The Songs from The Wiz from Worst to Best

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This December, NBC is bringing a stage production of the beloved musical The Wiz, live on stage. With front row seats right in my living room,  I cannot wait to see how this modern cast will perform this classic. The film version of the play, released in 1978, is still a cherished classic to some and while the film itself was not a box office smash (and not without its problems), it was the musical performances that left the biggest lasting impression. Here are the songs from the film version, reviewed from worst to best.

Be a Lion
The weakest song on the list. This is the lion's inspiration song from Dorothy but its slow, initially dreary mood brings down the energy right in the middle of the film. In short, its just kind of boring.

Believe in Yourself
Some may disagree because this song is suppose to inspire and arouse self-love and confidence but the hook falls short. The emotion is there but the song and delivered with heart by the one and only Ms. Lena Horne but alas, its just not as memorable as others from this soundtrack.

The Feeling That We Have
This song comes in during a scene in which we see Dorothy's large family gathered for dinner. Its brief and subtle but effective in showing some of Dorothy's background and struggle. Love how the family joins in the humming and singing along.

(I'm a) Mean Ol' Lion
This has all the horns and grandiose instrumentals fitting of the king of the jungle. Brief but fun tune. Good for a good peacock-struttin'.

What Would I do If I Could Feel
The Tin Man's ballad about how wonderful it would be to feel "vulnerable again" is a warm piece of jazzy rhythm and blues.

Slide Some Oil to Me/Now Watch Me Dance
A showstopper with an easy beat and catchy hook, its hard to watch this one without smiling. While the first part of this song is just great, its the bring-down-the-house ending that makes this number shine. I could listen to more like this one.

Ease on Down the Road
The most recognizable tune and the central theme, "Ease on Down" is the one everyone knows and any Wiz aficionado would know the dance as well.

He's the Wizard
This song gives good tuba. No, really, ever heard such good tuba playing? This introduction to the powerful and great Wizard is brilliantly performed by Miss One (jazz singer Thelma Carpenter ) and accompanied by the Munchkins. Another fun ensemble performance, I love seeing the Munchkins with their hoola hoops, kazoos and pop-n-lock '70s dancing.

Don't Nobody Bring Me No Bad News
Performed by the incomparable Mabel King, this gospel inspired number is both funny, spirited and right on time. And the lyrics fit in with everyday life.

Emerald City Sequence
And THIS is the best dance sequence in the whole film and also a hilarious commentary on a society's fleeting fashion trends, conformity and classism.

Brand New Day (Everybody Rejoice)
While it does get a bit lengthy at 7+ minutes, its a triumph for the film and story as Eviline's enslaved minions are finally freed and their hideous exteriors are shed to reveal beautiful, young and healthy brown people underneath.

You Can't Win
My personal favorite song from the film not only because it was performed by none other than the King of Pop but because anyone can relate to its underdog lyrics. This is '70s funk perfection.

But of course, right! Personally, its not my all-time fave but its the most recognized and notable song from the play and film. It's also a notable and popular song among singers of all kinds because of its versatile range and heartfelt sentiment.

What are your thoughts? 
Is Home your favorite? 
Which is your favorite dance number?

Lady Dulayne

Music junkie, Baltimore chick, Jedi mom, karaoke queen,'80s kid, hair and makeup fanatic, currently keeping up with a daily Greek yogurt habit.

1 comment:

  1. Aww believe was a favorite. My favorite aunt now deceased recorded it for me on a CD when I graduated.