Published on June 24, 2016
“Circle of Life” is a song from Disney’s 1994 animated film The Lion King. Composed by Elton John, with lyrics by Tim Rice, the song was performed by Carmen Twillie (the deep female lead vocals) and Lebo M. (opening Zulu vocals) as the film’s opening song. In an interview, Rice said he was amazed at the speed with which John composed: “I gave him the lyrics at the beginning of the session at about two in the afternoon. By half-past three, he’d finished writing and recording a stunning demo.” Elton John sang a pop version of the song with the London Community Gospel Choir, which was included in the film’s soundtrack and made into a music video. “Circle of Life” was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song in 1994, along with two other songs from The Lion King: “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” which won the award.
The song reached #11 in the UK and #18 in the United States, and is featured frequently in attractions based on The Lion King, such as Disney theme parks and parades. Michael Crawford sang it as part of a medley for The Disney Album in 2001.