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Film to Capture Sting's Disney Fiasco

Sting, Disney dispute over film soundtrack caught in upcoming film

December 14, 2000 12:00 AM ET

Sting's wife Trudi Styler has chronicled her husband's stormy relationship with Disney pictures in a documentary ominously titled Sweatbox, due to be released next year.

The documentary covers Disney's hiring of the former Police-man along with collaborator David Hartley to pen six songs for an animated musical comedy that was initially titled "Kingdom of the Sun," a retelling of Mark Twain's story The Prince and the Pauper set in an ancient Incan civilization. After Sting delivered the songs, he was dismayed to find that the production had undergone major surgery. Not only was the film retitled The Emperor's New Groove, but most of Sting's songs did not fit the new plot line, so Disney junked them including "One Day She'll Love Me," Sting's duet with singer Shawn Colvin."

"At first I was angry and perturbed. Then I wanted some vengeance," the Grammy-winning musician told Reuters. "We couldn't use the songs in this new film because the characters they were written for didn't exist anymore." Sting and Hartley were forced back to the drawing board to craft two new songs, though Disney did allow three of the six axed songs to appear on the soundtrack album, including a dance number called "Walk the Llama Llama."

The dispute between Sting and Disney was caught in part by Styler, who is no stranger to film, having produced five feature films, including Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and his about-to-be-released Snatch. Sweatbox will feature some of the material that was nixed from the Disney production.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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