Walt Disney Records is an American record label of the Disney Music Group. The label releases soundtrack albums from The Walt Disney Company's motion pictures, television series, theme parks, and traditional studio albums produced by its roster of pop, teen pop, and country artists.
The label was founded in 1956 as Disneyland Records. Before that time, Disney recordings were licensed to a variety of other labels such as RCA, Decca, Capitol, ABC-Paramount, and United Artists. It was Walt Disney’s brother Roy O. Disney who suggested that Walt Disney Productions (now the modern-day The Walt Disney Company) form their own record label. Roy enlisted longtime staffer Jimmy Johnson to head this new division. It adopted its current name in 1988.
In 1954, the Disneyland Record label was used for a Columbia Records release of Fess Parker's recording of the "Ballad of Davy Crockett". The record was a success causing the formation of the record company.
The company was founded as Disneyland Records in 1956, serving as the recorded unit subsidiary of Walt Disney Productions. The Disneyland company issued its first album, A Child's Garden of Verses. Also, Disneyland Records issued a Parker's "Wringle Wrangle" single from the Westward Ho the Wagons! film with in a year of starting operations; the single became a hit. This led the company to start recording music from outside the films. However, what ever was released by the company the industry categorized as children. Pricing was directed towards an adult audience, which was more than standard children fare. The only outside success was "Tutti's Trumpets". Thus in 1959, the Disneyland label became the children's label and Buena Vista label for the occasional pop song record.
Jimmy Johnson brought in musician Tutti Camarata, founder of Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, to head the Artists and repertoire of this new enterprise. Tutti established the label's initial forays into long-form musical albums, which included jazz interpretations of Disney standards from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, and Cinderella, as well as original musical concept albums, and he expanded the format of soundtracks by including selections from the score as well as the songs. Tutti's connections within the music industry also brought to the label the likes of Mary Martin, Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima, Jerry Colonna, and Phil Harris. It was also Tutti’s idea that the popular Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello, become the label’s first artist in residence. In 1959, the Buena Vista Records label was formed for Funicello's select recordings and for the release of soundtrack albums and other contemporary music.
While looking for the right material for Annette, Tutti and his team discovered the songwriting duo of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman after hearing one of their songs on the radio. The two were brought to the Disney studio in Burbank where they eventually became the first staff songwriters for the company. They not only penned a good deal of Annette’s songs, but were also responsible for most of the iconic Disney songs of the 1960s and beyond – “It's a Small World” and “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room” for the theme parks, as well as the songs from Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
The dual label company started its read-along series in 1965.
By 1971, Disneyland Records was also called Disneyland/Vista Records. Disneyland/Vista worked with Rankin/Bass to release six recording tied to The Hobbit 1977 animated film as Rankin/Bass had Disneyland/Vista do soundtrack for two of their earlier holiday specials, Frosty's Winter Wonderland and ’Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Walt Disney Records
In 1988, Disneyland Records was renamed "Walt Disney Records". In addition to the Buena Vista label, the Disney Audio Entertainment (1990–1991), Disney Sound (2004–present) and Disney Pearl labels were established to delineate the many varied styles of recordings the company released. Today, Walt Disney Records' selection of products ranges from traditional studio albums and original soundtracks to audiobooks and karaoke albums. It releases music from Walt Disney Pictures' feature films, Lucasfilm's Star Wars franchise, Disney Channel Original Movies, Walt Disney Theatrical productions and other feature-length productions. It also releases the Disneymania and Radio Disney Jams albums while still keeping to its family-oriented representation by endorsing read-along albums for pre-schoolers and classic Disney music.
- Notable soundtracks
- Frozen (2013)
- Moana (2016)
- Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
- Big Hero 6
- 102 Dalmatians
- Pooh's Heffalump Movie
- Return to Neverland
- Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World
- Chicken Little
- Tarzan II
- Bambi II
- Brother Bear 2
- The Fox and the Hound 2
- Disney Magic (2004)
- Disney Channel Holiday (2007)
- Pure Disney (2008)
- Disney Channel Playlist (2009)
- Disney Channel Holiday Playlist (2012)
- Club Penguin: The Party Starts Now! - EP (2013)
- Make Your Mark: Ultimate Playlist (2013)
- Disney Holidays Unwrapped (2013)
- Disney Channel Play It Loud (2014)
- Album series
- Radio Disney Jams
- Disney Karaoke Series
- We Love Disney (2013–present)
- Walt Disney Records The Legacy Collection (2014–present)