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Building on the success of The Little Mermaid, composer Alan Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman reteam to tell a fantastical love story through song, complete with dancing dinnerware. “Belle” sets the scene in Broadway style, while the boastful “Gaston” is goofily great, and Angela Lansbury’s voice easily lends itself to an animated character. Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson bring their star power to the title track, providing a swoon-worthy radio single that easily stands on its own.
Born: July 22, 1949 in New York, NY
Years Active: ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, ’10s
Distinguished composer/lyricist Alan Menken is responsible for penning many of the catchiest tunes from Disney features of the late ’80s onward, including such chart-toppers as “Whole New World” (from Aladdin) and “Colors of the Wind” (Pocahontas). Menken is a graduate of New York University and got his start when noted playwright Howard Ashman chose him and Lehman Engel to write the music for his 1978 adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Menken and Ashman had major success…