Walt Disney Records – Beauty and the Beast: The Legacy Collection

It’s the “tale as old as time,” considered to be one of the greatest and most popular movies in the entire Disney vault.

Caught off guard by the unprecedented success of The Little Mermaid, Disney execs looked to double down on that good fortune and strike while the iron was hot.  After a decade-long slump, the “Disney Renaissance” had officially begun, but the next film in the production line, The Rescuers Down Under, didn’t perform nearly as well despite positive reception.  Marketing turned to an overlooked and untapped niche: the Disney Princess.  To push this marketing engine forward, the studio and tasked its teams to create a worthy successor to Ariel so as to ride the waves (no pun intended) of her cultural and financial impact.  Their assignment: “the last of the red-hot fairy tales,” the one that even Walt Disney himself had tried and failed decades earlier to bring to life: Beauty and the Beast.  The first post-Walt attempt was a non-musical version.  Storyboard reels were reviewed, and Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg ordered everything scrapped, and the film to be started again from scratch.  Though harsh, that directive gave us the film — and the score — we know and love today.  Katzenberg reunited the team who gave a mermaid her voice, lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken.  The duo had already been hard at work on Aladdin, but Beauty and the Beast would take immediate priority in the bid to duplicate The Little Mermaid‘s success.

Ashman was initially reluctant to take on the commission as his health was failing due to AIDS-related complications.  The Beast’s curse was later revealed as an allegory for AIDS, with “The Mob Song” signifying the public sentiment at the time against both AIDS and the gay community.  The Beast overcame his ailment with Belle’s love; Ashman passed away in 1991 just before the film’s completion, working from his bed and offering vocal direction right up to the end.

In February 2018, Walt Disney Records finally released Beauty and the Beast as part of its ever-expanding Legacy Collection soundtracks.  I am a huge fan of Disney animation, of Beauty and the Beast, and of the Legacy Collection series.  This set is very much in line with the previous releases of that series, and it’s nothing short of a dream come true for me and for fans across the world.

As it says in the video, this collection is over 30 tracks, including unreleased score music and original demos.  Here’s the entire track list:

Disc One
1. Main Title – Prologue
2. Belle Performed by Paige O’Hara, Richard White, and Chorus
3. Little Town (Score)
4. Journey to the Castle (Score)
5. Maurice Taken / Gaston (Rejected Score)
6. Belle Reprise Performed by Paige O’Hara
7. Belle Enters the Beast’s World (Score)
8. Gaston Performed by Jesse Corti, Richard White, and Chorus
9. Gaston Reprise Performed by Jesse Corti, Richard White, and Chorus
10. Enchanted Objects (Score)
11. Be Our Guest Performed by Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, and Chorus
12. Be Our Guest – Playoff (Score)
13. Escape from the West Wing/Wolf Attack (Score)
14. Coming Together (Score)
15. Something There Performed by Angela Lansbury, David Ogden Stiers, Jerry Orbach, Paige O’Hara, and Robby Benson

Disc Two
1. Human Again Performed by Angela Lansbury, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, and Jo Anne Worley
2. Tonight’s the Night (Score)
3. Beauty and the Beast Performed by Angela Lansbury
4. Beast Lets Go (Score)
5. The Mob Song Performed by Richard White and Chorus
6. Battle in the Castle (Score)
7. Death of the Beast (Score)
8. Transformation Performed by Chorus
9. Beauty and the Beast (Single) Performed by Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson
10. Belle – For Linda Worthington Demo Performed by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
11. Belle Demo Performed by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
12. Gaston Demo Performed by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
13. Gaston Reprise Demo Performed by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
14. Be Our Guest Demo Performed by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
15. Human Again Demo Performed by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken
16. Beauty and the Beast Demo Performed by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken

The film became the first animated feature to ever be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, a category notorious for otherwise turning its back on animation in the long history of Hollywood.  For all of the character and artistic design that went into it, the music is the heart and soul of this production.  As with The Little Mermaid before it (which singlehandedly revitalized Broadway as much as it did Disney), Beauty and the Beast harnesses the classic Broadway musical formula tropes that once seen cannot be unseen.  The “I want” song, the over-the-top villain song, the counterpoint duet, the showstopper… it’s all here for the asking, performed by an ensemble cast enthusiastically giving it their all.  You know the movie.  You know the songs.  You’ve got one stuck in your head right now.  Don’t even try to deny it.  This soundtrack album is the most complete version offered since the film’s initial release a generation ago.  You know you want a copy…

4 thoughts on “Walt Disney Records – Beauty and the Beast: The Legacy Collection

Join the discussion - leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s