The Lion King —like the original 1994 version—features unforgettable music by an award-winning team, including Oscar and GRAMMY-winning superstar Elton John and Oscar and GRAMMY-winning lyricist Tim Rice, who’ve written an uplifting new song, “Never Too Late,” performed by John, that features an African choir and will appear in the film’s end credits and also on the Walt Disney Records original motion picture soundtrack.
“Just hearing that music strikes you deeply,” Favreau said. “Even if you don’t know the film or stage show, there is a spiritual strength in it. But if you know the film, and if you grew up with this music—now it can suddenly and immediately evoke the story itself, as well as all the connected memories and emotions that you have from your own past experience with ‘The Lion King,’ or from the time of your life that you were in, or your childhood, or the life events it’s connected to.
” Added Mitchell Leib, president of music and soundtracks for The Walt Disney Studios, “The incredible musical talents who came together to contribute to this project are unparalleled. Jon Favreau’s deep love and instinct for musical collaboration inspired Hans Zimmer, Lebo M, Pharrell Williams, Elton John, Tim Rice, Beyoncé, Donald Glover and the entire music team to an awesome level of generosity, spirit and commitment, resulting in a powerful journey of song, production and performance.”
“The Lion King” original motion picture soundtrack features new recordings of the original songs written by Elton John and Tim Rice, score by Oscar and GRAMMY-winning composer Hans Zimmer, plus African vocal and choir arrangements by GRAMMY-winning South African producer and composer Lebo M (Rhythm of the Pride Lands). Oscar-nominated and GRAMMY-winning singer, songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams (“Hidden Figures”/producer, “Happy”), produced five songs on the soundtrack.
In revisiting the score for “The Lion King,” Zimmer realized the original themes and music were the “emotional spine of the story.” He brought back many who worked on the original film, including Lebo M, orchestrator Bruce Fowler, conductor Nick Glennie-Smith, arranger Mark Mancina, plus several singers from the choir including Carmen Twillie (who performed “Circle of Life” in the 1994 movie).
Zimmer wanted to approach the score differently for the new film and enlisted the Re-Collective Orchestra (led by founders Matt Jones and Stephanie Matthews), along with the Hollywood Studio Symphony (comprised of Los Angeles-based session players), and his band. The goal was to rehearse and record the score like a live concert performance.
Music from the animated film released in 1994 won two Academy Awards (original song and original score), four GRAMMYS and two Golden Globes. The soundtrack was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart for 10 nonconsecutive weeks and was certified Diamond by the RIAA, for 10 million units sold.