Tuesday, April 22, 2014

50 years ago: Disney’s “It’s a Small World” introduced

It’s a Small World After All

Disneyland Boys Choir

Writer(s): Richard Sherman, Robert Sherman (see lyrics here)

Released: April 22, 1964

First Charted: --

Peak: -- (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 17.2 video, 8.14 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The theme for the 1964 World’s Fair, which would be held in New York, was “Peace, Through Understanding.” NRR Walt Disney Studios conceived a water-based boat ride to debut at fair which began under the working title of “Children of the World.” WK It featured “several hundred animatronic…dolls” TM “representing children from around the world.” NRR

Walt Disney told songwriters Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman that he needed “one song that can be easily translated into many languages and be played as a round.” WK The pair of brothers also wrote the score for Mary Poppins and the songs for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. For “Small World,” the brothers were influeneced by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis to craft a song about peace and brotherhood. WK

They presented it to Walt as a ballad, but he wanted something more cheerful. They sped up the tempo and Walt was delighted with the results, even renaming the attraction “It’s a Small World.” WK The full title was “PEPSI Presents Walt Disney’s ‘It’s a Small World’ – A Salute to UNICEF and the World’s Children.” TM

The 11-minute ride and its accompanying song were introduced at the UNICEF pavilion on April 22, 1964, when the fair opened in Flushing Meadows in Queens. TM After the fair closed, the ride was moved to Disneyland in California. It would later be introduced at Florida’s Walt Disney World in 1971, Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, Paris in 1992, and Hong Kong in 2008. TM The song has played daily ever since. NRR Disney said the song is played an average of 1200 times a day in its parks. TM With an estimated 50 million plays, it “is very likely the most played song in music history.” TM


First posted 4/16/2022.

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