Music Mondays: Beauty & the Beast (Best Original Song)
It's awards season. There is some kind of awards show every week. I love the movies and all the Hollywood showbiz stuff. I watch all the award shows and am excited about this year's Oscars show with NPH (Neil Patrick Harris) as the host. So this Music Monday brings the Academy Award winning Disney song, Beauty and the Beast.
Beauty and the Beast was released in 1991. It became the first full-length animated feature film to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination. The music was written by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman. Menken and Ashman were actually working on Aladdin when Disney approached them to help rework and make Beauty and the Beast into a musical film. This would be Ashman's final project as he died of AIDS just 8 months before the movie was released. Beauty and the Beast is dedicated to him: "To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful."
The song, Beauty and the Beast, was sung by Mrs. Potts (voiced by Angela Lansbury) during the moment when Belle and Beast are all dressed up to make their way to the ballroom for the famous dance sequence. It's a turning point in the movie and the song helps to enhance the hope you have that Beast can reverse a spell with true love. I found this video where Angela Lansbury explains how she found "the voice" for Mrs. Potts to sing this theme song.
There were actually three songs from the movie that received Best Song nominations: Belle, Be Our Guest and Beauty and the Beast. Producer Don Hahn was concerned about that this would be confusing to voters so Disney decided to release Beauty and The Beast as a single on the pop charts. A new arrangement created a pop balled duet that featured American R&B singer, Peabo Bryson and a relatively less known Canadian singer at the time, Celine Dion. Billboard wrote, "it was her duet with Peabo Bryson on the theme song of Disney's Beauty and the Beast that was her true breakthrough."
This pop version would go on to dominate the charts and earn more awards the following year. Beauty and the Beast received 1992 Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. It won Best Song Written for Visual Media and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
So do you have a favorite version of the Beauty and the Beast song? There have been a lot of covers of this song and it's a favorite Karaoke pick for many. Some people refer to it as "Tale as Old as Time." It's truly a Disney classic song that really speaks to a moment in the movie.