This song was written by Ned Washington and Leigh Harline for the 1940 Disney movie Pinocchio
, where the character Jiminy Cricket sings it at the beginning and end of the movie. Washington was a prolific lyricist on songs for film, and Harline was a staff composer for Disney.
Frank - Toronto, Canada
The song is about how dreams can come true, as Pinocchio is able to transform from a wooden doll to a real boy. Disney used the song in many promotional campaigns as it represents the feeling they want their guests to have when they visit the Disney theme parks. It was used in the opening sequences of Disney anthology television series and in Walt Disney Pictures' opening logos. The ships of the Disney Cruise Line, the Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic, use the iconic first seven notes of this melody as their horn signals.
Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards was the voice of Jiminy Cricket and performed this song in the movie. Edwards was a popular singer and actor in the '30s and '40s, also providing the voice of Jim Crow in the Disney move Dumbo.
This won the 1940 Oscar for Best Song.
In Sweden, Norway and Denmark, the song has become a Christmas song, often referring to the Star of Bethlehem. The Swedish language version is called "Ser du stjarnan i det bla," roughly translated: "Do you see the star in the blue sky," and the Danish title is "Nar du ser et stjerneskud," which sort of means "When you see a falling star."
The movie Pinocchio plays a small role in the plot of Steven Spielberg's film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, and John Williams's score for that film quotes "When You Wish Upon a Star."
Glenn Miller, Rosemary Clooney, Eddie Fisher, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Stevie Wonder, Louis Armstrong, Judy Collins, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Olivia Newton-John and Idina Menzel are among those to cover the song. The only version to chart on the Hot 100 is by Dion & The Belmonts, who took it to #30 in 1960.
On October 3, 2007, the Bourne Company, who owns the publishing rights to this song, filed a lawsuit against the makers of the sitcom Family Guy
, claiming copyright infringement in an episode called "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein." The episode includes a parody of the song called "I Need a Jew."
Mike - Mountlake Terrace, WA
Mary J. Blige recorded a jazzy version with Barbra Streisand for her 2013 holiday album, A Mary Christmas. Their pairing marked the first time Streisand allowed a duet to be released first on the other artist's project.