The Little Mermaid is considered by many as “the film that brought Broadway into cartoons”. The songs of The Little Mermaid remain favorites of many hardcore Disney fans.
The Academy Award winning score, was written by Alan Menken, who collaborated with Howard Ashman on the songs.
In January 1990, The Little Mermaid earned three Academy Award nominations. The film won two of the awards, for Best Song (“Under the Sea”) and Best Score. The film also earned four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture—Comedy or Musical, and won the awards for Best Song (“Under the Sea”) and Best Score.
In addition to the box office and critical success of the film itself, the Mermaid soundtrack album earned two awards at the 33rd Grammy Awards in 1991: the Grammy Award for Best Album for Children and the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.
Because of the film’s success and Oscars, Golden Globes and Grammy Awards, The Little Mermaid soundtrack was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in September 1990 for shipments of two million copies of the soundtrack album, an unheard of feat for an animated film at the time.
The Little Mermaid won two Academy Awards for Best Original Score as well as Best Song for Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s “Under the Sea”, sung by Samuel E. Wright in a memorable scene. Another song from the film, “Kiss the Girl”, was nominated but lost to “Under the Sea”.
The film also won two Golden Globes for Best Original Score as well Best Original Song for “Under the Sea”. It was also nominated in two other categories, Best Motion Picture and another Best Original Song. Menken and Ashman also won a Grammy Award in 1991 for “Under the Sea.”
One of the film’s most prominent songs, “Part of Your World”, was nearly cut from the film when it seemingly tested poorly with an audience of school children, who became rowdy during the scene. This caused Jeffrey Katzenberg to feel that the song needed to be cut, an idea that was resisted by Musker, Clements, and Keane.
Both Muscker and Clements cited the similar situation of the popular song “Over the Rainbow” nearly being cut from 1939’s The Wizard of Oz when appealing to Katzenberg. Keane pushed for the song to remain until the film was in a more finalized state. During a second test screening, the scene, now colorized and further developed, tested well with a separate child audience, and the musical number was kept.
Below we rank the songs performed in the movie.
7. Daughters of Triton
6. Les Poissons
5. Fathoms Below
4. Poor Unfortunate Souls
3. Kiss the Girl
2. Part of Your World
1. Under the Sea
See the Under the Sea lyrics post for more details on the song and complete lyrics from the movie and broadway musical.