I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song) is a song sung by King Louie from Walt Disney's 1967 film, The Jungle Book. The song was sung by Louis Prima and written by songwriters Robert and Richard Sherman.
Richard Sherman said he and his brother aimed for a jazz sound, with a Dixieland-like melody. The instrumentals were originally recorded by Prima - who also played the trumpet - and his band, Sam Butera & The Witnesses, but the music was replaced by one written by the film's composer, George Bruns, and orchestrated by Walter Sheets. The "scat dialogue" between Baloo and King Louie was the result of two recording sessions. Louis Prima recorded first, with the intent that Baloo - played in his recording by Butera - would simply repeat what Louie scatted, but Phil Harris decided not to imitate Prima's recording and made up his own. The song was released the same date as the motion picture itself.
Louie: Now I'm the king of the swingers,
Oh, the jungle VIP,
I've reached the top and had to stop,
And that's what botherin' me.
I wanna be a man, mancub,
And stroll right into town,
And be just like the other men,
I'm tired of monkeyin' around!
Oh, oobee doo,
I wanna be like you,
I wanna walk like you,
Talk like you, too!
You'll see it's true,
An ape like me,
Can learn to be human too.
Mowgli: Gee, cousin Louie, you're doin' real good.
Louie: Now here's your part of the deal, cuz. Lay the secret on me of man's red fire.
Mowgli: But I don't know how to make fire!
Louie: Now don't try to kid me, mancub,
I made a deal with you.
What I desire is man's red fire,
To make my dream come true!
Give me the secret, mancub,
Clue me what to do,
Give me the power of man's red flower,
So I can be like you!
I wanna be like you!
I wanna walk like you!
Talk like you, too!
You'll see it's true!
Someone like me,
Can learn to be,
Like someone like me,
(take me home daddy!)
Can learn to be,
Like someone like you,
(one more time!)
Yeah, can learn to be,
Like someone like me!
Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen released a single of "I Wanna Be Like You" (without an apostrophe in the title) in 1968 and it also featured on their 1969 album King Of The Swingers. Pinky and Perky recorded a version for their Film Parade album in 1970 and also released the song as a single. On the 1990 collection "Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films," the song appears on "Medley Two" as recorded by Los Lobos, who play the song occasionally in their live shows. On 4 May 1994 Phish performed a truly Phish-styled version at The Metropolis Concert Hall in Montreal, Quebec. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy did a cover of this song on the Swingers soundtrack, even though the song does not appear in the film. The band later released the song on their 1999 album, This Beautiful Life. Voodoo Glow Skulls recorded a ska version of the song for the 2002 Japanese-Exclusive album Dive into Disney. The Jungle Book 2, released in 2003, featured the band Smash Mouth playing the song during the end credits of the film; the song also appeared on the films soundtrack. In the Australian version, Nikki Webster covers the song, which is also featured on her Best of album. A version by the Turnpike Cruisers appeared on the second Blood on the Cats LP. The 2005 album En Vivo by Gabriel Ríos contains a cover of the song. In 2007, a pop rock cover was recorded by the Jonas Brothers for Disneymania 5. Los Lobos recorded a version for the tribute album Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films; this version also appeared on the compilation album Just Another Band From East L.A. - A Collection.
British pop singer Paolo Nutini performed "I Wanna Be Like You" at the 2007 Glastonbury Festival.
On 23 October 2010 X Factor contestant, Katie Waissel pleased the judges with her surprise selection of the song.
Craig David sang a cover of the song for an award ceremony in the U.K; the video is on YouTube.
In 2013 the most recent cover of the song was by Robbie Williams and Olly Murs for Williams's swing album Swings Both Ways.
Uses in popular culture
In 2009, "I Wan'na Be Like You" was used in a British anti-smoking public information film. It showed children copying everything their parents did (for example, boys putting shaving cream on their faces, girls dressing up in their mothers' best clothes and both genders washing the car), and "I Wan'na Be Like You" is playing throughout the advertisement, but it stops when a girl puts a crayon to her mouth in imitation of her mother smoking. It stops with the voiceover saying, "If you smoke, your children are more likely to." In Robin Hood, the hen is the ape for a scene with Little John during The Phony King of England.
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