"Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" is a song composed by Allie Wrubel with lyrics by Ray Gilbert from the Disney 1946 live action and animated movie Song of the South, sung by James Baskett. For "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah", the film won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and was the second in a long line of Disney songs to win this award, after "When You Wish upon a Star" from Pinocchio (1940). In 2004 it finished at number 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 by 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|
Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, a Phil Spector-produced American rhythm and blues trio from Los Angeles, recorded a cover version of "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" using the Wrecking Crew in late 1962. According to the Beatles' George Harrison: "When Phil Spector was making 'Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah', the engineer who's set up the track overloaded the microphone on the guitar player and it became very distorted. Phil Spector said, 'Leave it like that, it's great.' Some years later everyone started to try to copy that sound and so they invented the fuzz box." The song also marked the first time his Wall of Sound production formula was fully executed.
Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans took their version of the song to number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1963. Their song also peaked at number 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, issued on the Philles Records label.
- "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" – 2:40
- "Flp and Nitty" - 2:20
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Jackson 5 covered it as the first song on their first LP, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 in 1969.
- Actor Chevy Chase sings this song in the 1989 Universal Pictures comedy film Fletch Lives.
- Greg and Steve covered it as the song on Playing Favorites in 1991.
- Mannheim Steamroller covered it as the song on Mannheim Steamroller Meets the Mouse in 1999.
- 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.
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.
- Runtagh, Jordan (April 13, 2015). "9 Beatles Songs That Clearly Influenced Heavy Metal". VH1.
- Buskin, Richard (April 2007). "CLASSIC TRACKS: The Ronettes 'Be My Baby'". Sound on Sound. Sound on Sound. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Clemente, John (2000). Girl Groups—Fabulous Females That Rocked The World. Iola, Wisc. Krause Publications. p. 27. ISBN 0-87341-816-6.
- Betrock, Alan (1982). Girl Groups The Story of a Sound (1st ed.). New York: Delilah Books. pgs. 120-122. ISBN 0-933328-25-7
- 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