Music & Lyrics: Elton John & Tim Rice
Disney released The Lion King animated feature in 1994. Like most households that contained young children in the 1990's, we had a copy of the film on VHS (we might still have it around here somewhere). That tape got a lot of playing time in our home; so much so that every member of our family seemingly knew every lyric, bit of dialogue, and sound effect in this often sad, depressing show. I quickly grew tired of it, but that's just what we do for our kids - no regrets there.
In 1997, Disney staged a musical production of the show, following on the heels of their success with Beauty And The Beast. The producers had the great idea of hiring visionary stage/opera director Julie Taymor to direct. The result was nothing short of spectacular. Even the New York Times liked it. I saw it twice and was blown away by the impressive staging and costumes each time. This was one of the few times the show lived up to the hype. And don't forget that Elton John has written some catchy tunes here. The show won five Tony awards, including Best Musical and Best Director. This soundtrack album won a Grammy. As of this writing, the show is still running and is the 4th longest-running show on Broadway at over 6,770 performances. Like all Disney products, this is polished and professional.
So while the product is top-notch, I've grown tired of it. Like most cast albums in my collection, this one is more of a souvenir than a CD that comes off the shelf. I'd go see the show again, though.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #162
Tracks: While there are quite a few new songs for the musical that weren't in the movie, my favorites here are the same ones I liked in the movie: Circle of Life, Hakuna Matata, and I Just Can't Wait To Be King.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This CD was a gift from my friend Scott, with whom my wife and I saw the show in 2001 (I first saw it on a solo business trip to NYC in 2000).