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Top 10 Greatest Disney Songs (Live-Action)

VO: Y WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
These live-action Disney songs are just as spellbinding as the Mouse House’s animated numbers. We’re taking a look at the catchiest, most magical, and most iconic musical numbers from live-action Disney movies. To qualify for this list, the song must actually be sung within the movie. MsMojo ranks the greatest live-action Disney songs. What’s your favorite live-action Disney song? Let us know in the comments!

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Whether it’s animation or live-action, the Mouse will always have us singing along. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Live-Action Disney Songs.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the catchiest, most magical, and most iconic musical numbers from live-action Disney movies. To qualify for this list, the song must actually be sung within the movie. We’ve thus excluded theme songs that were just played over the credits, like Alice’s theme from “Alice in Wonderland.” We’ve also left out “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” because well…let’s just say time hasn’t been kind to “Song of the South.”

#10: “We’re All in This Together”
“High School Musical” (2006)

If you were in elementary school when “High School Musical” hit the scene, chances are you listened to its soundtrack repeatedly. If you were actually in high school at the time, however, you probably made fun of this Disney Channel Original Movie relentlessly. As corny as it was, there was something truly charming and even joyous about this surprise cultural phenomenon that spawned two sequels with awesome music too - we’re looking at you, “Work This Out.” (xref) Nowhere is this joy better represented than in its grand finale as the students of East High express the importance of being yourself and sticking together. It’s so cheesy and over-the-top that the kid in us can’t help but get up and wave our hands in the air.

#9: “Candle on the Water”
“Pete’s Dragon” (1977)

“Candle on the Water” brings a whole new meaning to the idea of a torch song. Warmly staged on the balcony of a lighthouse, this Academy Award-nominated song is wonderfully performed by Helen Reddy’s Nora. Although Nora’s fiancé is lost at sea, she continues to carry a torch for him with a burning love that will never go out. Expressing powerful emotions through both visuals and music, “Candle on the Water” is one of the loveliest songs Disney has ever produced. As a matter of fact, the song was so well received that it influenced Disney to turn “Pete’s Dragon” into an all-out musical.

#8: “Are We Dancing?”
“The Happiest Millionaire” (1967)

In the same vein of “Shall We Dance” or “Cheek to Cheek,” “Are We Dancing” is a divine number in which two lovers share an intimate moment together. Although Cordy and Angie seem meant for each other, their contrasting families often get in the way of their happiness. In this scene, they escape all the family drama to simply embrace each other. The angelic music truly makes it feel as if the characters are dancing on clouds, uplifting us all. Money can get you a lot of things, but it can’t buy happiness and you can’t put a price on love.

#7: “Man or Muppet”
“The Muppets” (2011)

It’s a question we all ask ourselves at the end of the day. Written by Bret McKenzie, one half of Flight of the Conchords, this Oscar-winning ballad really tugs at the heart and puppet strings. Gary and Walter launch into an existential crisis about who they are and what they’re made of, all the while keeping the song, as McKenzie put it, “sincere but ridiculous.” With harmonies galore, a Muppet-Gary reflection and a human-Walter Jim Parsons, and even a dream sequence, the two leads grapple with what their lives have been, and what they want them to be.

#6: “Seize the Day”
“Newsies” (1992)

It’s ironic. “Newsies” was a dud upon initial release, with one of its tunes even winning the Razzie for Worst Original Song. Over the years, however, the musical developed a passionate cult following and even inspired a hit Broadway show. The song that we still can’t get out of our heads is “Seize the Day,” in which the Newsboys strike against the New York World. With a lively beat and unbreakable spirit, this song could encourage anybody to take to the streets and stand up to the man. The number is further invigorated by the energetic choreography of Kenny Ortega, who would go on to direct “High School Musical.”

#5: “The Climb”
“Hannah Montana: The Movie” (2009)

It’s hard to say when exactly Miley Cyrus transitioned from Disney Channel girl to a more mature artist. For us, though, Cyrus officially developed cross-generational appeal with this hit single. Playing a pivotal narrative role, “The Climb” finds Miley overcoming her identity crisis as she sheds her blonde wig. Whether you’re a kid or an adult, this is an empowering ballad about never giving up and the journey that is life. It’s also a welcome change of pace from the poppy music we’d expect from “Hannah Montana,” demonstrating that this Miley kid just might have a promising future.

#4: “Last Midnight”
“Into the Woods” (2014)

Although fairytales are public domain, we tend to associate everything storybook-related with Disney. Because of this, it was only fitting that the studio would adapt James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical “Into the Woods.” Director Rob Marshall did a splendid job of bringing beloved songs like “Agony” to the silver screen. The most well-performed and beautifully shot number, however, has to be “Last Midnight.” As all of our main characters point fingers at one another, the Witch places a curse on them for irresponsibly playing the blame game.

#3: “That’s How You Know”
“Enchanted” (2007)

While “Enchanted” is a parody of Disney fairytales, the film is full of musical numbers that could’ve come out of the studio’s ‘90s animation renaissance. Amy Adams totally convinced us that she was a live-action Disney princess through the delightful “Happy Working Song” and even more so with “That’s How You Know.” Her magical presence spreads throughout Central Park as everyone gets in on a big-scale production number about cherishing your significant other. Patrick Dempsey is baffled throughout, which only adds to the humor. Honestly, though, you’d have to be a complete sourpuss not to be won over by this infectious parade.

#2: “Thankful Heart”
“The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992)

Now here’s a song that won’t only get you in the mood for Christmas, but in the giving spirit as well. In the Muppets’ rendition of “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge ultimately opens his heart and wallet to the world, spreading cheer wherever he goes. Even if Michael Caine isn’t the greatest singer in the world, he overwhelms this scene with a perfect blend of goodwill and kindheartedness. Having a few dozen Muppets to provide backup doesn’t hurt either. Listening to this Paul Williams song, you feel all the wonder of Charles Dickens’ classic tale and all the joy we associate with the holiday season.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Portobello Road”
“Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971)

“A Whale of a Tale”
“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954)

“Let’s Get Together”
“The Parent Trap” (1961)

“Beauty and the Beast” (2017)

“A Cover Is Not the Book”
“Mary Poppins Returns” (2018)

#1: “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”
“Mary Poppins” (1964)

There was little doubt that a “Mary Poppins” song would top this list, but which one? We easily could have gone with “A Spoonful of Sugar” or the Oscar-winning “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” Interestingly enough, though, the most memorable song in the movie is also the hardest to pronounce. You wouldn’t think a mouthful like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” could inspire such a timeless song, but it continues to stick with us thanks to the Sherman Brothers’ creative lyrics and the sparkling performances from our live-action stars. This is such an intoxicating sequence that it makes us never want to leave the animated realm, but eventually we must return to reality.

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