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The Little Mermaid 1989 CD
The Little Mermaid 1997 Cover
Little mermaid soundtrack cover 2006
The Little Mermaid: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack is the soundtrack to Disney's 1989 animated feature The Little Mermaid. It contains the songs from the film written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as the film's score composed by Alan Menken. The score was orchestrated by Thomas Pasatieri. The album received the Academy Award for Best Original Score, Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

The soundtrack was first released on October 13, 1989 on both CD and cassette tape. It was re-released with different artwork, on October 14, 1997 and it was released internationally on October 31, 2000 in a double pack with The Little Mermaid II soundtrack. On October 3, 2006, a new two-disc special edition version of the soundtrack was released to correspond with the two-disc Platinum Edition DVD release of The Little Mermaid. The first disc remains identical to the original release, yet with remastered audio, while the newly added second disc is composed of various newly recorded version of the film's songs by different artists, such as Ashley Tisdale, Raven-Symoné, The Jonas Brothers, and Jessica Simpson. It also included two videos, as well as new cover art.

The soundtrack was later followed up with The Legacy Collection: The Little Mermaid, a more comprehensive release that contained all of the music and songs from the original soundtrack, but also much instrumental and some vocal material that was previously unreleased.

Reception

As of February 2007, the album is certified 6x Platinum by the RIAA. In 2010, Rhapsody called it one of the all-time great Disney & Pixar Soundtracks. All songs written and composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. All scores composed by Menken.

Track listing

  1. Fathoms Below - Ship's Chorus
  2. Main Title (Score)
  3. Fanfare (Score)
  4. Daughters of King Triton - Kimmy Robertson, Caroline Vasicek
  5. Part of Your World - Jodi Benson
  6. Under the Sea - Samuel E. Wright
  7. Part of Your World (Reprise) - Jodi Benson
  8. Poor Unfortunate Souls - Pat Carroll
  9. Les Poissons - René Auberjonois
  10. Kiss the Girl - Samuel E. Wright
  11. Fireworks (Score)
  12. Jig (Score)
  13. The Storm (Score)
  14. Destruction of the Grotto (Score)
  15. Flotsam and Jetsam (Score)
  16. Tour of the Kingdom (Score)
  17. Bedtime (Score)
  18. Wedding Announcement (Score)
  19. Eric to the Rescue (Score)
  20. Happy Ending - Disney Chorus
  21. Part of Your World - Alana De Roma (Australian Bonus Track)

Disc Two (Special Edition)

  1. Kiss the Girl - Ashley Tisdale
  2. Poor Unfortunate Souls - Jonas Brothers
  3. Part of Your World - Jessica Simpson
  4. Under the Sea - Raven-Symoné
  5. Poor Unfortunate Souls - Jonas Brothers (Music Video) (Enhanced feature)
  6. Making of "Kiss the Girl" Music Video (Enhanced feature) - Ashley Tisdale

Previously unreleased songs/score

Certain pieces of music from the movie remain unreleased in any format from Disney. At one time, the most important and most puzzling is a short reprise of Ursula's song Poor Unfortunate Souls which appears in the movie right before Eric and Vanessa's wedding. This song has been unofficially named "Vanessa's Song" but until the release of The Legacy Collection soundtrack was never recognized or named by Disney. The piece is sung by Vanessa (Jodi Benson). It has a short prelude of Scuttle humming (Buddy Hackett) and the ending laugh is by Ursula (Pat Carrol). A fan-compiled complete score (including song instrumentals) does exist and can be heard/seen on video sharing websites, but Disney has yet to release the complete score. Much of the previously un-released material was later included on the album The Legacy Collection: The Little Mermaid, including "Vanessa's Song" as "Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)."

  1. “Fathoms Below” (Instrumental) [1:41]
  2. Main Titles (Full version as heard over end credits – the last 7 seconds haven’t been released commercially) [1:34]
  3. Sebastian’s Fanfare [0:06]
  4. Orchestra Tuning (Source Music) [0:17]
  5. “Daughters of Triton” (Instrumental) [0:36]
  6. The Shipwreck [3:09]
  7. Scuttle, the know-it-all [1:14]
  8. Ariel’s Restriction [1:47]
  9. Following Ariel [0:42]
  10. Part of Your World (Full Version - The version heard in the film includes about 25 seconds of score before the song starts) [3:23]
  11. Part of Your World (Instrumental) [3:23]
  12. The Grotto Revealed [0:12]
  13. “Part of Your World Reprise” (Instrumental) [2:14]
  14. Ursula’s Demented Plan / Ariel’s in Love [0:46]
  15. Sebastian Pacing / He Loves Me [0:23]
  16. Under the Sea (Instrumental) [3:11]
  17. Somebody’s Gotta Nail That Girl’s Fins to the Floor [0:10]
  18. Sebastian and Triton (This cue was included on the "Music Behind the Magic" CD set, but wasn’t included on any of the commercial albums) [1:38]
  19. The Power of Suggestion [1:46]
  20. Going to See the Sea Witch / Ursula’s Lair [1:26]
  21. Poor Unfortunate Souls (Part 1 - Instrumental) / Ursula’s Deal [2:15]
  22. The Subject of Payment [0:31]
  23. Poor Unfortunate Souls (Part 2 - Instrumental) [1:14]
  24. Taking Ariel’s Voice [0:39]
  25. New Pair of Legs [1:10]
  26. Soft Shell Sebastian [0:26]
  27. Eric and Max Find Ariel [1:23]
  28. In Eric’s Kingdom [0:53]
  29. Sebastian in the Kitchen [0:10]
  30. A Beautiful Maiden [1:06]
  31. “Les Poissons” (Instrumental) [1:32]
  32. Sebastian Versus Louis [0:40]
  33. Dinner at the Castle [0:27]
  34. Triton Worried [0:34]
  35. Kiss the Girl (Instrumental) [2:40]
  36. Ursula Takes Charge [0:39]
  37. Vanessa on the Beach (with and without vocal) [1:00]
  38. "Vanessa’s Song" ("Poor Unfortunate Souls" Reprise) [0:32]
  39. "Vanessa’s Song" (Instrumental) [0:32]
  40. Making a Plan / Crashing the Wedding / Ariel's Voice Returns / The Sun Sets / The Final Deal [4:21]
  41. A Happy Ending (film version) [3:10]
  42. A Happy Ending (sans Disney chorus) [3:10]
  43. Eric’s Flute (Source) [0:10]

Total time of missing score excluding song instrumentals: 32 minutes and 39 seconds

Total time of missing score including song instrumentals: 51 minutes and 18 seconds

Score composition and orchestration

Alan Menken's first songs-and-underscore project garnered him an Academy Award for the best score of 1989. This would prove to give him a very high nomination-to-win ratio of awards. Alan was originally hired for the songs only, but after writing an underscore demo for the film's executives, his assignment grew. The following are some details on the film's score overall:

  • Almost all of the score features a section of music in the key of G major (including "Main Titles", the beginning portion of "Happy Ending", "Les Poissons", "Bedtime", and most instances of Ariel's solo aria). "Tour of the Kingdom" alternated between G major and E major throughout.
  • In darker moments, and for Ursula's theme, the key of G minor is prominent ("Vanessa's Song", most of "The Storm", "Eric to the Rescue" among others).
  • The French horn is used to symbolize King Triton (listen to "Destruction of the Grotto"), the oboe is used to symbolize Prince Eric (the beginning of "The Storm", as well as "Happy Ending" when Ariel is looking at Eric on the shore). Usually the brass section represents Ursula and the flute almost always portrays Ariel's vocal aria. Clarinets represent Scuttle.
  • Synthesizers and electric pianos are used quite often in the orchestration (namely for the songs, like "Part of Your World"), but the grand piano is almost never used.
  • Scuttle's leitmotif can be heard in the beginning of "Wedding Announcement", the scene after Ariel becomes a human and was the basis for "Beyond My Wildest Dreams" in the 2007 broadway production. This theme is used as a variation for the music when the animals are stopping Vanessa's wedding.
  • Ursula's leitmotif is most obvious in the track "Flotsam & Jetsam" but it comes from the melody notes for the chorus of "Poor Unfortunate Souls". This theme is also used while Ariel is being transformed, and it is played fast and supported by a harsh brass section.
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Media
Films: The Little MermaidThe Little Mermaid II: Return to the SeaThe Little Mermaid: Ariel's BeginningThe Little Mermaid (live action film)Video

Television: Little Mermaid's IslandTV seriesHouse of MouseOnce Upon a TimeA Poem Is...
Video Games: NES gameSega Genesis GameAriel's Story StudioKingdom HeartsKingdom Hearts: Chain of MemoriesKingdom Hearts IIThe Little Mermaid 2: Pinball FrenzyDisney's The Little Mermaid: Magic in Two Kingdoms
Books: Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea WitchOfficial Comic AdaptationDisney ComicsBig Golden BookClassic StorybookDisney's Wonderful World of ReadingGolden Sight 'n' Sound BookLittle Golden BookThe Little Mermaid's Treasure ChestDisney Princess Beginnings
Marvel Comics: Sink or SwimAll that GlittersThe DaredevilfishWhirlpool WorldMy Dinner with CrustaceaRoom at the PalaceThere Goes the NeighborhoodGone With the WavesThe Sea Horse TournamentThe Sorrowful Sea MonsterThe Wrong QueenOf Myths and MermaidsAriel and the Lobster's Loot
Music: Original Walt Disney Records SoundtrackThe Legacy CollectionThe Little Mermaid: Songs from the Sea

Disney Parks
Mermaid LagoonDisney's Art of Animation ResortAriel's GrottoAriel's PlaygroundArt of AnimationBlowfish Balloon RaceDisney Animation BuildingFairy Tale ForestFlounder's Flying Fish CoasterIt's a Small WorldJumpin' JellyfishKing Triton's Carousel of the SeaMermaid Lagoon TheaterMickey's PhilharMagicScuttle's ScootersSorcerers of the Magic KingdomStorybook Land Canal BoatsThe Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea AdventureThe WhirlpoolVoyage to the Crystal Grotto

Entertainment: AnimagiqueAnimazment - The MusicalDisney's Dreams: An Enchanted ClassicDisney's WishesDisney Classics: The Music & The MagicFantasmic!Feel the MagicGolden Fairytale FanfareKing Triton's ConcertMermaid Lagoon Theater "Under the Sea"Mickey's Magical CelebrationMickey and the Magical MapMickey and the Wondrous BookSummer BlastThe Golden MickeysVillains Tonight!Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Restaurants: Ariel's GrottoSebastian's Calypso Kitchen
Shops: Kiss de Girl FashionsMermaid MemoriesMermaid TreasuresPrince Eric's Village MarketScuttle's Shiny Things
Parade: Celebrate A Dream Come True ParadeDisney's Magical Moments ParadeDisney on ParadeFestival of Fantasy ParadeMickey's New Year's Eve ParadeMickey's Soundsational ParadePaint The Night ParadeSpectroMagicStitch's Summer Dance BashThe Wonderful World of Disney ParadeWalt Disney's Parade of Dreams
Firework: Celebrate the MagicDisney Dreams!Disney in the StarsDisneyland ForeverHappily Ever AfterIgnite the Dream: A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and LightMagic, Music and MayhemWorld of Color
Halloween: Happy HallowishesRe-Villains! Halloween ParadeThe Villains WorldVillains Night Out! Chapter 2

Characters
Original: ArielFlounderSebastianScuttlePrince EricKing TritonUrsulaFlotsam and JetsamKing Triton's DaughtersMaxGrimsbyCarlottaChef LouisUrsula's GardenGlutThe Seahorse HeraldHaroldMerpeople

Sequel: MelodyTip and DashMorganaCloak and DaggerUndertowHammerhead SharkAlexFlounder's guppiesBaby PenguinUrsula and Morgana's mother
Prequel: Queen AthenaMarina Del ReyBenjaminThe Catfish Club BandStevieElectric Eels
Little Mermaid's Island SandyScales
TV Series: UrchinGabriellaOllieDudleyPearlPearl's motherMantaLittle EvilDr. VileDanielMoraySimonLobster Mobster and Da ShrimpThe SorceressGlowfishEbb and FloEmpreror Shargaand the SharkaniansOctopidBrain SpongeZeusSpot the Killer WhaleCrab ScoutsHans Christian AndersenMr. and Mrs. Clambakersfield and their babiesLuckyThorKid SquidAugustusStormy the Giant SeahorseSorcerer BlowfishPenny the CatThe Magical Wishing StarfishApolloArchimedesSeaclopsNeptune
Comic Book: ScallopaIndigoAunt CrustaceaSir FigmondFlooglefishMarlin the MagicianSnapperJasonCalibanKing ProteusAriadnePiraniaCeliaJennyScarface the SharkProfessor Thelonius PaxxShanaKing HaroldPrincess PenelopeCaptain CutlassAquariusAbaloney Kid

Episodes
Season One: "Whale of a Tale" • "The Great Sebastian" • "Stormy" • "Urchin" • "Double Bubble" • "Message in a Bottle" • "Charmed" • "Marriage of Inconvenience" • "The Evil Manta" • "Thingamajigger" • "Red" • "Beached" • "Trident True" • "Eel-Ectric City"

Season Two: "Resigned to It" • "Calliope Dreams" • "Save the Whale" • "Against the Tide" • "Giggles" • "Wish Upon a Starfish" • "Tail of Two Crabs" • "Metal Fish" • "T'ank You For Dat, Ariel"
Season Three: "Scuttle" • "King Crab" • "Island of Fear" • "Land of the Dinosaurs" • "Heroes" • "The Beast Within" • "Ariel's Treasures" • "A Little Evil"

Objects
Prince Eric's StatueTridentUrsula's CauldronUrsula's NecklaceMelody's locketQueen Athena's music boxDinglehopperRoyal Ship
Locations
AtlanticaAriel's Secret GrottoUrsula's LairPrince Eric's CastleThe Wedding ShipMorgana's Ice Cave
Songs
Film: Fathoms BelowDaughters of King TritonPart of Your WorldUnder the SeaPoor Unfortunate SoulsLes PoissonsKiss the GirlDown to the SeaFor a MomentTip and DashHere on the Land and SeaJust One MistakeJump in the Line (Shake Senora)I Remember

TV Series: Just a Little LoveYou Got to be YouThe Edge of the Edge of the SeaThe Lobster Mobster's MobThe Beddy Bye BluesSing a New SongIn HarmonyThis is the LifeNever Give UpYou Wouldn't Want to Mess with MeThe Sound of LaughterDaring to DanceJust Give Me a ChanceEvil Lullaby
Musical: She's in LoveHuman StuffPositoovityI Want the Good Times BackDaddy's Little AngelHer VoiceThe World AboveThe ContestIf OnlyBeyond My Wildest DreamsSweet ChildOne Step CloserAll Good Things Must End
Deleted: Silence is Golden

See Also
MusicalThe Disney AfternoonDisney Sing Along Songs: Under the Sea