Ultimate Disney Song Bracket - 1960-1989 Region

A lot of people consider the time between "Sleeping Beauty" in 1959 and "The Little Mermaid" thirty years later to be something of a dark ages for Disney Animation. Yes, there were no traditional princess movies, and yes the movies that came out in this period weren't as commercially successful as the ones before (or after), but there are some real gems in there. Growing up, some of my favorite movies were "The Jungle Book", "Robin Hood", "The Rescuers", and the super-underrated "Oliver & Company", all of which were released in this time period.

Still, I fully expect this region to be dominated by "The Little Mermaid", which accounts for five of the 16 entries. On to the matchups...

"Part of Your World" (from "The Little Mermaid")


"Oo-De-Lally" (from "Robin Hood")

OK, I'd love to sit here and tell you about how "Oo-De-Lally" is catchy as all hell and fun to sing along to, but c'mon. We're talking about "Part of Your World" here. It's just about as close to perfection as a song gets, and unfortunately some song had to be first-round fodder against it. Amazingly, at one point -- after a disastrous test screening -- "Part of Your World" was going to be cut from the movie. Fortunately Jeffrey Katzenberg was able to be convinced to give it another shot, and the next test screening had people in tears. It's easy to tell why. For voting purposes, the reprise can also be considered here (since I rolled all songs with reprises into one entry), and it might actually be better. The reprise really gives Jodi Benson a chance to belt out those last few notes -- something probably everyone has tried to duplicate in their car or shower, failing miserably in the process.

"I Wan'na Be Like You" (from "The Jungle Book")


"Heffalumps and Woozles" (from "Winnie The Pooh")

Let's start with "Heffalumps and Woozles", which is one of the rare songs in this bracket where the animation sequence -- essentially Pooh's bad acid trip -- is so much better than the song itself. That's not to say the song is bad (it's obviously not), but the visuals take it to another level. They're almost "Fantasia"-esque. As for "I Wan'na Be Like You", it's so upbeat and fun to sing that it's easy to forget that King Louie isn't a good guy in the movie (also helping that perception: the "Tale Spin" TV show, where Louie was a friend of Baloo).

"Kiss the Girl" (from "The Little Mermaid")


"Ev'rybody Wants To Be a Cat" (from "The Aristocats")

Here's how good "Kiss the Girl" is: every time I watch the movie, I'm convinced this will be the time it works and Eric will kiss Ariel in the boat. I mean, I know it never happens, but Sebastian manages to make me think it could. It'll probably romp to victory in this round, which is a shame, because as a cat lover, I'd love to see "Ev'rybody Wants To Be a Cat" move on. It's a great jazz tune -- something Disney used a lot in the '70s.

"Poor Unfortunate Souls" (from "The Little Mermaid")


"The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" (from "Winnie the Pooh")

Hey, look, it's another song from "The Little Mermaid". The best part about "Poor Unfortunate Souls" is how enticing it is -- as all good Disney villain songs should be. By about halfway through it, you start to believe that Ursula really does just want to help Ariel, even though she obviously doesn't. I expect it to bounce "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" from this tournament (pun fully intended), but I wouldn't be entirely surprised if this one was close, or even resulted in an upset. People do love Tigger.

"The Bare Necessities" (from "The Jungle Book")


"Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (from "Mary Poppins")

It won't happen unless both songs advance to the final four, but I'd love to see a matchup of "The Bare Necessities" and "Hakuna Matata", because I maintain that the latter is just a pale imitation of the former (complete with bug-eating being a part of both of them). Meanwhile, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" cruised in the play-in round, even though the title doesn't come close to fitting into a Twitter poll field.

"Cruella De Vil" (from "101 Dalmatians")


"Fathoms Below" (from "The Little Mermaid")

Unlike Ursula's song, "Cruella De Vil" makes it perfectly clear that Cruella is super evil and not to be trusted in any manner. And I kind of love her for it -- I was a messed-up kid, okay? There are few villain songs in the Disney canon that do a better job of setting the tone for the character than this one. It goes up against "Fathoms Below", which made the cut as the last song in from "The Little Mermaid" over "Les Poissons". I've always liked the big ensemble songs early in Disney movies that lay out the basic information you need to know for the entire movie (think "Frozen Heart" in "Frozen").

"Winnie the Pooh" (from "Winnie the Pooh")


"Why Should I Worry?" (from "Oliver & Company")

Be honest, as soon as you see the words "Winnie the Pooh", you start singing the chorus of the theme song in your head. It's okay to admit it, I do it too. If you're of a certain age, it's just an ingrained reflex. I also decided to embed the version from the old Disney Sing-a-Long tape, because that's what we had in my house growing up and I must have watched that specific segment hundreds of times.

Growing up, I was also obsessed with the movie "Oliver & Company". It probably helped that we made our first family trip to Walt Disney World the same year the movie came out. I'm pretty sure somewhere in my sister's house, she still has the stuffed Oliver that we grew up with. So I had to get a song from that movie into this bracket, and this Billy Joel performance is the best of the bunch.

"Under the Sea" (from "the Little Mermaid")


"Not in Nottingham" (from "Robin Hood")

Dammit, did I really put both "Robin Hood" songs against legendary songs from "The Little Mermaid"? Okay, that's my bad. Both of them really deserved better fates. Oh well. Since this is probably gonna be a blowout, let's talk a little about "Under the Sea." It's a great song. That's indisputable. It won the Oscar for Best Song, beating out (among other songs) "Kiss the Girl". Somehow, "Part of Your World" wasn't even nominated, which, I mean... c'mon. Again, this is nothing against "Under the Sea", which is an incredible song, but "Part of Your World" is "Part of Your World." I'd guess eventually the voters will get to decide those two head to head, but we'll see how this all plays out.