Colors Of The Wind

Album: Pocahontas soundtrack (1995)
Charted: 21 4
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This was the theme song to Pocahontas, the hugely popular animated Disney film about the Native American princess who saved the life of American explorer John Smith, ultimately contributing to the founding of the United States.

    The song finds Pocahontas chastising Smith for his arrogance and ignorance, telling him that he doesn't understand the wonders of nature. The line "Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?" is where she makes the point that even though he stakes his claim to the Earth, he doesn't know how to nurture it.

    The song makes reference to the Circle of Life in the lines, "We are all connected to each other in a circle, in a hoop that never ends." The previous year, this was the theme of the Disney movie The Lion King.
  • The music was written by Alan Menken and the lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Menken also wrote the music for "A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)." Schwartz also wrote lyrics for songs in the Disney movies The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Enchanted.
  • In the movie, this was sung by Judy Kuhn, who was the singing voice of Pocahontas. The Vanessa Williams version played over the end credits and was released as the single.

    The movie version contains an additional verse that begins:
    You think I'm an ignorant savage
    And you've been so many places I guess it must be so


    The single release, which at 4:12 is about a minute longer than the movie version, starts with the line, "You think you own whatever land you land on," but adds an extra chorus and is performed at a slower tempo.
  • This won the Oscar for Best Original Song, beating out "You've Got A Friend In Me" from Toy Story and "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?" from Don Juan DeMarco. It also won the Golden Globe in that category and took home the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Movie.
  • In 1983, Vanessa Williams won the Miss America pageant, but gave up her crown when nude photos of her surfaced. The moral outrage that cost her the crown had clearly abated by the '90s, as the family friendly Disney felt comfortable having her perform this song.
  • "It really is one of the most important songs I've ever written," Menken told Entertainment Weekly. "That was the first song I wrote with Stephen Schwartz - the Broadway prodigy who wrote Godspell and Pippin. He did a lot of research about American Indian folklore, and we listened to a lot of tribal music. It was born out of the modality of Native American music, but it quickly moved to its own place, which is hard to define. The grand, slow elegance. It's a very serious song, but there was no getting humor into Pocahontas. God knows we tried. We wrote a song for Grandmother Willow to try to add some comedy, but we just couldn't. The only other option would have been to give a song to the pug and the raccoon, and they don't even speak!"
  • Judy Kuhn still has no idea what she is singing about on one of the lyrics.

    Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon

    "Actually, I have no idea what a blue corn moon is," she told Entertainment Weekly in 2015. "I have always hoped someone could explain it to me. That being said, I don't believe I have ever heard a wolf cry. I do live in New York City where we now apparently have coyotes, but I have not heard of any wolf sightings. Yet."
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