A Spoonful Of Sugar

Album: Mary Poppins Soundtrack (1964)

Songfacts®:

  • This is arguably the most endearing song from the Walt Disney fantasy musical Mary Poppins. Its message "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down", is related by the mysterious nanny (played by Julie Andrews) to her new charges.

    The song was co-written by the famous Sherman Brothers, whose classics include "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "It's A Small World." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • The Sherman brothers were stuck trying to coming up with a catchy title and chorus for this song. "An Apple a Day" and "A Stitch in Time" was amongst the suggestions that were later rejected. The pair struggled to come up with something snappy for a fortnight until Robert Sherman's then-8-year-old son came home from school. He recalled: "I said, 'How was school?' He said, 'Great. We got the (polio) vaccine today.' I said, 'Oh, did it hurt?' He said, 'No, they just stuck medicine on a lump of sugar.' I went, 'Ohhhh!' That was it!"
  • Julie Andrews provided the animatronic bird's whistling.
  • Kacey Musgraves covered this for the 2015 album We Love Disney. The country star told Spin about her interpretation: "It's kind of this really fun western swing, like very Disney," she said. "There's bird whistling and it's so fun. It was one of the funnest things. I do love getting outside of my world and stepping into a challenge like that," she said. "Especially if it is like a whimsical, larger-than-life kind of thing."

    "I really actually love the music of Toy Story, especially the first one," Musgraves continued. "Those are the songs that I feel like… they're the type of songs that are just ingrained in you since you were a kid and you can't help but associate them with nothing but fun. Also there's something very classic about those songs. They weren't written to appease today's generation or the next one. They're just the songs."

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