Be Prepared is one of five songs written for The Lion King. It was created by composer Elton John, and lyricist Tim Rice. The song is performed by the voice actors for Scar, Jeremy Irons, as well as the voice actors for Shenzi, Banzai and Ed: Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings.
The song serves as the villain song for the film. In the film, Scar meets with his hyena henchmen, and scolds them for failing to kill Simba, as part of one of Scar's earlier plots, when they were given the chance. Shenzi and Banzai note that they would have succeeded had Mufasa not interfered, and sarcastically ask whether they should have killed Mufasa. Scar answers with "precisely," thus gaining the hyenas' attention.
As the song opens, Scar takes note of the hyenas' stupidity, but notes that that if they ally themselves with him they might be useful. Scar explains that his plan is to kill both Simba and Mufasa, and then take the throne for himself, since he will be the only eligible heir. Scar makes the hyenas an offer: they help him usurp the throne, and he will allow them into the Pride Lands where they will never hunger again. The hyenas readily accept, and quickly reveal that they number in the hundreds. The rest of the song talks about the power and the benefits that both parties will have under Scar's reign.
The song features diverse imagery, with the background colors becoming more intense throughout the song. One section features the entire clan of hyenas marching in goose-step, modeled after Nazi and Soviet Propaganda, turning their noses sharply to look at Scar sitting upon a high balcony, very similar to Adolf Hitler/Josef Stalin.
At the end of the song, Scar sits in front of a waning crescent moon, in order to remind us of the hammer and sickle symbol on a Communist Soviet flag.
Part of the song features in the sequel The Lion King 1½. The opening is played as Timon and Pumbaa unknowingly wander through sections of the Elephant Graveyard to see if it would make a good home, but stumble in even as the clan of hyenas begins their famous 'goose-step' routine.
The song also features in the live musical version of the original film. It reprises briefly at Mufasa's funeral as Scar becomes king.
[Lyrics heard only in the album version]
Scar: I never thought hyenas essential
They're crude and unspeakably plain
But maybe they've a glimmer of potential
If allied to my vision and brain
I know that your powers of retention
Are as wet as a warthog's backside.
But thick as you are, pay attention!
My words are a matter of pride.
It's clear from your vacant expressions
The lights are not all on upstairs.
But we're talking kings and successions!
Even you can't be caught unawares!
So, prepare for the chance of a lifetime.
Be prepared for sensational news.
A shining new era is tip-toeing nearer.
Shenzi: And where do we feature?
Scar: Just listen to teacher.
I know it sounds sordid,
But you'll be rewarded,
When at last, I am given my dues.
And injustice deliciously squared.
Banzai: Yeah, be prepared! We'll be prepared! Uh, for what?
Scar: For the death of the king!
Banzai: Why? Is he sick?
Scar: No, fool, we're gonna kill him. Simba, too.
Shenzi : Great idea! Who needs a king?
Shenzi and Banzai: No king! No King! La-la-la-la-la!
Scar: Idiots! There will be a king!
Banzai: But you said, uh...
Scar: I will be king! Stick with me, and you'll never go hungry again!
Shenzi, Banzai, and the Hyena Clan: Yay! All right! Long live the king! Long live the king! Long live the king!
Hyena Clan: King King King King.
It's great that we'll soon be connected
With a king who'll be all time adored.
Scar: Of course, quid pro quo, you'll be expected
To take certain duties on board.
The future is littered with prizes.
And though I'm the main addressee,
The point that I must emphasize is...
YOU WON'T GET A SNIFF WITHOUT ME!
So prepare for the coup of the century.
Be prepared for the murkiest scam
Meticulous planning, (We'll have food!)
Tenacity spanning, (Lots of food!)
Decades of denial, (We repeat!)
Is simply why I'll, (Endless meat!)
Be king, undisputed, respected, saluted,
And seen for the wonder I am,
Yes, my teeth and ambitions are bared!
Shenzi/Banzai/Ed: Yes, our teeth and ambitions are bared!
All: Be prepared!
- Toward the end of the song, Jeremy Irons, who provided the voice of Scar, said that after the part where he yells, 'You won't get a sniff without me!', his voice gave out and he couldn't sing the rest of the song. Jim Cummings replaced Irons for the rest of the song.
- The Nostalgia Critic placed Be Prepared at #3 in his Top 11 Villain Songs.
- A reprise was originally written for this song, but was eventually cut. You can find it here.
|The Lion King|
Characters: Simba | Nala | Mufasa | Scar | Zazu | Sarabi | Sarafina | Timon | Pumbaa | Rafiki | Shenzi, Banzai and Ed | Hyena Clan | Wildebeest Stampede | Kiara | Kovu | Zira | Vitani | Nuka | Outsiders | Crocodiles | Ma | Uncle Max | Gopher | Fred | Quint | Uncle Boaris | Toucan Dan | Boss Beaver | Speedy the Snail | Smolder the Bear | Little Jimmy | Erwin | Ned the Elephant | Cheetato and Cheetata | Rabbit | Dr. Happy | Happy Dog | Herman | Jackal
Songs: Circle of Life | I Just Can't Wait to Be King | Be Prepared | Hakuna Matata | Can You Feel the Love Tonight? | He Lives in You | We Are One | My Lullaby | Upendi | Not One of Us | Love Will Find A Way | That's All I Need | Digga Tunnah Dance | One by One | Chow Down | The Madness of King Scar | The Morning Report | The Lion Sleeps Tonight
See also: The Disney Afternoon