"Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" is a song from the Disney 1946 live action and animated movie Song of the South, sung by James Baskett. With music by Allie Wrubel and lyrics by Ray Gilbert, "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was the second in a long line of Disney songs to win this award, after "When You Wish upon a Star" from Pinocchio. In 2004 it finished at no. 47 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.
For many years the song was part of an opening theme medley for the Wonderful World of Disney television program and it has often been used in other TV and video productions by the studio. It is one of many popular songs that features a bluebird ("Mr. Bluebird on my shoulder"), epitomized by the "Bluebird of Happiness," as a symbol of cheer.
The song is influenced from the chorus of the pre-Civil War folk song "Zip Coon", a "Turkey in the Straw" variation: "Zip a duden duden duden zip a duden day". The term "Zip Coon" is now considered racist as it plays on a derogatory slang term for African Americans.
Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans version
|Single by Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans|
|from the album Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah|
|B-side||"Flip and Nitty"|
|Writer(s)||Allie Wrubel, Ray Gilbert|
|Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans singles chronology|
Background and release
Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, a Phil Spector-produced rhythm and blues trio from Los Angeles, recorded "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" using The Wrecking Crew in late 1962, hitting no. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1963. Their version of the song also peaked at no. 45 in the UK Singles Chart the same year. The song was included on the only album the group ever recorded, Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.
- The Kingsmen sang this song during a special episode of Fibber McGee and Molly to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the show's sponsor, S.C. Johnson Company The rendition of the song mentions the sponsor within the lyrics "It's true/It's actual/Everything is Johnson's Wax-ual."
- Johnny Mercer had a no. 8 hit with his rendition of the song in 1947. As a result, Mercer had to correct listeners who mistakenly assumed that he wrote it.
- Jack Pleis released a cover in 1955 on his album, Music from Disneyland.
- Guy Mitchell released a cover in 1961.
- Connie Francis recorded the song in April 1962 for her album Connie Francis sings Award Winning Motion Picture Hits. The original recording of the Francis version appeared only on the Australia and New Zealand releases of the album. On all other international releases of the album the song appears with a new orchestration (recorded in March 1963) while keeping Francis' original 1962 vocals.
- Dionne Warwick recorded the song in 1962 for her debut album Presenting Dionne Warwick released in 1963.
- Freddie and the Dreamers included the song in their 1963 like-titled album, Freddie and the Dreamers.
- The Hollies recorded a version in 1963 with their original drummer. It is only available on the compilation, The French EP Collection, Vol. 1.
- The Dave Clark Five recorded the song for their first UK album, A Session with The Dave Clark Five and their first U.S. studio album "Glad All Over" in 1964.
- Doris Day recorded the song in 1964 for her album With a smile and a song.
- Louis Armstrong recorded an LP called Disney Songs: The Satchmo Way in 1968 featuring a number of Disney songs including "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah."
- The Gaylettes, a Jamaican ska group, covered the song in the late 1960s.
- The Jackson 5 covered it as the first song on their first LP, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 in 1969.
- Muppet bunnies performed this song on a 1980 episode of The Muppet Show.
- Actor Kurt Russell sings a few lines of this song in the 1987 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer comedy film Overboard.
- Steve Miller included a version on his Born 2 B Blue album (1988).
- Actor Chevy Chase sings this song in the 1989 Universal Pictures comedy film Fletch Lives.
- Avant garde big band jazz leader Sun Ra included a version on his Disney tribute album, Second Star to the Right album (1989).
- On the direct-to-video/album release Simply Mad About the Mouse in 1991, a rotoscoped Ric Ocasek sings a psychedelic cover of the song.
- Paula Abdul recorded the song with a pop twist to it for the album "For Our Children" in 1992.
- The Australian children's show Play School recorded a version of the song for the album Play School in the Car.
- Mannheim Steamroller covered the song on their 1999 album, Mannheim Steamroller Meets the Mouse.
- Domino covered a Eurobeat version of the song on the album Eurobeat Disney in 2000.
- Stevie Brock sings this song on DisneyMania Vol. 2 CD in 2004.
- Aly & AJ sings this song on DisneyMania Vol. 3 CD in 2005.
- Miley Cyrus sings this song on DisneyMania Vol.4 CD in 2006.
- Japanese singer Ami Suzuki sings this song for a Disney Music Store Japan special promotion in December 2006.
- Diana Ross & The Supremes recorded a version of this song for their unreleased album, Diana Ross & The Supremes Sing Disney Classics.
- John Tartaglia and the cast of Johnny and the Sprites will cover this for Disney Music Block Party.
- British comedian Bill Bailey performs a "Portishead" version of the song in his Part Troll show uas a proposed new British national anthem.
- The Mummies cover the song on the album, Death by Unga Bunga!!
- The Disney Sing-Along Songs home video "Disneyland Fun" features a version of the song with a faster tempo, updated instrumentation, and a rap verse about Splash Mountain.
- Actor Tom Hanks sings his own version of this song in the 1984 movie Splash.
- On the 63rd NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen, the song was featured on the "Dream Stage" finale, as performed by Arashi, AKB48, Perfume and Kanjani8.
- Harry Nilsson recorded a version of the song for Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films.
The song is heard during the finale of the popular Disney theme park ride Splash Mountain, and can be found on many official albums:
- The Disney Collection: the Best-Loved Songs from Disney Motion Pictures, Television, and Theme Parks (1987/1991/2006 CD)
- The Official Album of Disneyland and Walt Disney World (1991 CD)
- Disneyland/Walt Disney World: The Official Album (1997 CD)
- Walt Disney World Resort: Official Album (2000 CD) – as part of the ride's soundtrack
- Official Album: Walt Disney World Resort Celebrating 100 Years of Magic (2001 CD) – as part of the ride's soundtrack
- Disneyland Park: The Official Album (2001 CD) – as part of the ride's soundtrack
- A Musical History of Disneyland (2005) – as part of the ride's soundtrack
- The Disneyland Resort: Official Album (2008) – as part of the ride's soundtrack
- Children's Yesteryear Favourites (2008) – through CRS Records
Another place it has been used is the Disney play, "Alice in Wonderland Jr.", with one small lyric change, "Mr. Bluebird" becoming "Mr. Bubble" It is also played during the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show as the show train pulls into Main Street Station. The song has also been used in parades at the theme parks:
- Remember the Magic Parade – the soundtrack can be found on Disneyland/Walt Disney World Music Vacation.
- Share A Dream Come True Parade – the soundtrack can be found on Magic In The Streets: Parade Memories (2001 CD).
- Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade – the soundtrack can be found on Magic In The Streets: Parade Memories (2001 CD).
- Brown, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 134. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Emerson, Ken (1997). Doo-dah!: Stephen Foster and the Rise of American Popular Culture. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 60. ISBN 978-0684810102.
- "Blackface!". black-face.com. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret. Thomas Dunne. ISBN 031261974X.
- Johnny Mercer chart entries
- Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN 978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC 31611854. Tape 3, side A.
- Guy Mitchell, Sunshine Guitar