7 songs from my childhood
A rundown of seven songs from my own childhood memory lane.
Ever since the beginning of recorded time, people had been singing several kinds and types of songs for the whole wide world throughout human history, and that especially includes those written for movies and TV shows and cartoons and things like those. And there are even some songs that will stay in the minds and memory lanes of you and I forever.
For my eleventh contribution here, I will have to zero in on just seven songs from my childhood memory lane or something, beginning with my very first choice here:
1) Dreams to Dream from An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)
This obscure and long forgotten yet still beautiful song from an equally obscure and long forgotten animated movie from the early 1990s (An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West, 1991, which had just so happened to be produced by none other than Steven Spielberg through his short lived London, England, UK-based Amblimation Studio which is also the ancestor of today's DreamWorks Animation) is the absolute reason why I really, definitely like Cathy or Catherine Cavadini's voice acting contributions not only to Fievel's sister Tanya Mousekewitz in 1991's An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, but also to The Powerpuff Girls' leader Blossom Utonium in the 1998-2005 Powerpuff Girls!
And thankfully, my fascination with Cathy Cavadini's voice acting and singing chops, particularly as both Powerpuff Girls' Blossom and Fievel's sister Tanya in Fievel Goes West, still hadn't diminished, even when I was growing up. And as you already know, Cathy Cavadini's singing chops when Fievel's sister Tanya sang the song 'Dreams to Dream' in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West has got to be among the most beautiful singing chops that you or I could ever possibly imagine hearing in any kind or type of animation.
Speaking of Fievel's sister Tanya, in the movie, Fievel Goes West, she always insist on dreaming of becoming, of all things, a rather great famous kind of singer destined to beautifully sing a song or two for the whole wide world!
Tanya Mousekewitz finally get her chance and opportunity to sing a song for the whole wide world, when, one day, a cat with the voice of Monty Python's John Cleese, of all creatures great and small, discovers her rather beautiful singing chops...
And Fievel's sister Tanya gets to perform and sing a song for the whole wide world in, of all places, a saloon!
Get it, folks! A saloon bar to be exact!
As in Cathy Cavadini's other singing contribution to the Fievel Goes West soundtrack, 'The Girl You Left Behind'.
Anyway, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West's Dreams to Dream -- especially Tanya's version as sung by Cathy Cavadini, might not be in the same league as the first American Tail's Somewhere Out There or perhaps even Somewhere Over the Rainbow from MGM's 1939 Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland, but it could also be something that is to me and/or some great big huge dream epic movie work of my very own what Pinocchio's When You Wish Upon A Star is to Steven Spielberg and his work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind back in 1977.
And whenever I now hear the sounds of Cathy Cavadini as Fievel's sister Tanya singing the rather beautiful song 'Dreams to Dream' from An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991), I could also imagine or picture somebody riding a flying SUV minivan through outer space while the actual recording of Cathy Cavadini as Fievel's sister Tanya singing the song Dreams to Dream from Fievel Goes West plays on the soundtrack during a breathtakingly beautiful space travel scene from some great big huge dream epic movie of my own lifelong dreams, like this:
(To be fair, that image will remind you and I of John Alvin's teaser poster art for Mel Brooks' 1987 Sci fi Star Wars spoof Spaceballs, even though I was inspired by such for this image)
Here's a video clip of the song with music and lyrics by the late James Horner and Will Jennings and sung by Cathy Cavadini herself:
Beautiful song, isn't it, people? Anyway, moving on to my second choice of song from my childhood memory lane:
2) When You Wish Upon A Star from Walt Disney's Pinocchio (1940)
This world famous Disney song is also Cliff 'Ukulele Ike' Edwards' most famous contribution to the music world and is from Walt Disney's magnum opus, Pinocchio, inspired as it was by the 1883 book "The Adventures of Pinocchio" by Italian author Carlo Collodi.
So much that the Disney corporation even adopted it as its signature music sound, especially for the recent 2006-present logo for Walt Disney Pictures done by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson's Weta Digital effects facility in association with Rescuers Down Under director Mike Gabriel:
The song was written by Ned Washington and Leigh Harline for the 1940 Disney movie Pinocchio, where the character Jiminy Cricket sings it at the beginning and end of the movie. Washington was a prolific lyricist on songs for film, and Harline was a staff composer for Disney.
Like the more obscure and long forgotten Dreams to Dream from Fievel Goes West, When You Wish Upon a Star is also about about how dreams can come true, as Pinocchio is able to transform from a wooden doll to a real boy. Disney used the song in many promotional campaigns as it represents the feeling they want their guests to have when they visit the Disney theme parks. It was used in the opening sequences of Disney anthology television series and in Walt Disney Pictures' opening logos. The ships of the Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic, use the iconic first seven notes of this melody as their horn signals.
It even won the people at Disney an Academy Award Oscar for Best Song of 1940, a win that will never be repeated for fifty years until The Little Mermaid (1989)'s Under the Sea won in 1990.
In Sweden, Norway and Denmark, the song has become a Christmas song, often referring to the Star of Bethlehem. The Swedish language version is called "Ser du stjarnan i det bla," roughly translated: "Do you see the star in the blue sky," and the Danish title is "Nar du ser et stjerneskud," which sort of means "When you see a falling star."
Pinocchio plays a small role in the plot of Steven Spielberg's film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, and John Williams's score for that film quotes "When You Wish Upon a Star."
Speaking of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, it was way back in the year 1977 (the same year that Star Wars came out and unexpectedly became the most gigantic hit of the land during the summer of 1977 and the following years), while working on the classic science fiction movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", that filmmaker Steven Spielberg and his music composer John Williams have had this Disney song in mind: the very sounds of Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards as Jiminy Cricket singing the song "When You Wish Upon a Star" from 1940's Pinocchio:
Glenn Miller, Rosemary Clooney, Eddie Fisher, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Stevie Wonder, Louis Armstrong, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Olivia Newton-John and Idina Menzel are among those to cover the song. The only version to chart on the Hot 100 is by Dion & The Belmonts, who took it to #30 in 1960.
On October 3, 2007, the Bourne Company, who owns the publishing rights to this song, filed a lawsuit against the makers of the sitcom Family Guy, claiming copyright infringement in an episode called "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein." The episode includes a parody of the song called "I Need a Jew."
Mary J. Blige recorded a jazzy version with Barbra Streisand for her 2013 holiday album, A Mary Christmas. Their pairing marked the first time Streisand allowed a duet to be released first on the other artist's project.
And Kate Bush quotes a portion of the lyrics in her 1978 song "In Search Of Peter Pan."
Now, my third choice is another familiar classic standard:
3) Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Ox (1939)
Written for the 1939 MGM movie The Wizard Of Oz, this song was used early in the film when Dorothy (played by Judy Garland) longs to escape her dreary life on the farm in Kansas. A deeper interpretation can have Dorothy longing for heaven. The music was written by Harold Arlen, with lyrics by Yip Harburg. They were asked to write this based on their previous hits, "It's Only A Paper Moon," "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime," and "Lydia The Tattooed Lady." Arlen came up with the melody while sitting in his car in front of the original Schwab's Drug Store in Hollywood. Harburg hated it at first because he thought it was too slow. After Arlen consulted with Ira Gershwin, he sped up the tempo and Harburg came up with the words.
The original title was "Over the Rainbow is where I want to be." A lot of effort went into the first line. Ideas that didn't make the cut included "I'll go over the rainbow" and "Someday over the rainbow." Some of the artists who recorded this include Glenn Miller, Bob Crosby, and Larry Clinton. The lyrics have a political significance. Harburg was expressing hope for America under president Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" program, which was designed to get America out of the Great Depression in the early '30s.
This was almost cut from the movie. Some executives from MGM thought the film was too long and wanted this removed. They thought it slowed down the action too early in the movie. Over the Rainbow won an Oscar in 1939 for Best Original Song. Garland was urged to sing it when she accepted the award. She did, but had a hard time getting through it because she was so excited.The film was nominated for 6 Oscars, but had the misfortune of being released the same year as Gone With The Wind, which won Best Picture. The Wizard Of Oz won only for this and Best Score, which was written by Herbert Stothart.
The movie was bought with the intentions of having Judy Garland play Dorothy, but then executives switched it to Shirley Temple after Judy was already given the role. Fox would not release Shirley Temple from her contract nor could she hit the notes to the songs.
In a 2001 poll conducted by the Recording Industry Association Of America and the National Endowment for the Arts, this was voted the #1 song of all time. The RIAA has it #1 on their list of the "Songs of the Century," because of its historical significance.
During his 2001 world tour, Eric Clapton was known to play an acoustic blues version of this. Tori Amos covers this at many of her concerts and did a version on her 1996 MTV Unplugged concert. Liza Minnelli, who is Garland's daughter, sang some of this to Michael Jackson at his 2001 tribute special. Harry Connick Jr. sang this at the closing ceremonies of the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Dorothy Hamill skated while he sang.
Hawaiian ukulele musician Israel Kamakawiwo'ole recorded this in a medley with "What A Wonderful World" for his 1993 album Facing Forward. This version was used in the films Finding Forrester, Meet Joe Black, and 50 First Dates, as well as on the television show ER. Kamakawiwo'ole, more often known as IZ, was very obese, weighing about 750 pounds at one point, and he died from respiratory illness connected with his weight. His coffin rests in the capital building in Honolulu, the only non-politician of only 3 people to be honored like this. The Hawaiian state flag flew at half mast on the day of his funeral and thousands of fans came to see his ashes scattered into the ocean.
This song was used in an episode of the TV series Scrubs, where it was performed by Ted's band "The Worthless Peons." The "Worthless Peons" are played by the real life band "The Blanks." In 2001, the National Endowment for the Arts named this the top song of the 20th century, beating out "White Christmas," which came in at #2.
Surprisingly, Judy Garland's original version has never featured on the singles chart. Two subsequent renditions of the song did make the Hot 100. Former American Idol finalist Katharine McPhee peaked at #12 with her interpretation of the song in 2006 and in 2012 The Voice contestant Nicholas David, reached #96 after performing the song on the singing contest. Both versions went under the title of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Pink performed this song at the Oscars in 2014 in honor of Judy Garland, who was honored at the ceremony. Some versions include the original introductory verse that was not included in the film:
When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around
Heaven opens a magic lane
When all the clouds darken up the skyway
There's a rainbow highway to be found
Leading from your windowpane
To a place behind the sun
Just a step beyond the rain
And now for a video clip of that famous song from the movie itself:
And now for the fourth song from my childhood memory lane:
4) Amazing Grace (Traditional)
"Amazing Grace" is a hymn first published in 1779 by John Newton, an Englishman who worked on slave ships. On one voyage, they came across a nasty storm and Newton thought the ship was going to sink. After they made it through, Newton became deeply religious and - after a few years of backsliding into his old ways and reaffirming his faith - became a minister. He wrote this based on his religious conversion, and how God saved him even though he was a "wretch." The song fell out of favor in Newton's lifetime but was revived in the 19th century during the Second Great Awakening of religious fervor in America. It remains a popular hymn to this day.
Judy Collins' 1970 version, recorded at St. Paul's Chapel, Columbia University, spent 67 weeks on the UK chart, which is longer than any other single by a female artist. Her version reached #5 in the UK and #15 in the US. It was reissued as a single in the UK the next two years, reaching #40 in 1971 and #20 in 1972. Singing in the choir on this rendition are a small group of friends and family Collins asked to help out. Among them are her brother Denver and the actor Stacy Keach, whom she was dating. Other than the version by Judy Collins, the only other charting version of this song is a bagpipe-led instrumental by The Pipes And Drums And Military Band Of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, which went to #11 in America and #1 in the UK, where it was the biggest-selling single of 1972.
Joan Baez sang this to open the Philadelphia stage of Live Aid in 1985. There were over 100,000 people in the crowd, and most of them sang it with her. Arlo Guthrie performed this at Woodstock in 1969.
What is a "wretch," anyway? Merriam-Webster defines the noun:
1: a miserable person : one who is profoundly unhappy or in great misfortune
2: a base, despicable, or vile person
The song is often evoked in times of senseless tragedy when words fail to express the sentiment. In 2015, after nine people were killed in a South Carolina church by a crazed gunman, President Barack Obama sang "Amazing Grace" at a the funeral service for one of those killed, Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
The concept of Grace was the basis for the eulogy, where Obama said: "As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us, for he has allowed us to see where we've been blind. He has given us the chance, where we've been lost, to find our best selves. We may not have earned it, this grace, with our rancor and complacency, and shortsightedness and fear of each other - but we got it all the same. He gave it to us anyway. He's once more given us grace. But it is up to us now to make the most of it, to receive it with gratitude, and to prove ourselves worthy of this gift."
A portion of Obama's singing was later used in the Coldplay song "Kaleidoscope." Country star Josh Turner recorded a version of this for his 2018 gospel album, I Serve A Savior. He admitted it was quite a challenge to record something that stands out, given that "Amazing Grace" has been cut thousands of times. His solution was to do the first verse in 3/4 time with a string guitar, then transition to 4/4 with a full band.
Aretha Franklin did a stunning rendition of this song on January 13, 1972 at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles that was recorded for a documentary film and live album. Franklin's roots were in gospel music thanks to her father, the minister C.L. Franklin. At the time, Aretha was one of the most popular soul musicians in the world and a major force on the pop charts, but many had never heard her sing spirituals. Combined with another concert at Temple Missionary on January 14, the live album was titled Amazing Grace and released on June 1, 1972. Surprisingly, it crossed over to a secular audience and sold over 2 million copies in America, becoming the best-selling album of Franklin's career and the best-selling live gospel album of all time.
The planned film though, was shelved. Sydney Pollack, who later became an A-list director thanks to the movies Tootsie, Out of Africa and The Firm, shot the footage, but didn't complete the film. After Pollack died in 2008, the director Alan Elliott revived the project, but ran into two major roadblocks. For one, the audio wasn't synched to the video, so editing it together into a cohesive work was a major technical challenge. Also, Franklin didn't want it released and sued to prevent it from being shown. Soon after Franklin died on August 16, 2018, her estate signed off on the film and on April 5, 2019, it was released in theaters, 47 years after it was recorded.
Here is a video of the song:
Now, the fifth song from my childhood is a real tearjerker:
5) Baby Mine from Walt Disney's Dumbo (1941)
This lullaby is from the 1941 Disney animated feature Dumbo. Actress and singer Betty Noyes recorded the vocals for a scene in which baby elephant Dumbo visits his mother, who is locked up in a circus wagon. The mom cradles him with her trunk as she offers words of comfort, telling him she will always have his back.
The instrumentation is by Frank Churchill, who also wrote most of the music for Disney's 1937 movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The lyrics were penned by Ned Washington, who won the Best Original Music award in 1940 for Pinnochio's "When You Wish Upon A Star." Churchill won an Academy Award in 1942, together with Oliver Wallace, for the score of Dumbo. Tragically, he killed himself with a gunshot within weeks of his Oscar win."Baby Mine" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 1942 Oscars, but lost out to "The Last Time I Saw Paris."
Artists that have covered the song include Bette Midler for the 1988 movie Beaches, in the scene where she helps Barbara Hershey's character prepare for her baby. Alison Krauss recorded it for the 1996 album The Best of Country Sing the Best of Disney. Her version earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
Arcade Fire recorded a cover of "Baby Mine" for the end credits of the 2019 live-action re-imagining of Dumbo. Their version is truly a family affair. Frontman Win Butler's mother plays the harp, his brother Will the theremin, his wife Régine Chassagne sings and plays the drums, and his son is on triangle. Will Butler explained in a press release that there is a family connection in the original film. He said: "There is a scene with a locomotive in the original Dumbo that uses an instrument called the Sonovox that my grandpa Alvino Rey made famous in the 1930s. Every time I saw the film, I thought it was him."
There's a reason animation historian Michael Barrier has praised this sequence—the emotions in the scene are so real, you can't help but share your sympathy with Ms. Jumbo and Dumbo.
It's a famous enough tearjerker to became the subject of a gag in another movie. In Steven Spielberg's 1941, one of the characters (General Stilwell) goes to see Dumbo in theaters, 1941 being the year the film came out. There's the inevitable scene of him crying when "Baby Mine" starts.
The song takes on a whole new meaning when you consider that this movie was released only a couple months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. When America entered World War II, many children would end up relating to Dumbo; their fathers would all be off fighting in the war (many of them would be killed in action, and thus never come back to their families), and their mothers would be working in the factories to take their husbands' place, too busy to be at home with their children. Even children today, especially ones who have parents that are either in prison or have a job that takes them far away from home, can relate to this scene and the song.
And the sixth song from my childhood memory lane is from Disney's 1999 version of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan stories:
6) You'll Be in my Heart from Disney's Tarzan (1999)
Collins wrote this for the Disney movie Tarzan, and it earned him an Oscar for Best Original Song. It was Collins' first win in the category - he was previously nominated for "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" for the movie Against All Odds and for "Two Hearts" from the movie Buster. The song is about two people with a very close bond who will be physically separated, but always together in spirit. It's a song of comfort that can relate to many close relationships, but in the movie is deals with mother and son - the song is used in a scene where a young Tarzan is soothed by his adoptive gorilla mother, voiced by Glenn Close.
According to Lily Collins, who was born in 1989, her dad wrote this song for her. "It was written as a lullaby to me when I was younger," she told NBC in 2016. "We grew up watching Disney shows and movies together so that was his way of kind of being able to do it for his kids. It was so special." Collins' association with Disney perplexed some of his fans, but he grew up watching Disney films and was thrilled to take on the project. "With or without the glory, I would have taken the experience," he told Rolling Stone.
In the '90s, songs from Disney movies were Oscar bait, so Collins put himself in good position to earn a trophy with this track. The 1991 winner was "Beauty and the Beast," written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman; in 1992 "A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)" took the prize. These songs were sung in the films by the voice actors who portrayed the characters, with high-profile singers (Celine Dion, Peabo Bryson) doing the versions that were released as singles. With these songs, we see the animated characters sing them in the films. For The Lion King in 1994, Elton John wrote the winning song, "Can You Feel The Love Tonight," with Tim Rice, and also performed it in the film and on the single release. The next year, "Colors Of The Wind" won from Pocahontas - that one was composed by Menken and Stephen Schwartz.
Collins was the sole composer of "You'll Be In My Heart" and sang it in the film. It followed tradition and claimed the Oscar, giving him a nice career bump and another hit for his canon. The song didn't become one of his greatest hits, but Tarzan didn't become one of Disney's greatest movies either. Collins included the song on the setlist for his 2004 tour, but played it live only sporadically outside of that tour.
In the film, the gorilla voiced by Glenn Close begins singing this song as a lullaby to Tarzan, softly singing the first few lines "Come stop your crying, it will be alright..." before Collins comes in to sing the rest. This version appears on the movie soundtrack along with the Collins-only rendition. Collins wrote four other songs for the Tarzan soundtrack.
In the South Park episode "Timmy 2000," Phil Collins is seen throughout the entire episode holding an Oscar, a reference to his win for this song, which defeated "Blame Canada" from the South Park movie Bigger, Longer, & Uncut.
The video doesn't show any scenes from the film, although Collins does appear in a movie theater. Directed by Kevin Godley of the Godley & Creme team (they worked as both musicians and music video directors), the clip features the latest in 1999 compositing technology, placing Collins in a variety of locals amid myriad characters.
And I'm sorry for cribbing much of the previous information from SongFacts or something, but anyway, the seventh and final song from my childhood memory lane that I could think of is...
7) The Girl You Left Behind from An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)
Remember when I told you guys about Fievel's sister Tanya's rather beautiful singing chops? Like I've already established, in the movie, Fievel Goes West, she always insist on dreaming of becoming, of all things, a rather famous kind of singer destined to beautifully sing a song or two for the whole wide world!
Well, Tanya Mousekewitz finally get her chance and opportunity to sing a song for the whole wide world, when, one day, a cat with the voice of Monty Python's John Cleese, of all creatures both great and small, discovers her rather beautiful singing chops as she sang the song Dreams to Dream, and Fievel's sister Tanya gets to perform and sing a song for the whole wide world in, of all places, a saloon! Get it, folks! A saloon bar to be exact!
And here is the video clip of Tanya singing the song, the aforementioned "Girl You Left Behind", all the while her little brother Fievel gets chased all around the saloon bar by a giant spider named Chula:
Anyway, as far as Cathy Cavadini's voice acting and singing chops goes, especially in cartoons and video games, I really do think that her contributions to Blossom of the Powerpuff Girls as well as to Fievel's sister Tanya will always be in my childhood memory lane.
And may God really bless Cathy Cavadini's voice acting and singing chops, especially how just plain beautiful Tanya's singing voice in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West can REALLY get!
In short, the seven songs from my very own childhood memory lane are as follows:
1) Dreams to Dream from An American Tail: Fievel Goers West (1991)
2) When You Wish Upon A Star from Walt Disney's Pinocchio (1940)
3) Over the Rainbow from MGM's The Wizard of Oz (1939)
4) Amazing Grace (Traditional)
5) Baby Mine from Walt Disney's Dumbo (1941)
6) You'll Be In My Heart from Disney's Tarzan (1999)
7) The Girl You Left Behind from An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991)
Anyway, besides mine, what are some of your own favorite songs from your own childhood memory lane?
And I don't care if you like this article or not!
Thank you very much and have a good day and night!