked 'How long did it take to write that song?' We always say, 'It took the sum total of both of our lives.'" It now seems safe to say that the Sherman brothers were up to "The Challenge."
Mike Lyons is a Long Island-based freelance writer who has written over 100 articles on film and animation. His work has appeared in Cinefantastique, Animato! and The Disney Magazine.
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