Here at Oh My Disney, we’ve dedicated posts of appreciation as well as GIF articles and research lists to some of our favorite actors who’ve starred in a Disney film or two. But if there’s one man who deserves his own Oh My Disney appreciation article, it’s Alan Menken.
It’s time to get educated on the man, the myth, and the legend, that is Alan Menken.
Let’s start out with the obvious: Alan Menken is responsible for composing the music for some of the most iconic Disney films, including The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Hercules, Tangled, and more.
Yes, you read that right—Alan Menken wrote the catchy melodies and harmonies for the songs that were probably the soundtrack to your childhood, and he’s got a collection of Academy Awards to prove it. In fact, Alan Menken has the most Oscars of any living person.
Here are his Academy Awards:
- Best Original Score for The Little Mermaid, and Best Original Song for “Under the Sea” with lyrics by Howard Ashman.
- Best Original Score for Beauty and the Beast, and Best Original Song for “Beauty and the Beast” with lyrics by Howard Ashman.
- Best Original Score for Aladdin, and Best Original Song for “A Whole New World” with lyrics by Tim Rice.
- Best Original Score for Pocahontas, and Best Original Song for “Colors of the Wind” with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.
Whew, that was a mouthful, and the crazy thing is we’re not even done with the list of accolades won by Alan Menken.
A guy as genius as Alan Menken doesn’t need to be personable and charming, but guess what—he is. Seriously, look at him discover Snapchat lenses:
It’s no wonder Alan Menken has a lot of awesome friends, such as fellow Disney Legend, Richard Sherman.
Here they are at the D23 Expo back in 2013, where they each played their music from Disney movies. Not that we’ve watched this upwards of 100 times … but yes, yes we have.
Alan Menken has worked with a plethora of brilliant collaborators, which we think is probably due in part to his selfless attitude. Just take a look at the following quote from an interview with Whoopi Goldberg on The View:
Whoopi Goldberg: Why does your music endure? Why can people still sing “A Whole New World”?
Alan Menken: Wow. I’d like to think it’s because I like to serve the story and serve the characters, and really get Alan Menken out of the way. I’m just a servant of the piece, I think. I’ve had great collaborators, and this whole run at Disney, with all the musicals we did, has been amazing—the opportunities to work at all kinds of different styles, and use all kinds of different voices.
And as if you needed more evidence of Alan Menken being an incredible person, we’ll drop this quick Alan Menken fact: He and his wife Janis love tortoises.
New tortoise baby. Just hatched! (still some shell stuck...) pic.twitter.com/DlfmWV4Lpv— Alan Menken (@AIMenken) December 13, 2015
SOMEBODY GIVE THIS MAN THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE HE DESERVES.
So thank you, Alan Menken, for being you.
Do you have any favorite Alan Menken Disney songs? Let us know in the comments!