As a music educator and professional singer, here's my list of the top ten underrated Disney songs:
1. "Someday" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame: soaring melodies and a profoundly inspirational message should have added up to this being a huge hit. But not so much. Although Someday was released as the big single from this movie, it never really caught on -- perhaps because it was played over the closing credits instead of being performed in the body of the film. Interestingly, a cover version by Luis Miguel re-titled "Sueña" became a hit in the Latin American music market.
2. and 3. "Candle on the Water" from Pete's Dragon and "Someone's Waiting for You" from The Rescuers. These are both songs from Disney's Lost Years -- the 1970's, after the death of Walt Disney and before the Disney Renaissance of the 1980's. Sweet songs from movies that were only moderately successful at the time; thanks to the endless rerelease of Disney movies to each generation, they are making a comeback.
4. "Minnie's Yoo Hoo". This cute little song was the first ever published Disney song, published soon after the release of "Steamboat Willie." Written in the style of an early Tin Pan Alley patter song, complete with animal sounds (ending in Minnie's "yoo hoo ") this song established the dynamic of the Mickey/Minnie relationship that continues to this day.
5. "One Song" from Snow White. Do you remember this song? No? It's probably because it's a rare Disney love song sung by the prince instead of the princess. In addition to being a lovely and romantic love song, it's also a welcome relief from Snow White's annoying trilling. Admit it: you feel the same way about her singing!
6. and 7. "The Lord is Good To Me" from Johnny Appleseed and "Lavender Blue" from So Dear to My Heart. Two sweet songs in an old-timey style that have largely been forgotten because the movies that featured them have been forgotten. But you never know: maybe TCM will feature them some time on one of their Classic Disney nights. FYI, if you want to look up Johnny Appleseed, it's a short from a larger movie called, Melody Time.
8. "He Lives in You" from The Lion King. A rousing and inspirational song that occurs in Lion King II as well as in the stage musical, "He Lives in You" has a far more authentically African vibe than many of the more famous Lion King songs.
9. "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2. A beautiful and delicate song about the fragility of life and love. Tell me you didn't cry when Emily left Jessie in the donation box!
10. "Our Town" from Cars. A wistful song about the disappearance of small town America. Won a Grammy, nominated for an Oscar; it still deserves to be performed more than it is.
That's my list! FYI to all of you music teachers out there -- my students love these songs; introducing kids to a new Disney song they may not know is a great way to teach them that they can learn new music without the experience being scary.