When we found out that legendary Disney songwriter Richard Sherman would be joining us in-studio this week, it was almost like someone had released a musical spigot in the On Point news meeting. Difficult talk of daily news melted away as Tom and the staff alike tried to name their favorite Sherman Brothers song or movie, and tried to push each song as a request for when the songwriter came by for an interview on Tuesday.
We managed to scrounge up a keyboard (with thanks to the local music gurus at Mr. Music) and Sherman failed to disappoint with his live, in-studio performances of a few of his classic hits from everyone’s childhood.
We’ve excerpted the performances here. They’re terribly brief, unfortunately, but give a terribly charming look into the man behind these classic songs. Listen to the interview itself for more, but enjoy the samples below.
Richard Sherman Sings “I Wanna Be Like You” from “The Jungle Book”
Sherman told Tom that convincing the jazz giant Louis Prima to appear in the Disney version of Rudyard Kipling’s novel, “The Jungle Book,” took more than a simple performance. Prima, by that time an older man in the middle of a lengthy Las Vegas club act, didn’t finish his set until 4 a.m. After that, the nervous, anxious Sherman Brothers played the Prima bunch a song that would become one of the jazz man’s most enduring hits.
Richard Sherman Sings “Feed the Birds” from “Mary Poppins”
Sherman told Tom that this woeful, wistful tune from Julie Andrews’ big breakout picture was Walt Disney’s favorite song. (Whether Sherman meant of all songs, period, or just among the Sherman Brothers’ many hum-worthy hits, we couldn’t say.) The song was among many British-inspired bits written for the film, which was almost scuttled by the objections of P. L. Travers, author of the original book on which the film was based. That process will be detailed in an upcoming Disney film, “Saving Mr. Banks,” due out this December.