11 celebrities who sang end-of-credit songs for ’90s Disney movies
What comes after “happily ever after”? If we’re talking about Disney movies, it’s usually an exciting number sung by one of the latest darlings in pop music. Demi Lovato, for example, delivered a rocking rendition of “Let It Go” for the end of 2013 credits. Frozen; Alessia Cara covered ‘How Far I’m Going’ for 2016 Moana; the list goes on.
The practice has been around for decades now, so you’re forgiven if you can’t remember all the celebrities whose voices are heard behind the scrolling text after a Disney animated film from the 1990s. But like some of them are surprising – and most are firmly in the realm of “contemporary adults” – they are a fairly entertaining walk down memory lane. From Michael Bolton to Sting, here are 11 musicians who brought Disney’s late ’90s credits to life.
1. Michael Bolton // “Go the Distance” From Hercules (1997)
Critics generally applauded HerculesThe sincere ballad “Go the Distance”, but not necessarily that of Michael Bolton for the closing credits. “Even Michael Bolton cannot ruin Herc’s great number of inspiration,” wrote Bob Ross (not the painter) for The Tampa Tribune; and Bennington BannerAlden Graves said the song was “so good that even Michael Bolton’s [whiny] rendering during the end credits can’t ruin it. “
2. and 3.98 degrees and Stevie Wonder // “True to your heart” From Mulan (1998)
Mulan has become a star vehicle for a young Mickey mouse club graduated under the name Christina Aguilera, whose recording of “Reflection” tops the charts. In the end credits, however, it was preceded by two more established acts (though not to the same degree) – namely, 98 Degrees and Stevie Wonder. They collaborated on “True to Your Heart,” which was actually written for Hanson. Lyricist David Zippel and composer Matthew Wilder had initially just hoped that Wonder would agree to play the harmonica for the track, but ended up liking it so much that he asked to contribute vocals as well.
4. All-4-One // “One day” of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz created “Someday” after the filmmakers asked them to come up with something a little more exhilarating for Esmeralda to sing as she enters Notre Dame Cathedral in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. They eventually reversed their course and settled on the original “God Help the Outcasts” prayer track, but “One Day” was not left on the cutting room floor. R&B group All-4-One, best known for “I Swear,” sang it for the closing credits.
5. and 6. Jon Secada and Shanice // “If I Never Knew You” From Pocahontas (1995)
Vanessa Williams has dined out for over two decades on the success of “Colors of the Wind,” but anyone who has left their Pocahontas Playing VHS for long enough might remember the often-forgotten second song from the closing credits: “If I Never Knew You,” a duet between Cuban-American artist Jon Secada and future R&B singer Shanice. They also recorded a Spanish version of the song. Although the recording of Pocahontas (Judy Kuhn) and John Smith (Mel Gibson) did not make it into the original film, the scene was added for the 10th anniversary edition.
7. Céline Dion // “Beauty and the Beast” by The beauty and the Beast (1991)
Maybe you haven’t really forgotten that Celine Dion was singing The beauty and the Beastthe eponymous song by Peabo Bryson; after all, it earned them a Grammy Award and reached No. 5 on Billboard’s Hot 100. What you might not remember is that Dion was still pretty much unknown when she won the gig. Things came full circle in 2017, when Dion was able to record the end credits song (“How Does a Moment Last Forever”) for the live adaptation of The beauty and the Beast.
8. Roberta Flack // “As long as there is Christmas” From Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas (1997)
If there’s a master of the Disney end credits track, it’s Peabo Bryson. In addition to his successful duet with Dion, he also performed Aladdin“A Whole New World” with Regina Belle and “As Long As There Christmas” from the 1997 direct video The beauty and the Beast after, Enchanted Christmas. For that, his partner was none other than the legend of “Killing Me Softly” Roberta Flack. Flack included the song on his Christmas album (Christmas album) the same year.
9. and 10. Heather Headley and Kenny Lattimore // “Love Will Find a Way” by The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998)
The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride was another direct-to-video masterpiece with a collection of catchy new songs (although none were composed by Elton John) and buzzing new talent, including Neve Campbell (who played the Rebel Girl by Simba, Kiara). The cover of the end credits of “Love Will Find a Way” was performed by R&B singer Kenny Lattimore and Heather Headley, who originally played Nala’s role on Broadway. The Lion King a few months earlier.
11. Sting // “My funny friend and I” From The Emperor’s New Routine (2000)
The Emperor’s New Routine had started as a full-fledged musical with Sting in the composer’s chair, Elton John’s a la The Lion King (1994) and Phil Collins’s Tarzan (1999). But the producers pretty much dropped the whole story at a very late stage, and Sting’s songs didn’t fit the new (much more awkward) plot. “I’m not a particularly easy person to call and say, ‘We don’t use your songs,'” Sting told The Associated Press. “And I didn’t make them feel any easier about it.”
But he didn’t quit production – in fact, he wrote two other songs for the film, including “My Funny Friend and Me” for the end credits. And three of his original songs were part of the soundtrack album, including a love ballad with Shawn Colvin called “One Day She’ll Love Me.” (And yes, The Emperor’s New Routine technically released in 2000. But Sting worked on the songs in the 1990s, which seemed like reason enough to include him on this list. Also, it’s Sting.)