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by Barry Walters

February 27, 2014

Disney's Best Movie Songs

by Barry Walters  |  February 27, 2014

With the Frozen soundtrack recently topping the charts, Lana Del Rey’s cover of the Sleeping Beauty oldie "Once Upon a Dream," and the next Muppets soundtrack on the way, Disney has once again claimed a central place in pop music consciousness.

It's not like they've gone anywhere, though. Ever since The Little Mermaid ushered in a second wave of success at the tail end of the '80s, Disney has maintained a near-constant presence on both Billboard and Variety charts. Generation after generation has grown up with not just the studio’s films, but also their music: Disney films are responsible for a whopping 30 Oscar-nominated songs, and many of those either snagged statues, earned their place in our collective pop consciousness, or both.

To celebrate Frozen's phenomenal success, we've created this playlist of 50 Disney cuts in reverse chronological order. It's true that the company has sometimes relied on proven formulas like melodramatic power ballads and sugar-packed tween anthems. But they've also enlisted plenty of maverick singers and songwriters, such as Randy Newman, Dr. John, Peter Gabriel and k.d. lang. Few contemporary composers have conquered the pop charts with a still-intact Broadway sensibility like Alan Menken, who clearly learned a thing or two from previous Disney stalwarts like the Sherman Brothers.

It all adds up to a collective musical strength that may surprise you. If you can't find something to love amidst these classic-packed nine decades of hits, you may never have been a child.

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