Words and Music by Jack Lawrence & Sammy Fain
Some Of The Best Recordings
Sleeping Beauty - original soundtrack
Heard On Screen
Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty
The Story Behind The Song
Sammy Fain and I collaborated on a few songs in 1950 that were well recorded although we didn't achieve blockbuster hits. This led to a contract with Disney Studios for us to do the score for an animated version of "Sleeping Beauty." Sammy was a remarkable composer who by that time had a fabulous career represented by such standards as "I Can Dream, Can't I?", "I'll Be Seeing You," "That Old Feeling," "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" and much more.
He was also a true pixie with a bubbling nature, always smiling; a delight to work with — when you could catch him and pin him down to the piano. He was never difficult to find, every morning he was at the racetrack, betting and losing money. I would get to the studio early, study the storyboards and come up with some lines of lyrics to fit. When Sammy showed up, he would take my dummy lyrics and rattle off an instant melody. He had a natural talent for creating melody. In this fashion we wrote the nucleus of a great, melodic score.
Then Walt Disney changed his mind about the direction the animators were taking; he scrapped everything including our score and came up with an entirely new approach in which he decided to use Tschaikovsky's ballet music as a background. All he wanted Sammy and me to write was a song based on the lovely ballet theme.
You can imagine Sammy's frustration and chagrin at this decision. Sammy Fain, composer of great classics, now being asked to put his name on a Tschaikovsky's melody!
He said, "Jack, you can knock off a lyric to that tune in five minutes. You don't need me for that!" True, I could have! But I convinced Sammy that if this was the only remaining sign of our collaboration on this film, both our names should be on the song.
And that's how "Once Upon A Dream," adapted from a theme by Tschaikovsky was written for Disney's "Sleeping Beauty". Amazingly, this sweet waltz wracks up many performance credits each year and is a nice royalty earner for Sammy's and my catalogs.
Copyright © 2005 Jack Lawrence. All Rights Reserved.