Circle of Life

"Circle of Life" is the song from Disney's 1994 animated feature film The Lion King. Composed by English musician Elton John, with lyrics by Tim Rice, the song was performed by Carmen Twillie (the deep female lead vocals) and Lebo M (opening vocals in Zulu) as the film's opening song. In an interview, Rice said he was amazed at the speed with which John composed: "I gave him the lyrics at the beginning of the session at about two in the afternoon. By half-past three, he'd finished writing and recording a stunning demo." John sang a pop version (with alternative lyrics) of the song with the London Community Gospel Choir, which was included in the film's soundtrack and made into a music video. "Circle of Life" was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1994, along with two other songs from The Lion King: "Hakuna Matata" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", the latter of which won the award. "Circle of Life" was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. The song reached No. 11 in the UK and No. 18 in the US and is featured frequently in attractions based on The Lion King, such as Disney theme parks and parades. Michael Crawford sang it as part of a medley for The Disney Album in 2001. The song was featured in Disney's 2019 photorealistic computer-animated remake of The Lion King and was used in the first trailer of the film, a near shot-for-shot remake of the opening of the original animated film. This new version of the song was performed by Brown Lindiwe Mkhize, the actress who performed as Rafiki in the stage adaptation of the movie in London from 2005 to 2018. However, the new version also retains the original Zulu opening vocals by Lebo M from the 1994 film. In the United States, music critics praised the song's structure and its message.


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