The Sherman Brothers

The Sherman Brothers

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’ SongThe 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 BirdsThe 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’ StoryIf 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 SongbookOne 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!

Photo credit: Loren Javier / Foter / CC BY-ND

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Kimberly's love of Disney began at an early age and grew even more when her family won a Walt Disney World vacation from a local radio station. She grew up visiting the parks every one to two years and is fascinated by Disney history and trivia. Whether at the parks or at home, Kimberly is constantly looking for hidden Mickeys. She enjoys sharing tips and helping others plan their Disney vacations. In addition to Frontierland Station, she can also be found writing for Park World Travel and selecting music for Park World Radio.

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  • Mouse Ears Mom

    First let me tell you, I just love reading your blog! I always learn so much! I never knew that the brothers were still writing as of 2011! That’s great! “Makin’ Memories” is one of my favorite past Disney attraction songs…I’ll be singing it in my head all day 🙂 By the way, I met Richard Sherman at the Disneyana Convention in 1997 and he was so nice!

    • How cool to have met Richard Sherman! He came to speak at a college here a few years ago. Unfortunately I didn’t find out about t until the day of and couldn’t go. I’m hoping he’ll come back again. I would love to see him in person!

  • I first heard their songs on the Mickey Mouse Club and always loved Tall Paul. As it turned out I married a tall Paul:)

  • Great tribute! These men are/ were wonderful. I loved seeing them portrayed in Saving Mr Banks! I think my favorite song is There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow! I’d love to meet Richard one day!

    • That and Feed The Birds are my favorite song by them. I’m hoping to get o meet him someday too…or at least see him sing a few of their songs in person. I love hearing him sing Feed The Birds!

  • Lisa Cameron

    I really enjoyed learning more about them in both your post and in Saving Mr Banks. Heffalumps and Woozles is my favorite as a long time Pooh fan. I never knew they wrote it.

    • That is such a fun song! I find myself singing it every now and then.

  • Love The Sherman Brothers! While I watched a lot of Disney as a kid I didn’t listen to much Disney music until my junior high and high school years when I started buying soundtracks. Now, however, I listen to the classics a lot more!

    • I could listen to their music all day! In fact, sometimes I do!

  • They are truly talented and have made such amazing contributions to Disney films and parks. Loved reading more about them!

  • Such talented people!! They’ve certainly made an imprint in the world.

    • Yes they have! I love listening to their music!

  • MouseFanDiane

    I love them, I think the talent and array of songs they wrote is amazing. My favorite song are the Jungle Book songs 😉

    • I love The Jungle Book songs!

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