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The Disney movie that inspired Paul McCartney


Known as some of the most influential figures of the 20th century, The Beatles eclipsed the entire concept of a rock band by embodying the spirit of an ever-changing western world. As such, they have gone on to influence some of the finest minds in music and cinema, including the likes of Dave Grohl, Brian Wilson, Billy Joel, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen and Noel and Liam Gallagher. 

Though few artists are truly unique and even The Beatles drew from several creative inspirations, including the Nigerian conga player Jimmy Scott and the classic novelist Lewis Carroll to name just two. Paul McCartney also recently revealed on the radio show ‘John Lennon at 80’ that he, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Lennon had been greatly influenced by the work of Bob Dylan. 

Speaking on the show, McCartney stated, “Yeah, we certainly got a lot from Dylan, and I know I had one of his first LPs at home before The Beatles. I used to play that quite a lot so I was steeped in him”. 

Aside from the world of music, Paul McCartney and John Lennon were also influenced by Walt Disney Pictures, with their animated classics rising to prominence at a similar time to The Beatles’ own success. Each born in the early 1940s, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison each grew up in the Golden Age of Walt Disney Pictures, with the likes of Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi each being released throughout the same decade. 

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It was Bambi that caught the attention of a young Paul McCartney, however, with the performer citing the film as a major influence on his attitudes towards animal rights that also shaped his music career. According to BBC News, McCartney noted: “I think that made me grow up thinking hunting isn’t cool,” making reference to the notorious ending of the Disney classic that sees Bambi’s mother killed by an evil hunter.

Continuing, McCartney explains, “You look through a lot of these great stories – Dumbo, his mum is quite badly treated. A lot of these classic stories, through their efforts, kids – as I once was – have grown up feeling it’s a bad idea to be cruel to animals”. 

Other nods to the iconic animation company can also be found scattered across The Beatles’ discography, such as naming the song ‘Do You Want to Know a Secret?’ after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A slow, understated tune from the debut studio album Please Please Me, the song itself was inspired by the opening number in the film, ‘I’m Wishing’, with the Beatles’ tune mimicking some of the lines from the original song. 

Further still, The Beatles were also close to appearing in The Jungle Book too, with the mouse house wanting the iconic band to portray vultures, Buzzie, Flaps, Ziggy, and Dizzy. Though this never came to fruition, the animated birds share a striking resemblance to the band members. Take a look for yourselves in the scene below.

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