Walt Disney’s Frozen Head turned 102 today. He passed away in 1966, the same year rock moved from Pat Boone to Pet Sounds. A year later, The Velvet Underground & Nico would come out, and, along with the help of some garage rock bands, the proto-punk movement would begin. If only Walt had lived to see the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the Damned. He would have twirled his finely groomed pencil mustache in disgust.
Which is a shame, because many of the songs in his animated films had secret punk messages.
1. “Pink Elephants on Parade” from Dumbo
None of that straight edge sh*t — we’re too drunk to f*ck, but not too drunk to see pink elephants.
2. “Painting the Roses Red” from Alice in Wonderland
This could be a Sex Pistols song, or any mid-1970s British punk group, actually, who hated Queen Elizabeth II. “Painting the Roses Red” is an anxious cry for a help: we’re stuck in this terrible job, doing what our queen tells us to do, because if we don’t, she’ll kill us. That’s a heavy message for a five-year-old kid.
3. “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” from The Aristocats
Upon first glance, this song might not seem very punk — after all, if everybody wanted to be a punk, there would be no punk. But look a little deeper at the lyrics, at “A square with a horn makes you wish you weren’t born” and “Who wants to dig a long-haired gig stuff like that?” and you’ll realize that once you replace all the references to jazz and saxophones with punk and damaged guitars, it’s the same ethos. Don’t be such a pussy(cat).
4. “The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book
You don’t need to buy what The Man’s selling. No two thousand dollar couch, no five hundred dollar coat. Live off the bare necessities of life, forget about your worry and your strife, because the rest is garbage.
5. “The Phony King of England” by Robin Hood
The rich are crooked. All they care about is stockpiling money and convincing their misguidedly loyal commoners that they’re looking out for their best interest. They’re breezy, uneasy, snivellin’, grovellin’, measly, weaselly, blabberin’, jabberin’, gibberin’, jabberin’, plunderin’ plottin’, wheelin’, dealin’, and most of all, phony.
6. “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast
Every day, month after month, year after year, the same people do the same things. They’re stuck in their mindless routines. The baker always has his tray, without fail. They think you’re weird, strange, “special,” when in fact, you’re the one who wants more than just this provincial, mainstream life. Joke’s on them. Especially the baker.
7. “Humiliate the Boy” from Aladdin
There’s a long, storied history of cut Disney songs (there’s even an entire Wiki dedicated to them), but maybe the most prominent scratched selection is “Humiliate the Boy.” It’s sung about Aladdin by Iago and Jafar, who want to “emasculate” the street rat slowly and “thin his hair.” It was cut for being a little TOO dark. Damn shame.
8. “Hellfire” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The song’s called “Hellfire.” For Disney, that’s practically metalcore.