"Once Upon a Time in New York City"

edited December 2014 in Songs
Many people may not know this, but the first Disney film that Howard ever contributed to was "Oliver & Company" (always one of my favorite Disney animated features), where he wrote the song "Once Upon a Time in New York City" (with music by Barry Mann).

I consider it just a terrible shame that this song has gotten so little attention; I consider it to be the second-greatest Disney song Howard ever wrote, after "Part of Your World". What are your thoughts on this song?


  • I love this song! But I don't think it's the second greatest, but it's in my top 25. Probably about a 10. Howard wrote a lot of songs that are as good and greater than this one. Like Beauty and the Beast, Somewhere That's Green, Be Our Guest, Gaston, Poor Unfortunate Souls, and Under the Sea. But I do wish they'd (Disney) mention Once Upon a Time in New York City when they talk about Howard, since this was indeed his first Disney project. I wonder if this song was supposed to be like a test run that Disney gave to him before he started the big project, The Little Mermaid?
  • @Danielle_McKenna123 One never knows for sure.
  • edited November 2014
    Danielle, no, it was just a project they gave him. There was another song called "Something About Them" that I love but was not used. They were way into production on Oliver when he signed with them. He also wrote a live action screenplay for Disney during that period (based on Tina Turner's autobiography). Disney bought the rights at Howard's request but the final screenplay was not his.
  • I read somewhere on this site that the music for "Something About Them" was written by Alan Menken; now you tell me it's by Barry Mann. You're confusing me here, Ms. Ashman! Confusin' me!
  • Oh. Thank you for clearing that up for me Ms. Ashman!
  • edited November 2014
    @Danielle_McKenna123 Hey, Danielle, I posted a couple of conversations recently, which I have not received opinions from anyone else, so far. I'd very much like it if you would, but please post whatever comments you have on THOSE conversations, not on this one; otherwise, I get confused. Thanks.
  • My bad, Jordan, i typed too fast. it was Alan.
  • @Sarah_Ashman Thanks for the clear-up.
  • @Sarah_Ashman By the way, I recently posted a conversation about how I think Howard would have liked African music (it's entitled "Did Howard ever like African music?", in case you need help finding it), and I would just LOVE to hear your opinion on it. Thanks.
  • Any chance we'll ever have a chance to hear "Something About Them?" :)

    Also, on a more general note, do you happen know which songs Howard wrote lyrics for which HAVEN'T been released to the public? I want to be a Howard Ashman Musical Completest, LOL, but I can't be if I don't know what I'm missing! ;)
  • Andi, I have to think about it. The thing is, I don't really think you can include very young stuff, which might be of interest to scholars but Howard probably wouldn't have wanted released. One of the songs, Aria For A Cow is on its way to being an animated short, though. That'll be fun.
  • We've already heard some of the various discard LSOH songs, and I particularly think it'd be nice if we could hear the rest. Fully understand if you don't have the rights or if you just object for any reason at all.
  • Omega, Not all of the rest are even recorded. We sent tons of tapes to the Library of Congress (well, not tons, but lots) and that's now the best source for Howard's early recordings. It will take a scholar to really put it together and I always worry that someone will try to retrofit songs into the perfect gem that is Little Shop of Horrors as licensed.
  • Is the Library of Congress collection available to the public? I would LOVE to just spend time putting together an archive. My problem is getting there. Wish it was available online, or through inter-library loan.
    I'm not a scholar, but I would enjoy being a hobby-scholar. Anything recorded I'd like to hear -- I can't wait for Aria For A Cow! :)
  • Oh, and I certainly wouldn't want to change Little Shop!! I just want to hear more songs! I particularly love listening to demos -- it's a good thing my parents bought me "The Music Behind the Magic" on CD instead of cassette in the '90s, or I would have completely worn out my copies!
  • Andi, I don't think the LOC material is all available online but I believe there is an index of holdings online.
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