Monday, July 4, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 25

Day 25 - A Cover Song That Rapes the Original

"A Whole New World" - Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, Aladdin: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1992)

Original by Brad Kane and Lea Salonga, Aladdin: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1992)

I'm going to have to cheat a little bit. Technically, both of these versions appeared in the same movie and on the same soundtrack, but bear with me. Usually, I'm pretty forgiving of cover songs which is why I was so hung up on this post. (That and I moved recently. It's good to be back!)

Disney's 30th animated feature Beauty and the Beast is my favorite movie of all time, which is why it pains me to admit that it was the DAF responsible for starting the "soft rock version of the movie's best ballad" end credits trend. After Belle and Adam dance their final dance and fade to stained glass comes a painfully slow version of "Beauty and the Beast" sung by Celine Dion (only famous in Canada at the time) and Peabo Bryson (random R&B singer). For some reason, that version reached the Top 10 on the pop charts which meant when 1992's Aladdin rolled around, "A Whole New World" was sentenced to be played in dentist offices ever after. 

The worst part about the Bryson/Belle version is it, ironically, lacks soul. I think the producers were going for an overwhelmingly passionate and mature romantic feel. To me, the damn thing sounds so shoe-horned. I can practically hear them saying "Look! These songs aren't just for kids! Please, put it on your 20th wedding anniversary mix tape with Kenny G and Michael Bolton!!!!"

It worked though, and "A Whole New World" reached #1 on the Billboard charts. This lead to  Vanessa Williams, Bette Midler and yes, even Michael Bolton singing other end credits versions. Luckily, the trend has subsided...for now.

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