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"Colors of the Wind"
Single by Vanessa Williams
from the album Pocahontas
Released 1995
Genre Pop music, R&B
Length 4:20
Writer(s) Alan Menken (music)
Stephen Schwartz (lyrics)
Certification Gold
Vanessa Williams singles chronology
"The Way That You Love"
(1995)
"Colors of the Wind"
(1995)
"You Can't Run"
(1995)

"Colors of the Wind" by composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz was the 1995 Oscar-winner for Best Original Song from the Disney animated feature film Pocahontas. It also won the Golden Globe in the same category as well as the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Movie. The song poetically presents the Native American viewpoint that the earth is a living entity where humankind is connected to everything in nature.

The song was performed within the movie's narrative by Judy Kuhn as the singing voice of Pocahontas. Singer/actress Vanessa Williams recorded a version for the end credits which was successfully released as a single and became one of Williams' biggest hits in 1995, earning a Gold single for sales of 500,000 copies, and reaching #4 on the U.S. charts. For her version, Williams received a Grammy nomination as Best Pop Female Vocal Performance in 1996 (she lost to Annie Lennox's "No More I Love You's").[1]

Contents

Lyrics

In the song, Pocahontas attempts to explain to John Smith about the wonders of the earth and nature including the spirit within all living things, encouraging him not to think of them as things he can conquer or own, but rather as beings to respect and live with in harmony. She also urges him to accept humans who are different in appearance and culture and to learn from them.

The first line of the chorus tells of the wolf crying to the "blue corn moon"[2] with the second line varying with the verse context. The second time the chorus is sung in the single version, the second line becomes "Or let the eagle tell you where he's been" from the original "Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned," likely because of the addition of a third chorus to the song that uses the original's second chorus "For whether we are white or copper-skinned." The third line tells of singing with the voices of the mountains, as the fourth line concludes with the title imagery of painting with the colors of the wind.

Cover versions

Due to the popularity of the song, many versions of it exist by different artists and in several languages. Cover artists include:

Charts

Chart (1995) Peak
position
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[5] 16
Irish Singles Chart[6] 16
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[7] 25
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[8] 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks[8] 2
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks[8] 10
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[8] 53
UK Singles Chart[9] 21
Chart (1996) Peak
position
Dutch Top 40[10] 9
Gfk Dutch Charts[11] 9
Flanders Ultratop 50[12] 38
Awards
Preceded by
"Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from The Lion King
Academy Award for Best Original Song
1995
Succeeded by
"You Must Love Me" from Evita

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.rockonthenet.com/archive/1996/grammys.htm
  2. ^ The phrase "blue corn moon" has no actual meaning in Indian lore. It was made up by composer Stephen Schwartz because he liked the sound of it. What is a blue corn moon? Yahoo Answers. Retrieved 2009-08-24
  3. ^ Love Decides CD, Varese Sarabande, 2000
  4. ^ Russian record list
  5. ^ "australian-charts.com". http://australian-charts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=Vanessa+Williams&titel=Colors+Of+The+Wind&cat=s. Retrieved December 6, 2008 (2008-12-06).  
  6. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results for Vanessa Williams". http://www.irishcharts.ie. Retrieved December 6, 2008 (2008-12-06).  
  7. ^ "charts.org.nz - Vanessa Williams - Colors Of The Wind". http://charts.org.nz/showitem.asp?interpret=Vanessa+Williams&titel=Colors+Of+The+Wind&cat=s. Retrieved December 6, 2008 (2008-12-06).  
  8. ^ a b c d "Allmusic - Vanessa Williams - Billboard Singles". http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:jifexqr5ldfe~T51. Retrieved December 6, 2008 (2008-12-06).  
  9. ^ "everyhit.com search results for Vanessa Williams". http://www.everyhit.com. Retrieved December 6, 2008 (2008-12-06).  
  10. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 1, 1996". http://www.radio538.nl/web/show/id=44685/chartid=5554. Retrieved December 6, 2008 (2008-12-06).  
  11. ^ "dutchcharts.nl - Vanessa Williams - Colors Of The Wind". http://dutchcharts.nl/showitem.asp?interpret=Vanessa+Williams&titel=Colors+Of+The+Wind&cat=s. Retrieved December 6, 2008 (2008-12-06).  
  12. ^ "ultratop.be - Vanessa Williams - Colors Of The Wind". http://www.ultratop.be/nl/showitem.asp?interpret=Vanessa+Williams&titel=Colors+Of+The+Wind&cat=s. Retrieved December 6, 2008 (2008-12-06).  
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