I Wan'na Be like You (The Monkey Song)
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Richard Sherman said he and his brother aimed for a jazz sound, with a Dixieland-like melody. He added that "When we first got an idea for 'I Wan'na Be Like You,' we said an ape swings from a tree, and he's the king of apes. We'll make him 'the king of the swingers.' That's the idea, we'll make him a jazz man." Once Prima was invited to do the song, he mockingly responded to the Shermans with "You want to make a monkey out of me? You got me!" The instrumentals were originally recorded by Prima—who also played the trumpet—and his band, Sam Butera & The Witnesses, but the music was replaced by one written by the film's composer, George Bruns, and orchestrated by Walter Sheets. The "scat dialogue" between Baloo and King Louie was the result of two recording sessions. Louis Prima recorded first, with the intent that Baloo—played in his recording by Butera—would simply repeat what Louie scatted, but Phil Harris decided not to imitate Prima's recording and made up his own. The song was released the same date as the motion picture itself.
- Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen released a single of "I Wanna Be like You" (without an apostrophe in the title) in 1968 and it also featured on their 1969 album King of the Swingers.
- Pinky and Perky recorded a version for their Film Parade album in 1970 and also released the song as a single.
- On the 1990 collection Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films, the song appears on "Medley Two" as recorded by Los Lobos, who play the song occasionally in their live shows.
- On 5 April 1994 Phish performed a truly Phish-styled version at The Metropolis Concert Hall in Montreal, Quebec.
- Big Bad Voodoo Daddy did a cover of the song on the Swingers soundtrack, even though the song does not appear in the film. The band later released the song on their 1999 album This Beautiful Life.
- Voodoo Glow Skulls recorded a ska version of the song for the 2002 Japanese-exclusive album Dive into Disney.
- The Jungle Book 2, released in 2003, featured the band Smash Mouth playing the song during the end credits of the film; the song also appeared on the film's soundtrack. In the Australian version, Nikki Webster covers the song, which is also featured on her Best of album.
- The 2005 album En Vivo by Gabriel Ríos contains a cover of the song.
- In 2007, a pop rock cover was recorded by the Jonas Brothers for Disneymania 5.
- British pop singer Paolo Nutini performed "I Wan'na Be like You" at the 2007 Glastonbury Festival.
- On 23 October 2010, X Factor contestant Katie Waissel pleased the judges with her surprise selection of the song.
- Craig David sang a cover of the song for an award ceremony in the UK; the video is on YouTube.
- In November 2013, The Overtones recorded a cover of the song as a mix with "The Bare Necessities" for their album Saturday Night at the Movies.
- In 2015, Fall Out Boy recorded a cover version of the song for the compilation album We Love Disney.
- Christopher Walken performs the song as King Louie in the 2016 live-action adaptation, with new lyrics written by Richard M. Sherman to reflect the character of Louie being depicted as a Gigantopithecus.
- J-pop band Little Glee Monster recorded a Japanese cover of the song titled 'Kimi no yō ni naritai` (君のようになりたい).
- The Fun Songs version is performed in a 1994 Disney Sing-Along Songs home video: Let's Go to the Circus. In it, Toby Scott Ganger imagines what it would be like if he and his friends were all monkeys in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus show.
Robbie Williams version
|"I Wanna Be like You"|
|Song by Robbie Williams featuring Olly Murs|
|from the album Swings Both Ways|
"I Wan'na Be like You" was covered by British recording artist Robbie Williams featuring British recording artist Olly Murs for his tenth studio album Swings Both Ways (2013). Production of their rendition was handled by Guy Chambers. However, in the liner notes Robbie Williams incorrectly attributes the original to Phil Harris, and says how much he admires Harris (p. 4 of notes in Deluxe Edition).
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||55|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||85|
Uses in popular culture
- In 2009, "I Wanna Be like You" was used in a British anti-smoking public information film. It showed children copying everything their parents did (for example, boys putting shaving cream on their faces, girls dressing up in their mothers' best clothes and both genders washing the car), and "I Wanna Be like You" is playing throughout the advertisement, but it stops when a girl puts a crayon to her mouth in imitation of her mother smoking. It stops with the voice-over saying, "If you smoke, your children are more likely to."
- The Robbie Williams/Olly Murs collaborative cover appears in season 3, episode 9 of the TV drama Stella.
- In 2015, "I Wanna Be like You" was featured in season 1, episode 7 of the TV drama Aquarius.
- The Jungle Book (1967)—Soundtracks from Internet Movie Database
- Sherman, Richard. The Jungle Book audio commentary. The Jungle Book—Platinum Edition
- I Wan'na Be like You: Richard Sherman shares story behind writing famous Jungle Book song
- Kenny Ball 45rpm Discography at www.45rpm.org.uk
- Kenny Ball—King Of The Swingers (1969) at Discogs
- Rebecca Keegan (April 15, 2016). "'Jungle Book' director Jon Favreau keeps the 19th century Kipling tone but updates the classic for modern times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
- "Austriancharts.at – Robbie Williams feat. Olly Murs – I wanna Be like You" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Robbie Williams feat. Olly Murs – I wanna Be like You". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Chart Track: Week 48, 2013". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 23 January 2014.