It is indeed a very sad Disney day today folks, beloved Disney Songwriter Robert Sherman has died aged 86.
His son Jeff posted this note on Facebook last night:
“Hello to family and friends, I have very sad news to convey. My Dad, Robert B. Sherman, passed away tonight in London. He went peacefully after months of truly valiantly fending off death. He loved life and his dear heart finally slowed to a stop when he could fight no more. He wanted to bring happiness to the world and, unquestionably, he succeeded. His love and his prayers, his philosophy and his poetry will live on forever. Forever his songs and his genius will bring hope, joy and love to this small, small world.”
I couldn’t believe the news when I heard it this morning and reading the above from his son had me in tears at my desk. His songs have brought joy to so many including myself and I have many fond memories of performing these classics in many showcases (including very important performances at Mousemeets!).
Here is just a little look back at some of the amazing things he achieved with his brother Richard during his time with Disney and beyond:
This is one of my favourite interviews of the Sherman Brothers which is on featured on the special edition CD of Jungle Book:
In 1965, the Sherman Brothers won 2 Academy Awards for Mary Poppins, including “Feed The Birds”, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, and the Oscar winner, “Chim Chim Cher-ee”. Since Mary Poppins’ premiere, Robert B. Sherman subsequently earned 9 Academy Award nominations, 2 Grammy Awards, 4 Grammy Award nominations and 23 gold and platinum albums.
The Brothers worked directly for Walt Disney until Disney’s death in 1966. After leaving the company, the brothers worked freelance as songwriters on scores of motion pictures, television shows, theme park exhibits and stage musicals.
Here are some of the Theme Park Attraction songs written by the duo:
- There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow for Carousel of Progress
- Miracles from Molecules for Adventure Thru Inner Space
- One Little Spark for Journey Into Imagination
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (attraction)
- “It’s a small world (after all)” for the 1964 New York World’s Fair attraction Pepsi Presents WALT DISNEY’S “it’s a small world” – a Salute to UNICEF and the World’s Children then adapted to each Disney Park installation of “it’s a small world”.
- “The Astuter Computer Revue” for the 1982 premiere of the CommuniCore Exhibit at EPCOT.
- Makin’ Memories for Magic Journeys
- The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
- “We Meet the World with Love” and Meet the World for the same exhibit in Tokyo Disneyland
This is a special video of his brother Richard performing their classic ‘One Little Spark’ with 2 very important guests:
There is a lovely documentary about the brothers unfortunately for us UK people there is only an import copy of it available but if you have a multi region DVD player I recommend watching this! Here is the trailer to give you an idea.
As well as the countless Disney titles they worked on they added some other pretty big names to their list including the classic Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang which they not only composed the screen soundtrack but for the West End Musical including 6 new songs. It went on to be the London Palladium’s most successful show, here is a little montage from the show:
This was incredible show both in terms of amazing songs and performances, and incredible staging. (still loved the fact that my older brother was freaked still out by the Child Catcher!).
The Sherman brothers were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and received the US National Medal of the Arts in 2008.
I could go on for hours about the wonderful gifts Robert and his brother have given us but I will stop here for now and all that is left for me to say is…
Thank you Robert for bringing so many of our favourite Disney Stories and attractions to life, bringing a song and a smile to our hearts even when skies were grey you had us singing through on our journeys to work/school. You will be greatly missed by all, but you will live on in your songs, which will last a lifetime.