Circle of Life – Elton John (1994)

Elton John, Time Rice 1994

I was iffing and butting as to whether to include today’s song just because of how commercial – certainly for its time and mainstream it is. So I listened to it again and it pricked my ears as it has always done, so here goes…To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have included this song if I hadn’t heard recently the Jordan Peterson lecture he gave at Toronto University about the movie which this song was adapted. The movie, of course is The Lion King. Elton John composed this music and I think he did a wondrous job to capture the awe and allure of the story.

The lyrics were written by Tim Rice pictured above beside Elton. The song was performed by Carmen Twillie as the film’s opening song. In an interview, Rice said he was amazed at the speed with which John composed: “I gave him the lyrics at the beginning of the session at about two in the afternoon. By half-past three, he’d finished writing and recording a stunning demo.’ Circle of Life was nominated at 1994 Academy Awards for best song, but lost to another song composed by Elton John for The Lion KingCan You Feel The Love Tonight.

Due to the film’s universal impact on pop culture, the song is often referenced in other media. It’s powerful music and Elton although in the twilight phases of his songwriting prowess proved he was able to punch with the best of them. Below is the official version from Elton and even below that, the Peterson lecture about the Jungian archetypical significance which inspired me to give this article a go. Cheers.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Movies and TV, Music
3 comments on “Circle of Life – Elton John (1994)
  1. I saw the actual real lion which was the model used in the cartoon. It was in a zoo in Asheville, North Carolina. And it’s expressions etc were exactly identical to the Lion King. This is true – no b/s! The lion has since died.

    • Hi Bruce. I’m delighted to read your comment. Peterson talks a lot about how they used the lion’s expresiones to harness the most they could and digitized it all. But the fact you saw the original lion this movie was detailed from makes this post all the more worthwhile. Thank you so much for sharing that. It made this post all the worth while.

    • I think I was wrong in writing they digitalized it. I believe it was done as animations were traditionally done by drawing etc, but there were several scenes where the characters were created in a 3D computer program. My point is their features were accentuated such as Simbas big eyes as a youngen to accentuate his naivety and comeliness. The Peterson lecture is excellent about how they finely crafted an excellent meta-hero story including how they expertly presented the expressions which you alluded to.

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