Sherman Brothers

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The Sherman Brothers were an American songwriting duo that specialized in musical films, made up of Robert B. Sherman (December 19, 1925 – March 6, 2012)[1] and Richard M. Sherman (born June 12, 1928).

The Sherman Brothers wrote more motion-picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in film history.[2] Film scores of the Sherman Brothers include Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book (except “The Bare Necessities”), Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Charlotte's Web and The Aristocats. Their most well known work, however, remains the theme park song "It's a Small World (After All)". According to Time.com, this song is the most performed song of all time.[3][4]

Life and work[edit]

Sons of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Robert and Richard Sherman began writing songs together in 1951 on a challenge from their father, Tin Pan Alley songwriter Al Sherman. The brothers wrote together and with different songwriting partners throughout the rest of the decade. They wrote the title song for Doris Day's album Bright and Shiny, recorded in 1960 and released a year later.

In 1958, Robert founded the music publishing company Music World Corporation, which later enjoyed a landmark relationship with Disney's BMI-affiliated publishing arm, Wonderland Music Company. That same year, the Sherman Brothers had their first top-ten hit with "Tall Paul", sung by Mouseketeer Judy Harriet on the Surf Records label and then covered by Mouseketeer Annette Funicello. The success of this song yielded the attention of Walt Disney, who eventually hired the Sherman Brothers as staff songwriters for Walt Disney Studios. The first song they wrote on personal assignment by Walt Disney was "Strummin' Song" in 1961. It was used in the Annette Funicello made-for-television movie called The Horsemasters. The first song that the Sherman Brothers contributed to a Disney movie was "Medfield Fight Song" from the film The Absent-Minded Professor (1961).

While at Disney, the Sherman Brothers wrote more motion-picture musical scores than any other songwriters in the history of film. They also wrote what is perhaps their best-known song, "It's a Small World (After All)", for the 1964 New York World's Fair. Since then, some have claimed that this has become the most translated and performed song on Earth, although this is largely due to the fact that it is played continuously at Disney's theme park "It's a Small World" attractions of the same name.[5]

In 1965, the Sherman Brothers won two Academy Awards for Mary Poppins, which includes the songs "Feed The Birds," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," and the Oscar-winning "Chim Chim Cher-ee." Since Mary Poppins' premiere, the Shermans have subsequently earned nine Academy Award nominations, two Grammy Awards, four Grammy Award nominations, and 23 gold- and platinum-certified albums.

Robert and Richard Sherman worked directly for Walt Disney, completing the scores for the live-action musical films The Happiest Millionaire and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band until Disney's death in 1966. Since leaving the company, the brothers have worked freelance as songwriters on scores of motion pictures, television shows, theme-park exhibits, and stage musicals.

Their first non-Disney assignment came with Albert R. Broccoli's motion picture production Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for United Artists in 1968, which garnered the brothers their third Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for its particularly memorable titular song.

In 1970, the Shermans returned to Disney for a brief stint where they completed work on The Aristocats and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The latter film garnered the brothers their fourth and fifth Oscar nominations. 1972 saw the release of Snoopy Come Home, for which the brothers received a Grammy nomination.

In 1973, the Sherman Brothers also made history by becoming the only Americans ever to win First Prize at the Moscow Film Festival for Tom Sawyer, for which they also authored the screenplay.

In 1976, “The Slipper and the Rose” was picked to be the Royal Command Performance of the year. The performance was attended by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. A modern musical adaptation of the classic Cinderella story, "Slipper", also featured songs, score, and screenplay by the Sherman Brothers. Two further Academy Award nominations were garnered by the brothers for the film. That same year the Sherman Brothers received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame directly across from Grauman's Chinese Theater.

The Sherman Brothers' numerous other Disney and non-Disney top box office film credits include The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats (1970), The Parent Trap (1961), The Parent Trap (1998), Charlotte's Web (1973), Huckleberry Finn (1974), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), Snoopy, Come Home (1972), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), and Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989). Outside the motion-picture realm, their Tony Award-nominated smash hit Over Here! (1974) was the biggest-grossing original Broadway musical of that year. The Sherman Brothers have also written numerous top-selling songs including "You're Sixteen," which reached Billboard's Hot 100 top 10 twice: first with Johnny Burnette in 1960 and then at #1 with Ringo Starr more than thirteen years later. Other top-ten hits include "Pineapple Princess," "Let's Get Together," and more.

In 2000, the Sherman Brothers wrote the song score for the Disney film The Tigger Movie. This film marked the brothers' first major motion picture for the Disney company in over 28 years.

The Sherman Brothers wrote "Only a Woman Like You" with adult contemporary/pop singer/songwriter Michael Bolton as a trio and a single from the album of the same name and it features during the end credits of the 2007 Disney film Super Sleuth Christmas Movie.

In 2002, Chitty hit the London stage, receiving rave reviews. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is currently the most successful stage show ever produced at the London Palladium, boasting the longest run in that century-old theater's history. On April 28, 2005, a second Chitty company premiered on Broadway (New York City) at the Foxwoods Theatre. The Sherman Brothers wrote an additional six songs specifically for the new stage productions. A successful third company of Chitty is currently touring throughout the United Kingdom.

In 2003, four Sherman Brothers' musicals ranked in the Top 10 Favorite Children's Films of All Time in a British nationwide poll reported by the BBC. Most notably, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) topped the list at #1.

In later years, with Robert's move to London, the brothers wrote new songs for the stage musical presentation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

For their contributions to the motion picture industry, the Sherman brothers have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6918 Hollywood Blvd. and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 9, 2005. On November 16, 2006, Mary Poppins premiered at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway.

On November 17, 2008 the Sherman Brothers received the National Medal of Arts which is the highest honor conferred upon artists or patrons of the arts by the United States Government. The award was presented by United States President George W. Bush in an East Room ceremony at The White House.

On May 22, 2009, The Boys: the Sherman Brothers’ Story, a critically acclaimed documentary film about the pair, was theatrically released. The film was directed and produced by their sons, Gregory V. Sherman and Jeff Sherman, and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.

In October 2009, Disney released a 59-track, two-CD compendium of their work for the studio spanning 42 years. The CD is titled The Sherman Brothers Songbook.

On March 11, 2010, the Sherman Brothers were presented with a specialized window on Main Street, U.S.A. Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in honor of their contribution to Disney theme parks. On May 17, 2010, the Sherman Brothers received the "Career Achievement Award" at The Theatre Museum's 2010 Awards Gala in New York City.

Later achievements[edit]

The Sherman Brothers receive the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor bestowed upon artists from the United States Government. Left to right: Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman and U.S. President George W. Bush at The White House, November 17, 2008.

Collaboration from afar[edit]

From 2002, Robert Sherman lived in London, England. He moved from Beverly Hills, while Richard Sherman remained in California. Robert Sherman died in London on March 6, 2012.[1]

Major scores[edit]

Motion picture screenplays[edit]

Stage musicals[edit]

The London Palladium in 2004
  • Victory Canteen, 1971 (Ivar Theatre, L.A.)
  • Over Here!, 1974 (Broadway, NY)
  • Dawgs, 1983 (Variety Arts Center, L.A.)
  • Busker Alley, 1995 (U.S. Tour)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2002 (London)
  • Mary Poppins, 2004 (London)
  • On the Record 2004-5 (U.S. Tour) (several songs included)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2005 (Broadway, NY)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2005 (UK Tour)
  • Busker Alley, 2006 (Broadway, NY – *one night only)
  • Mary Poppins, 2006 (Broadway, NY)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2007 (Singapore)
  • Mary Poppins, 2008 (UK Tour)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2008 (Second UK Tour)
  • Mary Poppins, 2008 (Gothenburg)
  • Mary Poppins, 2009 (First US Tour)
  • Mary Poppins, 2009 (Copenhagen)
  • Mary Poppins, 2009 (Budapest)
  • Mary Poppins, 2009 (Shanghai)
  • Mary Poppins, 2009 (Australia)
  • Mary Poppins, 2009 (South Africa)
  • Mary Poppins, 2009 (Scheveningen)
  • Mary Poppins, 2009 (Helsinki)
  • Mary Poppins, 2012-13 (Second US Tour)
  • A Spoonful of Sherman, 2014 (London)
  • A Spoonful of Sherman, 2017 (London)
  • A Spoonful of Sherman, 2018 (UK/Ireland Tour)

Theme park songs[edit]

Other[edit]

Professional awards[edit]

Academy Awards[edit]

Annie Awards[edit]

BAFTA Awards[edit]

BMI[edit]

  • 1977 "Pioneer Award" awarded in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1991 "Lifetime Achievement Award" awarded at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

Christopher Award[edit]

Disney[edit]

Golden Globes[edit]

Golden Videocassette Award[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Laurel Awards[edit]

Moscow Film Festival[edit]

National Medal of Arts[edit]

Olivier Awards[edit]

Songwriters Hall of Fame[edit]

  • 2005 induction at the Marriott Hotel on Times Square in New York City.

Theatre Museum Award[edit]

  • 2010 Career Achievement Award presented on May 17, 2010 at The Players Club in New York City.

Variety Club Awards[edit]

Walk of Fame[edit]

  • 1976 A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame awarded to "Richard & Robert Sherman" on November 17, 1976, located at 6914 Hollywood Blvd.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Robert B. Sherman
  2. ^ London Today on air interview with Robert B. Sherman, April 17, 2002
  3. ^ Corliss, Richard (April 30, 2014). "Is This the Most Played Song in Music History?". time.com.
  4. ^ Kubersky, Seth (January 7, 2014). "Fact-Checking Saving Mr. Banks with Disney Historian Jim Korkis". orlandoweekly.com.
  5. ^ ""It's a Small World" by Disneyland Chorus". Retrieved 2008-05-19.
  6. ^ "A Chat with "The Aristocrats" Composer, Richard Sherman of the Sherman Brothers". Archived from the original on 2012-07-07.
  7. ^ "A Spoonful of Sherman – Review 13/01/14". Stagey Secrets.
  8. ^ Hanks-Farmer, Caroline. "A Spoonful of Sherman – Live at The Zedel until 20th August". Carns Theatre Passion. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  9. ^ "A Spoonful of Sherman". Live At Zedel (2017).
  10. ^ Hewis, Ben (13 June 2017). "Casting announced for A Spoonful of Sherman at Live at Zedel". What's On Stage. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  11. ^ News Desk (14 June 2017). "Cast Announced For A SPOONFUL OF SHERMAN Live at Zédel". West End Wilma. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  12. ^ BWW News Desk (December 20, 2017). "Sherman Brothers Musical to Tour UK". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  13. ^ Cheesman, Neil (December 20, 2017). "First Tour Dates Announced for A Spoonful of Sherman". London Theatre 1. Retrieved 22 December 2017. Robert J Sherman, son of Robert B. Sherman and a successful composer in his own right brings the utterly compelling story of one family’s century-long, award-winning musical journey to UK audiences in 2018.
  14. ^ Carter, Roz. "REVIEW: A SPOONFUL OF SHERMAN (Greenwich Theatre) ★★★★★". West End Wilma. Retrieved 10 April 2018. The whole show is filled with whimsy, magic and some of the most memorable songs ever written; it does the Sherman family proud. I can’t remember when I spent a more joyful or moving evening at the theatre.
  15. ^ http://www.playbill.com/news/article/a-spoonful-of-sherman-celebration-of-songs-by-three-generations-of-songwrit-215571
  16. ^ "Richard M. Sherman - Awards". imdb.com.
  17. ^ Garreau, Joel."Stan Lee, Olivia de Havilland Win Medal of Arts Honors",Washington Post, November 17, 2008

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]