1994 version of The Lion King was close to having an ABBA soundtrack instead of an Elton

music news 25/07/2019

The classic Disney film of The Lion King could have been very different if ABBA's schedules had worked out.

It's just come to the light that the 1994 animated film came very close to having a soundtrack written and sung by ABBA, rather than one done by Elton John.

First pitched in 1988, The Lion King's composer, Tim Rice, reached out to the Swedish pop group in the hope they would help with the music for the Disney film.

Rice had previously worked with Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus on hit Broadway musical, Chess, so naturally thought of the group when he was contracted to compose the music for the animation.

Lion King producer Don Hahn revealed: “It was a real head scratcher for a lot of us, but they [ABBA] couldn’t do it. There were conflicts — they got a tour or a new album they were working on or something."

He added: "His [Tim Rice's] next idea was Elton John, which to a degree was also a head scratcher because he hadn’t done a musical before.”

Don Hahn revealed that Rice was a little skeptical as to if Elton would say yes or not, but was ecstatic when he agreed.

In the original production notes, executive producer Tom Schumacher recalled: “We were terrified at first to even approach him, because we thought he might be extremely busy or difficult to work with."

Elton then responded: “I actually jumped at the chance because I knew that Disney was a class act and I liked the story line and the people immediately."

It's hard to imagine iconic songs like 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight' and 'The Circle of Life' not coming into existence the same way they had.

Of course, Disney has just transformed the 1994 animated film into an incredibly realistic live action version which is in movie theatres everywhere now!