Top 10 BEST DISNEY VILLAIN SONGS
Hey YouTube. Listen, it’s no secret that Disney puts out some truly memorable songs, but I find people always gush over those belted out by their favorite animated heroes. What about those sinister souls, without whom there’d be no story? We want to give them the praise they deserve, and so we’ve filtered out the top ten songs sung by Disney’s most vile villains!
Gaston - Beauty and the Beast
The sleaziest of Disney’s villains was bound to also have a slimy anthem and there’s really nothing grosser than having an entire town sing a song named after you that lists all of the reasons why you’re awesome. Composed by the dynamic duo of Ashman and Menken, the lyrics we hear in the movie were actually intended to be rewritten, but the original edit was so popular among the production team that they were kept. Originally performed by Richard White and Jesse Cort, “Gaston” returned in the live action film largely unchanged and was tackled by Luke Evans and Josh Gad.
Be Prepared - Lion King
Elton John and Tim Rice came together to give Jeremy Irons the diabolical sound that only a villain as malicious as Scar deserves. Chronicling Scar’s plans to murder Mufasa and Simba, “Be Prepared” may be the evilest of Disney’s tunes and to drive that point home, there is a rather unsettling homage to video footage of Nazis goosestepping as Hitler looked on. The song was actually meant to have a reprise, but producers deemed it too frightening for the younger demographic… which leaves us wondering what could be scarier than Nazi hyenas?
Prince Ali (Revised) by Jafar - Aladin
Originally performed by Robin Williams as Genie introduces the fraudulent “Prince Ali” to Agrabah, the song got a playful, villainous reprise sun by Jonathan Freeman as Jafar. The unmasking of Aladdin actually went a little differently during production as “Humiliate the Boy” was intended to be Jafar’s number to oust the street rat, but as story elements were dropped and changed, Alan Menken and Howard Ashman shifted the meat of the song into a reprise of “Prince Ali.” “Humiliate the Boy” wound up being the last song the pair worked on together before Menken’s death.
Shiny - Moana
What do you get when you mix the expert composition and lyric writing of Lin-Manuel Miranda with David Bowie? You get the catchy track for Moana's crustacean villain, Tamatoa. Performed by Jemain Clement, "Shiny" is the coconut crab Tamatoa's chance to tell the world just how great he is, and boy does he as Marinda's lyrics focus on his prized possessions like his shiny shell. During production, Miranda referred to the song as "Sebastian's Revenge," referencing The Little Mermaid's "Les Poissons" and a bit that showed a person trying to eat a crab and "Shiny's" depiction of a crab trying to eat a person.
Poor Unfortunate Souls - The Little Mermaid
Ursula isn’t so bad, right? I mean, just listen to the lyrics written by Howard Ashman, the song is all about the good things she’s done to the less fortunate of the deep sea. Of course, Pat Carroll’s striking performance imbues the song with a hint of that evil charm. Alan Menken composed the score to mix the best of Broadway theater and burlesque, but convince Carroll Ashman had to play a recording of himself singing it. Ashman’s version can be found on The Music Behind the Magic CD set, but you can also hear the Jonas Brothers tackling it on The Little Mermaid two-disk special edition.
Cruella De Vil - 101 Dalmations
This may not technically be a “villain” song seeing as how it’s not sung by the 101 Dalmatians villainess and its whole purpose is to mock her, but it’s a fine introduction to the big bad “devil woman.” First performed by Bill Lee and later re-recorded by a mess of voices including Selena Gomez, Hayden Panettiere, and Dr. John, the Mel Leven composition is a playful introduction to Cruella – though her love for skinning puppies deserves a far less fun melody. Fun fact – Cruella De Vil is only one of two songs about the main villain made to mock them. The other being The Phony King of England from Robin Hood.
Mother Knows Best - Tangled
We already knew it, but Disney thought to drill it further into our heads with this Tangled tune. As the Alan Menken and Glenn Slater created song further reinforces, mothers, or specifically in this case Mother Gothel, do know best. Pay close attention to the musical style of Rapunzel’s songs and it’s easy to see that “Mother Knows Best,” performed by Donna Murphy, is a completely different genre. Inspired by old-fashioned Broadway musicals, Menken and Slater landed on the very unique sound at the request of the movie’s directors, Byron Howard and Nathan Greno, who believed it better showcased Mother Gothel’s love of the spotlight.
Oogie Boogie's Song - The Nightmare Before Christmas
The highlight of Tim Burton’s Disney classic was arguably the big sack of bugs known as Oogie Boogie. The Boogie-man’s jazzy number is a fun list of all the terrible things he’s going to do to roly-poly Sandy Claws – and we love it. Ken Page lends his voice to the gambling sadist who, as you’ll learn in extended lore, once ruled as king of “Bug Day.” “Oogie Boogie’s Song” was such a hit with the Nightmare Before Christmas crowd that it reemerged with new lyrics in the PS2 video game, The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge.
A Pirate's Life - Peter Pan
Oh everyone knows this classic! Come on, sing it with me <take a deep breath, as if to start singing, then chuckle> Ah, I bet you were about to sing the wrong version. You see, Peter Pan’s “A Pirate’s Life” and the version you likely heard on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride are two different songs, though they’re both incredibly catchy and feature a signature “Yo Ho!” Ed Penner’s lyrics and Oliver Wallace’s score is everything you’d expect from a good sea shanty and Captain Hook’s band of miscreants give it that pirate charm.
World's Greatest Criminal - The Great Mouse Detective
Devilish Ratigan shows off his massive ego when he launches into this catchy number, headlined by none other than… Vincent Price?! Yes, continuing his string of voice over work, which started in 1971’s Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Price takes center stage for this villainous ditty. “World’s Greatest Criminal” was written by debut composer Henry Mancini and was originally far darker than the version we heard. Mancini originally elaborated on the “London Bridge Job,” which had Price singing about throwing mice into the Thames and <horrified> shooting all that tried to escape!?