"Can You Feel the Love Tonight"
Elton john-can you feel the love tonight s 1.jpg
Single by Elton John
from the album The Lion King: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
ReleasedMay 12, 1994 (1994-05-12)
Recorded1993–1994
GenrePop, soft rock
Length4:01 (album version)
Label
Composer(s)Elton John
Lyricist(s)Tim Rice
Producer(s)Chris Thomas
Elton John singles chronology
"Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing"
(1994)
"Can You Feel the Love Tonight"
(1994)
"Circle of Life"
(1994)
Music video
"Can You Feel the Love Tonight" on YouTube

"Can You Feel the Love Tonight" is a song from Disney's 1994 animated film The Lion King[1] composed by English musician Elton John with lyrics by Tim Rice.[2] At the 67th Academy Awards in March 1995 it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. The same year the song also won Elton John the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

It was a chart hit in the UK, peaking at number 14 on the UK Singles Chart,[2] and achieved even more success in the US, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was a number-one hit in Canada and France.

History

The song, written by Tim Rice and Elton John, was performed in the film by Kristle Edwards (also known as Kristle Murden), Joseph Williams, Sally Dworsky, Nathan Lane, and Ernie Sabella, while another version used in the film's closing credits was performed by Elton John. It won the 1994 Academy Award for Best Original Song,[2] and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. It also earned Elton John the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

Within around one and a half months before the film was released in June 1994, John's recording was released throughout radio stations as a commercial single and entered the Billboard Hot 100.[3] The music video of John's recording contains montages of John performing the song and scenes from the film.[3]

In 2003, a remixed version of the song was included in the Special Edition soundtrack of The Lion King, again sung by Elton John.

In the follow-up The Lion King 1½, the romantic scene where the song was originally featured also had the song playing, but with a difference: interspersed with the romantic scenes were short comedic shots of Timon and Pumbaa trying to disrupt Simba and Nala's night out with the "Peter Gunn Theme" playing while they try.

Reception

The single release of John's recording (the closing credits version) peaked at number one on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart for eight weeks.[4] It also sold 500,000+ units in France.[5]

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet described "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" as a "really good ballad".[6] Heather Phares from AllMusic stated that it is a "Lion King classic".[7] Larry Flick from Billboard wrote, "John's distinctive voice slices through the quasi-orchestral tone of this power ballad". He explained, "He taps into the song's pensive lyric, giving it a warm, human dimension that would be lost on a lesser performer."[8] Troy J. Augusto from Cashbox commented, "From Hollywood’s The Lion King soundtrack comes the always welcome voice of Elton John, who takes a stab at reclaiming his talent for crossover hitmaking with this orchestrated ballad, his most affecting single choice in years." He added, "Moving performance and a heady theme add up to hits radio action as well the usual adult formats and even some classic rock attention. A winner."[9] David Browne from Entertainment Weekly noted that John's "croon and piano skills are aging quite well".[10] Another editor, Leah Greenblatt, described the song as a "soaring Simba tribute".[11]

A reviewer from Swedish Expressen called it a "typical Elton ballad with echoes of several of his old successes".[12] Ron Fell and Diane Rufer from the Gavin Report said it is "sure-to-be a summer of '94 anthem."[13] The magazine's Dave Sholin declared it as a "beautiful ballad", adding, "It isn't too early to work on that acceptance speech for next year's Academy Awards, Elton."[14] Alan Jones from Music Week gave it four out of five, noting that it is "a heavily orchestrated and dead slow ballad" and "one of Elton's more memorable recent melodies."[15] The Network Forty deemed it an "elegant ballad".[16] A reviewer from People Magazine called it "sappy", adding that it is "sure to be song of the year".[17] In 2016, David Ehrlich of the Rolling Stone magazine ranked John's performance of the song at the 67th Academy Awards in 1995 at number 12.[18] British newspaper The Staffordshire Sentinel concluded with that "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" "creates the perfect romantic atmosphere".[19]

According to a 2020 survey by OnBuy found that couples that chose "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" as the song for the first dance at their wedding were more likely to stay together, with 77% of respondents who chose the song remaining in their marriage.[20]

Early production

The song was planned to be sung only by Timon and Pumbaa, but Elton John disliked the comical nature of the concept. John declared that "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" was meant to follow "Disney's tradition of great love songs", and that it could "express the lions' feelings for each other far better than dialogue could". The final result was the song mainly sung by an off-screen voice (Kristle Edwards) with short lines from Simba (Joseph Williams) and Nala (Sally Dworsky), and the beginning and end parts by Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella).[21] It also included Zulu vocals that, while mostly muted in the on-screen version, were much more prominently featured in the audio-only releases.[22] The single version contains background vocals by Robert Englund, Rick Astley, Gary Barlow and former collaborator Kiki Dee.

Track listing

7-inch single, UK (1994)
No.TitleLength
1."Can You Feel the Love Tonight"3:59
2."Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (instrumental)3:59
CD single, Australia (1994)
No.TitleLength
1."Can You Feel the Love Tonight"3:59
2."Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (instrumental)3:59
3."Hakuna Matata"3:31
4."Under the Stars" (instrumental)3:43
CD single, US (1994)
No.TitleLength
1."Can You Feel the Love Tonight"3:59
CD maxi, UK (1994)
No.TitleLength
1."Can You Feel the Love Tonight"3:59
2."Can You Feel the Love Tonight" (instrumental)3:59
3."Hakuna Matata"3:31
4."Under the Stars" (instrumental)3:43

Festival of the Lion King

In Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom's Festival of the Lion King, the song is sung by Nakawa and Kibibi. As they sing, two ballet dancers (one male, one female) dressed as birds dance on the stage. After the main chorus is sung, the male bird dancer attaches his partner to a harness that allows her to fly through the air.

Cover versions

British pop group S Club, Sara Paxton and Elliott Yamin all covered the song for Disneymania, Disneymania 4 and Disneymania 6, respectively. Beyoncé, Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, and Billy Eichner performed the song as Nala, Simba, Pumbaa, and Timon, respectively, in the 2019 remake of The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau.[23] In April 2020 Christina Aguilera performed the song for the ABC's television special, The Disney Family Singalong.[24][25]

Personnel

Charts

Certifications

Certifications and sales for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[47] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[65] Gold 25,000*
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[66] Gold 45,000double-dagger
France (SNEP)[68] Gold 500,000[67]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[69] Platinum 10,000*
Sweden (GLF)[70] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[71]
Elton John version
Gold 400,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[72]
Ernie Sabella/Joseph Williams version
Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[74] Platinum 1,000,000[73]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also

References

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  4. ^ Bronson, Fred (4 October 1997). "Charting History". Billboard.
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  9. ^ "Pop Singles: Reviews" (PDF). Cashbox. p. 7. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
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  12. ^ Expressen. 22 July 1994.
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