We talk with songwriter and composer Richard Sherman about his work on the Disney classics “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book,” and more.
Before “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin,” there was another giant generation of legendary Disney movie musicals. Call them the classics. “Mary Poppins.” “The Jungle Book.” “Winnie the Pooh.” More. And Richard Sherman and his late brother Robert wrote them all. The music, that is. And the lyrics that still run deep in the minds of millions around the world. It is an incredible songbook, with a very distinctive spirit. Up next On Point: composer Richard Sherman, on writing the Disney musical classics.
— Tom Ashbrook
Richard Sherman, Academy- and Grammy-award winning composer and lyricist; with his brother, Robert, composed more motion-picture musical score songs than any other songwriting team in film history. Composed scores and songs for films including “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book,” “Chitty Citty Bang Bang,” “The AristoCats,” and many, many more; co-author of “It’s A Small World After All.”
From Tom’s Reading List
New York Times: Cutting Through a Cultural Thicket — “As the band rolled through the familiar Dixieland rumble of “I Wanna Be Like You” and the sunny swing of “The Bare Necessities,” sax and sitar traded improvised solos, and tabla and drums found fresh grooves together. Richard M. Sherman, a songwriter on the 1967 animated film, looked on approvingly, tinkering with lyrics, chiming in with musical advice, or singing along when the occasion moved him.”
NPR: Songs We Love: Disney Songwriters the Sherman Brothers — “Let’s face it. ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’ is a song about unbridled Anglophilia. It’s the sound of an American waltzing with a Dickensian fantasy. Composer Robert B. Sherman fell in love with England as a young American soldier recovering there from injuries sustained during World War II, and ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’ finds playfulness in the inflexibility of the class system as perhaps only an American could.”
TIME: Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in “Saving Mr Banks” — “Emma Thompson has taken on some difficult roles during her career, winning Oscars and numerous other awards for her performances in works based on classic literature and historical events. But, says the actress, one role stands apart from the rest. ‘She’s the most difficult person I’ve ever played,’ Thompson says of her role as P.L. Travers, the author of the “Mary Poppins” books, in the forthcoming film ‘Saving Mr. Banks.'”