Sunday, July 5, 2015

Announcing: The Disney Music Project!

First trip to Magic Kingdom, Jan 1982

After finishing up The MacGyver Project and taking a month off from doing any writing, I feel ready to get back in the game!  I'm rested and recharged, and I've been enjoying my time away from MacGyver by getting through almost all of the "Prison Break" series in what has turned out to be a fantastic recommendation by loyal reader Mark.

But the immediate future of the blog is not "Prison Break" or any other tv show for that matter. To announce the blog's new direction, here are some FAQs.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy me interviewing myself.

What are you doing?
I am ranking the top 76 Disney songs and doing a reverse countdown from 76 to 1 where each song is its own post.

Why are you doing this?
It's a way to be creative and keep writing.  As with MacGyver, it's a way to revisit my childhood and also learn more about a topic which I love.  And most of all, it's fun.  

What is this blog all about?
In case you're just joining me, I recently completed an almost two year effort where I reviewed every episode of MacGyver and presented each episode as a post in order from my least favorite to most favorite.  I also reached out to members of the cast and crew and published the conversations that I had with them.  Here's a page with links to the conversations and episode rankings. 

Will you keep the Disney posts on the same MacGyver blog?
Yes.  That may end up confusing some new readers, but I don't feel like starting a brand new blog. And it's nice to have MacGyver humbly watching over the proceedings from above. 

What is your connection with Disney?
MacGyver and I go back a very long way (to when I was 9 years old), but my relationship with Disney goes back much further.  Not only was I raised on Disney movies and cartoons, but I was lucky enough to be part of a family that went to Disney World just about every year from the time I was born.  Initially we'd go for about two weeks in the summer (my parents were teachers and had summers off), and then when I was a teenager and my mother got a different job, we went over Christmas break.  Most of my Disney experience is Disney World-centric, though I have been to Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and on board the Disney Cruise Line.  As an adult, I've gone to Disney World much less often (3 times in the last 15 years), but Disney remains in my blood and in my family DNA, and it's a source of some very special childhood memories.

What is your connection with music?
You could say my love of music dates back to before I was even born -- the story goes that my mother was taking piano lessons when she was pregnant with me and that I would calm down (i.e. stop kicking) when she would play.  I have perfect pitch and a deep appreciation for melodious, beautiful music.  On this blog, I've talked ad infinitum about my love of the music from MacGyver and how the show would not have been the same without it.

What songs are eligible for inclusion on the list?
I'm including songs from the theme parks (whether they be from an attraction, a show, or a parade), and I'm including songs from Disney films, television, and cartoons.  I'm only considering films released with the Walt Disney Pictures label (so nothing from Touchstone, Dreamworks, etc). Here's a good list from Wikipedia of every official Walt Disney Pictures movie.  And I'm not including songs that were originally written for another purpose and then later used by Disney (i.e. "arrangements").  I am, however, going to have a post with my top 10 favorite arrangements before starting in on my top 76 songs.

Where does the "76" come from?
Originally I was thinking of doing a top 50, but there were just too many great songs to include. At the same time, I could have easily done a top 100, but I thought there was some value in making the list small enough that there are some good songs that are left out (and there are lots of good ones that I left out).  That way once we get near the top of the rankings, there will still be some mystery as to what is left.

As far as the number 76 in particular, I am starting this on the July 4th weekend, and I am a huge Philadelphia 76ers fan, so it seemed like good karma to choose that number.

How will you rank them?
I will rank them based on my enjoyment of the song itself, like how it makes me feel or what sounds good to me -- completely my own personal preference.  It's not based on what the most historically impactful song is or what song I think a majority of people would like.  As I said when introducing The MacGyver Project"It's less (in fact not at all) about what I think others would think, and instead is mostly (or completely) about what I think. 

Were the songs hard to rank?
Yes! Just as with ranking MacGyver episodes, it is very challenging to split hairs on some of these songs.  I tried to do it fairly quickly and without overthinking it. 

Are you an expert on Disney music?
No!  Although I'm familiar with much of the music, the Disney universe is way too big to know everything.  Surely there are great songs out there that I have never heard of and will unjustly omit from the rankings.  C'est la vie.

What will your posts include?
A link to the song.  Factual information such as the writer, performer, and year of creation. Where the song is (or was) heard.  Something about the musicality of the song. And then my personal connection or memory (if there is one) with the song and the ride/movie from which it comes. Some posts will be pretty big and others will be quite small.  And I may occasionally go off on Disney-related tangents such as "What is my favorite animated movie?" or "How the decline of Future World mirrors the decay of American society."

Will there be any behind-the-scenes interviews?
I hope so!

Are comments encouraged?
Yes!  Please share any memories, thoughts, or facts about a particular song. As I said earlier, there's so much I don't know, and I hope to learn a lot just as I did from everyone who commented on my MacGyver posts.

Thanks for joining me on this exploration of Disney music, and I hope you enjoy the rankings! 


  1. Good luck with the future direction of the blog. Looks like an interesting direction go with some fun personal quirks such as the significance of the number "76" and I look forward to your Disney-related tangents as you compile the countdown. There will be some songs I will probably remember and like but I'm afraid I won't have the knowledge to contribute too frequently with personal thoughts.

    How often do you figure you will typically put up a new post?

    1. Thanks Mark, glad to have you checking in on the blog. My guess is that I'll probably average around two posts per week. I may post more frequently sometimes if the posts are short and if there are no special guests involved. And sometimes the posting may be less frequent if I end up watching a movie and commenting on that as well as the corresponding song (I won't always watch the movie but I may do it sometimes).