That's What Friends Are For (The Vulture Song)

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"That's What Friends Are For (The Vulture Song)" is a song in the widely popular Walt Disney film The Jungle Book from 1967. It was sung by a quartet of "mop top" vultures who are making friends with Mowgli, the main character of the film. The song was written by Disney staff songwriters, Robert and Richard Sherman, and sung primarily by J. Pat O'Malley, Lord Tim Hudson, Digby Wolfe, and Chad Stuart. Bruce Reitherman and George Sanders both made cameo appearances in the song singing as Mowgli and Shere Khan the tiger, respectively, in different parts. [1] In the soundtrack album, The Mellomen members Bill Lee replaced the unavailable Sanders.[2]

Composing[edit]

The Shermans were brought onto the film by Walt Disney due to Disney's feeling that the interpretation was keeping too true to the Rudyard Kipling book. In a deliberate effort to keep the score "light", this song as well as the Sherman Brothers' other contributions generally concern darker subject matter than the accompanying music would suggest. In the case of "That's What Friends Are For", the vultures sing in the style of a barbershop quartet, making their song endearing to Mowgli - and that much more dangerous.[1] The lyrics feature many double entendres regarding how the vultures eat other animals.[3] The song was originally conceived as a rock and roll song, sung by the quartet of vultures. The vultures were even designed based on The Beatles, with moptop haircuts and Liverpudlian accents, and would be voiced by the band, which did not come into fruition due to problems with their schedule. During production Disney decided the 60's style rock would cause the song to be considered dated later, leading "We're Your Friends" to be changed to the barbershop quartet that appears in the film.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sherman, Robert B., Walt's Time: from before to beyond, Camphor Tree Publishers, Santa Clarita, California, 1998, p 84., ISBN 0-9646059-3-7
  2. ^ Richard Sherman (2007). The Jungle Book audio commentary. The Jungle Book, Platinum Edition, Disc 1. 
  3. ^ Sherman, Robert B.; Sherman, Richard M. (1990). Interview with the Sherman Brothers (AUDIO TRACK). The Jungle Book soundtrack, 30th Anniversary Edition (1997): Walt Disney Records. 
  4. ^ "Lost Character: Rocky the Rhino", The Jungle Book Platinum Edition Disc 1