If you’ve watched many Disney films, chances are you’re familiar with at least a few songs written by Robert & Richard Sherman, otherwise known as The Sherman Brothers. In the early 1960’s, The Sherman Brothers began writing music for Walt Disney. Their Disney songwriting continued for many years. In fact, they were still writing music for Disney in 2011 for the Winnie The Pooh film.
The Sherman Brothers began writing songs together in 1951 after being challenged to do so by their father, Al Sherman – a Tin Pan Alley songwriter. The brothers continued to write songs together, as well as, with other co-writers. In 1958, Tall Paul became The Sherman Brothers’ first top 10 hit. The song was originally sung by Mouseketeer Judy Harriet and later covered by fellow Mouseketeer Annette Funicello. The popular song caught the attention of Walt Disney who later hired the brothers as staff writers at his studio. In 1961, The Sherman Brothers wrote their first song for The Walt Disney Studios, Strummin’ Song. The song was sung by Annette Funicello and featured in the film The Horsemasters.
Throughout the 1960’s, The Sherman Brothers continued to write many wonderful songs for The Walt Disney Studios. They composed music for classic Disney films such as The Parent Trap, The Sword In The Stone, and The Jungle Book. The songs of The Sherman Brothers were not just limited to Disney films. Two of their classic songs could be heard at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. In the Pepsi pavilion, one of The Sherman Brothers’ most popular songs could be heard at It’s A Small World – A Salute To UNICEF. Also at the World’s Fair, guests could hear There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow at Progressland located in the General Electric pavilion. You may recognize this attraction by its current name, The Carousel of Progress. Check out the video below of The Sherman Brothers and Walt Disney singing the attraction’s theme.
Released in 1964, Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins was filled with Sherman Brothers songs. The film even featured Walt Disney’s favorite song, Feed The Birds. The music of Mary Poppins also proved to be quite successful at the Academy Awards. The Sherman Brothers won the awards for the film – Best Original Score and Best Original Song for Chim-Chim-Cher-ee.
The Sherman Brothers continued to write numerous songs for Disney films. Some of the films in which their music can be heard include:
- The Parent Trap
- The Sword In The Stone
- Mary Poppins
- The Happiest Millionaire
- The Jungle Book
- Winnie The Pooh & The Blustery Day
- The Aristocats
- Bedknobs & Broomsticks
- The Tigger Movie
- Winnie The Pooh
In addition to songs for films, The Sherman Brothers also wrote numerous compositions for Disney attractions. Some were written specifically for the attraction, while others were originally written for film or television. Many of these songs have gone on to become just as beloved by fans as their music featured only in films. Sherman Brothers songs heard at Disney attractions past & present include:
- The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room at Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
- There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow at The Carousel Of Progress
- It’s A Small World at the attraction of the same name
- One Little Spark at Journey Into Imagination
- Makin’ Memories at Magical Journeys
- Winnie The Pooh, Heffalumps & Woozles, The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers, & more at The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh
- Wonderful World Of Color at World Of Color
For all of their contributions to the film & entertainment industries, The Sherman Brothers have received many honors and accolades. In 1976, they received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. The brothers were inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame in 2005. Three years later, President George W. Bush presented The Sherman Brothers with the National Medal Of Arts. In 2009, their sons released a documentary about the brothers entitled The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story. If you haven’t seen this film yet, you will definitely want to check it out! Also in 2009, Disney released a fabulous compilation set of Sherman Brothers music entitled The Sherman Brothers Songbook. One year later, in 2010, The Sherman Brothers received one of the highest honors in The Walt Disney Company – their own window on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland.
Did you grow up listening to the music of The Sherman Brothers? Let us know your favorite Sherman Brothers song in the comments below!