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647564 Posts in 25906 Topics by 3700 Members - Latest Member: BigRed June 18, 2019, 06:22:06 AM
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Author Topic: Circle of Influence: Brian and Disney  (Read 510 times)
myonlysunshine
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« on: June 02, 2019, 09:19:25 AM »

I am sure everyone here is well aware that Brian has cited Disney movie music as being an influence on his own music. The most famously cited example is Brian partially basing the melody of Surfer Girl on When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio. And of course Brian released his In The Key of Disney album in 2011, which was an album of Disney covers.

My father happens to be good friends with Alan Menken, the composer of the songs and soundtracks of many of the most well-known Disney renaissance films: Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Pocahontas, and others. Alan is a huge Brian Wilson/Beach Boys fan, and cites Brian as one of his greatest musical influences. For example, you can definitely hear the influence in songs like Under The Sea (which Alan won an Oscar for). In fact, Alan says that Brian covering two of his songs on his In The Key of Disney album (Kiss the Girl and Colors of the Wind) is one of the two proudest and most thrilling moments of his career (the other moment being when Paul McCartney performed several of Alan’s and other Disney songs at a random nightclub appearance a few years back). Keep in mind this is a guy who has won eight Oscar awards for his music and has worked with numerous celebrities and musicians over the course of his career. So that is quite a compliment.

Alan worked closely with Will Smith and the other actors and actresses in the new live action Aladdin to assist them with their performances of his songs. So for anyone planning on watching the new Aladdin film in theaters or watching the original 1992 cartoon version, this is a cool Brian Wilson/Beach Boys connection to think about when listening to the music.

Just wanted to share this because I don’t believe Brian and Alan Menken have ever met each other and I think this is an awesome instance of musical influence coming full circle. Also, I am not sure if Brian himself realizes that his music has had such an important and direct influence on modern day Disney music, but if not, I hope word of this reaches him somehow.
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B.E.
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2019, 09:29:02 AM »

Thanks for sharing!
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2019, 10:35:21 AM »

Thanks for sharing!
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2019, 10:27:19 PM »

It would be great if they did meet!
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2019, 07:26:06 AM »

Interesting to hear Menken's reverence for Brian's music.

While I'm not a huge Disney film music fan/aficionado, I have to say I find the music in the live action remakes of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin" to be pretty awful. They are both SLATHERED in autotune. Listen to these films and then go listen to the original animated iterations from 1991/92, etc.. Those original 90s versions sounds a *thousand* times better.

Even with Will Smith barely actually *singing* the songs and more kind of *talking* them, they *still* used autotune. And "Beauty and the Beast" has "Unleash the Love" levels (perhaps more) of autotune.

The live action version of "Dumbo" I thought was more successful and original/unique (and it's a near non-musical with really only one brief  "vocal" song).

Brian's Disney album has a few enjoyable tracks. "Colors of the Wind" is nice (though over-arranged on the backing vocals), and some of the older Disney tunes sound nice and inoffensive. Everything on the album is solid, but I'm not a huge fan of Brian covering those Randy Newman "Toy Story" songs and stuff like that.
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2019, 10:09:48 AM »

I am sure everyone here is well aware that Brian has cited Disney movie music as being an influence on his own music. The most famously cited example is Brian partially basing the melody of Surfer Girl on When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio. And of course Brian released his In The Key of Disney album in 2011, which was an album of Disney covers.

My father happens to be good friends with Alan Menken, the composer of the songs and soundtracks of many of the most well-known Disney renaissance films: Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Pocahontas, and others. Alan is a huge Brian Wilson/Beach Boys fan, and cites Brian as one of his greatest musical influences. For example, you can definitely hear the influence in songs like Under The Sea (which Alan won an Oscar for). In fact, Alan says that Brian covering two of his songs on his In The Key of Disney album (Kiss the Girl and Colors of the Wind) is one of the two proudest and most thrilling moments of his career (the other moment being when Paul McCartney performed several of Alan’s and other Disney songs at a random nightclub appearance a few years back). Keep in mind this is a guy who has won eight Oscar awards for his music and has worked with numerous celebrities and musicians over the course of his career. So that is quite a compliment.

Alan worked closely with Will Smith and the other actors and actresses in the new live action Aladdin to assist them with their performances of his songs. So for anyone planning on watching the new Aladdin film in theaters or watching the original 1992 cartoon version, this is a cool Brian Wilson/Beach Boys connection to think about when listening to the music.

Just wanted to share this because I don’t believe Brian and Alan Menken have ever met each other and I think this is an awesome instance of musical influence coming full circle. Also, I am not sure if Brian himself realizes that his music has had such an important and direct influence on modern day Disney music, but if not, I hope word of this reaches him somehow.

Thank you for sharing that! Very cool.

The thing to remember is despite it being diminished somewhat by some within our little circle of fans and ersatz "insiders", Brian Wilson's influence on popular music - as a composer, arranger, producer, and performer - is larger and greater than I think most realize, particularly within the music industry itself, and especially among those musicians and composers as described above whose music becomes almost a subliminal part of people's lives from early childhood onward through film and other visual media like Disney, Spongebob, various video games, TV, etc...

Mr. Menken could drop Brian a line and tell him how much of an influence he has been, I'm sure it would be a most welcome gesture.

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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2019, 11:04:19 AM »

I think it is a pity that Van Dyke Parks was not asked to do some arrangements for In The Key Of Disney seeing as how he did the arrangement for 'The Bear Necessities' for Jungle Book way back in the '60s. Kind of full circle.
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