Millennials love their Disney movies. After all, the studio saw a resurgence in the popularity (and profitability) of their animated films during millennials' childhoods.
I'm talking about The Lion King.
Full of adventure, romance and lessons in loyalty, The Lion King quickly became a classic after its 1994 release. Like many smash hits, the characters were voiced by Hollywood stars.
The lead character, Simba, is seen as both a child and an adult. Child star of the time, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, is the voice of Simba as a cub while Matthew Broderick provided the voice of adult Simba.
Despite several turns on Broadway, many people will not be surprised to know that Broderick did not provide Simba's singing voice. But what you might be shocked to learn is that Simba's vocals were sung by Joseph Williams.
Does the name sound familiar? Joseph Williams is the son of famous film composer, John Williams.
But wait, it gets better. Williams is also the lead singer of the band Toto.
Toto. As in the group that recorded the hit tune Africa.
YOU HEARD ME RIGHT. AFRICA. AFRICA.
How did none of us make this connection earlier?
Williams wasn't in the band yet when they released Africa on the album Toto IV; he joined the band a few years later.
Toto founder, keyboardist and vocalist David Paich sang the lead vocals on Africa when it was released in 1982, but the song is still performed in concert by the band's current line-up, which includes both Paich and Williams. Paich also wrote the song with Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro, who passed away in 1992.
Africa topped the charts and is one of Toto's most recognized tunes. Williams has undoubtedly performed the iconic tune numerous times with the band.
And who exactly is John Williams? You've definitely heard his work numerous times, unless you hate popular movies or live under a rock.
Williams is a renowned Hollywood composer. He's responsible for the soundtracks of films such as:
- the Star Wars franchise
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- Schindler's List
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind
- Jurassic Park
Did Disney consciously pick Williams to lend the singing voice to the African lion, or was it just a mere happy coincidence?
Whatever it was, I just love that The Lion King is still blessing us with that *Disney Magic* nearly 25 years later.
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