I Just Can't Wait to Be King

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"I Just Can't Wait to Be King"
Song by Jason Weaver, Rowan Atkinson, and Laura Williams
from the album The Lion King
GenreWorldbeat, rock and roll
LabelWalt Disney
Songwriter(s)Elton John (music)
Tim Rice (lyrics)

"I Just Can't Wait to Be King" is a song from Disney's 1994 animated film The Lion King. With music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice, the song is performed by American actor and singer Jason Weaver in his role as Simba, while American actress Laura Williams and English actor Rowan Atkinson provide backup vocals in their roles as Nala and Zazu. [1]


The song illustrates the difference of opinion between the naive king-to-be Simba and the wise and anxious majordomo Zazu.

The song was written for the 1994 film The Lion King.


The song is about the naive desire to do whatever you want once you assume a form of power, or reach the age of majority. However, often when you achieve your goals, you don't acquire freedom in the way your teenage mind imagined it. With great power comes great responsibility.[2] The song is "An ode to youthful arrogance, invincibility and above all, impatience".[3]

Critical reception[edit]

The New York Times Theater Reviews 1997-1998 described the song as "conventionally comic and upbeat".[4] The New York Times Film Reviews 1993-1994 deemed the "derivativeness" of the "cute, lilting...safe" pop song "irritating", and described it as sounding "as if Michael Jackson were singing "Under the Sea".[2][5] At a Hayes Centre summer youth camp, the song was "the favourite song for our kids".[2] Lakeland Ledger described it as a "dazzling Busby Berkeley-style dancefest" with a "Rockettes kickline".[6] The Cavalier Daily called it a "festive number", and reminiscent of songs from The Little Mermaid.[7] It has been described as "strutting ",[8] "bouncy ",[9] "grand ",[10] and a “hubris-filled fantasy song”.[11] The song was ranked the 5th song from The Lion King out of 6, describing it as "catchy", "irritating", and "a little too close to 'River of Dreams'".[3] BoingBoing listed it as the 11th best Disney I Want song; it is ranked so low due to not being very "thematically rich".[12] News.com deemed it the underdog song of The Lion King, adding "this showstopper about the future didn’t get the accolades its brethren received." [13]

The Cavalier Daily deemed the Elton John reworking "uneventful and boring".[7]


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[14] Gold 500,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


In film[edit]

"I Just Can't Wait to Be King" is a large contrast from the film's non-musical segments, as emphasized by the number's usage of lively colors and sounds. The song is performed near the beginning of the film by a young Simba and Nala as to enunciate Simba's desires to become King. It is a prelude to Simba's lost innocence, being tricked into thinking he killed his father, his leaving Pride Rock, and attempt to forget his past.

In musical[edit]

The song appears in the Broadway show and is performed by Scott Irby-Ranniar, Kajuana Shuford, and Geoff Hoyle on the 1997 Original Cast Recording. In the Spanish language version of The Lion King, "I Just Can't Wait to be King" was performed by Mexican singer and entertainer Kalimba. Elton John himself also recorded his own version of the song for the film's soundtrack.

In D2V sequel[edit]

It also appears in DisneyToon's 2004 direct-to-video followup The Lion King 1½. Timon and Pumbaa are disturbed by some noise from outside of their home, which is actually Simba, Nala, and the animals singing this musical number. Timon is angry and hits the leg of an elephant supporting the tower of animals. The elephant jumps in surprise and causes the tower to collapse, explaining why it collapses in the original film. Timon and Pumbaa's home is ruined by this event.

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ "Lion King Production Notes" (Press release). Walt Disney Pictures. 1994-05-25. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  2. ^ a b c "McCook Daily Gazette - Google News Archive Search". google.com.
  3. ^ a b "Ranking the Songs From "The Lion King"". Popdust.
  4. ^ "The New York Times Theater Reviews 1997-1998". google.com.au.
  5. ^ "The New York Times Film Reviews 1993-1994". google.com.au.
  6. ^ "Lakeland Ledger - Google News Archive Search". google.com.
  7. ^ a b "The Cavalier Daily - Google News Archive Search". google.com.
  8. ^ "'The Lion King 3D' review". Digital Spy.
  9. ^ AOL. "'Lion King' Actress Shannon Tavarez Dies at 11". PopEater.
  10. ^ Staff Writer. "The Lion King – A Review - Stabroek News". Stabroek News.
  11. ^ "Review: Kroll Show: "Karaoke Bullies" · TV Club · The A.V. Club". avclub.com.
  12. ^ "All of Disney's "I Want" songs, ranked". Boing Boing.
  13. ^ "The best and most underrated songs from your favourite Disney films". NewsComAu.
  14. ^ "American single certifications". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 23, 2017. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]