“Gotta get up, I’ve gotta get going…” “Life is like a hurricane…” “Sometimes, some crimes…”
These are some of the lyrics of Disney’s most popular animated television show theme songs. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, Walt Disney Television produced a crop of programming based on its most beloved cartoon characters, as well as those revolving around new faces. These clever and entertaining series possessed toe-tapping tunes that most anyone who grew up during the ’80s or ’90s knows by heart.
Here are some top-notch renditions by YouTube users – and one famous chart-topper – that pay homage to the Disney TV theme songs of yesteryear.
Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers intro theme (from Chip and Dale soundtrack) – Cantabile Orchestra
By far my favorite TV theme song that Disney has ever released, the ditty from the show featuring those crime-solving chipmunks has never gone out of style. The Cantabile Orchestra from Ukraine performed the Mark Mueller theme, which evokes fond memories of sitting by the tube and watching those crazy critters as sleuths. While it takes audience members several seconds to detect the tune, once they recognize it, they laugh with nostalgic delight. The mixture of strings and wind instruments, as well as that majestic piano, make for an awesome combination of frenzied sound. The passionate performers make it all the better in this WdFalcon YouTube video. Take a listen.
Duck Tales Theme Song (Acoustic Cover)
Mike Buchanan, a Toronto-based performer, loves his Duck Tales. So do we. Here is the first of three videos in this edition focused around that theme song. Mike takes it in a calmer, more rhythmically-balanced direction, which sounds both comforting and exciting. He exudes charm and enthusiasm, especially when he chants the signature “woo hoo.” Mike appears like a skilled guitarist, and his boy next door persona perfectly complements the roots of the Duck Tales theme, which makes you want to curl up on the family room couch and watch Scrooge McDuck.
“Pepper Ann Theme (Acoustic Cover)”
Rock out with Giorgio Fareira in this smashing and intensely-driving rendition of the Pepper Ann theme. The show, a hallmark of Disney’s One Saturday Morning on ABC in the late 90s, boasted a hip, extremely catchy song that Giorgio captured magnificently in his cover. His facial expressions are as thrilling to watch as his passionate guitar playing. Pluck those strings, Giorgio. He scats with feverish energy and one cannot deny that he must have loved watching this series.
Alicia Keys Sings Gummi Bears Theme Song (Jimmy Fallon)
Actress. Vocalist. Superstar. Disney fan. I guess we can add that last description to Alicia Keys’ list of characteristics, if this recent piece on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tells us anything. The Adventures of the Gummi Bears premiered over 25 years ago, but it has legions of viewers, and we must only assume Keys was one of them. She takes a much more soulful and night lounge-like approach to the usually-upbeat melody. That works well for her cover, which she performs on the piano. I find it amusing that the audience did not catch on to the song until over one minute into the piece. But certainly they supported Keys with roaring applause once they identified the tune.
Chip and Dale or Duck Tales (acoustic cover)
Russian YouTube user Tvennchik sang the two Disney Afternoon favorites to a crowd with bumbling joy. This duo performs both Duck Tales and Rescue Rangers extremely well, especially considering the potential language barrier. But music is universal, and good music transcends nations. These two tunes fit the bill – no pun intended – and his fine guitar aptitude balances her bright vocality. Is it just me, or does she remind you of Ulla from The Producers?
Darkwing Duck Main Theme (Guitar Cover)
Count on Alexandr Naumov, otherwise known as YouTube user Gigantballs, to bring back the mystery of Darkwing Duck through sharing his electric guitar version. The eerie sound effects are integrated into his instrumental rendition, which actually works to improve the overall enjoyment of listening to the song. Naumov has performed other popular themes as well, including Duck Tales, so check out his channel for more covers.
Disney Recess Main Theme Violin Cover
JTehAnonymous reminds us of that special period of school that makes us want to shout out and scream “Recess!” This late ’90s/early 2000s One Saturday Morning cartoon was one of my favorites, and while the theme song lacks lyrics, it makes up for that in simplistic style. His rendition, a violin cover, plays along with the original TV tune in the background. I would bet that the creators of the series would want to hire him as a musician should they ever develop another show.
The New Adventures of Winnie-The-Pooh
YouTube user Grayson Ishihara plays the most sentimental theme of the bunch, in my opinion. New Adventures inspires sweetness in its episodes of friendship and teamwork, and the gorgeous TV melody completed the show’s absolute warmness. Grayson does a fantastic job of evoking the “let’s go out on an adventure” feeling in the piano cover, which releases an optimistic energy as each second passes. Give it up to Grayson, and also to the Steve Nelson and Thom Sharp for composing such a gem.
Duck Tales – The Duck Tales Theme
One more time for the ducks. YouTube user 4kon86 demonstrated its love for Duck Tales in this live performance, held in Moscow. Wow, this is the third video on the list to feature talented Russians expressing their love for Disney Afternoon shows. Coincidence. These guys are wonderful, even as they wear kilts for no known reason. Watching this performance makes visiting other countries to attend clubs featuring Disney songs much more appealing. Every time you listen to this song, does it not want to make you smile? I beam with delight every time, notably when I hear overwhelming joy and enthusiasm. Kudos, musicians.
Kim Possible Theme Song Cover by Michelle Riggs
We must also recognize Disney’s more recent animated series theme songs. My favorite of the 2000s was Kim Possible, and YouTube user Michelleriggsmusic nicely brings both a country and folk feel to this very pop-centric beat. Michelle adds her own musical touch to this melody, which benefits from some variations in the rhythms. Her authentic and effervescent vocality warrants multiple listens, and perhaps may encourage you to check out the series for a second viewing.
What are your favorite Disney TV theme songs? Share them with me and your fellow Disney geeks. Have ideas for a future edition of the column? E-mail me at [email protected] or Tweet me with your thoughts.
This is Brett Nachman signing off. Return back Thursdays on Geeks of Doom for new editions of Disney In Depth!