Ashman, who wouldn't live to see the film's release, nearly backed out of submitting this song to Disney. Menken told Entertainment Weekly: "The story behind this is that Howard Ashman was HIV-positive and wasn't telling anybody - he had been very quiet. And here we had written this crazy seven-minute opening number that was much more ambitious than anybody had asked for, and I remember his fear [about everything] in that moment. I remember Howard was very, very reluctant to send it out, thinking that we were going to be laughed at. He delayed sending it for two days. Finally, of course, we sent it, and Disney loved it. You didn't open an animated movie with a seven-minute number, but it redefined the form. We wanted to keep it very classical Mozart, very She Loves Me, with a quiet opening - 'Little town, it's a quiet village…' And then it explodes. 'Bonjour!'"