Disney is known for its fabulous songs and memorable villains, so why not look at both at once? The first Disney tune to ever be led by a bad guy was "Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee," sung by Honest John in Pinocchio. In the nearly 80 years since then, tons of animation's greatest antagonists have been telling their own stories through song.
Nearly every Disney animated film, computer animated or otherwise, contains a villain, and nearly every one of them gets their own song. While there are many we could dive into, we're taking a closer look at the ones that rise above the rest. Here are the greatest Disney villain songs to be released so far.
10 Mine, Mine, Mine
Okay, so Pocahontas probably shouldn’t have been created, but all its major historical blunders don’t change how adventurous and captivating the soundtrack was.
“Mine, Mine, Mine” saw Ratcliffe foolishly claiming Virginia as his own as he and his crew embarked on an epic search for gold.
The song grew in excitement as John Smith (voiced by Mel Gibson) sung of his own quest and the rest of the English settlers jumped in on the action. Those Broadway-worthy harmonies, powerful refrains, and well-themed lyrics make this one shinier than any piece of metal they might dig up.
Designed to contrast Quasimodo’s hopeful desire for love in “Heaven’s Light,” “Hellfire” has Frollo battling his conflicting feelings of lust for Esmerelda and hate of the gypsies.
Arguably the darkest of all Disney songs, the vocals – instrumentation – and lyrics are ridiculously heavy. While it’s no feel-good anthem, the serious content – despite causing lots of controversy – is looked upon as being a theatrical work of art. In fact, most of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is praised for its complex themes today, despite distancing itself from the lighter feel of the animated classics before it.
8 Cruella De Vil
What could possibly be more villainous than a woman who skins puppies to create her elaborate fur coats? This ‘60s jazz hit from One Hundred and One Dalmatians introduces Cruella’s vicious ways. Roger first sings it to Anita, loading on the sass as he imitates the heiress herself while she approaches their home.
The tension-building melody, bluesy instrumentation, and memorable refrains have encouraged many fresh renditions of the hit to come after it – because if she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will.
Tamatoa’s lust for treasure steals the spotlight in this one. Lyricized and co-composed by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, this sparkly hit’s theatrical sound was inspired by David Bowie. It’s no wonder the song is so addicting.
The lustrous lyrics layered with those tropical jazz vibes helps this one really shine.
Miranda jokingly referred to the tune as “Sebastian’s Revenge,” being that Moana’s antagonist crab wishes to eat humans whereas The Little Mermaid song “Les Poissons,” sees a human attempting to eat Sebastian crab.
6 Be Prepared
The most sinister of all villain songs has Scar planning his rise to power. While the throne-lusting lion begins planning his ascent alone, he’s eventually joined by an entire army of hyenas who – by the way – are incredibly dramatic singers. Who would have guessed?
The Lion King’s warning song is notable for building anticipation and getting bigger as it goes. The captivating vocals and African rhythms push it toward the top.
Lucky for you if this your favorite villain hit, it will be included in the live-action Lion King. Be prepared!
5 Love Is An Open Door
I know, I know. You’re thinking, just because Hans is a bad guy doesn’t mean “Love Is an Open Door” is a true villain song. To that, let me remind you that Hans literally manipulates Anna into believing he loves her and wants to marry her over the course of this little number. If that’s not a villain song, I don’t know what is.
Disney's only romantic duet to ever be sung by the heroine and villain actually replaced an unreleased Anna-and-Hans song entitled "You're You." It was cut because it hinted at Hans' wicked ways a little too early. The tune ultimately included in the movie is stylishly clever, lyrically delightful, and almost as chilling as Frozen itself.
4 Poor Unfortunate Souls
This sinister song has Ursula seducing Ariel into one of her spells, with the mermaid princess ultimately signing away her voice in exchange for a pair of legs. The enchanting melody expertly establishes the purple sea witches’ devious character and moves along the narrative. As if the song didn’t have enough going for it already, that classic orchestral sound and those magical tightly-written lyrics seal the deal.
It’s too bad Ariel won’t be able to sing it again.
3 Mother Knows Best
Skip the drama, stay with mama! Tangled featured one of the most manipulative Broadway-style ballads to hit the Disney collection. In it, Mother Gothel frightens Rapunzel into staying in her tower. The dark, humorous lyrics are carried along by a plucky melody, which makes this song a surprising hit. Additionally, critics cited similarities between Donna Murphy’s dynamic, vibrato-heavy vocals and those of Patti LuPone and Julia Andrews.
Gothel’s passive-aggressive performance has her climbing up the list of interesting Disney villains.
2 I Wan’na Be Like You
Now don’t try to kid me, man cub, because this orangutan’s swingin’ request is on fire.
King Louie’s jazzy Jungle Book tune — while not as sinister as some villain songs — is just as demanding and ten times more catchy. The trumpet-driven melody harps on that addicting rhythm, and those nonsense-layered lyrics are the real crown jewel of the jungle.
Christopher Walken's rendition for the 2o16 live-action film kept the zippy spirit of the song but upped the instrumentation.
Is there any Disney song more charming, arrogant, and over-the-top, and as this one? I think not!
Suffering from the dramatic aftermath of Belle’s refusal to marry him, LeFou helps Gaston pulls himself together and remember how magnificent he really is. While that alone sets up Beauty and the Beast’s dashing villain for a grand number, the catchy melody, brag-worthy lyrics, and humorous contributions by the entire pub make this hummable tune one of the greatest.
My what a guy, Gaston!