Whether you’re 8, 48 or 80, you could probably sing along to classic Disney tunes like “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “It’s A Small World” and “I Wan’na Be Like You,” but do you know what all these songs have in common? Well they’re all catchy, but they were also all written by the same 2 people. It turns out a pair of brothers named Robert and Richard Sherman are responsible for all the classic songs from your childhood. Not bad for a couple of musicians you’ve never heard of!
The Sherman brothers learned to play the piano and write music from around the time they were born, since their father Al was a also a successful songwriter.
They got involved with the Disney films after writing tunes for the original Mouseketeers.
The Sherman brothers are best-known for their work on Mary Poppins, which featured some of their best songs, including “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “Feed the Birds,” which quickly became Walt Disney’s favorite song.
Disney would often invite the Shermans to his office to talk about their work, then according to Richard he would stare out the window and ask them to play the song. “That’s what it’s all about,” he once said, according to Richard, “everything we do at Disney.”
The same year, the brothers worked on another Disney song which quickly became the most performed song of all time.
Click the next page to find out what the song was!
As part of the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, Disney was helping to create a ride for fair visitors. It would take them on a boat ride through the countries of the world, where small animatronic children would sing to them. Originally, the children were all supposed to sing their own national anthem at the same time, but the result sounded awful.
Instead, Disney recruited the Sherman brothers to write a short, simple song that could be translated into any language.
The tune they wrote, “It’s A Small World,” has since become the most performed song of all time and the world’s most translated song. It has been sung more than 50 million times on the radio and at Disney attractions worldwide.
While the Shermans wrote the music for classic movies like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and the Aristocats, they had a successful career outside of film business as well.
Two songs written by the Shermans have reached the top 10: “You’re Sixteen” which was a hit with both Johnny Burnette and Ringo Starr, and Michael Bolton’s “Only a Woman Like You”.
Today, the Sherman brothers’ songs are an unforgettable part of Disney history, and their contribution is recognized at Disneyland with a storefront on Main Street U.S.A. called “Two Brothers Tunemakers.”
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