Top 10 Iconic Animated Movie Musical Soundtracks

Posted in Blog, Movies by - March 02, 2021
Top 10 Iconic Animated Movie Musical Soundtracks

An animated movie musical soundtrack can be integral to the film’s success. For this particular list, the animated musical soundtracks present, feature musicals in which animated characters spontaneously burst into song and dance numbers. The musical numbers typically advance the plot, aid in character development and feature epic production numbers that can take place anywhere.

Critical acclaim, commercial success and cultural influence were taken into account. This list excludes non-traditional musical animated films and traditional live-action movie musicals, To read that top ten list you can click here.

*Please recognize these films and songs are of their respective eras and may include negative outdated cultural depictions. 

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

“Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho! It’s off to work we go!” The soundtrack that started it all, the OG Animated Musical film. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was Walt Disney Studios very first animated feature in 1937. It also holds the distinction of being the first commercially distributed film soundtrack. Due to its critical and commercial success, it blazed a trail for a musical soundtrack being released simultaneously with the film. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs also blazed a trail for future animated features and also for Walt Disney Studios.  The songs in the film were written by Frank Churchill, Larry Morey and Leigh Harline, with the musical score composed by Paul J. Smith and Leigh Harline. It features memorable songs such as,  “Heigh Ho”, “Whistle While You Work” and the beloved classic “Someday My Prince Will Come”. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was nominated for Best Musical Score at the Academy Awards. In the many years since its release, the iconic soundtrack has received numerous reissues and continues to charm today. 

Essential Track: “Someday My Prince Will Come” Performed by Adriana Caselotti, Music by Frank Churchill & Lyrics by Larry Morey 

My Favourite: “Someday My Prince Will Come” Performed by Adriana Caselotti, Music by Frank Churchill & Lyrics by Larry Morey 

  1. The Princess and the Frog (2009)

There ain’t nothing gonna stop me now, Cause I’m almost there”.  The Princess and the Frog showcased a return to the 2D Disney animation style of its’ successful renaissance period of the 90’s, including its amazing accompanying musical soundtrack. Expertly crafted by Award winning Jazz composer, Randy Newman, this animated soundtrack is one that stays with you. Newman composed, arranged and conducted the entire soundtrack except for one track. That one track was written and performed by superstar Ne-Yo called, “Never Knew I Needed”. Also featuring other memorable tracks, “Down in New Orleans” and “Almost There”, both of which were nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards. “Down in New Orleans” was also nominated for a GRAMMY. The jazz, blues, gospel inspired soundtrack features various artists including Anika Noni Rose, Dr. John, Keith David, Michael Leon Woddley, Bruno Campos, Jenifer Lewis and more. Through the power of its amazing music, The Princess and the Frog soundtrack is a memorable animated musical success. 

Essential Track: “Down in New Orleans” Performed by Dr. John, Music and Lyrics by Randy Newman

My Favourite: “Almost There” Performed by Anika Noni Rose, Music and Lyrics by Randy Newman

  1. Moana (2016)

“See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me”.  The incredibly successful Moana soundtrack featuring songs written by Tony award-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Oeptaia Foa’i is a true delight. The soundtrack hit #2 on the Billboard 200 Chart, an amazing feat for an animated film soundtrack as currently only  four animated film soundtracks in history have hit #1. The lyrics contain multiple languages including English, Samoan, Tokelauan, Tuvalu. The songs feature Te Vaka, Foa’i’s vocal group from New Zealand and a choir from Fiji. The centerpiece song performed by Auli’i Cravalho, “How Far I’ll Go” was nominated at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards for Best Original Song. It also features memorable tunes, “You’re Welcome” performed by Dwayne Johnson and “Shiny” performed by GRAMMY Award winning Jemaine Clement. The Moana soundtrack succeeds in creating a beautiful blend of musical styles, with tunes that you can’t help but sing or hum along to.

Essential Track: “How Far I’ll Go” Performed by Auli’i Cravalho/Alessia Cara, Music & Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

My Favourite: “How Far I’ll Go” Performed by Auli’i Cravalho/Alessia Cara, Music & Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

  1. Mulan (1998)

“When will my reflection show who I am inside”.  The soundtrack for Mulan was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score, and features incredible musical talents like Christina Aguilera, Donny Osmond, Lea Salonga, Stevie Wonder and many more. All of the amazing vocal performances bring the wonderfully written songs like “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”, “Honor to Us All”, and “True to Your to Heart” to life. Hit songwriter Matthew Wilder (“Break My Stride”) teamed up with David Zippel to create the tunes, with Paul Bogaev conducting. Academy award-winning film and television composer Jerry Goldsmith composed and conducted the beautiful score.  Filled with a mix of heartfelt lyrics and catchy tunes, the soundtrack to Mulan, features a wide array of music to love. 

Essential Track: “Reflection” Performed by Lea Salonga/Christina Aguilera,  Music by Matthew Wilder, Lyrics by David Zippel

My Favourite: “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” Performed by Donny Osmond, Eddie Murphy, Harvey Fierstein, Jerry Tondo, Lea Salonga, Matthew Wilder, Music by Matthew Wilder, Lyrics by David Zippel

  1. Hercules (1997)

“I will find my way, I can Go the Distance”.  Led by the powerful, Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated Best Original Song, “Go the Distance”, the Hercules soundtrack is full of musical gems. With music written by Academy award-winning composer, Alan Menken and lyricist David Zippel and orchestrations by Daniel Troob and Michael Starobin, the Hercules soundtrack soars. The five Muses are the heart of the soundtrack consisting of Lillias White, LaChanze, Roz Ryan, Cheryl Freeman, and Vaneese Y. Thomas whose vocal performances are incredible and demand to be heard, especially on the Gospel infused songs like “The Gospel Truth” and “Zero to Hero”. They also provide backing vocals on the great, “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)”, sung by Broadway star Susan Egan. The soundtrack also features performances by Danny Devito, Roger Bart and Michael Bolton. This classic soundtrack successfully uplifts this classic tale. 

Essential Track: “Go the Distance” Performed by Roger Bart/Michael Bolton, Music by Alan Menken, Words by David Zippel 

My Favourite: “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” Performed by Susan Egan, Lillias White, LaChanze, Roz Ryan, Cheryl Freeman and Vanéese Y. Thomas,   Music by Alan Menken, Words by David Zippel

  1. The Little Mermaid (1989)

“Wish I could be Part of that world”.  The Little Mermaid, began a renaissance period for Disney animated features. The wonderful accompanying soundtrack is certainly tied to the film’s huge success. The soundtrack has been certified six times Platinum in sales. It has won numerous awards including, two Academy Awards for Best Score and Best Original Song for the gem “Under the Sea”, two GRAMMY Awards for Best Recording for Children and Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television for “Under the Sea”. It also won the Best Original Score award at the Golden Globes.  Masterfully crafted songs by the Academy award-winning Alan Menken and Howard Ashman truly sang their way into audiences hearts all over the globe. Menken also composed the score with orchestrations by Thomas Pasatieri. The soundtrack features stellar vocal performances by Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Pat Carroll, Rene Auberjonois and Kimmy Robertson. With songs like “Les Poissons”, “Kiss the Girl”, “Poor Unfortunate Souls, and “Part of Your World”, it is an undeniable hit soundtrack. 

Essential Track:  “Part of Your World” Performed by Jodi Benson, Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Howard Ashman

My Favourite: “Part of Your World” Performed by Jodi Benson, Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Howard Ashman

  1. Aladdin (1992)

“A Whole New World, a dazzling place I never knew”. The Aladdin soundtrack features the first and as of now, only Disney song to win the Song of the Year award at the GRAMMY awards for “A Whole New World”. Sung by Regina Belle and Peabo Bryson, “A Whole New World” also won the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken and EGOT winning lyricist Tim Rice combined their gifts to create the classic tune. Menken who composed the score won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Score, and also was nominated for a BAFTA. Memorable tunes like “ Arabian Nights”, “Friend Like Me” and “Prince Ali” utilized lyrics written by trusted lyricist, Howard Ashman, who also wrote lyrics for “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast”, that he wrote before his untimely death due to AIDS. The songs in Aladdin were brought to life by fantastic vocal performances by Brad Kane, Bruce Adler, Lea Salonga, Jonathan Freeman and Robin Williams. The Aladdin soundtrack is one of the best-selling and beloved animated soundtracks, still enchants audiences to this day. 

Essential Track: “A Whole New World” Performed by Lea Salonga, Brad Kane/Peabo Bryson, Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Tim Rice

My Favourite:  “A Whole New World” Performed by Lea Salonga, Brad Kane/Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle, Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Tim Rice 

  1. Frozen (2013)

“The cold never bothered me anyway”.  The immensely popular Frozen soundtrack topped the Billboard 200, joining an elite number of animated musical soundtracks to do so. It was #1 on this Billboard 200 album chart for thirteen non-consecutive weeks, an incredible feat for any album. EGOT award-winning Robert Lopez and songwriting partner Kristen Anderson-Lopez crafted ten original songs, with Emmy award-winning composer Christophe Beck providing the twenty-two score pieces. “Let It Go” is truly the crown jewel of the soundtrack, not only capturing hearts around the globe, but winning countless awards. Powerfully performed by Idina Menzel in the film and Demi Lovato as a single version, “Let it Go” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, Critics’ Choice Award for Best Song, and the GRAMMY award for Best Song written for Visual Media. It was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Alongside “Let It Go”, there are also plenty of other gems like, “Do You Want to Build A Snowman”, “For the First Time in Forever”, and “Love is an Open Door”. With amazing performances from Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, and more, the Frozen soundtrack is certainly a soundtrack that will warm your heart and have you humming along long after listening. 

Essential Track:” Let it Go” Performed by Idina Menzel/Demi Lovato, Music by Robert Lopez and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez

My Favourite: “Let it Go” Performed by Idina Menzel/Demi Lovato, Music by Robert Lopez and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez

  1. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

“Tale as old as time…”  The beloved Beauty and the Beast animated soundtrack is truly a classic. Academy award-winning duo and masters of their craft, Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, teamed up to write the tunes, with Menken solely composing the soundtracks score.The title track, “Beauty and the Beast” is universally loved classic, that has won several awards including, Best Original Song at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. That tune also won two GRAMMY awards for Best Song Written for Visual Media and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Beautifully performed by Angela Lansbury in the film and by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson for the pop single version, it certainly is a song most deserving of all of its accolades and praise.  Menken and Ashman’s musical genius is on display on many songs like, “Belle”, “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest”. Featuring great performances by the film’s cast including, Angela Lansbury, David Ogden Stiers, Paige O’Hara, Jesse Corti, Jerry Orbach, Robby Benson and Richard White, these songs really shine. The soundtrack also garnered accolades for Best Original Score at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards, and Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television at the GRAMMY awards. The soundtrack also holds the distinction for being nominated for Album of the Year at the GRAMMYS, the only animated soundtrack to do so as of now. 

Essential Track: “Beauty and the Beast” Performed by Angela Lansbury/Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson, Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Howard Ashman

My Favourite: “Belle” Performed by Paige O’Hara and Richard White, Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Howard Ashman

  1. Lion King (1994)

“Can you feel the love tonight?”  The King of animated soundtracks, is certainly the Lion King. Recorded in three different countries around the globe, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Lion King soundtrack is a complete triumph. With a winning combination of GRAMMY award-winning Elton John and Tim Rice alongside Academy award-winning composer Hans Zimmer helming the score, the Lion King soundtrack soars (and roars)! John also performs on the album, alongside a variety of dynamic performers including, Carmen Twillie, Lebo M., Kristle Edwards, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Sally Dworsky, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Joseph Williams, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings. Featuring memorable songs like “Hakuna Matata”, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King”, “Circle of Life” and “Be Prepared”, it is no surprise that the Lion King soundtrack went on to become the best-selling animated soundtrack album and also the best-selling vinyl album of the Nielsen SoundScan era (which began in 1991). #1 on the Billboard 200 and Adored by fans around the world, the soundtrack was also critically acclaimed and won many awards including the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Score. The soundtrack also won GRAMMYs for Best Musical Album for Children, and Best Arrangements for Instruments and Vocals specifically for the “Circle of Life”. The most awarded track from the album “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, won Best Original Song for the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the GRAMMYs. It was also nominated alongside “Circle of Life” for the coveted Song of the Year at the GRAMMYs. The music from the Lion King continues to live on and inspire all around the world. 

Essential Track: “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” Performed by Ernie Sabella, Joseph Williams, Sally Dworsky, Kristle Edwards, Nathan Lane/ Elton John, Music by Elton John & Lyrics by Tim Rice

My Favourite:” Circle of Life” Performed by Carmen Twillie, Lebo M., Music by Elton John & Lyrics by Tim Rice

This post was written by
Originally from Thunder Bay, Shayne is a Toronto based Artist/Singer-Songwriter. Whether it be an epic film, an action-packed television show, or a soulful music album, he simply loves art and entertainment. Shayne is a member of the Songwriters Association of Canada, Canadian Federation of Musicians, ACTRA (AABP Member), and a Humber College Music Degree graduate. You can check out Shayne’s music on various music streaming platforms. www.shaynestolz.com
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