It is with a heavy heart that we say farewell to one of the greatest film and song composers of the twentieth century. Whilst his name may not have been on everyone’s lips, there is no forgetting the music that he created. Robert B. Sherman, along with his brother Richard M. Sherman, composed some of the most memorable songs ever to grace the silver screen.
It was during their tenture at Walt Disney Studios that they gained world-wide recognition for generations of kids, young and old at heart.
It was in 1964 that his talent reached its pinnicle for he and his brother created the score, lyrics and music to Mary Poppins. A film which gave them an Academy Award for Best Song (Chim-Chim-Cheree) and also Best Original Score. This film is widely regarded as one of the best family films ever made.
Indeed, it has been so popular that since it was first released on home video, it has been the only Walt Disney film that was never out of print.
Walt himself so loved the music that whenever he walked past the rooms that Robert and Richard were working in, he would only have to say “Play it fellas” and the brothers instantly played “Feed the Birds”; his personal favourite song ever written and a song that they played at Walt Disney’s memorial and commerative service.
In 1967 Robert and his brother created cinematic gold by composing the score and songs to The Jungle Book.
This animated feature has constantly delighted fans through the decades and today children are as familiar with Baloo and Mowgli and still sing “I Wanna Be Like You”.
They received an Academy Award for Best Original Song (The Bare Necessities) for “The Jungle Book.”
Proving that they could perform for other film studios, they also composed and wrote the score and songs to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Based on the book by Ian Fleming, this reunited Dick Van Dyke with the Sherman Brothers and once again they received Academy Award nominations for Best Music and Best Song (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang).
It is no surprise that new audiences are relishing the delights of Robert and his brother’s music due to stage and theatre adaptions of Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Robert, we will greatly miss you.