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SoundTRAX: "The Lion King"

 The soundtrack cover of "The Lion King" features Simba the lion against a blue sky.
Walt Disney Records
/
Walt Disney Pictures

SoundTRAX is a dive into notable music from iconic films and TV shows every Monday-Thursday at 8:10.

Can you believe the soundtrack to The Lion King came out 29 years ago today?

When the movie came out just a few weeks later it would become the highest grossing animated film ever at the time, the highest-grossing film from Disney's Animation Studios, and the highest grossing film of 1994.

And the soundtrack? It's the only animated film soundtrack to go 10x platinum.

The Circle of Life, indeed.

Ah, no one gets more mileage out of orphaning animals and making both kids— and adults— cry, quite like Disney.

Powerhouse lyricist Tim Rice initially invited ABBA to contribute tunes to the soundtrack, but the band's Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus were already involved in another project, which led to addition of Elton John.

John and Rice did five original songs together, with Elton himself singing on several of them, including the aforementioned "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight."

But, forgive me, Sir Elton, I'm not a fan of either of those— Oscars be damned.

I prefer Timon the Meerkat and Pumbaa the Warthog, brilliantly voiced by Broadway greats Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella, respectively, with the additional pipes of Jason Weaver as young Simba the Lion and Joseph Williams as adult Simba. (Sidenote: Williams is the son of legendary composer, John Williams.)

For the 29th anniversary of The Lion King soundtrack, enjoy the problem-free philosophy of "Hakuna Matata."

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.