About:

Welcome

Howard & "Lion King"

edited October 2014 in Disney
After listening to the songs from "Little Mermaid", "Aladdin" and "Beauty and the Beast" innumerable times, I recently got to thinking about what Howard Ashman and Alan Menken might have done if they had been asked to write for "The Lion King" (which is tied with "Mermaid" and "Pocahontas" as my #1 favorite film that Disney Animation Studios has EVER made). Nothing against the songs that are currently in there (Tim Rice and Elton John did just SPLENDIDLY), but somehow, some of the songs in the TLK canon sound like Howard and Alan might have written them.

One song in particular stands out: "I Just Can't Wait to be King", my FAVORITE song in the film. I consider it to be "Lion King"'s answer to "Under the Sea" (both in terms of the upbeat melody, and the wide variety of animals in the scene [though with "Can't Wait to be King", it consists of giraffes, monkeys, zebras, rhinos, antelope, elephants, ostriches, flamingos, aardvarks, crocodiles and hippos, as opposed to nudibranchs, various types of bony fish, bivalves, rays, lobsters, crabs, dolphins, etc.])

In addition, knowing that Howard had a true gift for wordplay, I think that he would have just had a BALL with "The Morning Report" (written for the Broadway show, then added to the Special Edition release of the movie, then recently cut from the Broadway show), which, I should warn you, is bursting with bad animal-related puns. Lyrics (as written for Broadway) are right here:

ZAZU: It's an honor and a privilege, a duty I perforn
With due sense of decorum and with pride
With deference and great respect, very much the norm
Plus a hint of sycophancy on the side
To lay before my ruler all the facts about his realm
To fill him in on all the beastly news

MUFASA (spoken): Yes, yes, Zazu. Get on with it!

ZAZU: In order that his majesty stands sturdy at the helm
Aware of all the fauna's latest views

MUFASA (spoken): Zazu!!! The morning report!

ZAZU (spoken): Er, yes, sire. The morning report

(sung) Chimps are going ape, giraffes remain above it all
Elephants remember, though just what I can't recall
Crocodiles are snapping up fresh offers from the banks
Showed interest in my nest egg but I quickly said, "No thanks!"
We haven't paid the hornbills and the vultures have a hunch
Not everyone invited will be coming back from lunch

This is the morning report
Gives you the long and the short
Every grunt, roar and snort
Not a tale I distort
On the morning report

(Meanwhile, Mufasa teaches Simba how to stalk, using Zazu as the target)

The buffalo have got a beef about this season's grass
Warthogs have been thwarted in attempts to save their gas
Flamingos in the pink and chasing secretary birds
Saffron is this season's color, seen in all the herds
Moving down the rank and file to near the bottom rung
Far too many beetles are quite frankly in the dung

(At this point, Simba pounces on Zazu and takes over)

SIMBA: This is the morning report
Gives you the long and the short
Every grunt, roar and snort
Not a tale I distort
On the morning report

SIMBA, MUFASA & ZAZU: This is the morning report
Gives you the long and the short
Every grunt, roar and snort
Not a tale I distort
On the morning report

Finally, there's "Upendi", from "The Lion King 2: Simba's Pride". In this song, Rafiki, in essence, acts as matchmaker for Kiara (Simba and Nala's daughter) and Kovu (whom Scar accepted as his own son, and chose to succeed him as king). If you are not familiar with the song, here are the lyrics:

RAFIKI:
There's a place where the crazy moon
Makes the monkeys sing and the baboons swoon
And the sultry scent of the lotus bloom
Will carry you away

Where the hippos swing from the jungle vines
And the rhino rhumba in a conga line
And the pink flamingos are intertwined
As the stars come out to play

In Upendi
Where the passionfruit grows sweet
And it's so divine
That you lose your mind
As it sweeps you off your feet

In Upendi
Without a worry or a care
It just takes two
To make it true
Your heart will lead you there

KIARA (spoken):
Where is it?
RAFIKI (spoken):
No place you don't take with you....

You better watch your step 'cause the path is steep
Better hold your breath cause the water's deep
It's a long way down over Lovers' Leap
But falling's half the fun!

In Upendi
Where the passionfruit grows sweet
And it's so divine
That you lose your mind
As it sweeps you off your feet

In Upendi
Without a worry or a care
It just takes two
To make it true
Your heart will take you there

You can beat the bush like there's no tomorrow
From Tanganyika to Kilimanjaro
But you'll find Upendi wherever you are
Oh underneath the sun

KIARA (spoken):
Upendi-- it means "love", doesn't it?
RAFIKI (spoken):
Welcome to Upendi!

RAFIKI and CHORUS:
In Upendi
Where the passionfruit grows sweet
And it's so divine
That you lose your mind
As it sweeps you off your feet

In Upendi
Without a worry or a care
It just takes two
To make it true
Your heart will take you there

KIARA:
Upendi!

RAFIKI, KIARA, KOVU and CHORUS:
Down In Upendi
Way down
In Upendi! (repeat to fade)

After listening to Howard's demo of "Under the Sea" (from "Howard Sings Ashman") on YouTube, where he really went to town as Sebastian, I got to thinking that he would have been just five hoots and a half as Rafiki (who, like Sebastian, speaks with a Caribbean accent)!

That's MY thought of Howard, Alan and "Lion King", in a nutshell. What do you think?

Sign In or Register to comment.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Login with Facebook Sign In with OpenID Sign In with Twitter

Chat, photos and videos of your Ashman productions