The Legacy Collection: The Lion King

Musical Score By: Hans Zimmer

Songs Performed By: Various Artists

Distributed by: Walt Disney Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Through 2015, Walt Disney Records will be celebrating the anniversaries of a number of Walt Disney hits such as The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Fantasia, Pinnochio and more.  In an effort to honor these films and their music, Walt Disney Records has launched The Legacy Collection.  Each album in The Legacy Collection will feature the movies' original soundtracks, documentary content and new artwork by Walt Disney Animation Studios visual development artist Lorelay Bove.

                I received three albums from The Legacy Collection to review - The Lion King, Mary Poppins and Sleeping Beauty - but one of the albums stood out to me for sentimental reasons.  I selected The Lion King, the first release in The Legacy Collection series for a very special reason.  I had always enjoyed the music of The Lion King, but when Super Storm Sandy hit and the power...and heat...went out, I had just enough power left in a DVD player to watch one movie to entertain myself during the dark night.  For some reason, I chose The Lion King and, wrapped in blankets, singing along with the songs, I found myself smiling. 

                The Legacy Collection: The Lion King is a two disc set contained in a hard cardboard casing, featuring a booklet with liner notes from Don Hahn, Producer of The Lion King, song lyrics and a bit about the visual development process of the movie by Walt Disney Animated Studios Producer and Creative Director Dave Bossert.  The first disc contains songs as they were performed in the movie by Carmen Twillie, Lebo M, Jason Weaver, Rowan Atkinson, Laura Williams, Jeremy Irons, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, Jim Cummings, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Joseph Williams and Kristie Edwards.  It also contains the musical score of the film.  The second disc contains two songs from the film - The Morning Report (performed by James Earl Jones, Jeff Bennett and Evan Saucedo) and Warthog Rhapsody (performed by Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella), score demos and Lion King songs written and performed by Elton John.

                Listening to The Legacy Collection: The Lion King was a blast.  I had received compilations of the popular songs in the film, but never a set complete with the musical score of the film.  Listening to the score created by legendary composer Hans Zimmer without the visuals of the film allows you to notice several subtleties such as the rattling of a snake in the background of scenes containing Scar and the small snippets of what sounds very similar to the Poor Unfortunate Souls song from The Little Mermaid.  I loved listening to the woodwinds and percussion native to the African plains and I could picture each scene of the film in the back of my mind with each and every track of music.

                And, of course, I loved singing along with all of the songs.  Surprisingly enough, I discovered that I actually like the versions of the songs like Circle of Life, I Just Can't Wait to Be King and Can You Feel the Love Tonight as performed in the film more than the original versions created and performed by Elton John.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Elton John's work.  I just found I was enjoying myself more singing along with the songs on the first disc more than the second.

                The artwork of the album cover and the pages in between is amazing and I enjoyed the bonus content available to me once I put the second CD into my computer.  In the bonus content, Lorelay Bove explains how she became involved with The Legacy Collection project, the artwork she supplies and the mediums she works in.  I found the mini-documentary to be an interesting addition to the album, though I would have liked a little more bonus content...I can be a bit greedy sometimes.

                All-in-all, The Legacy Collection: The Lion King is a great addition to any fan of the film and its music.  I am very happy to add it to my soundtrack collection and am quite sure I will be listening to it again and again.  The content of the album and the quality of the soundtrack's sound makes me excited to check out the rest of what The Legacy Collection has to offer.


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