Walt Disney Records' 50th Anniversary
Walt Disney Records, the leader in family audio entertainment, celebrates its remarkable 50-year history with a celebration of its unique musical heritage, the preservation of its catalog, a commemorative CD and a landmark, first-ever exhibition.
The music of Disney has been enchanting and entertaining audiences for generations, from the first time Mickey Mouse whistled a tune in Steamboat Willie to the modern day phenomenon of High School Musical. Since its launch as Disneyland Records by Walt and Roy Disney in 1956, the label has earned more than 275 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards from the R.I.A.A., 22 Grammys and 18 Academy Awards. The label started as an extension of The Walt Disney Company's film, television and theme park projects, in addition to being a springboard for emerging talent. Well-known offerings such as High School Musical (3x platinum), the Disneymania franchise (3 million units), The Lion King franchise (15+ million units) and Mary Poppins (3x platinum) showcase the enduring popularity of WDR's catalog, with several releases ranking among the top-selling singles and soundtracks of all time.
In addition to producing music for the entire family including infants/toddlers, kids, tweens/teens and adults, Walt Disney Records preserves Disney's rich musical history by re-mastering many of its classic soundtracks and original productions. In celebration of the 50th anniversary, a massive preservation and restoration process is underway for the label's earliest classic recordings.
This fall, the label will begin releasing these restored titles and will be available through digital outlets, including iTunes, marking the triumphant release of the great Disneyland and Buena Vista records millions of Americans grew up with. The vast quantity of archive song material consists of classic Disney songs, original material performed by popular artists of the day and movie soundtracks. These vintage treasures will be digitally restored beyond the sonic brilliance of the original masters, allowing them to sound better than they did when they were first issued nearly 50 years ago.
Walt Disney Records' The Archive Collection is a special iTunes digital-only release featuring 50 unique WDR recordings from a wide range of artists including, Cliff Edwards (voice of Jiminy Cricket), Mary Martin, Hayley Mills, Burl Ives, Louis Prima, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Armstrong, Little Richard, Peter Frampton, They Might Be Giants, The Cheetah Girls and many more. The Archive Collection will be available on iTunes beginning November 7.
In addition to the digital releases, on November 7 the label will bring favorite Disney musical moments to fans from all generations with a special 2-disc commemorative edition, Disney's The Music Behind the Magic. The collection highlights 50 of the most beloved musical classics of all time from movies, television shows, theme parks, Broadway musicals and unique WDR recordings. These carefully selected tracks represent numerous milestones for the label and The Walt Disney Company-- for example, "Some Day My Prince Will Come" from Snow White (first soundtrack), "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio (theme song for TWDC), "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" (first single from a television show), "Tall Paul" by Annette Funicello (the label's first teen sensation), tracks from Mary Poppins (album held the #1 position on Billboard's Top 200 Chart for 14 weeks) and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King (soundtrack earned WDR its first Diamond Award from the RIAA, certifying sales of 10 million units).
The 50th anniversary celebration continues as Walt Disney Records' and The Walt Disney Company's legacy is brought to life with a one-of-a-kind exhibit, Disney: The Music Behind the Magic. Opening November 5th, the exhibit will be housed at Seattle's Experience Music Project (EMP) for one year before traveling to cities across the U.S. and around the world. Disney: The Music Behind the Magic is the first comprehensive exhibit devoted to exploring and examining the role music has played in The Walt Disney Company's phenomenal successes and its cultural impact over the past 80 years. Walt Disney Records provided unprecedented access into its archives and talent pool expressly for this exhibition.
Details of the label's contribution to the music industry and The Walt Disney Company for its 50th celebration will be featured in the forthcoming Billboard Magazine Tribute issue, on sale November 4.
"There is no other record label in the history of the industry with as diverse and eclectic a catalog as Walt Disney Records, " said Robert Marick, Sr. Vice President/General Manager, Walt Disney Records. "Our catalog is comprised of 15, 000 recordings including releases from a variety of superstars from every era -- from Louis Armstrong to Peggy Lee to Annette Funicello and Christina Aguilera." Marick adds, "Music has always played an integral role in the success of all facets of The Walt Disney Company. The Experience Music Project exhibit captures, for the very first time, the lasting legacy and impact Disney has made in the music industry and pop culture around the world. The exhibit, along with our catalog preservation efforts, Commemorative Edition two-disc release and Billboard Tribute Issue are terrific ways to celebrate the label's 50th Anniversary."
Walt Disney Records and its imprints Buena Vista Records and Disney Sound are part of The Buena Vista Music Group. The Buena Vista Music Group encompasses all of the Walt Disney Company's recorded music and music publishing operations.
Experience Music Project is a 21st century museum dedicated to the exploration of creativity and innovation in popular music. By blending interpretative, interactive exhibits with cutting-edge technology, EMP strives to capture and reflect the essence of rock 'n' roll, its roots in jazz, soul, gospel, country and the blues, as well as rock music's influence on hip-hop, punk and other recent genres.
Patrons can make their own music, see and learn about rare artifacts and memorabilia from EMP's collection of more than 80, 000 items, explore various musical milestones within unique interpretive exhibits and feel the power of the creative force by listening to musicians tell their own stories.
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