Ultimate Disney Song Bracket - Pre-1960s Region

There were 16 official Disney Animated Movies released before 1960, starting with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" in 1937 and culminating with "Sleeping Beauty" in 1959. The movie most associated with music released during this time period is probably "Fantasia", but the music in that film isn't original, so there are no songs from it in this bracket (it's also all orchestral, while the bracket is all songs with lyrics).

On to the matchups...

Pre-1960 Region

"A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" (from "Cinderella")



While it's not the Disney song (we'll get to that later in this bracket), "A dream is a wish your heart makes" might be the thesis statement for not just "Cinderella" but every subsequent Disney movie. And while the "I want" song -- where the hero of our tale lays out his or her desires in musical form -- didn't become a staple of Disney movies until the '80s, this is as close to one as any of the vintage Disney Princess films have. Meanwhile "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" provides the soundtrack for one of the best rides at Disney World, even as the movie it came from is all-but-disavowed for being racially insensitive.

"You Can Fly" (from "Peter Pan")


"Baby Mine" (from "Dumbo")

I probably could have had more songs from each of these movies in this bracket, but in each case they're the most emotionally evocative songs from the movie they represent -- even if the emotions are the opposite end of the spectrum. "You Can Fly" makes the characters, and the viewer, feel like anything is possible, while "Baby Mine" will make even the most hardened soul tear up.

"Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (from "Cinderella")


"Little April Shower" (from Bambi)

There aren't a lot of actual sung songs in "Bambi" and most of them are short, but this one is full length and it's sweet and beautiful, being performed essentially as Bambi is seeing part of the world for the first time. As for "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo", I probably don't need to say much about it. It's a legendary song that made all of us want a fairy godmother as a child (or, ya know, maybe still as an adult).

"Heigh-Ho" (from "Snow White")


"In a World of My Own" (from "Alice in Wonderland")

In "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", the titular seven dwarfs only get a few songs, but this one is legendary -- even if most people don't remember it accurately. It doesn't actually start with the "heigh-ho" part. That particular section of lyrics kicks in about 1:15 into the song, but it has become iconic and holds up nearly 80 years later. As for "In a World of My Own", it's another one of those classic Disney songs that sets the tone for the entire movie. The cover by Jhené Aiko on the "We Love Disney" compilation takes it to another level, in part because the vocals are so much stronger than Kathryn Beaumont's originals.

"Once Upon a Dream" (from "Sleeping Beauty")


"Little Dressmakers" (from "Cinderella)

Allow me another quick digression into cover-ville. The version of "Once Upon a Dream" by Lana Del Rey off the "Maleficent" soundtrack is HAUNTING and ridiculously good. That's not to say there's anything wrong with the original; it's an all-time classic. But the modern version takes it to an entirely different place. In this matchup it's completely contrasted with "Little Dressmakers", which is also known as "The Working Song", but you might better remember it for the copious use of the name "Cinderelly".

"Whistle While You Work" (from "Snow White")


"Hi Diddle Dee Dee" (from "Pinocchio")

Because of the dwarfs' scenes working in the mines in the movies, it's easy to mis-remember this song as one from them, but it's actually Snow White who sings it, and she sings it beautifully. Both the tune and the visuals also lay the groundwork for the "Happy Working Song" in "Enchanted". As for "Hi Diddle Dee Dee", it was the song that established the tradition of Disney villains seducing the hero with an uptempo tune masking their true malicious intentions.

"So this is Love" (from "Cinderella")


"Some Day My Prince Will Come" (from "Snow White")

When I started laying out the bracket, I didn't intend to put these two songs with these two iconic princesses singing about their princes against each other, but that's exactly what ended up happening. Snow White's is more speculative, dreaming about someone she hasn't met (and may never meet), while Cinderella's is about experiencing the high of a dream come true. I know which one I'd pick, but I'll leave it up to the voters to advance one of these two great songs.

"When You Wish Upon a Star" (from "Pinocchio")


"Bella Notte" (from "Lady and the Tramp")

As I mentioned earlier there is a The Disney song, and it's "When You Wish Upon a Star". That's not to say it's the best song -- that's what this entire bracket is set up to determine -- but it's the song that plays at the beginning of literally every Disney movie. Meanwhile it has the misfortune of drawing a first-round matchup against "Bella Notte", which is the song that underscores one of the most iconic scenes in Disney history: the spaghetti dinner between Lady and the Tramp. Good luck choosing a winner here.