In the new drama "Saving Mr. Banks," much attention is given to the story behind how author P.L. Travers (portrayed by the always excellent Emma Thompson) created the world of "Mary Poppins" and was then convinced to turn it over to Walt Disney (Tom Hanks, naturally). It's a heartwarming tale.
Which is cool and everything. But ask any fan of the classic 1964 musical "Mary Poppins" what they love most about the film and it likely won't be Mary, or her cheeky paramour Bert or even the redemption arc of grumpy dad Mr. Banks (a proxy for Travers' own father). No, what everyone loves first and foremost about "Mary Poppins" are the songs.
Not that "Saving Mr. Banks" gives The Sherman Brothers short shrift; some of our favorite scenes feature composers Richard and Robert Sherman (Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak respectively) trying to win over the prickly Travers with their songs. But still, that just whet our appetite. After all, once you get one of those classic Sherman Brothers earworms stuck in your head, nothing short of invasive surgery can get it out.
With that in mind we've put together our list of the top ten Sherman Brothers songs in the history of movies. So check it out. And get ready to be whisked away on your own magic journey.
10. Spoonful of Sugar - 'Mary Poppins'
In this classic tune, Mary Poppings does her best Tom Sawyer impression and somehow convinces children that doing work is fun. We're not sure we buy that, but on the other hand, it also taught us the benefit of sprinkling sugar on literally everything we eat. So, so yummy.
9. Winnie the Pooh Theme - 'The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh'
Technically, the Sherman Brothers wrote this theme for the 1966 short "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree," which was later combined with other Pooh shorts for the 1977 feature "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh." But who wants to get technical when you're talking about Winnie the Pooh? Tens of millions of children and adults will agree that this is one of the most beloved theme songs of all time.
8. Make Way for Tomorrow - 'Iron Man 2'
Besides their film legacy, the Sherman Brothers are responsible for many of the most famous theme park theme songs in the world, including the most annoyingly catchy tune ever written, "It's A Small World." So when the folks at Marvel Studios decided to
parody pay tribute to Disneyland with Iron Man's Disney-esque dad Howard Stark and his Stark Expo, it was only fitting that they brought in Richard Sherman himself to pen the Stark Expo theme. Awesome.
7. I Wanna Be Like You - 'The Jungle Book'
Unhappy with the music developed for "The Jungle Book," Walt Disney scrapped most of the original compositions and brought in the Sherman Brothers to punch things up. The result is one of the best loved animated films of all time, thanks in no small part to hits like "I Wanna Be Like You." It should be noted that the scat call and answer session was ad-libbed by singers Louis Prima and Phil Harris. Yeah, man!
6. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - 'Mary Poppins'
Probably the best known Sherman Brothers song, and for good reason. We'd go into more detail about this one, but frankly, we don't want to have to try typing it again. Plus, everyone in the world is familiar with this tongue twisting duet between Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.
5. Are We Dancing? - 'The Happiest Millionaire'
Over the past nine decades, Disney has put out some of the best and most beloved live action films ever. "The Happiest Millionaire" is not one of them. It's pretty much only remembered at all because of the great Sherman Brothers soundtrack, which includes this dreamily romantic number that will have even the hardest hearts swooning.
4. Heffalumps and Woozles - 'The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh'
Originally appearing in the 1968 short "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day," "Heffalumps and Woozles" is a slice of pure psychedelic madness that has been simultaneously delighting and terrifying children from the moment it first hit the screen. For safety reasons, we strongly recommend only watching this if you are completely sober.
3. On the Front Porch - 'Summer Magic'
Before "Marry Poppins," the Sherman Brothers cut their teeth on earlier live action Disney hits such as 1961's "The Parent Trap" (which earned star Hayley Mills a top ten hit for her recording of their song "Let's Get Together") and 1963's "Summer Magic." Beloved crooner Burl Ives perfectly captured that film's nostalgia for simpler times with this brief musical ode to the important things in life.
2. Chim Chim Cher-ee - 'Mary Poppins'
The Sherman Brothers won an Oscar for Best Original Song for "Chim Chim Cher-ee." That's no surprise. What's surprising is that somehow, "Chim Chim Cher-ee" is the only song from "Marry Poppins" to be nominated for Best Original Song. Still, the Academy got it right in the end: The Sherman Brothers also took home the Oscar for Best Original Score as well.
1. Feed the Birds - 'Mary Poppins'
The heart of "Mary Poppins" is found in the message of this song, which spurs the Banks children to spend their savings to help the less fortunate creatures of our world - which in turn inspires their father to realize what's truly important in his own life. "Feed the Birds" was also Walt Disney's own favorite song; he would often summon the Sherman brothers up to his office simply so they could sing "Feed the Birds" for him one more time. And who are we to argue with Walt Disney?