Many people over the years have contributed to what we consider the Disney legacy. Sadly, as time passes, we lose more and more of those iconic figures who were Walt’s hand-picked talent; those who were behind the golden era of Disney animation, film, and theme parks. Today we have lost another titan of old – Robert Sherman, half of the legendary Disney songwriting team – passed away yesterday at the age of 86.
Aside from my condolences to his family and friends, there’s so little that I can say that could adequately encapsulate the magnitude of the Shermans’ contributions to the popular culture of the 20th century. As I said when I reviewed their retrospective musical collection, their contribution to Disney songwriting is so fundamental that one cannot quite grasp it; as staff songwriters, their fingers were in so many pots creatively that the entire soundscape of that era would be vastly different without them.
And, of course, their creations are evergreen. The luckiest songwriters can claim to be the “voice of their generation”; Robert Sherman was a voice of at least four generations and counting with no end in sight. He bridged the eras of Tin Pan Alley, the Hollywood studio system, and theme parks and Broadway. Men are mortal but Robert Sherman’s songs will outlast us all.
Robert Sherman saw many things in his long life, some of which made a lasting mark, but despite it all he left a legacy that charmed and entertained literally billions. How many can say that? I could go on about this at length, so great my respect for this man. But perhaps it’s better – much better – to just sit back and listen. Here are some peeks back at the Sherman legacy.
First, a Disney Family Album from the Disney Channel…
And here, in Sherman’s own words, are his thoughts on receiving a window on Main Street USA at Disneyland.
One of the catchiest, yet seldom heard Sherman songs, comes from Meet the World – a Tokyo Disneyland attraction originally planned for Epcot Center.
Here, the boys appear with Walt to promote the Carousel of Progress, and their song There’s a Great, Big Beautiful Tomorrow which plays in the Disney parks to this day.
Perhaps one of the greatest Sherman numbers from my generation was One Little Spark from Journey into Imagination.
Their work was never dull…
And always catchy…
And occasionally trippy!
They invented words…
A lot of words…
And popularized others.
The took us to exotic realms…
And to the cozy yesteryear of middle America.
They even traveled beyond ordinary… MAGNIFICATION.
And finally, perhaps my favorite song that the brothers wrote – On The Front Porch.
Our lives are all richer for Robert Sherman’s efforts. Once again, thanks, Bob.