The man who wrote the words “Oh, you, pretty chitty bang bang, chitty chitty bang bang, I love you,” is dead.
Well, he wrote half of the words. Robert B. Sherman, (above, far right) one of the Sherman Brothers songwriting team (along with Richard, who is still alive) has died at age 86.
He also co-wrote “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” and “Bare Necessities,” and “Chim Chim Cheree,” and…”It’s a Small World After All.”
And “Winnie the Pooh.”
Yeah, he was major.
The Sherman Brothers are best known for their legendary Disney compositions, such as the scores to MARY POPPINS, THE JUNGLE BOOK and songs for the Enchanted Tiki Room, and, yes, “It’s A Small World After All,” which some say is the world’s most performed song.
While best known for their Disney work, The Shermans had a busy career outside of Disney, as well, including CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, THE ARISTOCATS, and, one of my favorites, SNOOPY, COME HOME. Possibly the saddest cartoon of all time, as seen in the song “It Changes,” above.
Incredibly, despite what appeared to be a partnership for the ages, as the NY Times obit recounts, the Sherman Brothers were complete unfriends outside the music room, and had no relationship whatsoever:
While In any case, though they continued to work together off and on and feigned closeness in public, they rarely spoke, their families did not socialize and the broken relationship was barely ever mentioned, even in private.
Part of this was because of Robert’s experiences in World War II, his son told the Times, which he never could forget. More of their lives are shown in a documentary from a few years ago called The Boys.
End of an era time: The Sherman Brothers—and the sometimes similar duo of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse—were experts in a very special brand of bombastic yet kooky song, so prevalent in the ’60s-’70s period. Some of this stuff is dumb and some of it is great, and most of it is great because it’s dumb.
Another one from SNOOPY, COME HOME. “No Dogs Allowed,” as sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, who also did one of the voices for the Enchanted Tiki Room.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.