HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME: Composer Alan Menken Says Disney Rejected Michael Jackson’s Soundtrack Pitch
Lovers of The Hunchback of Notre Dame are no doubt familiar with the soundtrack to the film, but Alan Menken has now revealed that Michael Jackson initially pitched three songs and Disney turned him away!
LiteraryJoe | 6/28/2021
There are many elements featured in Disney’s animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame that trigger nostalgia in fans. One thing that lovers of the film do not associate with it, however, is Michael Jackson.
In the future, that may change as a new development has brought to light something generally unknown to the public. Composer Alan Menken has shared some information stating that the “King of Pop” was almost involved in the project.
Not only was Jackson interested in the film, but it turns out the legend had pitched at least three songs for the soundtrack that Menken and Disney had in consideration. But, ultimately, it turns out the house of mouse was not interested due to the allegations surrounding the musician at the time. They were so against it, in fact, that they didn’t even bother to tell Jackson the bad news.
“I get a call out of nowhere from Michael’s assistant when Michael was at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York. He had to [deal with] allegations about inappropriate behavior with underage kids and the breakup with Lisa Marie Presley. He’s looking to change the subject. And he obviously loves Disney so much. So I mentioned ‘Hunchback.’ He said he’d love to come to my studio, watch the movie and talk about it. So we got in touch with Disney Animation. They said, ‘Meet with him! If he likes it…well, see what he says.'
There are three songs. One was ‘Out There,’ one was ‘God Help the Outcasts,’ one was ‘Someday.’ Michael said, ‘I would like to produce the songs and record some of them.’ Wow. Okay. What do we do now? Michael left. We got in touch with Disney. It was like somebody dropped a hot poker into a fragile bowl with explosives. ‘Uh, we’ll get back to you about that.'
Finally, predictably, the word came back, ‘Disney doesn’t want to do this with Michael Jackson.’ I go, ‘OK, could someone tell him this?’ You can hear a pin drop, no response, and nobody did [tell him]. It fell to my late manager, Scott Shukat, to tell Michael or Michael’s attorney. In retrospect, it was the right decision. [But] Quasimodo is a character…if you look at his relationships with his family and his father, I would think there’s a lot of identification there.”