Great Original Songs in Animation – A List
Updated: Apr 10, 2020
I bet you’ve already got a number of songs in your head that could be on this list; Let it Go? You’ve Got a Friend in Me? Maybe even The Fairy Godmother’s Song from Shrek 2?
I’m going to try my best to keep this list as varied as possible but it’s become apparent that there’s going to be a number of Disney entries here as lets be honest, they’re the studio making all of the animated musicals! In this list I’m going to stick to actual songs with lyrics rather than songs from a score and just stick to movies this time.
How Far I’ll Go – Moana (2016)
In the UK, Moana was released a month later here than it was in the US, meaning a lot of the songs in the film were floating around online before I had the chance to see it. However, I resisted and waited to listen to them and to me, it really made all the difference. Even before the film had finished I remember watching this scene and hearing this song and immediately knowing that it would be my favourite. I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t find myself singing it.
Composer: Lin Manuel Miranda
Performer: Auli’i Cravalho
Why Should I Worry? – Oliver & Company (1988)
As an animal lover and especially a dog lover, I ended up watching Oliver & Company A LOT as a kid. A couple years ago I realised that I couldn’t quite remember the plot of the film so I re-watched it and as soon as this scene came on, everything came flooding back. Oliver & Company is a pretty underrated Disney film so if you’re one of those people that hasn’t seen it, make sure you see it at least once!
Composer: Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight
Performer: Billy Joel
Journey To The Past – Anastasia (1997)
I won’t lie, I’ve only seen this film once or twice and it was a lot later than 1997. My point is, I saw this film a good few years ago yet I’ve never forgotten this song! I can’t say I know it word for word but I have the vocal melody memorised after only one viewing, therefore it must be a good song!
Composers: Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
Performer: Liz Callaway
Love Will Find a Way – The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998)
We all know that you can’t go wrong with a song from The Lion King and it’s sequel is no exception. The film is also full of amazing songs but none of which are known quite as well as The Circle of Life, I Just Can’t Wait To Be King, Can You Feel The Love Tonight, etc. As witnessed in other Disney productions, the voice actors of the main characters differ from their singing voices. You may notice from looking at the composer/performer section of this post that Liz Callaway provided the singing voice for both Kiara in The Lion King II as well as Anastasia!
Composer: Tom Snow & Jack Feldman
Performer: Liz Callaway & Gene Miller
Dancing in the Dark – Home (2015)
Home was slept on by EVERYBODY, The film itself features the voice talents of no other than Rihanna herself as well as Jennifer Lopez. With musical royalty like that, you bet that Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez managed to fit one – or in Rihanna’s case 3! songs into this film. I picked Dancing in the Dark as it’s my favourite song out of them all; however other amazing tracks in this film include; As Real As You and Me & Towards The Sun by Rihanna and Feel The Light by Jennifer Lopez.
Stand Out – A Goofy Movie (1995)
This is a favourite of so many 90’s kids, as usual there are plenty of songs in this Disney film however Stand Out is my favourite due to it’s chanting chorus. Stand Out and I 2 I were both written and performed by Tevin Campbell. I can almost guarantee that after hearing this song – even if it’s for the first time! – It’ll be stuck in your head for the rest of the day! Once again, If you haven’t seen A Goofy Movie and it’s sequel An Extremely Goofy Movie, you’re missing out!
Composer: Patrick DeRemer and Roy Freeland
Performer: Tevin Campbell.
Something That I want – Tangled (2010)
There are a number of amazing songs in Disney’s Tangled and they were all composed by none other than Disney legend; Alan Menken (you can thank him for so many of your favourite Disney film soundtracks from Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and more!). As Tangled is one of my favourite Disney films it was difficult to choose just one, I somehow settled on one of the only songs NOT composed by Alan Menken and that is Something That I Want which can be found in the credits. This song was written and performed by Grace Potter of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
Composer/Performer: Grace Potter
Trail We Blaze – The Road To El Dorado (2000)
Did you know that the songwriters responsible for all of your favourite songs from The Lion King are also responsible for all of the songs in DreamWorks’ Road To El Dorado? Of course you did, it’s Elton John and Tim Rice! Yet another underrated animated film, if you haven’t seen it yet, get to it! You’re only 17 years late!
Composer: Elton John & Tim Rice
Performer: Elton John
The Hex Girls / Earth, Wind, Fire & Air – Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost (1999)
I have so much love for the Scooby-Doo 90’s animated films, this song was performed by minor characters in Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost; The Hex girls who are made up of Thorn (lead vocals and guitar), Dusk (drummer) and Luna (keyboardist) who appear in a few Scooby-Doo iterations throughout the franchise. This song was their intro into the series.
Composer: Bodie Chandler & Glenn Leopold
Performers: Jennifer Hale, Jane Wiedlin & Kimberly Brooks
Sticks & Stones – How To Train Your Dragon (2010)
Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that How To Train Your Dragon is one of my favourite films of all time, one of the contributing factors to that is it’s soundtrack. The score was composed by John Powell however this song: Sticks & Stones was written and performed for the film by Jónsi; vocalist for the Icelandic band Sigur Rós. This song plays during the credits of the film and has become a bit of a tradition for the How To Train Your Dragon movies as Jónsi returned and wrote another song for How To Train Your Dragon 2, here’s hoping he’ll be back for How To Train Your Dragon 3!
Composer/Performer: Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson
I’m Still Here – Treasure Planet (2002)
Another criminally underrated Disney film is Treasure Planet, which is surprisingly as it now has a big cult following. As this film is intended as more of an action adventure flick, this song is the main (and possibly only?) song in the film. I’m Still Here was written and performed by Goo Goo Dolls front man Johnny Rzeznik and can always be heard in my house.
Composer/Performer: Johnny Rzeznik
I Want a Mom That’ll Last Forever – Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (2000)
ALL ABOARD THE TEAR TRAIN. Did anyone at any age ever not come close to tears at this scene? This short song was written for the film and performed by Cyndi Lauper. My sister reminded me of this song, it seems that whoever you mention it to always has the same reaction; a reaction as if they had just been punched in the chest, which coincidentally is exactly how it feels when watching this scene.
Composer: Mark Mothersbaugh & Cyndi Lauper
Performer: Cyndi Lauper
God Help The Outcasts – The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
I believe The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of Disney’s grittiest films so if you weren’t shown this as a kid, it’s understandable. The film hasn’t got any really catchy songs like Under The Sea or Reflection but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t great in their own way. God Help The Outcasts is my close favourite next to Out There.
Composer: Alan Menken & Stephen Schwartz
Performer: Heidi Mollenhauer
Get Back Up Again – Trolls (2016)
If you have any younger siblings or are even young children yourself, you may be all too familiar with this song. Everywhere I go I find children wearing Trolls merchandise or looking at Trolls toys. My two youngest cousins are both really into Trolls at the moment and can both recite this song! I however saw this film on my own accord and – like Moana – as soon as this scene played out on screen, I knew it was going to be my favourite.
Composer: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Performer: Anna Kendrick
Strangers Like Me – Tarzan (1999)
It is UNFORGIVABLE to make a list on great movie soundtracks and not mention Disney’s Tarzan. All of the songs in the film were written and recorded by the legendary Phil Collins and are all so good, I haven’t met a single person that can disagree with me on this yet. I chose Strangers Like Me simply because it’s my favourite and such a lovely turning point in the film. If you really want to get a good listen to this soundtrack, watch the film – don’t just look the songs up, you have to experience the songs in the moment. I promise it’ll make all the difference!
Composer/Performer: Phil Collins
Touch the Sky – Brave (2012)
This song makes me feel so inspired. Watching Princess Merida ride through the woods shooting arrows into targets, climbing mountains and carving into things, accompanied by a sweet but strong Scottish folk song really makes me feel like I can accomplish anything as long as Julie Fowlis is singing!
Composer: Alex Mandel & Mark Andrews
Performer: Julie Fowlis
I Miss You (Robyn’s Song) – Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992)
Okay, you’ll have to bear with me on this one as I saw this film like a bazillion years ago. I remember watching it fairly frequently as a kid but other than this song, I can’t remember very much of it. So although it’s made this list, I’m not too sure what to say about it! hopefully some others will see this entry and suddenly remember watching this film too.
Composer: Henry Mancini & Leslie Bricusse
Performer: Anndi McAfee
I Didn’t Know That I Could Feel This Way – Lady & Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (2001)
You’ll see this film pop up in a couple of blog posts (Disney Animated Sequels That I Didn’t Think Totally Sucked.) yet barely anyone knows about it! It was hard to pick a favourite song in this film as all of them are pretty good. Other than its very catchy melody and chorus, I think It’s my favourite due to a behind the scenes fact I share with everyone that I watch it with. Although the main characters of this film; Scamp and Angel are voiced by Scott Wolf and Alyssa Milano, their singing voices are provided by Roger Bart and Susan Egan. Who just so happen to provide the singing voices of two more of my favourite Disney characters; Hercules and Megara! It’s not really that remarkable of a fact considering Disney often reuse voice actors for various projects but it adds to why I like this particular song so much.
Composer: Melissa Manchester & Norman Gimbel
Performer: Roger Bart & Susan Egan
Accidentally in Love – Shrek 2 (2004)
Accidentally in Love aka “that song at the start of Shrek 2” I believe (?) was released for the film, I don’t think it came from it’s own album therefore I’m counting it as an original song for the film. Does anybody else get crazy sentimental when hearing this song now? This scene is full of sly movie references from Spider-Man, The Little Mermaid and many more, see how many you can spot next time you watch Shrek 2! I know how much of a joke the Shrek franchise has become to some these days but you can’t argue how great the soundtrack is in every film.
Composer/Performer: Counting Crows
Big and Loud – Cat’s Don’t Dance (1997)
This is another entry similar to the Tom and Jerry: The Movie where I’m 98% sure that I watched this a few times as a child however I have no memory of the plot of this film. The only way I know that I’ve seen it is because deep in my subconscious I remember this song. I’ll have to watch it again soon to hopefully bring more of my memories of it to light. I chose to add this song as I am so amazed by it, it’s such a great diva song and gives you an impression of Darla without even seeing the whole film. The song was literally sung by a 12/13 year old girl at the time and what an impressive singer she was!
Composer: Randy Newman
Performer: Lindsay Ridgeway
Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride – Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Another soundtrack that Disney got oh so right is the soundtrack for the first Lilo & Stitch film. A combination of authentic Hawaiian musicians and Elvis songs? What more could you want! This song was co-written and performed by ‘contemporary Hawaiian chanter’ Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu with help from Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus. Is there a song much better at causing you to reminisce about the time you never spent on a Hawaiian beach on a warm sunny evening? This is the scene where we start to see Stitch learning and becoming part of the family, it’s such a nice calm before the storm in the movie.
Composer: Alan Silvestri & Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu
Performer: Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu & Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus
When She Loved Me – Toy Story 2 (1999)
I’m sure many of you saw this coming. Typically, Pixar don’t do musicals, that doesn’t mean however that they can’t have music and here is a prime example of that. During this sentimental scene we learn how one of the main characters of Toy Story 2; Jessie the cowgirl found herself where she is today. This scene is so unexpectedly heart wrenching to first time viewers and makes everybody who watches it regret ever throwing out any of their old toys.
Composer: Randy Newman
Performer: Sarah McLachlan
Phew! We’re finally at the end! I may have to do a part 2 to this one day as I still have so many songs to add! Let me know if you’ve seen some of the more underrated films on this list and make sure you check out my latest posts on nerdoutwordout.com as well.