When I’m driving my kids around town, there are very few times that I get to listen to something I want. Most of the time, with a 6 and 4 year old in the car, it is all about catering to whatever cartoon soundtrack they are interested in at the moment. Luckily, with Disney’s Greatest, Volume 1, I managed to find a CD that my entire family enjoys listening to.
Released in 2001, the album features 20 of Disney’s most recognizable songs in one place. A second album was released at the same time with another 20 songs on it, with a third album coming shortly thereafter, but neither comes close track for track to matching the quality of this first offering. The track list appears as follows:
1. Strangers Like Me
3. I Won’t Say (I’m In Love)
4. Out There
5. You’ve Got A Friend In Me
6. Just Around The Riverbend
7. Circle of Life
8. A WholeNew World
9. Beauty And The Beast
10. Kiss The Girl
11. I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)
13. Cruella De Vil
14. Once Upon A Dream
16. You Can Fly! You Can Fly! You Can Fly!
19. Bella Notte
20. When You Wish Upon A Star
Just looking at the track list, it is easy to see that the album breaks down into three major categories: recent throw-ins, contemporary must-haves, and the classics. It isn’t immediately clear to me why Disney decided to open the album the way it does, with unexciting songs from Tarzan, Mulan and Hercules, especially when they aren’t the biggest songs from the respective movies, but even songs like “Strangers Like Me” grow on you after a while. It is just odd that they are dropped at the start of the album, rather than being dispersed throughout the album with the more well-known hits.
Once you hit “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” from Toy Story, it is a glorious ride of great music from Disney’s second Golden Age of animation, with top songs from Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. Not only does the quality of the film represented increase, but the songs picked are arguably the best songs available from each film. By the time “Kiss the Girl” is over, any Disney fan will already be completely infatuated with this CD.
The entire second half of the album is dedicated to the more classic songs in the Disney catalog, featuring hits that have been famous for up to 60 years now. Not every song is perfect (“Once Upon A Dream” has never been a favorite), but the vast majority are iconic, from “When You Wish Upon A Star” to “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” Listening to the album once from start to finish is enough to make you want to dust off your Disney films and pop them in one at a time for a marathon viewing.
Admittedly, this isn’t the first collection of Disney song CDs and it won’t be the last, so true collectors of Disney music will have the vast majority of these songs already. “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” is on at least three different Disney and Pixar albums I have alone, and that isn’t including the Toy Story soundtrack. Still, for first time buyers or people looking for an album that has a lot of hits all in one place, you really can’t go wrong here. I’d definitely recommend picking up a copy for any fan of Disney music.