It’s not every day your audience includes the most famous anthropomorphic rodent in the world, but in celebration of Disney legend Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday, members of Zac Brown Band performed as Mickey looked on from the best seat in the house. Brown and company performed “Bare Necessities,” a song from 1967’s The Jungle Book, a Disney film that didn’t feature the cartoon mouse, but instead included a wild kingdom of characters including the young man-cub Mowgli and his companion, Baloo the bear, who first performed the song onscreen.
Brown and band’s performance injects a touch of lively Western swing into the motivational tune, originally sung by actor-musician Phil Harris (Baloo) and young Bruce Reitherman, the son of Jungle Book director Wolfgang Reitherman. Unlike the other songs in the film, penned by Robert and Richard Sherman, “The Bare Necessities” was written by folk singer Terry Gilkyson. It was nominated for a Best Original Song Oscar.
Mickey’s 90th Spectacular aired Sunday, November 4th, on ABC, and also included performances by Josh Groban, Meghan Trainor, K-Pop group NCT 127 and Broadway star Leslie Odom Jr., among others.
Although Mickey Mouse appeared in a test film called Plane Crazy in 1928, just after pilot Charles Lindbergh’s historic transatlantic flight the previous year, he made his official debut on November 18th, 1928, in Steamboat Willie, Disney’s first cartoon to feature synchronized sound. Mickey has since appeared in more than 130 films.
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In October, Zac Brown Band appeared in their second episode of CMT Crossroads, paired with Canadian pop star Shawn Mendes. Their 2017 LP Welcome Home, produced by Dave Cobb, earned a Grammy nomination for the track “My Old Man.”