Beauty and the Beast (Disney song) facts for kids
Quick facts for kids"Beauty and the Beast"
|Song by Angela Lansbury|
|from the album Beauty and the Beast: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Released||October 29, 1991|
"Beauty and the Beast" is a song written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken for the Disney animated feature film Beauty and the Beast (1991). The film's theme song, the Broadway-inspired ballad was first recorded by British-American actress Angela Lansbury in her role as the voice of the character Mrs. Potts, and essentially describes the relationship between its two main characters Belle and the Beast, specifically how the couple has learned to accept their differences and in turn change each other for the better. Additionally, the song's lyrics imply that the feeling of love is as timeless and ageless as a "tale as old as time". Lansbury's rendition is heard during the famous ballroom sequence between Belle and the Beast, while a shortened chorale version plays in the closing scenes of the film, and the song's motif features frequently in other pieces of Menken's film score. Lansbury was initially hesitant to record "Beauty and the Beast" because she felt that it was not suitable for her aging singing voice, but ultimately completed the song in one take.
"Beauty and the Beast" was subsequently recorded as a pop duet by Canadian singer Celine Dion and American singer Peabo Bryson, and released as the only single from the film's soundtrack on November 25, 1991. Disney first recruited solely Dion to record a radio-friendly version of it in order to promote the film. However, the studio was concerned that the then-newcomer would not attract a large enough audience in the United States on her own, so they hired the more prominent Bryson to be her duet partner. At first Dion was also hesitant to record "Beauty and the Beast" because she had just recently been fired from recording the theme song of the animated film An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991). First heard during the film's end credits, the single was produced by Walter Afanasieff who also arranged it with Robbie Buchanan, and included on Dion's self-titled album (1992) and Bryson's album, Peabo Bryson (1994). The single was accompanied by a music video. Directed by Dominic Orlando, it combined footage of the singers recording the song at The Power Station with excerpts from the film.
Both versions of "Beauty and the Beast" were very successful, garnering both a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song, as well as Grammy Awards for Best Song Written for Visual Media and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. The single was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. Lansbury's performance has been universally lauded by both film and music critics. While the Dion-Bryson version received mixed reviews from critics who felt that it was inferior to Lansbury's original, the single became a commercial success, peaking at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming the better-known of the two renditions. In addition to returning Disney songs to the pop charts after a thirty-year absence, the success of "Beauty and the Beast" also boosted Dion's career and established her as a bankable recording artist. After "Beauty and the Beast" became the first Disney song to undergo a complete pop transformation, several contemporary artists were inspired to release their own radio-friendly renditions of Disney songs throughout the decade. Considered to be among Disney's best and most popular songs, "Beauty and the Beast" has since been covered by numerous artists. In 2004, the American Film Institute ranked "Beauty and the Beast" at number 62 on their list of the greatest songs in American film history.
The song is also featured in the 2017 live-action adaptation; sung by Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts during the film and also as a duet cover version by Ariana Grande and John Legend during the end credits. Grande and Legend's version of the song is an homage to the cover performed by Dion and Bryson for the 1991 film.
- Writing and recording
- Animation of the Beauty and the Beast and ballroom sequence
- Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson version
- Covers and use in media
- Impact and legacy
Writing and recording
"Beauty and the Beast" was written by lyricist Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken in 1990. Intending for the song to be "the height of simplicity", the songwriters drew much of its influence from Broadway music. Due to Ashman's failing health, some of Beauty and the Beast's pre-production was relocated to a hotel in Fishkill, New York near Ashman's residence to accommodate the ailing lyricist. Out of all the songs he has written for Beauty and the Beast, Menken devoted the most time to the title song. The track was first recorded by British-American actress Angela Lansbury, who voices the character Mrs. Potts, an enchanted teapot. The songwriters first introduced "Beauty and the Beast" to Lansbury as a demo recording, which was accompanied by a note asking her if she might possibly be interested in singing it. Although a seasoned film and stage performer who had previously done her own singing for Disney in the musical film Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Lansbury, who was more accustomed to performing uptempo songs, was hesitant to record the ballad because of its unfamiliar rock style. Although she liked the song, Lansbury also worried that her aging singing voice was no longer strong enough to record "Beauty and the Beast", and was especially concerned about having to sustain its longer notes. Lansbury suggested that the songwriters ask someone else to sing "Beauty and the Beast", but they insisted that she simply "sing the song the way [she] envisioned it".
On October 6, 1990, "Beauty and the Beast" was recorded in a studio in New York City accompanied by a live orchestra because the songwriters preferred to have all performers and musicians record together opposed to separating the singers from the instrumentalists. On the day of her scheduled recording session, Lansbury's flight was delayed due to a bomb threat, which prompted an emergency landing in Las Vegas. Unaware of her whereabouts for several hours, the filmmakers had begun making plans to reschedule the session until Lansbury finally telephoned the studio once she arrived safely in New York. At the behest of one of the directors, Lansbury recorded a demo of the song for them to use in the event that no other actress was available to sing it on her behalf, or no character other than Mrs. Potts was deemed suitable. Ultimately, Lansbury recorded her version in one take, which wound up being used in the final film. Producer Don Hahn recalled that the actress simply "sang 'Beauty and the Beast' from beginning to end and just nailed it. We picked up a couple of lines here and there, but essentially that one take is what we used for the movie". Lansbury's performance moved everyone who was present in the recording studio at the time to tears. Meanwhile, the actress credits recording the song with ultimately helping her gain further perspective on Mrs. Potts' role in the film.
Some of Ashman's cut lyrics from the 1991 film were reinstated for the version in the 2017 film.
Animation of the Beauty and the Beast and ballroom sequence
The scene in Beauty and the Beast during which the song is heard is the moment when Belle and the Beast's true feelings for each other are finally established. Set in the ballroom of the Beast's castle, "Beauty and the Beast" is performed by the character Mrs. Potts, an enchanted teapot, midway through the film as she explains the feeling of love to her young teacup son Chip, referring to the emotion as "a tale as old as time". According to Armen Karaoghlanian of Interiors, "Belle familiarizes the Beast with the waltz and as soon he feels comfortable, he gracefully moves her across the floor". Afterwards, the song continues to play instrumentally as Belle and the Beast retire to the balcony for a romantic candlelit dinner. Believed to be the "centerpiece that brings Beauty and her Beast together," the sequence offers an insight into both characters' psyches. From the Beast's perspective, it is the moment he realizes that he wants to confess his true feelings for Belle to her and "decides he wants to tell Belle he is in love with her". Meanwhile, Belle begins to fall in love with her captor. Writing for The Globe and Mail, Jennie Punter reviewed it as the scene in which "romance finally blossoms". Film critic Ellison Estefan, writing for Estefan Films, believes that the sequence is responsible for "add[ing] another dimension to the characters as they continue to fall deeply in love with each other". Explaining the song's role in the film, director Kirk Wise described the scene as "the culmination of their relationship," while producer Don Hahn pegged it as "the bonding moment of the film when the two main characters finally get together". The scene had long been envisioned as having a more live-action feel to it than the rest of the film, an idea that originated from story artists Brenda Chapman and Roger Allers, who were the first to suggest that the ballroom be built using computers. As the film's executive producer, former Head of Disney's film division Jeffrey Katzenberg recalled that he began working on Beauty and the Beast deciding what its "wowie" moment would be, defining this as "the moment in the movie where you see what's on the screen and go, 'Wow-IEE'"; this ultimately became the film's ballroom sequence. According to Hahn, the scene was conceived out of the filmmakers' desire to manipulate the camera in order to "sweep" the audience away. Allers and Chapman conceived the ballroom in order to provide the characters with an area in which they could linger, and were surprised by the amount of artistic freedom with which they were provided by the animators, who agreed to adjust to the changes in perspective that would result from the moving camera. While Allers decided to raise the camera in order to view the dancing couple from the overhead chandelier, Chapman decided to rotate the camera around Belle's skirt as the couple danced past it.
In their dance together, Belle and the Beast move toward the camera, as we pan up and into the 3D chandelier. In the next shot, the camera slowly drops from the ceiling as we once again move alongside the 3D chandelier. This adds depth to the scene, as the chandelier is placed at the forefront of the image and Belle and the Beast are in the distance. This shot continues as we move down below and gracefully move around them. The Beast then sways Belle around and near the camera, once again providing us with an illusion that a camera is following these characters around in an actual ballroom. In a wide shot of Belle and the Beast dancing, the camera begins dollying back as Mrs. Potts and Chip appear in the frame. These beautiful compositions and camera movements show us how space functions within an animated feature film.—Armen Karaoghlanian of Interiors
Regarded as an example of "a pronounced use of height and of vertical movement in sets and settings, in virtual camera movement ... and in the actions of characters" by Epics, Spectacles and Blockbusters: A Hollywood History author Sheldon Hall, Beauty and the Beast was one of the first feature-length animated films to use computer-generated imagery, which is prominently exhibited throughout the film's "elaborate" ballroom sequence. Light Science: Physics and the Visual Arts author Thomas D. Rossing believes that the filmmakers aimed to achieve "a moving perspective that would follow the dancers around the room, giving visual expression to the soaring emotions of the scene". CGI supervisor Jim Hillin was hired by Hahn to oversee the design of the scene's graphics. However, because the computer-animation medium was so unfamiliar to the filmmakers at the time, at one point they had considered having Belle and the Beast simply dance in complete darkness – save for a single spotlight – should the project be unsuccessful; they jokingly referred to this idea as the "Ice Capades" version.
First rendered as a simple cube, the filmmakers used computers to design the ballroom as a production set, making it the first full-dimensional computer-generated colored background in history. Unlike Disney's previous CGI ventures, Beauty and the Beast's ballroom was a much more detailed task that required animators to work exclusively with computers to compose, animate and color the scene. According to Hillin, the revolutionary use of computers allowed for a combination of theatrical lighting and "sweeping" perspectives, which ultimately introduced live-action techniques to animation. To make the scene a "special moment" for the characters, a "virtual camera" was used to allow the animators to create the illusion of tracking, panning and zooming that "establish[es] the mood" while helping audiences experience what the characters themselves are experiencing. Imitating tracking shots, the camera frequently soars and zooms around the couple. The camera first follows Belle and the Beast as they enter the ballroom before panning until it finally returns to focus on the two characters. In his book Basics Animation 02: Digital Animation, author Andrew Chong wrote that "The sweeping camera move with a constantly shifting perspective during the ballroom sequence was a composition of traditionally drawn elements for the characters with digitally animated scenery". Several computer animators, layout artists, art directors and background artists used their combined efforts to achieve the scene's end results; the ballroom's official dimensions read 72 feet high, 184 feet long and 126 feet wide. The space also houses 28 windows and a dome that measures 86 by 61 feet; the dome's mural was first hand-painted before it was texture-mapped onto it using a computer. Each element was carefully constructed individually. Timothy Wegner described the finished product in his book Image Lab as a "huge and elegant" ballroom in which "the walls are decorated with elaborate moldings, Corinthian columns, and hundreds of candles".
Writing for Combustible Celluloid, Jeffrey M. Anderson believes that "The animators understood that the new technology couldn't be used to represent organic beings, so they simply used it for backgrounds; i.e. the swirling, spinning ballroom during the 'Beauty and the Beast' dance number". At first, Belle and the Beast were vaguely represented by computer-animated box and egg-shaped "stand-ins" in order to choreograph their dance while the ballroom was still little more than a "chicken wire" frame. Andrew Osmond, author of 100 Animated Feature Films, described this crude depiction of the characters as "wire frames moving in staccato". The characters were eventually updated to "stiff, line-drawn" versions of themselves. Because Belle and the Beast are so "interconnected" during this scene, both characters were animated solely by Belle's supervising animator James Baxter; the Beast's supervising animator Glen Keane eventually traced over Baxter's work. Baxter prepared himself for animating the scene by studying ballet dancers in addition to taking dance lessons himself. Throughout the entire film, Belle moves with a ballerina's turnout; the Los Angeles Times film critic Charles Solomon observed that Belle looks "liveliest and prettiest" during this scene. At one point, both Baxter and Keane plotted out their characters' routine themselves under the guidance of a professional dance coach. A software created by Pixar named CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) allowed the animators to paint Belle and the Beast using computers as opposed to the more conventional and time-consuming method of painting animated characters by hand. Art director Brian McEntee suggested a blue and gold colour scheme for the characters' costumes at a late-night meeting because he felt that the colors were "compelling" and "regal". Adhering to the ballroom's blue and gold color scheme, Belle's gold ballgown complements the trim on the Beast's tuxedo, as well as the color of the ballroom itself, while the Beast's royal blue attire complements his eyes, the night sky, the curtains and the floor tiles. Meanwhile, Julia Alexander of Movie Mezzanine wrote that "The elegance of their costumes against the background of a golden hall and a star filled sky adds to the whimsical romanticism of the movie". The entire sequence took several months to complete, much of which was spent syncing the traditionally animated couple with their computer-animated environment, which otherwise would have been virtually impossible had the filmmakers decided to use a more traditional method.
When Beauty and the Beast was released, many animators were impressed with the studio for "pushing the envelope", while some considered the scene to be "a miserable failure", accusing its new technology of distracting from "the moment". Describing the scene as "an early experiment in computer animation," Josh Larsen of Larsen on Film observed that the ballroom sequence features "the camera swooping in and around to provide an expansive sense of space that 3-D still isn't able to capture". In her book The Beautiful Ache, author Leigh McLeroy wrote that the scene represents "one of those strange moments where love creeps in against all odds and insists on staying put". Audiences tend to remember the ballroom sequence as "the one in which Belle and the Beast share a romantic dance as the camera files and spins around them". Angela Lansbury recalled being "astonished" when she first saw the "huge" and "unique" scene. In Moviepilot's Chris Lucas' opinion, "The ballroom scene remains the one that truly symbolizes their adoration for each other". IGN believes that the scene "signals the completion of [the Beast's] inner change - from irascible recluse into [Belle's] true love".
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000^|
xunspecified figures based on certification alone
Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson version
|"Beauty and the Beast"|
|Single by Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson|
|from the album Beauty and the Beast, Celine Dion and Through the Fire|
|B-side||"The Beast Lets Belle Go" (instrumental)|
|Released||November 25, 1991|
|Studio||The Power Station
(New York City, NY)
The Plant Recording Studios
|Length||4:04 (album version)
3:33 (radio edit)
|Celine Dion singles chronology|
|Peabo Bryson singles chronology|
Background and recording
Much to Disney's surprise, Beauty and the Beast received three separate Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song. To avoid dividing Academy voters and prevent a draw, Disney decided to promote the film's title song ahead of its fellow nominees "Belle" and "Be Our Guest" by releasing "Beauty and the Beast" as a single, similar to the way in which Universal Pictures released "Somewhere Out There" from the animated film An American Tail as a single in 1986. Coincidentally, Ashman and Menken had written the song so that it could potentially experience success outside of the Beauty and the Beast film itself. Although Lansbury's rendition was very much appreciated, it was considered to be unsuitable for a commercial release or radio airplay. Thus, the studio decided to make "Beauty and the Beast" the first Disney song to be arranged into a pop version of itself for the film's end credits. Menken referred to this experience as a "turning point" in his career because it was also the first time one of his own compositions had ever undergone such a transformation. Producer Walter Afanasieff was hired to produce the pop version of the song, which he arranged with musician Robbie Buchanan. Menken commended Afanasieff for successfully making the song his own.
Actress and singer Paige O'Hara, who voices Belle, was among the first artists to express interest in recording the pop version of "Beauty and the Beast", but Disney dismissed her for being "too Broadway". Unable to afford to hire a "big singer" at the time, Disney settled for rising Canadian recording artist Celine Dion. Because she was relatively unknown to American audiences at the time, the studio doubted that Dion would have much of an impact in the United States on her own and subsequently hired the more well-known American singer Peabo Bryson to record the song alongside her as a duet. Disney contacted Dion's manager René Angélil about having the singer record "Beauty and the Beast" while she was on tour in England. A fan of Dion's music, Menken personally wrote the singer a letter of approval.
Hailing from the French-Canadian province of Quebec, Dion had just begun to learn English. At first Dion was hesitant to commit to the project due to having just recently been fired from recording "Dreams to Dream", the theme song of the animated film An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991), in favor of American singer Linda Ronstadt, who had previously experienced great success with her rendition of "Somewhere Out There". Ronstadt, who was producer Steven Spielberg's first choice, only agreed to record "Dreams to Dream" after hearing Dion's demo. Devastated by her termination, Dion eventually agreed to record "Beauty and the Beast" after listening to and being moved by Lansbury's performance. Meanwhile, Bryson became involved with the project via Walt Disney Records Senior Vice President Jay Landers, who was friends with Walt Disney Pictures President of Music Chris Montan at the time. The song's instruments were recorded first at The Plant Recording Studios in California. The singers later quickly recorded their vocals at The Power Station in New York over the Labor Day long weekend, while mixing was completed at The Record Plant in Los Angeles. The song was released as the only single from the film's soundtrack, on which the song appears alongside Lansbury's version, on November 25, 1991 by Walt Disney Records, Sony Music's labels Columbia Records and Epic Records.
The single is a pop ballad that lasts a total of four minutes and three seconds. It begins in the key of F major at a moderately slow tempo of 72 beats per minute, before modulating to D major, then G major, and ending in E major. The orchestration of the "conservatively-rendered pop song", as described by Filmtracks, includes an electric oboe, keyboard, synthesizer and acoustic guitar. Additionally, the song's "jazzy" instrumentation heavily relies on drums, an instrument that is noticeably absent from the remainder of the soundtrack. According to Molly Lambert of Grantland, the track is "a sweeping downtempo ... ballad" that evokes the "early '90s gossamer high-tech style", while Molly Horan of Refinery29 described it as a slow jam. According to the Chicago Tribune's Brad Webber, Dion and Bryson's vocals are "resonant and multiflavored". The opening line "Tale as old as time" is preceded by Dion ad-libbing "Ooh". Similarities have been drawn between the song and "Somewhere Out There" from the animated film An American Tail.
Dion and Bryson's recording session at The Power Station was filmed and later interpolated with various scenes from the film in order to create a music video, was directed by Dominic Orlando. The video premiered on the music channel VH-1, thus airing to an audience who was not accustomed to seeing animated characters appear in the midst of their regular programming.
At the 1992 Oscars, Angela Lansbury, Celine Dion, and Peabo Bryson sang a composite of both versions from the film, backed by dancers dressed as Belle and the Beast. Celine and Peabo also duetted at the Grammys, World Music Awards, AMA's, Wogan, The Tonight Show, and Top of the Pops later that year. The duo reunited in 1996 to perform the song for the television special Oprah in Disneyland, while Lansbury provided an encore performance at the 25th Anniversary screening of the film. Each of the 3 respective artists have performed the song in concerts later in their careers, outside the context of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. For example, Lansbury sang it at the 2002 Christmas concert with Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Similarly, Dion and Bryson duetted at the JT Super Producers 94 tribute concert to David Foster, and as part of Dion's 1994-95 The Colour of My Love Tour, though they have also often sung with different duet partners. Dion has sung with Tommy Körberg, Brian McKnight, Terry Bradford, Maurice Davis, Barnev Valsaint, and René Froger among others; Peabo has sung with Coko and Regine Velasquez.
- Celine Dion, Peabo Bryson - vocals
- Walter Afanasieff - acoustic guitar, synthesized bass, keyboards, synthesizer, drum programming, percussion
- Joel Peskin - oboe
- Ren Klyce: Akai AX73 and Synclavier programming
- Dan Shea: MacIntosh programming
- Various 3", 7", 12", cassette and CD singles
- "Beauty and the Beast" – 3:57
- "The Beast Lets Belle Go" (Instrumental) – 2:19
- Canadian CD maxi-single
- "Beauty and the Beast" – 3:57
- "The Beast Lets Belle Go" (Instrumental) – 2:19
- "Des mots qui sonnent" – 3:56
- "Délivre-moi" (Live) – 4:19
- US promotional CD single
- "Beauty and the Beast" (Radio Edit) – 3:30
Certifications and sales
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||784,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
Charts and certifications
|Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)||41|
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||70|
|Japan (Japan Hot 100)||10|
|Japan Hot Overseas (Billboard)||2|
|New Zealand Heatseekers (RMNZ)||6|
|Panama (Monitor Latino)||15|
|Philippines (Philippine Hot 100)||60|
|South Korea (Gaon)||25|
|UK Singles (OCC)||52|
|US Billboard Hot 100||87|
|US Kid Digital Songs (Billboard)||1|
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||20|
Certifications and sales
|Brazil (ABPD)||Platinum||Expression error: Missing operand for *.*|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
Covers and use in media
In 1993, jazz singer Chris Connor covered "Beauty and the Beast" for her album My Funny Valentine. In 1998, O'Hara recorded a version of "Beauty and the Beast" for her album Dream with Me. This marked the first time O'Hara had ever recorded the song, although she has covered it live several times. Billboard reviewed O'Hara's performance positively, writing that the actress provides each song with "the right youthful and gentle touch". In 2000, singer Kenny Loggins covered the song on his children's music album More Songs from Pooh Corner. In 2002, music group Jump5 covered "Beauty and the Beast" for the Walt Disney Records compilation album Disneymania; a music video was released later that year and included as a bonus feature on the film's Platinum Edition DVD re-release, Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition. Belonging to a segment known as "Chip's Fun and Games - For the Young at Heart", the music video features the group performing their "bouncy" teen pop rendition of the song interpolated with scenes from the film. Lauren Duca of The Huffington Post described the group's uptempo cover as "ridiculously '90s pop". Meanwhile, musical duo H & Claire covered the song for the film's Platinum Edition re-release in the United Kingdom, which Betty Clarke of The Guardian dismissed as a "boring" rendition.
On the country-themed compilation album The Best of Country Sing the Best of Disney (2006), "Beauty and the Beast" was covered by country band Diamond Rio. To support the film's Diamond Edition re-release in 2010, singer Jordin Sparks recorded an R&B version of "Beauty and the Beast", which was released on iTunes in September. A music video directed by Philip Andelman was included on the re-release as a bonus feature, part of the disc's "Music and More" segment. The video depicts Sparks performing "Beauty and the Beast" in a castle. In 2011, Sparks performed her rendition of the song live at the 30th anniversary of the televised Independence Day concert "A Capitol Fourth". The cover is believed to have initiated the singer's gradual transition from music to film. The compilation album Eurobeat Disney (2010) features a Eurobeat cover by singer Domino. In 2014, actors Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio covered "Beauty and the Beast" for the television special Backstage with Disney on Broadway: Celebrating 20 Years, which documents the development of eight of Disney's Broadway musicals. Both known for their roles in the television musical drama Nashville, Bowen, a fan of the film, arranged the cover herself to satisfy the documentary producers' vision, who "were looking for performers who could offer unexpected interpretations of the [musicals'] familiar tunes". Hilary Lewis of The Hollywood Reporter observed that Bowen and Palladio's rendition "is more stripped down" than the stage, Lansbury and Dion-Bryson versions. The song has been covered multiple times as part of the We Love Disney album series. We Love Disney France (2013) features a cover by singers Garou and Camille Lou while We Love Disney Australia (2014) features a cover by operatic pop vocal group Sole Mio (2014). (2015) featured a cover by Chilla Kiana, while We Love Disney Latino (2016) featured a cover by Jencarlos and Paula Rojo.
The song appears in the Broadway musical adaptation of the film, which premiered in 1994. When the song first premiered on Broadway, there were few Broadway musicals at the time that featured ballads about love. Originally covered live by actress Beth Fowler as Mrs. Potts, "Beauty and the Beast" was included on the Original Broadway Cast Recording of the musical, again performed by Fowler. While critical reception towards the musical ranged from negative to mixed, John Simon of New York commended Fowler for "manag[ing] to heat up and brighten [her] material". Within the realm of reality television talent competitions, "Beauty and the Beast" was covered on The Voice Australia by contestants Lionel Cole and Sabrina Batshon in 2014. Candice Barnes of The Sydney Morning Herald reviewed that the "song suited Sabrina best" while it was "too high" for Cole, in the end accusing both contestants of "destroying one of the best loved Disney songs with their vocal gymnastics".
In 1998, a version of the song, called "Beauty and the Bees", was made for the 3D movie It's Tough to be a Bug!'s queue at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney California Adventure Park. The song, written by Bruce Broughton and George Wilkins, was released on the album The Legacy Collection: Disneyland. * In 2017 D-Metal Stars created a Heavy Metal cover of the song on the album "Metal Disney" featuring Mike Vescera and Rudy Sarzo.
The song is also featured in the 2020 Music/Rhythm game Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory.
Impact and legacy
The overall success of Beauty and the Beast is partially attributed to the song's popularity. Andrew Unterberger of Spin believes that the song "set the template for the quivering love theme in '90s Disney movies". "Beauty and the Beast" was the first Disney song to undergo a complete pop rearrangement for commercial purposes. After the success of Disney's The Little Mermaid revived the Disney musical in 1989, Gary Trust of Billboard determined that "Once Beauty and the Beast followed in 1991 ... Disney was dominating charts like never before". The single ended a thirty year-long absence of Disney-released chart hits between the 1960s and 1990s, and inspired several similar hits; popular recording artists such as Elton John, Vanessa Williams, Michael Bolton, Christina Aguilera, and Phil Collins each experienced varying degrees of success with their own pop renditions of Disney songs throughout the decade. When a then-unknown Aguilera was selected to record a pop version of "Reflection" from Disney's Mulan in 1998, she felt honored "to be in such wonderful company as" Dion. Writing for Sputnikmusic, Irving Tan wrote that "Although the number's 1992 Academy Award for Best Original Song is something of an old chestnut at this point, it still bears some worth repeating - mainly as it is very likely the most famous of all the feature theme songs ever commissioned by Walt Disney Studios".
Bill Gibron of PopMatters believes that the song "proved that the pen and ink designs that drove the company for nearly 80 years could transcend the genre and turn into something seminal ... something special ... something sensational". The ballroom sequence continues to be held in high regard as one of Disney's crowning achievements. Famous for successfully combining volumetric depth with dancing animated characters, the scene is now revered by film critics as a classic, groundbreaking and iconic moment in animation history, responsible for "chang[ing] the game" of contemporary animation. Gaye Birch of Den of Geek pegged the scene as a Disney landmark because its accomplishments were "visually impressive in a way we hadn't experienced in a Disney movie before". Huw Evans of Bournemouth University hailed the scene as "quite possibly the best piece of animation done on any feature film". On the sequence's pioneering use of computer-generated imagery, Annie Ellingson of Paste wrote that the ballroom was "innovative at the time for compositing hand-drawn characters on a computer-generated backdrop to enable dramatic sweeping camera moves". Similarly, Empire's Helen O'Hara believes that the scene "paved the way for the new digital style of animation". Mike Scott of The Times-Picayune holds the scene responsible for the subsequent success of Pixar' computer-animated films, concluding that "the warm reaction to that single scene would serve as a major springboard for the computer-animation industry -- and a major blow to hand-drawn animation". In his 1995 review of Toy Story, film critic Roger Ebert encouraged audiences to re-watch Beauty and the Beast's ballroom sequence to better understand the newer computer-animated film's technology. According to Moving Innovation: A History of Computer Animation author Tom Vito, the scene "made many skeptics in Hollywood begin to look at CG seriously," inspiring formerly "hostile" studio executives to pursue the new art form. Additionally, the scene is also appreciated as a dance sequence. The Houston Press' Adam Castaneda extolled it as "one of the finest dance sequences in the history of film". The golden ballgown Belle wears in the scene is now revered as iconic, with Vogue ranking it among the most famous dresses in history.
Beauty and the Beast: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack continues to be best remembered for spawning the Dion-Bryson single, which established itself as an instant classic. The success of song is believed to have established Dion as a bankable recording artist. Before agreeing to record "Beauty and the Beast", Dion had been fired from recording the theme song of An American Tail: Fievel Goes West in favor of the more well-known Linda Ronstadt. Although both singles were released around the same time, the success of Dion's song ultimately eclipsed Ronstadt's "Dreams to Dream". Biography.com referred to "Beauty and the Beast" as Dion's "real breakthrough into pop music stardom". According to Lifetime, the song "cemented her international success," while People wrote that the release of "Beauty and the Beast" is when the singer truly went "global". In the wake of "Beauty and the Beast"'s success, young fans who had not yet learned Dion's name would simply refer to her as "Beauty and the Beast". The commercial success of "Beauty and the Beast" ultimately earned Dion a $10 million recording contract with Sony Music International; the song was then included on Dion's successful self-titled studio album, serving as the record's "cornerstone". American musician Prince was so moved by Dion's performance on "Beauty and the Beast" after hearing it on the radio that he personally wrote a song for her to include on the album. According to Filmtracks.com, "Beauty and the Beast" offered "a glimpse at a forthcoming mega-movie song presence for Celine Dion". Evidently, the singer has since recorded the theme songs of several blockbuster films, including "When I Fall in Love" from Sleepless in Seattle (1993), "Because You Loved Me" from Up Close & Personal (1996) and finally her signature song "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic (1997). "Beauty and the Beast" has since appeared on several of Dion's greatest hits albums, while the singer has returned to Disney as a special guest to host various segments for certain Beauty and the Beast re-releases.
In addition to establishing Bryson as a mainstream recording artist, the singer has since returned to Disney on two separate occasions to record pop versions of "A Whole New World" and "As Long as There's Christmas", the theme songs of the animated films Aladdin (1992) and Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997), respectively, both of which are duets. Although "A Whole New World" was very successful, "Beauty and the Beast" remains a larger hit for the singer. Bryson also included "Beauty and the Beast" on some of his compilation albums, including Through the Fire (1994) and Super Hits (2000). Meanwhile, Afanasieff would go on to produce several Disney singles, including "A Whole New World" from Aladdin, for which he reunited with Bryson, and "Go the Distance" from Hercules (1997). In 2004, Bryson was forced by the International Revenue Service (IRS) to auction off several of his personal belongings in order to help repay the singer's $1.2 million tax dept, among them his Grammy Awards for "Beauty and the Beast" and "A Whole New World". While the latter song's Grammy was purchased by a friend and gifted back to the singer, Bryson's Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals trophy for "Beauty and the Beast" was ultimately sold to a stranger for $15,500.
Both the song's film and single versions have been included on several compilation albums released by Disney, including The Music of Disney: A Legacy in Song (1992), Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic (1995), Disney's Superstar Hits (2004), Ultimate Disney Princess (2006), The Best Disney Album in the World ...Ever! (2006), and Now That's What I Call Disney (2011). In 2005, actress and singer Julie Andrews, a Disney Legend, included Lansbury's rendition of "Beauty and the Beast" on her album Julie Andrews Selects Her Favorite Disney Songs, although she does not cover the song herself; the album is a simply compilation of Andrews' favourite Disney songs.
Beauty and the Beast (Disney song) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.