Riff raff / street rat/ I don’t buy that
Those words could have been uttered by any number of British punks in the ’70s. I can hear Mick Jones belting it out, anthemizing yet another cry of working-class angst.
But no, it was a dude and his monkey who sang it. Well, just the dude, but the monkey was there.
Disney songs can be great, or infuriatingly catchy. There is literally no in-between. But one thing they always have in common is getting covered by all kinds of bands and musicians.
Here is the definitive list of the best punk covers of Disney songs. All the other lists are lies, plain and simple.
The Rainbow Connection — Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
After being bounced around for some time, the Jim Henson Company along with the Muppets, like most things in life, ended up being purchased by Disney. That puts this classic song about freaking out about the illusion of rainbows on the list.
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are a who’s who of modern punk royalty, featuring members of NOFX, Lagwagon, and Swingin’ Utters. So naturally, they needed money, and covering songs like these pays more bills than singing about your floor.
While seemingly a song about the power of hopes and dreams, I think this is actually about a delusional person who is losing their mind. Here’s the key lyric, with zero alterations:
Have you been fast asleep
And have you heard voices,
I’ve heard them calling my name
Someone’s been licking frogs.
Bare Necessities — Bowling for Soup
Bowling for Soup has been around long enough that it wasn’t long after the original Jungle Book came out that they first started hanging out. In fact, the legend is that frontman Jaret Reddick and original drummer Lance Morrill first met in kindergarten in 1977.
This is just a good ol’ fashion romp through one of Disney’s all-time great, and most covered, songs. I’m sure Baloo would approve.
Chim Chim Che-ree — All
I’ll be honest, this is far from All’s best work. But, hey it’s All, so it makes the list. In case you don’t know All (what’s wrong with you?), it’s basically Descendents minus frontman Milo Aukerman.
It’s a pretty straightforward rendition, and actually sounds kind of sad.
Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life for Me — Mickey Mutineers
So this isn’t really a band so much as it is a blog and podcast from a punk dude that just REALLY loves Disney and just apparently put this together. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
And there are a ton of covers of this song. It just lends itself to a sing-along punk feel, and out of all of the most famous Disney songs, this one probably lends itself to drinking the most.
Mickey Mouse Club March — Andrew WK
If you don’t think Andrew WK is punk, first off, I will fight you, and secondly, I will fight you.
That said, this rendition of the theme song to the show that projected both Justin Timberlake and Annette Funicello to fame is by far the best.
And if you’ve never been to an Andrew WK show — I actually won’t fight you, I’ll just go with you.
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious — The Vandals
First off, kudos to whoever put this video together. It really is fantastic. Secondly, this is the Vandals, and as usual they do not phone it in on this one and make it their own.
These guys have been being more punk than anyone you know since 1980, putting them into hallowed territory — and they’re still pumping out good stuff and putting on shows with more energy than bands a third their age.
A Whole New World — Tartar Control
You’ve got to go through at least the one-minute mark to truly enjoy the magic of this one.
Tartar Control is basically just two dudes making music out of L.A. who occasionally tour to a crappy punk venue near you. Actually, a not-so-crappy venue near you, but it doesn’t sound as cool when you put it that way.
This is definitely one of their finest moments, although it appears they haven’t been active in a while.
Making Christmas — Rise Against
Yep, this is the band that put out that awful song that got really popular. Something about swinging.
But this band has some street cred. Anyone who puts out albums on Fat Wreck Chords automatically earns some level of respect.
This cover is much better than those majorly successful hits that probably brought them lots of boring money and fame. There’s almost a bit of a Bad Religion feel to this.
And The Nightmare Before Christmas seems like ripe pickings for some punk-ification.