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.

Safe travels.

Love,

Jeff

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.

25 Responses to "My Thanks to Robert Sherman of the Sherman Brothers"

  1. How strange, the last song I listened to in my car this morning before walking into work was Lets Go Fly a Kite. Sitting at my desk, I logged into Facebook to find people posting about his death. It was a shock.

  2. Jenn says:

    Its terrible to hear the news that we have lost another wonderful and gifted gentleman. He touched all of our lives whether through his music, whether in the park, on screen, or on stage. He will be greatly missed. Our prayers will be with his family at this time.

  3. Chandler ?=^) says:

    Peace be with you, Mr. Sherman. Peace to your family, especially your son. Peace to those who are so very, very touched by what you and your brother did in this life.

    Warmly,
    Chandler ?=^)
    Louisville KY

  4. Glenn from Alabama says:

    Well-written, Lou. The news and your article brought tears to my eyes. Without you pointing it out I don’t know how long it would have taken me to realize what an impact Mr. Sherman (both of them) has had on my life–in so many ways. To echo you, thanks to Mr. Sherman–and to you, Lou.

  5. Jen Tremley says:

    RIP Mr Robert B Sherman. I truly appreciate your contribution to such great Disney music.

  6. Very nicely said Lou. I know how much the Sherman Brothers music has meant to you over the years, as it has touched so many of us. It is always difficult to lose someone so legendary in the Disney “family.” Although the man will be missed, his music will truly live on forever. We are very lucky that God has brought Robert’s brother Richard into your life and that he has befriended you and the WDW Radio family. Thank you for continuing to keep us connected to the important and wonderful history of the Disney company. Rest in peace Robert.

  7. Travis Carlson says:

    I woke up this morning to my wife humming “It’s a Small World” Got to my classroom at school to get ready to teach and the first song on my Pandora station is “Jolly Holiday”. Just set down to read the news and find that Robert Sherman passed last night. I can’t think of a better song pair than the brothers. Rest peacefully Mist Sherman.

  8. Michael says:

    It’s hard to pick just one of their songs. I can’t decide between, “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” and “One Little Spark”. Both are highly inspirational! The world mourns the passing of one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

  9. Bobby says:

    I was actually just down at Walt Disney World for the “One more Disney Day” and got to see the return to the original tiki room, it now has extra special meaning to me! The world will not be the same with out Robert Sherman, he and Richard have changed the world for the better, and when you make an impact like that, it’s hard to be forgotten!! My love and prayers to his family!!

  10. Nicely said Lou, the Sherman Brothers have surely touched all of our lives in such magical ways. The park music will always be our favorite and “Let’s go fly a kite” is at the top of my play list. RIP Robert Sherman

  11. Matt Roche' says:

    The world has lost a truly great treasure.

  12. Yaelle says:

    My favorite Sherman brothers song is There’s a Great Big Beautiful tomorrow. It’s such an optimistic song and helps lift my mood if I am feeling down. The message is to look ahead.

    This morning when I heard about Robert’s passing, I Skyped with my mom and asked her if my brother’s twins have been listening to the Sherman Brothers CD we sent them. They haven’t yet, so I taught her the words to It’s a Small World, which she in turn will teach my niece and nephew and pass it on to a new generation.

  13. saundra says:

    It’s these moments, moments where you realize how connected we all really are. I have never met Robert Sherman, but his music influenced my child hood.

    I remember listening to Mary Poppins for hours on our storybook record. I fell in love with the music and sang it over and over again. My favourite song to this day is “Feed the Birds”. The melody is haunting,and the words are powerful.

    I remember the parent trap “let’s get together”, at the time when I had no idea that Hayley Mills played both girls.

    Now as an adult with my own children, the song that our family breaks out in song with anytime on of us starts is “It’s a great big beautiful tomorrow”. My first trip to Disney World my Daughter made me go with her into a small world 7 times in a row. It is still my favourite ride and song.

    I send my thoughts and love to his family.
    Rest in peace Robert Sherman and Thank YOU.

  14. otisney says:

    I think my favorite Sherman Brothers song might be Fidelity Fiduciary Bank. The lyrics are so clever and the tune is so catchy.

    But, I certainly love all of the Sherman Brothers music, from Mary Poppins to Winnie the Pooh, from The Jungle Book to the World’s Fair, from The Happiest Millionaire to EPCOT Center.

    Thank you Robert and Richard.

  15. Mark Vitek says:

    A sad day indeed. I’ve had to listen to my favourite Sherman Brothers song several times today, “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” because it leads me to believe in and follow all of my dreams…every day.

    ~Mark.

  16. Kris Banas says:

    This really saddens me, as it makes me feel another part of my childhood is gone….but will never be forgotten. RIP Mr. Sherman.

  17. Katie M says:

    Well put, Lou.

    Last night I was in the mood to watch Mary Poppins. Today I log on and I read that he had passed. A sad day :(

  18. Ana Kurland says:

    I’m haunted by “My Own Home” of Jungle book. Such a simple song and pretty melody. I feel very saddened.

  19. Sam Allen says:

    My earliest Disney-related memories are watching the classic Winnie the Pooh featurettes on VHS, which have not only remained favorites of mine to this day but also started a lifelong passion for Disney animation and animation in general. Then, once I got the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World for the first time, It’s a Small World quickly became my childhood favorite ride. It’s impossible to imagine either of these Disney experiences without the wonderfully catchy melodies and clever yet sinceer lyrics of the Sherman Brothers, so if I have to choose I would say that the Winnie the Pooh theme and It’s A Small World After All are my favorite of the Sherman Brother’s exceptional song catalogue. Even though I’m an adult now, I still find myself watching Pooh, riding It’s a Small World, or simply listen to their soundtracks (as well as those of the many other films and rides the Shermans have left their unique musical stamp on) and enjoying them just as much as I did way back then. Thank you, Robert Sherman, for all the joy and wonderful memories the songs you and your brother have brought me and so many others over the years.

  20. Vanessa Schomberg says:

    My favorit is “Feed the Birds” That song has so a deep, true meaning for me. If you really understand that song, you can change the world. You can make it a better place and you can make history and a little bit magic with courage and character. That is so special in today’s world. People don´t take care anymoe and start so lose very simple things, just because they aren´t interested in it or their fellow men anymore. Personally for me, this is very sad to see. It was one of Walt Disney´s favorite songs too. That gives me the feeling to be close to him. I love the Sherman brothers songs. They´ll always mean a lot to me.

  21. Dom Z says:

    Gifted by God, Robert and Richard Sherman’s music has given us a glimpse of what Heaven must be like.

    That’ll Do Boys, Thank you and God Bless.

  22. Faisal M. says:

    My favorite Sherman brothers song is It’s a Small World. It’s been a favorite of my mother for a long time. Even thought she doesn’t speak English, she still understood the message of the song! I always remember her telling me how she felt when she first got on the ride, “I felt like the whole world is happy and smiling at that moment”. To me the song special for that reason, and because of the beautiful lyrics and wonderful melody. I admit, I sometimes shed a tear or two when I hear it!
    RIP Bob…

  23. Marisa Lozano says:

    Lou-
    This was an incredible ode to a truly great man. I’m crying silently just as really their names are silently acknowledged in the parks, yet their music is the ultimate soundtrack of Disney. Even for not having met either of them in person, their music has had a profound effect on my life. From an early age, my father bought me the ‘Best of the Sherman Brothers’ CD. They inspired me to always remember that there is “a great big beautiful tomorrow” and everything was “just a dream away”. I always used to cry at ‘Feed the Birds’ as a child. Now knowing the significance behind the song, I cry even more. As a musician and an artist, the Sherman Brothers told me that every dream should be “ten feet off the ground” and with “fortuosity”, I could find four leaf clovers under castles. The Sherman Brothers inspired me in my dreams of working for Disney. They were their own voice, but conveyed the dreams of Walt and the company through the purest form of communication possible, music. I mourn for the passing of Bob Sherman. My condolences go to the family and his brother. Though he may not be physically here, the Sherman Brothers music will never die. Just walk “a step in the right direction” down Main Street USA in Disneyland and you can always find the Sherman Brother’s music store. I’m sure Bob would love to play a tune to anyone who asks.

  24. Christy says:

    Has to be Feed The Birds. It’s hard for me to listen to it and not think of “the boys”, Walt and everything they’ve created. Thanks for the article, Lou.

  25. Robert Fletcher says:

    The loss of this talented wordsmith is hard to accept, like most people writing on this page Bob’s songs were the soundtrack to my childhood, such magic would truly be difficult for any of todays songwriters to invoke. The Sherman Brothers truly had full understanding of the language and art of the songsmith,thier work for Disney and beyond is unparalleled.I knew Bob Sherman in his later years he was a kind man who loved everyone, he liked nothing more than to have visitors stop by for a chat and to give him a chance to read out aloud something he had been working on, Bob was an inspiration, his wit and humour was razor sharp
    and you only had to be in the same room with him to realize just how magical this man was. God bless you Bob I will Miss you so much

    Bob

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