Song Lyric Sunday

Hercules

Helen Espinosa’s theme this week for Song Lyric Sunday is Your Favorite Song Featured in a Movie.

This was tough because I love musicals — America’s only contribution to theatrical genres. I could choose from hundreds, thousands of extraordinary songs. Inspirational?

Like Carousel’s “When You Walk Through a Storm” or Man of La Mancha’s “The Impossible Dream”.  Love? How about “Till There Was You” from The Music Man or “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors. Defiant? Funny Girl’s “Don’t Rain on My Parade” or “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. Hilarious? Pippin’s “No Time At All” or Mame’s “Bosom Buddies”. Too many excellent choices.

Lots of non-musical movies have great soundtracks, but not necessarily with lyrics. Pop songs added to a movie soundtrack can add meaning and flavor, but I prefer movie songs that are crafted as an integral part of the story. And so we come to another favorite of mine:

Disney animated features. Until nine years ago, my all time favorite was Peter Pan, not because of the music, but because of Peter himself, and the flying. But in 1997, Disney released Hercules.

I have one major gripe with Disney Studios: they change the truths of the stories they base their versions on. Disney’s Peter Pan was not James M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, who was a melancholy, lonely soul who courted death because, “To die will be an awfully big adventure” — not really Disney’s style. Likewise, Disney’s Hercules was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the Hercules of ancient Greek and Roman mythology.

In Disney’s telling, Hercules is born the cherished child of Zeus and Hera, the loving couple at the top of the pantheon of gods. He lost his god-status because Hades, god of the Underworld wanted to take over and the Fates had told him that if Hercules fought in the fight that had to wait till the planets aligned (18 years in the future), Hades would fail. So Hades got his minions to feed baby Herc a potion that took away his god powers — except the baby didn’t drink the last drop, so he kept his super-human strength.

Here’s how the ancient Greeks told the story. Zeus the Almighty was a philandering, cheating husband to the shrew, “cow-faced” Hera. Truly, they couldn’t stand each other. He had his eye on Leda, who just so happened to be the daughter of one king, the wife of another, and the mother of Helen whose face launched a thousand ships and started the Trojan war. But before that, Zeus fancied Leda. However, he had to trick her to seduce her, so he turned himself into a giant swan, and she got it on with him. (I’ve never quite understood how a swan could seduce a human, but hey, they were ancient Greeks.) And, he got her pregnant with baby Herc. (Also a mystery to me and science.) So Hercules wasn’t a god stripped of his god-status, he was only a demigod from the start.

Anyway, Disney’s version is a hero’s quest that touts family values and feel-good endings. And you can bet Herc finds True Love along the way. The link to the YouTube video is in the song title. Enjoy. Be inspired!

I Can Go the Distance

by Alan Menken and David Zippel

I have often dreamed
Of a far off place
Where a great warm welcome
Will be waiting for me
Where the crowds will cheer
When they see my face
And a voice keeps saying
This is where I’m meant to be

I will find my way
I can go the distance
I’ll be there someday
If I can be strong
I know every mile
Will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere
To feel like I belong

I am on my way
I can go the distance
I don’t care how far
Somehow I’ll be strong
I know ev’ry mile
Will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere
to find where I belong

I will beat the odds
I can go the distance
I will face the world
Fearless, proud, and strong
I will please the gods
I can go the distance
Till I find my Heros welcome
Right where I belong

Lyrics from All the Lyrics.com

Song Lyric Sunday

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Author: Sue Ranscht

I am a writer. Let me tell you a story...

11 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday”

  1. I like Disney but I agree with what you’re saying. It’s almost like they should just create original stories if they are going to change one that much just to fit their style. One of the reasons I like Disney, though, is the music. Thanks so much for sharing this one. The lyrics truly are inspirational. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think originally, Disney tapped into the existing cultural pool of stories to ensure an audience. Snow White was pretty true to the fairy tale. Then they started altering the stories to put their own spin on them. I’ve always wondered why they never did a version of Hansel and Gretel, but because they didn’t, I felt confident I wasn’t violating any copyright when I wrote a children’s theater musical of the story. (I called it Gretel and Hansel — the producer wanted me to change it, but I wanted people to understand it was just slightly different.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Favorite song from a musical: “Camelot” from well, you know…Camelot.
    “A law was made a distant moon ago here,
    July and August cannot be too hot,
    And there’s a legal limit to the snow here,
    In Camelot!”
    Or, maybe I’m just into meteorology! hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree!

      The rain may never fall till after sundown.
      By eight, the morning fog must disappear.
      In short, there’s simply not
      A more congenial spot
      For happily-ever-aftering than here
      In Camelot!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Disney understood the same thing you’ll find in many, if not most, of Grimm’s fairy tales (or other fairy tales) where a dead mother is replaced by an evil stepmother, Roald Dahl’s stories, Peter Pan, Harry Potter, the Narnia Chronicle, etc. A mother connotes love and security, a fierce champion, a safe harbor in a scary world where most children’s biggest fear is abandonment. So is it strange, or merely a device for setting the child on a solo journey where children become victims or have to rely on strangers or their own wits to survive? A journey where a mother’s love can’t save them? Good lessons for children of any culture… 😉

      Like

      1. I am not certain if it is a good lesson, or if it is part of a (the) trauma based control system. I do not give them (the writers and the ones who support them) that much credit to think that there is some altruistic motive …

        Liked by 1 person

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