When You Wish Upon A Star was written by Ned Washington and Leigh Harline. It is introduced right at the beginning of Pinocchio, sung over the title credits by Cliff Edwards (also known as Ukulele Ike) and it sets up the film’s primary theme – wishing, dreams, throwing all your heart into what you most desire. This theme would eventually become an umbrella, covering every aspect of the WDC and influencing general future progression. Wishing and dreams are important to a lot of Disney songs, and whilst a couple from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs touch on that, I believe it is When You Wish Upon A Star that firmly fixed those ideas into the Disney psyche.
You can’t go anywhere or do anything with Disney that does not include this song.
It plays over the castle logo at the start of every film – post-1980.
In the 1950s and 60s, it was used in the opening sequences of all the Walt Disney anthology series, including Disneyland.
The ships of the Disney Cruise Line use the first seven notes of the melody as their horn signal.
It is one of the staple songs to be included on the soundtrack of any Disney Park firework display or parade.
It is found on every compilation CD out there.
It was also said to be the inspiration for the classic Muppet song, The Rainbow Connection.
Mickey Mouse might be the top character behind the Disney name but When You Wish Upon A Star is what helps to bring people back time and time again.
Rightly so, it was the first ever Disney song to be awarded the Oscar for Best Original Song. It is also ranked 7th in the 100 Greatest Songs in Film History – not surprisingly the highest ranking of all the included Disney songs.
Taking all this into account, it is no wonder When You Wish Upon A Star is one of the greatest songs to have ever come out of Disney.
Now speaking on a personal note, it has always been one of my favourites. I love the simplicity of the melody, the message that even the smallest of dreams can be powerful, that your dreams can come true no matter how long it takes. It’s beautiful, and there will never be another song, perhaps beside A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes, that evokes the same emotions and creates a powerful legacy.
I’ll now leave you with two of my favourite cover recordings:
What do you think about its legacy?
Does the song mean anything to you?
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!