A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)

Album: Aladdin soundtrack (1992)
Charted: 12 1
  • This romantic song was the theme to the Disney animated movie Aladdin, where it was used as the love song between Aladdin and Princess Jasmine.
  • Alan Menken wrote the music and Tim Rice wrote the lyrics. Menken, who also wrote music for the films Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Enchanted, also wrote the score for Aladdin. Rice is also a Disney favorite, and wrote lyrics for Beauty and the Beast as well as The Lion King, which included the massive hit "Can You Feel The Love Tonight."
  • This won an Oscar for Best Song From A Motion Picture and a Grammy Award for Song Of The Year. >>
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  • In the movie, the song was performed by Brad Kane and Lea Salonga, who were the singing voices of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine. Bryson and Belle's version was the single. Music producer Walter Afanasieff recalled the duo arriving to the studio at the same time to record their vocals: "When you're doing a duet, you create so much spirit together."
  • Tim Rice was brought in to work on this song after Alan Menken's songwriting partner, Howard Ashman, died of complications from AIDS on March 14, 1991.
  • With the line "a wondrous place," Rice sneaked in a clever nod to one of his childhood heroes. He explained: "There was a wonderful British Pop singer called Billy Fury. And one of his hits in England was 'A Wondrous Place.' It was a great, weird pop record, way ahead of its time. Lots of echoes and minimalist backing. Sort of Peggy Lee meets Chris Isaak. As a tribute to Billy Fury, I quite deliberately put in at the end of the song the line 'a wondrous place.'"
  • This song broke Whitney Houston's 14-week run at the top of the Hot 100 with "I Will Always Love You." It became the first song from a Disney animated film to top the chart. Its Oscar win for Best Original Song also beat out two of Houston's tracks from her movie The Bodyguard - "I Have Nothing" and "Run To You."
  • Disney initially sought out singers who would guarantee a chart-topping hit, like Barbra Streisand and George Michael. To Tim Rice's relief, both performers turned it down. He wanted the song to become a hit on its own merit, not by the star power of its singers.
  • Peabo Bryson also recorded a Disney duet with Celine Dion, the title trackfor Beauty and the Beast (1991). It peaked at #9 on the Hot 100 and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media.
  • With the success of the Beauty and the Beast duet, it's a wonder that Disney didn't pair Bryson and Dion again for the Aladdin theme, but the studio had other plans. Bryson explained in a Sac Cultural Hub interview: "Well, oddly enough Disney DOESN'T repeat. They like to start fresh every time. But this was an Alan Menken/Tim Rice song, so it was going to be challenging to sing. Celine was doing other things and I don't think Rene [her husband and manager] was all that excited about doing another one. The song required someone who could really handle a vocal. What Regina Belle is really good at - and this is from her training at Rutgers - is making something that's difficult seem very simple. She makes difficult songs sound very easy."
  • Zayn Malik and Zhavia Ward recorded a new version of "A Whole New World" for Disney's 2019 live-action Aladdin movie. Their rendition is played over the film's end credits in addition to the soundtrack.
  • Zayn and Zhavia Ward trade verses in the updated version of the song which is a slightly slower, more extravagant rendition.

    Zhavia Ward rose to fame after getting to the final of the 2018 singing reality television show The Four: Battle for Stardom Ward signed a deal with Columbia Records and was featured on Diplo, French Montana and Lil Pump's single "Welcome to the Party." According to a statement, Zayn personally selected the Battle for Stardom alumna as his partner for the duet.

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