Monday, 5 April 2010

The Disney Afternoon

Originally Written: 20/03/09

The Disney Afternoon

Top 6 Disney Afternoon Theme Songs

We should all allow ourselves to go through phases in music. Having just come out of an extensive Trip-Hop phase, I was eager and excited for my next obsession, and it hit me in a form I had never considered. Disney theme songs. And I’m not talking about those Phil Collins tearjerker movie soundtracks, I am talking about those shows you ran to your lounge to watch every Sunday when you were a child. These are the kind of songs that appealed to your developing mind slowly rotting away behind the TV screen, but you were too young to know why or understand their brilliance. All you knew was that you got excited. Admit it or not, these are your favourite songs. So if any of this brings back a smell of nostalgia, this note is for you. I chose these specifically from the 15 cartoon shows that made up The Disney Afternoon which aired from 1990 – 1997 ( These are the songs I love. And normally I am way too OCD to make a list consisting of only 6 entries, but the reasoning was simply this: some could not be put on, and some could not be left off.

1. The dates you see after the titles are the years of the said show’s original run.
2. The names you see are the composers and may not be entirely accurate as the information out there can get confusing. However, it was all taken from, which is pretty reliable.
3. I also hope the UK YouTube links work for everyone, but if you can, try listen to the song while reading my entry.

The Disney Afternoon Goof Troop 06. Goof Troop (1992 – 1993)
Robert Irving, Randy Petersen, Kevin Quinn

The tragedy of this tune is that it is made up of cool parts, and equally weighed out with irritating parts. Sure, it starts off well enough with Goofy’s signature “Ehyuk” followed immediately by the stuttering “hi-hi-hi-hi-Hit it”… but somehow you can’t quite escape that overall feeling of “lame”. However, the deep vocals do stand-out, and tied with the little break-beat pre-chorus thing and killer harmonies, it’s a fun little piece of work. Unfortunately, the MAJOR crime comes a bit later, just after the convincing “Now Gimme a Beat”. It is here that the writers use, in my opinion, the WORST technique in music. The Truck Driver's Gear Change (read about it here: Luckily, it narrowly escapes complete failure, ending with the lyrics ordering us all to “Report to the Goof Troop, bada-ba-daba looba, yeah”. Yeah. Still a catchy winner.

The Disney Afternoon Tail Spin 05. Talespin (1990 – 1991)
Michael Silversher, Patty Silversher

Moving on and up, this song is even catchier, very Caribbean and ireĆ© from the get-go. This is smart as it accurately represents the entire overall vibe of the show, which so many theme songs fail to do these days. Another healthy aspect of this tune is that anybody can sing after only hearing once. It’s provoking kids and adults of all ages to find themselves singing: “Oi-yeah: TAILSPIN. Oi-oh: TAILSPIN”. Man do I remember vibing that on my lounge floor. Oh, keep your ears peeled for the Michael Jackson “Hee-hee” at 38 seconds. Overall, it’s thorough, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better; we have the “Oi-yeah (oi-yeah). Oi-oh (oi-oh). Oi-yeah (oi-yeah). Oi-oh (oi-oh),” doubling in speed and doubling in impact, followed by the final a ccapella part “Spin it, lets begin it, bare and grin it when you're in it. You can win it in a minute, when you spin it, spin it, spin it”. Which is my favourite part. Which is the part that makes the song.

The Disney Afternoon Darkwing Duck 04. Darkwing Duck (1991- 1992)
Steve Nelson; Thomas Richard Sharp

Motherfucker, it just keeps getting better. The very basis and underlying hook of this song is that it manages to maintain a very funky vibe, while still keeping very mysterious and rather intense. The chorus blasts it out of the water with the unforgettable “When there’s trouble you call DW!” and of course the classic “lets get dangerous!” I must add that the line “Nobody knows for sure! Bad guys are outta luck!” is delivered with such confidence that it strikes fear in me about this purple duck. And of course the closing “Better watch out you bad boys!” fantastically sums up this simple yet powerful theme song. Go Disney.

The Disney Afternoon Bonkers 03. Bonkers (1993 – 1995)
Mark Watters (Unsure)

I guess the most stand-out aspect of this song is that it gives you the background of the entire story itself. Which I find to be rare, underestimatedly important (sic) and (let’s face it) not often very well executed in general TV shows. The rhyming is really good too, and with the right beat and vocals, it could be a killer rap song. Yes, this song gives you all of this while still maintaining a very fun, silly, vibey sound. The guy’s voice reminds me of the song “Push the Little Daises” from Ween, check it out. My favourite moments are at 24 seconds: “Hopes-he-gets-here-on-time”; 31 seconds: “No if's, and's, or but's but...” (fucking brilliant); and the ending run: “He’s caught in a trap, ready to snap, zappin' the cap'n and takin' the rap. But you can’t hold back that whacky attack! That’s why you’re still a star!” And as it is with any other good song, it just seems to get better and better until the final “Bonkers! Bonkers! Bonkers! Bonkers!” exchange, which is absolutely perfection. Maybe not the best show in the world, but that’s not the purpose of this note. I have nothing to criticize for writing of this quality.

The Disney Afternoon Chip n Dale 02. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers (1989 – 1990)
Mark Mueller

This song is fucking amazing. It starts off very dark and serious, and has the uncharacteristic feeling of maturity in a children’s song. Relax, it takes a lighter turn fast enough, right to the bouncy “Ch-ch-ch-Chip and Dale” chorus, with little “When there’s danger” thrown in now and again for good measure. But to me, it’s the singer that wins the day, as he/she (?) sounds like they have real emotion for the famous chipmunks (listen for the “never FAILS” at 31 seconds). Dig the overall 80s synth-vibe, from the first note to the last: it’s got power and it’s memorable; it’s pleasant but not cheesy; and it’s faaaar from typical.

The Disney Afternoon Duck Tails 01. DuckTales (1987 – 1992)
Mark Mueller

Ladies and Gentleman, we have a winner. It comes out swinging and smacks you in the face with a solid bass line and every word cleverly thought out, throughout. It builds you up before dropping you into the chorus which WILL get stuck in your head. Go ahead. Listen. It WILL get stuck in your head. Just go up to someone who grew up in the 80’s and shout “DUCKTALES” and they will respond “WOO-‘OO”, it’s almost too catchy. And not to pick favourite’s or anything, but the greatest melody has got to be the “Everyday that I can make in Duck Tales” and the “Tales of daring do-bad and good luck tales”, surely. Then, as one of Mark Muller’s signature stutter lyrics (same writer as “Ch-ch-ch-chip and Dale”, just by the way) is the “D-d-d-danger lurks behind you”, and suddenly... you can’t help but feel a little bit warmer. It’s well written by any standard, and you can tell that the project was taken very seriously.

This is my favourite song in the world right now :)


  1. Oh I'm so glad even the Bonkers theme is listed here - and also in the middle! There are people claiming, the opening song would cause them headache.

    Overall great listing!

    1. Disney songs are like sugar: very nice in small amounts, but if you have too much they'll give anyone a headache :) Thanks for the comment!