The Sherman Brothers
are Academy Award
-winning American songwriters
who specialize in musical films
. They are Robert B. Sherman
(born December 19
) and Richard M. Sherman
(born June 12
The Sherman Brothers wrote more motion picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in history, working for Walt Disney during the last six years of his life. Film scores of the Sherman Brothers include Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats and The Tigger Movie.
Life and work
Robert and Richard Sherman began writing songs together in 1951 on a challenge from their father, Tin Pan Alley songwriter, Al Sherman. The brothers wrote together and with different songwriting partners throughout the rest of the decade.
In 1958, Robert founded the music publishing company, Music World Corporation, which later enjoyed a landmark relationship with Disney's BMI publishing arm, Wonderland Music Company. That same year, the Sherman Brothers had their first top-ten hit with "Tall Paul", sung by Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello. The success of this song yielded the attention of Walt Disney who eventually hired the Sherman Brothers as Staff Songwriters for Walt Disney Studios. The first song they wrote on personal assignment by Walt Disney was "Strummin' Song" in 1961. It was used in the Annette Funicello made-for-television movie called, The Horsemasters.
While at Disney, the Sherman Brothers wrote more motion picture musical scores than any other songwriters in the history of film. They also wrote what is perhaps their best-loved song: "It's a Small World (after all)" for the 1964 New York World's Fair. Since then, some have claimed that this has become the most translated and performed song on earth, although this is largely justified by the fact that it is played continuously at Disney's leisure park rides of the same name.
In 1965, the Sherman Brothers won 2 Academy Awards for Mary Poppins, which includes the songs "Feed The Birds", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and the Oscar winner, "Chim Chim Cher-ee". Since Mary Poppins' premiere, the Shermans have subsequently earned 9 Academy Award nominations, 2 Grammy Awards, 4 Grammy Award nominations and an incredible 23 gold and platinum albums.
Robert and Richard Sherman worked directly for Walt Disney until Disney's death in 1966. Since leaving the company, the brothers have worked freelance as songwriters on scores of motion pictures, television shows, theme park exhibits and stage musicals.
Their first non-Disney assignment came with Albert R. Broccoli's motion picture production Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1968 which garnered the brothers their third Academy Award Nomination.
In 1970 the Shermans returned to Disney for a brief stint where they completed work on The Aristocats and Bedknobs & Broomsticks. The latter film garnered the brothers their fourth and fifth Oscar Nominations respectively. 1972 saw the release of Snoopy Come Home for which the brothers received a Grammy nomination.
In 1973, the Sherman Brothers also made history by becoming the only Americans ever to win First Prize at the Moscow Film Festival for Tom Sawyer for which they also authored the screenplay.
In 1976, The Slipper and the Rose, was picked to be the Royal Command Performance of the year. The performance was attended by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. A modern musical adaptation of the classic Cinderella story, "Slipper" also features both song-score and screenplay by the Sherman Brothers. Two further Academy Award nominations were garnered by the brothers for the film. That same year the Sherman Brothers received their star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame" directly across from Grauman's Chinese Theater.
The Sherman Brothers' numerous other Disney and non-Disney top box office film credits include The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats (1970), The Parent Trap (1961), The Parent Trap (1998), Charlotte's Web (1973) , The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh (1977), Snoopy, Come Home (1972), Bedknobs & Broomsticks (1971) and Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1992).
Outside the motion picture realm, their Tony nominated smash hit, Over Here! (1974) was the biggest-grossing original Broadway musical of that year. The Sherman Brothers have also written numerous top selling songs including "You're Sixteen" which holds the distinction of reaching Billboard's #1 spot twice; first with Johnny Burnette in 1960 and then with Ringo Starr fourteen years later. Other top-ten hits include, "Pineapple Princess", "Let's Get Together" and more.
In 2000, the Sherman Brothers wrote the song score for the Disney film: The Tigger Movie. This film marked the brothers' first major motion picture for the Disney company in over twenty-eight years.
In 2002, Chitty hit the London stage, receiving rave revues. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is currently the most successful stage show ever produced at the London Palladium boasting the longest run in that century old theatre's history. On April 28, 2005, a second Chitty company premiered on Broadway (New York City) at the Hilton Theatre. The Sherman Brothers wrote an additional six songs specifically for the new stage productions. A successful third company of Chitty is currently touring throughout the United Kingdom.
In 2003, four Sherman Brothers' musicals ranked in the "Top 10 Favorite Children's Films of All Time" in a (British) nationwide poll reported by the BBC. The Jungle Book (1967) ranked at #7, Mary Poppins (1964) ranked at #8, The Aristocats (1970) ranked at #9 and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) topped the list at #1.
In recent years, with Robert's move to London, England, the brothers have written many new songs for the stage musical presentations of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins, produced collaboratively by Disney and Cameron Mackintosh.
For their contributions to the motion picture industry, the Sherman brothers have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6918 Hollywood Blvd. and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 9, 2005. On November 16, 2006, Mary Poppins premiered at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway.
On Saturday, October 4, 2008, Richard Sherman appeared as a surprise guest on stage at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles during The Swell Season's sold out concert and performed Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious with the band.
- In 2000, the Sherman Brothers wrote the award winning score to The Tigger Movie which achieved number-one status in both theatrical box office and video sales.
- The Sherman Brothers' classic motion picture, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was adapted into a London West End Musical in 2002 and premiered at the London Palladium on April 16, 2002 featuring many new songs and a reworked score by both Sherman Brothers. It was nominated for a 2003 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best New Musical. The Sherman Brothers each received the "Musical Theatre Award" from the Variety Club of Great Britain that year as well for Chitty. Chitty finished a record breaking, three and a half year run at the Palladium becoming the longest running show in the theatre's century long history. 2004 saw the premiere of Mary Poppins on the stage. In 2005, Poppins was nominated for nine Olivier Awards. In 2005 Chitty went to Broadway and was nominated for 9 Tonys and also began its nation wide (UK) tour.
- On June 9, 2005, both Shermans were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside Bill Withers, Steve Cropper, John Fogerty, Isaac Hayes and David Porter.
- On November 16, 2006, the Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of Mary Poppins made its Broadway premiere at the New Amsterdam Theater featuring the Sherman Brothers’ classic songs.
- In 2007, the Sherman Brothers began preproduction on the film project Inkas the Ramferinkas in London, Munich and Los Angeles for which he collaborated on both the script and score. During the 40th anniversary DVD rerelease of The Jungle Book London press junket, the Sherman Brothers were witnessed by press working on a new song for Inkas in the same Brown's Hotel room where The Jungle Book was originally penned by British writer, Rudyard Kipling over a hundred years earlier.
- In February 2008, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang began a second UK tour. In 2008 and 2009, Poppins is scheduled to premiere in numerous cities throughout the world including: Stockholm, Copenhagen, Budapest, Toronto,Shanghai, Sydney, Johannesburg, Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, São Paulo and Helsinki. Full UK and US tours of Poppins are also scheduled to commence in 2008 and 2009, respectively.
Collaboration from afar
Since 2002, Robert Sherman
has lived in London, England
. He moved from Beverly Hills
while Richard Sherman
remained in California. Surprisingly; however, the separation did not impede the brothers' collaborative process. The brothers have credited this to the technological advents of fax machines
and low cost, international telephone
service. Also, both brothers travel between Los Angeles, New York and London frequently which also facilitates their work. Since Robert's move, the brothers have continued to collaborate on various musical plays
as well as a feature
, film musical
which incorporates their original story, song score and screenplay.
The Sherman Brothers often write songs with the word "Rose" included in the title. This may be due to "Rose" having been their mother's name. Some Sherman Brothers titles include the following:
- "A Rose in a Bible" from Huckleberry Finn.
- "A Rose Is Not a Rose" from The Magic of Lassie.
- "The Roses of Success" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
- "The Slipper and the Rose Waltz from The Slipper and the Rose.
- The Parent Trap, 1961
- Adventures in Color
- A Symposium on Popular Songs, 1962
- In Search of the Castaways, 1962
- Summer Magic, 1963
- The Sword in the Stone, 1963
- Big Red, 1963
- Mary Poppins, 1964
- The Happiest Millionaire, 1967
- The Jungle Book, 1967
- The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, 1968
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 1968
- The Aristocats, 1970
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971
- Snoopy, Come Home, 1972
- Charlotte's Web, 1973
- Tom Sawyer, 1973
- Huckleberry Finn, 1974
- The Slipper and the Rose, 1976
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, 1977
- The Magic of Lassie, 1978
- Magic Journeys, 1982
- Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, 1983
- Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, 1992
- The Mighty Kong, 1998
- Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving", 1999
- The Tigger Movie, 2000
Motion picture screenplays
- Victory Canteen, 1971 (Ivar Theatre, L.A.)
- Over Here!, 1974 (Broadway, NY)
- Dawgs, 1983 (Variety Arts Center, L.A.)
- Busker Alley, 1995 (U.S. Tour)
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2002 (London)
- Mary Poppins, 2004 (London)
- On the Record 2004-5 (U.S. Tour)
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2005 (Broadway, NY)
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2005 (UK Tour)
- Busker Alley, 2006 (Broadway, NY - *one night only)
- Mary Poppins, 2006 (Broadway, NY)
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2007 (Singapore)
- Mary Poppins, 2008 (UK Tour)
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 2008 (Second UK Tour)
- Mary Poppins, 2008 (Stockholm)
- Mary Poppins, 2009 (US Tour)
- Mary Poppins, 2009 (Copenhagen)
- Mary Poppins, 2009 (Budapest)
- Mary Poppins, 2009 (Shanghai)
- Mary Poppins, 2009 (Australia)
- Mary Poppins, 2009 (South Africa)
- Mary Poppins, 2009 (Amsterdam)
- Mary Poppins, 2009 (Helsinki)
Theme park songs
- 1991 "Lifetime Achievement Award" awarded at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
- 1977 "Pioneer Award" awarded in Los Angeles, California.
Golden Videocassette Award
Moscow Film Festival
Songwriters Hall of Fame
- 2005 induction at the Marriott Hotel on Times Square in New York.
Variety Club Awards
Walk of Fame
To "Richard & Robert Sherman" awarded on: November 17
, located at: 6914 Hollywood Blvd.