Do you know these 5 Lion King songs?
| By Ephram Ryan
Everybody knows Hakuna Matata – it means no worries! But only the biggest fans of Disney’s The Lion King will know these five songs, which were included in the stage musical adaptation.
Pictured: Mufasa on the prowl during the “Grasslands Chant”
This emotional song was originally featured on the 1995 CD, Rhythm of the Pride Lands, which served as a ‘sequel’ to the original motion picture soundtrack and included songs inspired by, but not featured in, the film. This song is partially sung in Zulu and the original title for the track was Lea Halalela, which is Zulu for ‘Holy Land,’ before it was changed to Shadowland for the musical. As Nala bids farewell to the Pride Lands to go and find help, she painfully sings, ‘Shadowland. The leaves have fallen. This shadowed land. This was our home. The river’s dry. The ground has broken. So I must go.’ Nala receives blessings from Rafiki and her fellow lionesses before her heartbreaking departure.
The Madness of King Scar
This new addition to the Lion King story sees Scar experience mood swings, alternating between confidence and self-consciousness. As Nala tries to focus Scar’s attention to the lack of food and water, he ignores her and instead tries to seduce her and make her his mate. ‘Come sweet Nala. It’s written in the stars. We’ll create a host of little Scars.’ While Be Prepared shows Scar’s authoritarian side, The Madness of King Scar brings a whole lot more depth to the character, showing just how narcissistic and fragile his ego is. Be Prepared this ain’t.
The Morning Report
This humourous number sung by Mufasa’s trusty winged advisor Zazu, was included in the stage production. It sees Zazu reporting to Mufasa what he has observed in the Pride Lands that morning: ‘Chimps are going ape. Giraffes remain above it all. Elephants remember. Thought just what I can’t recall.’ The tune is later picked up by Simba, who sings in order to poke fun and mock Zazu. The Morning Report gained enough popularity that it was eventually added to the film for the Platinum Edition DVD release, only later to be removed from the 2011 Diamond Edition. As of 27 June 2010, the song has been removed from the Broadway version after the show’s runtime was cut by nine minutes. It was later removed from subsequent productions, but you can still listen to the track in the original Broadway cast recording.
Don’t go to The Lion King hungry when this musical number comes on! Sung by the infamous trio of cackling hyenas – Banzai, Shenzi and Ed, this ditty, as the name suggests, is all about food. Featuring such lyrics as “So many juicy segments to detach” and “ribs are looking tasty,” you’ll be drooling for a burger or a pizza on an empty stomach. Make sure to eat before the show!
He Lives in You
Also hailing from the Rhythm of the Pride Lands CD is this smash-hit number, which rivals Circle of Life. The song opened the direct-to-video sequel, The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride, and shows animals from the Pride Lands travelling to witness the presentation of Kiara, Simba and Nala’s daughter. The song is featured in The Lion King musical twice, first as They Live In You in the first act when Mufasa sings to Simba about the many past kings and then later in the second act with a pronoun change as He Lives In You, during which Rafiki sings to Simba about his late father Mufasa in order to encourage him to face up to Scar. In the original 1995 film, Rafiki merely uttered this phrase, which inspired the song’s lyrics for the 1995 sequel soundtrack.
Played in the film during the montage sequence when Simba is running back to Pride Rock to face Scar and reclaim the throne, this tune is surely one you remember, but perhaps you may not have known the name. This song was also featured in the Rhythm of the Pride Lands soundtrack and is sung in Zulu. Lyrics include ‘Busa le lizwe bo. Busa lomhlaba wethu. Busa ngo xolo,’ which means ‘Rule this land. Rule this land of ours. Rule with peace.’ It marks an emotional turning point in the film where Simba has already come to terms with his destiny. In the stage musical, the song can be heard in the Grasslands Chant as well as in the finale, King of Pride Rock.
Busa Simba, busa Simba!
If you knew all 5 songs, then congratulations! You’re the King of the Pride Lands. If you knew 3-4 of these songs, then you’re the king’s trusty red-billed hornbill advisor Zazu. If you knew 1-2 of these songs, you’re a laughing hyena! If you knew of none of these songs, then you get to sit directly behind Pumbaa for two hours on a sweaty commuter train.
The Lion King is now in its 19th year in the West End and shows no signs of abdicating from the throne anytime soon! Visit the Pride Lands at the Lyceum Theatre and see why this spectacular production is still captivating its audiences all around the world, even after all these years!
Purchase your tickets to Disney’s The Lion King here.