I awoke this morning to learn of the passing of Robert B. Sherman of the legendary Sherman Brothers songwriting team – the name that has been synonymous with Disney music in classic films and theme park attractions since the early 1960’s.
Together with his brother Richard, “The Boys” won 2 Academy Awards for Mary Poppins, and have received 9 additional Academy Award nominations, 2 Grammy Awards and 4 nominations, Tony nominations, had #1 pop songs and an astounding 23 gold and platinum albums.
Robert’s son posted the news via Facebook on March 5, 2012:
Hello to family and friends,
I have very sad news to convey.
My Dad, Robert B. Sherman, passed away tonight in London. He went peacefully after months of truly valiantly fending off death. He loved life and his dear heart finally slowed to a stop when he could fight no more.
I will write more about this incredible man I love and admire so much when I am better rested and composed. He deserves that.
In the meantime, please say a prayer for him. As he said, he wanted to bring happiness to the world and, unquestionably, he succeeded. His love and his prayers, his philosophy and his poetry will live on forever. Forever his songs and his genius will bring hope, joy and love to this small, small world.
I love you, Dad.
Remembering their father’s words to keep their songs “simple, singable and sincere,” their credits read like a “best of” list from Disney films, television shows, and attractions, having written more motion picture musical song scores than any other songwriting team in history, including such timeless classics as the music from Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, The Tigger Movie, it’s a small world, There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, Epcot’s Imagination Pavilion, The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room and countless others.
On a personal level, the music of the Sherman Brothers has touched my life and that of my family greatly. The songs that the Brothers wrote for films were very much a part of my childhood. They were (and continue to be) so uplifting, and put smiles on my face more times than I can count. I think back to singing them with my parents on long car trips to Walt Disney World, or at home while watching Mary Poppins on VHS tapes. The music has truly touched me, and continues to do so. Now I have been able to pass them along to my children, and see how they enjoy them.
While I never met Robert, I did have the privilege of interviewing and eventually befriending his brother, Richard, and meeting his son. You can listen to my interviews with Richard as he reminisces about growing up and working with Robert in WDW Radio Show #80 and WDW Radio Show #135
So to Mr. Sherman, I want to say that your music has made me, and I’m sure many others realize that the world we live in truly is a small one. The true meaning of why we should “feed the birds,” and the importance of “flying a kite” with our families. Simple concepts that are often forgotten in a fast-paced world like treating each other with kindness and the importance of spending time with our children.
In honor of you I will, as I often do, pick up my children from school today and sing along with them to your timeless music. And tonight, we will gather together as a family and watch “The Boys” in your memory. Thank you, sir. You’ve made an impact and difference in my life and that of my family, and for that I am truly grateful. I believe that today you are in a better place, looking down on the countless lives you have touched, and smiling.