Whistle While You Work

Album: Snow White (1937)

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Frank Churchill and Larry Morey, this playful tune debuted in Disney's first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Snow White, voiced by Adriana Caselotti, cleans up the dwarfs' messy cottage with the help of her animal friends and the upbeat song. By keeping their spirits high, they can finish their task with ease and excellence (no sweeping dirt under the rugs or licking plates clean, she admonishes).

    Churchill had been composing songs for Disney animated shorts for years, including the popular "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" for The Three Little Pigs. Likewise, Morey was with the company since 1933 as a lyricist. The two would collaborate again on Bambi, with Morey adapting the story and Churchill composing the score.
  • Louis Armstrong recorded this for his 1968 album, Disney Songs The Satchmo Way. His version was featured in a 2016 television commercial for the Samsung Galaxy Note7 that boasts the smartphone's latest features, presumably making work so pleasant you'll be whistling. Armstrong's album also includes a rendition of Snow White's "Heigh-Ho."
  • Brian Wilson recorded this as a medley with "Heigh-Ho" and "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me)" - the theme to Pirates of the Caribbean attractions at Disney theme parks - for his 2011 album, In the Key of Disney.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first US feature film to release a soundtrack album in conjunction with a movie, but Disney doesn't own any of the songs. At the time, the studio didn't have a publishing company, so Bourne Co. Music Publishers secured the rights to all the music. While Disney was able to buy back most of the music from its other films, Bourne still owns Snow White's songs to this day.
  • Frank Capra used this in his Academy Award-winning film You Can't Take It With You in 1938, starring James Stewart and Jean Arthur.
  • Starring in a seminal Disney production that was also the highest-grossing film of 1937 was a double-edged sword for Caselotti. If she agreed to be Snow White, she would always have to be Snow White. Her contract forbid her from appearing in any other film or media, even another Disney production. But there were a couple slips: In the Wizard of Oz, she speaks the line, "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" in the Tin Man's song, "If I Only Had A Heart." She can also be heard singing in It's A Wonderful Life (1943) when George Bailey is praying in Martini's bar.
  • This was used on Pretty Little Liars in the 2016 episode "Where Somebody Waits for Me."
  • Frank Sinatra Jr. performed this with Joey Heatherton and Paul Lynde on the 1968 variety show Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers.

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