The Little Mermaid (soundtrack)

The Little Mermaid: Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the 1989 Disney animated feature film, The Little Mermaid. It contains the songs from the film written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as the film's score composed by Alan Menken. The score was orchestrated by Thomas Pasatieri. The album has achieved multi-platinum sales and won the Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children. The album includes recordings of the music that won the Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television ("Under the Sea"), the Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song ("Under the Sea") and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

The Little Mermaid: Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedOctober 19, 1989 (1989 Original Release)
October 14, 1997 (Re-release)
October 31, 2000 (Special Edition Double Pack)
October 3, 2006 (2006 2-Disc Special Edition)
November 24, 2014 (Legacy Collection)
GenreBroadway musical-style soundtrack, film score
Length43:18 (1989 and 1997 releases)
1:47:13 (Legacy Collection)
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerAlan Menken
Howard Ashman
Robert Kraft
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Oliver & Company
The Little Mermaid: Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack
The Rescuers Down Under
1997 Re-release
2006 Special Edition
Singles from The Little Mermaid: Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack
  1. "Poor Unfortunate Souls"
    Released: 1989
  2. "Under the Sea"
    Released: December 13, 1989
Singles from The Little Mermaid: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack (Special Edition)
  1. "Kiss the Girl"
    Released: September 4, 2006 (Radio Disney)

The soundtrack was first released by Walt Disney Records on October 19, 1989, on both CD and cassette tape.[1] On November 22, 1994, the album was included in a four-disc box set entitled The Music Behind the Magic: The Musical Artistry of Alan Menken, Howard Ashman & Tim Rice.[2] The box set included work tapes and demos intertwined into the finished original soundtrack.[3] The soundtrack (without the demos and work tapes) was re-released with different artwork, on October 14, 1997,[4] and it was released internationally on October 31, 2000, in a double pack with The Little Mermaid II soundtrack.[5] On October 3, 2006, a new two-disc special edition version of the soundtrack was released to correspond with the two-disc Platinum Edition DVD release of The Little Mermaid. The first disc remains identical to the original release, yet with remastered audio while the newly added second disc is composed of various newly recorded versions of the film's songs by different artists, such as Ashley Tisdale, Raven-Symoné, The Jonas Brothers, and Jessica Simpson. It also included two music videos, as well as new cover art.[6] The Legacy Collection: The Little Mermaid was released as a two-disc album on November 24, 2014, to coincide with the film's twenty-fifth anniversary.[7]


Professional ratings
Review scores

As of February 2007, the album is certified 6x Platinum by the RIAA.[10] In 2010, Rhapsody called it one of the all-time great Disney and/or Pixar Soundtracks.[11]

Track listing

All music is composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman. All scores composed by Menken.

No.TitleRecording artist(s)Length
1."Fathoms Below"Ship's Chorus1:41
2."Main Titles" (Score) 1:26
3."Fanfare" (Score) 0:27
4."Daughters of Triton"Kimmy Robertson0:38
5."Part of Your World"Jodi Benson3:13
6."Under the Sea"Samuel E. Wright3:12
7."Part of Your World (Reprise)"Jodi Benson2:15
8."Poor Unfortunate Souls"Pat Carroll4:49
9."Les Poissons"René Auberjonois1:33
10."Kiss the Girl"Samuel E. Wright2:41
11."Fireworks" (Score) 0:38
12."Jig" (Score) 1:32
13."The Storm" (Score) 3:18
14."Destruction of the Grotto" (Score) 1:52
15."Flotsam and Jetsam" (Score) 1:22
16."Tour of the Kingdom" (Score) 1:24
17."Bedtime" (Score) 1:20
18."Wedding Announcement" (Score) 2:16
19."Eric to the Rescue" (Score) 3:40
20."Happy Ending"Disney Chorus3:11
Total length:43:18
Australian Bonus Track[5]
No.TitleRecording artist(s)Length
21."Part of Your World"Alana De Roma3:16
The Music Behind the Magic box set track listing[3]
No.TitleRecording artist(s)Length
1."Fathoms Below/Main Title" (Demo)Menken, Ashman4:41
2."Fathoms Below" (Final)Ship's Chorus1:41
3."Main Title" (Final) (Score) 1:26
4."Fanfare" (Final) (Score) 0:27
5."Daughters of Triton"Robertson0:38
6."Part of Your World" (Work Tape)Menken, Ashman0:45
7."Part of Your World" (Demo)Menken0:49
8."Part of Your World" (Final)Benson3:13
9."Fireworks" (Final) (Score) 0:38
10."Jig" (Final) (Score) 1:32
11."Under the Sea" (Work Tape)Menken, Ashman1:20
12."Under the Sea" (Demo)Ashman2:34
13."Under the Sea" (Final)Samuel E. Wright3:12
14."Sebastian and Triton" (Final) (Score) 1:43
15."Part of Your World" (Reprise) (Demo)Menken1:34
16."The Storm" (Final) (Score) 3:18
17."Part of Your World" (Reprise) (Final)Benson2:15
18."Silence Is Golden" (Demo)Menken2:37
19."Poor Unfortunate Souls" (Demo)Ashman5:07
20."Poor Unfortunate Souls" (Final)Pat Carroll4:49
21."Les Poissons" (Demo)Ashman2:09
22."Les Poissons"René Auberjonois1:33
23."Kiss the Girl" (Demo)Ashman1:05
24."Kiss the Girl" (Final)Samuel E. Wright1:37
25."Bedtime" (Final) (Score) 1:20
26."Wedding Announcement" (Final) (Score)  
27.Untitled 2:16
28."Eric to the Rescue" (Final) (Score) 3:40
29."Part of Your World/Happy Ending" (Work Tape) (Final)Menken, Disney Chorus2:34
Disc Two (Special Edition)[12]
No.TitleRecording artist(s)Length
1."Kiss the Girl"Ashley Tisdale3:25
2."Poor Unfortunate Souls"Jonas Brothers2:29
3."Part of Your World"Jessica Simpson3:29
4."Under the Sea"Raven-Symoné3:16
5."Poor Unfortunate Souls" (Music Video Enhanced feature)Jonas Brothers2:29
6."Making of "Kiss the Girl" Music Video" (Enhanced feature)Ashley Tisdale1:03
Legacy Collection Disc 1
1."Fathoms Below"Ship's Chorus1:42
2."Main Titles" 1:26
3."Fanfare" 0:28
4."Daughters of Triton"Kimmy Robertson0:52
5."Intro Ariel" 3:12
6."Intro Ursula" 2:38
7."Triton Reprimands" 1:49
8."Sebastian's Dilemma" 0:44
9."Part of Your World"Jodi Benson3:31
10."Fireworks" 2:11
11."The Storm" 3:18
12."Part of Your World (Reprise) / Ursula Plots"Jodi Benson3:03
13."Ariel in Love" 0:23
14."Under the Sea"Samuel E. Wright3:23
15."Sebastian and Triton" 1:40
16."Destroying the Grotto" 1:55
17."Flotsam and Jetsam" 1:47
18."Ursula's Lair" 2:17
19."Poor Unfortunate Souls"Pat Carroll4:49
20."She's Got Legs" 1:22
21."Sebastian Relents" 0:28
22."On Land" 2:25
23."Miss Manners" 1:09
24."Les Poissons"René Auberjonois2:11
25."Crab On a Plate / Bedtime" 2:20
26."Tour of the Kingdom" 1:26
27."Kiss the Girl"Samuel E. Wright2:40
28."Ariel Left Behind" 4:09
29."Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)"Jodi Benson0:31
30."The Truth" 1:23
31."Interrupting the Wedding / Ursula's Defeat" 6:44
32."Happy Ending" 3:22
Total length:71:18
Legacy Collection Disc 2
1."Fathoms Below (Work Tape)"Howard Ashman and Alan Menken2:15
2."Daughters of Triton (Synth Demo)"Howard Ashman and Alan Menken0:56
3."Part of Your World (Synth Demo)"Howard Ashman and Alan Menken3:15
4."Fireworks / Jig (Score Piano)"Alan Menken2:10
5."The Storm (Score Piano Demo)"Alan Menken2:35
6."Under the Sea (Synth Demo)"Howard Ashman and Alan Menken4:42
7."Poor Unfortunate Souls (Basic Synth Demo)"Howard Ashman and Alan Menken5:06
8."Poor Unfortunate Souls (Final Synth Mockup)"Howard Ashman and Alan Menken5:31
9."Les Poissons (Work Tape Demo)"Howard Ashman and Alan Menken2:09
10."Les Poissons (Synth Demo)"Howard Ashman and Alan Menken2:03
11."Kiss the Girl (Synth Demo B)"Howard Ashman and Alan Menken2:41
12."Happy Ending (Score Piano Demo)"Alan Menken2:32
Total length:35:55

Unreleased songs/score

Several pieces of music from the movie remained unreleased in any format from Disney until the release of "Walt Disney The Legacy Collection: The Little Mermaid" in December 2014 according to the 25th anniversary of the film. A fan-compiled complete score (including song instrumentals) does exist and can be heard/seen on video sharing websites.

  1. Fathoms Below (Instrumental) [1:41]
  2. Main Titles (Full version as heard over end credits – the last seven seconds have not been released commercially) [1:34]
  3. Sebastian's Fanfare [0:06]
  4. Daughters of Triton (Instrumental) [0:36]
  5. Daughters of Triton (Film Version) [0:36]
  6. Part of Your World (Film Version - The version heard in the film includes score while Ariel speaks before the song starts) [3:23]
  7. Part of Your World (Instrumental) [3:23]
  8. Part of Your World (Reprise) [Instrumental] [2:14]
  9. Under the Sea (Instrumental) [3:11]
  10. Poor Unfortunate Souls (Part 1 - Instrumental) / Ursula's Deal [2:15]
  11. Poor Unfortunate Souls (Part 2 - Instrumental) [1:14]
  12. Les Poissons (Instrumental) [1:32]
  13. Kiss the Girl (Instrumental) [2:40]
  14. Vanessa on the Beach (without vocal) [1:00]
  15. Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise) (Film Version - The version heard in the film includes different laughters by Vanessa and Ursula) [0:32]
  16. Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise) [Instrumental] [0:32]
  17. Interrupting the Wedding / Ursula's Defeat (with vocal) [6:45]
  18. Happy Ending (film version) [3:10]
  19. Happy Ending (sans Disney chorus) [3:10]

Score composition and orchestration

Alan Menken's first songs-and-underscore project garnered him an Academy Award for the Best Score of 1989. This would prove to give him a very high nomination-to-win ratio of awards. Alan was originally hired for the songs only, but after writing an underscore demo for the film's executives, his assignment grew. The following are some details on the film's score overall:

  • Almost all of the score features a section of music in the key of E-flat major (pitch +4) (including "Main Titles", the beginning portion of "Happy Ending", "Les Poissons", "Bedtime", and most instances of Ariel's solo aria). "Tour of the Kingdom" alternated between E-flat major (pitch +4) and C-major (pitch +4) throughout.
  • In darker moments, and for Ursula's theme, the key of D-sharp minor (pitch +4) is prominent ("Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)", most of "The Storm", "Eric to the Rescue" among others).
  • The French horn is used to symbolize King Triton (listen to "Destruction of the Grotto"), the oboe is used to symbolize Prince Eric (the beginning of "The Storm", as well as "Happy Ending" when Ariel is looking at Eric on the shore). Usually, the brass section represents Ursula and the flute almost always portrays Ariel's vocal aria. Clarinets represent Scuttle.
  • Synthesizers and electric pianos are used quite often in the orchestration (namely for the songs, like "Part of Your World"), but the grand piano is almost never used.
  • Scuttle's leitmotif can be heard in the beginning of "Wedding Announcement", the scene after Ariel becomes a human and was the basis for "Beyond My Wildest Dreams" in the 2007 broadway production. This theme is used as a variation for the music when the animals are stopping Vanessa's wedding.
  • Ursula's leitmotif is most obvious in the track "Flotsam and Jetsam" but it comes from the melody notes for the chorus of "Poor Unfortunate Souls". This theme is also used while Ariel is being transformed, and it is played fast and supported by a harsh brass section.

Cue List

The following is a list of the official cue names and numbers as used in the handwritten orchestra score for recording purposes. In the Legacy Collection soundtrack version, some cues were merged into one track (i.e. 9m1, 9m2, 9m2a, 9m3, 9m4 and 9m5 are one track titled "The Truth").[13]

Cue List
1M1 Fathoms Below
1M2 Opening Credits
1M3S Fanfare
1M5 Daughters of Triton
1M6 Triton (Sting)
1M7 Intro Ariel
1M7A Shark Chase
2M0 Intro Scuttle
2M1 Intro Ursula
2M2 Triton Reprimands Ariel
2m2 Insert
2m3 You're Just the Crab
2m3 Insert
2m4 Sebastian's Dilemma
2m5 Sebastian Discovers
2m5 Sebastian Discovers (ver 2)
2m6 Part of Your World
3m1 Fireworks
3m2 Gigue
3m3 She's Out There
3m4 Storm
4m1 Is He Dead?
4m2 Part of Your World (Reprise)
4m3 Ursula Plots
4m3a Bucolic
4m4 Ariel in Love
4m5 Under the Sea
4m5a Under the Sea (Tag)
5m1 Sebastian and Triton
5m2 It's a Surprise
5m3 Destroying the Grotto
5m4 Flotsam and Jetsam
6m1 The Deal (Insert)
6M1 The Deal
6m1r (To Ursula's Lair)
6m1a (alternate)
6m1a Insert
6m2 Poor Unfortunate Souls (Part 1)
6m3 Poor Unfortunate Souls (Part 2)
6m4 Poor Unfortunate Souls (Part 3)
6m4a Beluga Sevruga
6m5 Fife 1
6m6 She's Got Legs
6m7 Sebastian Relents
7m1 Eric Finds Ariel
7m2 The Bath
7m3 Dead Fish (Sting)
7m4 Miss Manners
7m5 (Louis Singing)
7m6 Les Poissons
7m6a Can-Can
7m7 Button
7m8 Crab on the Plate
7m9 Bedtime
7m10/8m0 Messenger and Triton
8m1 Tour of the Kingdom
8m2 (Scuttle Singing)
8m3 Kiss the Girl
8m4 Ursula Transforms
8m5 Fife 2
8m6 Eric Hears Maiden
8m7 Wedding Announcement
8m8 Ariel Left Behind
8m9 (Scuttle Singing)
8m10 Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)
9m1 The Truth
9m2 Wedding March
9m2a Almost There
9m3 The Attack
9m4 Ariel's Voice Returns
9m5 You're Too Late
9m6 Eric to the Rescue
9m6a Ursula Rising
9m6b Whirlpool
10m1 Peace Returns
10m2 Happy Ending

Chart positions

Year(s) Chart Peak
1989 US Billboard 200[14] 32
1991 Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[15] 25
2006, 2012 US Top Soundtracks (Billboard)[14] 4


Region CertificationCertified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[16] 3× Platinum 300,000^
Germany (BVMI)[17] Platinum 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[18]
sales since 1992
Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[19] 6× Platinum 6,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also


  1. CD and cassette tape reference:
  2. "Music Behind Magic: Menken / Ashman / Rice". Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  3. "Music Behind Magic: Menken / Ashman / Rice: Track Listings". Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  4. "The Little Mermaid: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  5. "The Little Mermaid & Little Mermaid II (Special Edition Double Pack)". Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  6. "The Little Mermaid: Alan Menken, J.A.C. Redford, Ashley Tisdale, Daughters of Triton, Jessica Simpson, Jodi Benson, Jonas Brothers, Pat Carroll, Raven-Symoné, Rene Auberjonois, Samuel Wright, Ship's Chorus: Music". Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  7. "Walt Disney Records To Release Into The Woods Collectible Music Products Exclusively At Newly Launched Disney Music Emporium Site" (Press release). Burbank, California: PRNewswire. November 24, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
  8. Hobart, Tavia. "The Little Mermaid [Original Soundtrack] - Alan Menken". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  9. "The Little Mermaid (Alan Menken)". Filmtracks. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  10. "RIAA – Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 2010-12-07.
  11. Dedina, Nick (2010-06-15). "10 Essential Disney & Pixar Soundtracks - Rhapsody: The Mix". Archived from the original on 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  12. "The Little Mermaid: Music". Retrieved 2013-08-22.
  13. Menken, Alan. The little mermaid (music score). Wonderland Music Co., c1989. LCCN 90754017.
  14. The Little Mermaid (Original Soundtrack) - Alan Menken - Awards. Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Accessed on August 9, 2013.
  15. " – Soundtrack / Alan Menken – The Little Mermaid". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  16. "Canadian album certifications – Various Artist - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – The Little Mermaid". Music Canada. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  17. "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Diverse; 'Walt Disney - Arielle, die Meerjungfrau')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  18. "British album certifications – Walt Disney – Little Mermaid". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  19. "American album certifications – Soundtrack – The Little Mermaid". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 12, 2020. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
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