Aladdin “Friend Like Me” (1992)

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If people remember any song from Aladdin, it’s usually “A Whole New World” or “Friend Like Me.” The latter is a shining example of pure Disney fun. After being stranded in the dormant Cave of Wonders by the disguised Jafar, Aladdin inadvertently releases the Genie from the lamp. The extremely powerful, blue Genie is voiced by that legendary comedian, the late Robin Williams.
The part of the Genie was actually created for Williams, but the comedian initially was not sold on the idea. To get Williams to agree, the animators took one of Williams’ stand-up routines, and animated the Genie over it, to give Williams an idea of what this would look like. The result had the comedian in stitches and he agreed to the part.

Initially, “Friend Like Me” was going to be a Cab Calloway, big-band style number (and it’s my understanding that the Genie is a Cab Calloway-ish character in the Broadway show), but once Williams signed on, the song was changed into what we see today. According to the animators, some of Aladdin’s early design remains visible in sections of this number. Originally, Aladdin was made to look younger, “more like Michael J. Fox” as the animators put it. But they began to worry that Aladdin wouldn’t look right next to Princess Jasmine so Aladdin’s design was altered to be “more Tom Cruise”. Apparently, some of that first design is still visible, though truthfully I’ve never noticed a difference.

Well, Ali Baba had them forty thieves
Scheherezad-ie had a thousand tales
But, master, you in luck ’cause up your sleeves
You got a brand of magic never fails

You got some power in your corner now
Some heavy ammunition in your camp
You got some punch, pizzazz, yahoo and how
See all you gotta do is rub that lamp
And I’ll say

Mister Aladdin, sir
What will your pleasure be?
Let me take your order
Jot it down
You ain’t never had a friend like me

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Life is your restaurant
And I’m your maître d’!
C’mon whisper what it is you want
You ain’t never had a friend like me

Yes sir, we pride ourselves on service
You’re the boss
The king, the shah

Say what you wish
It’s yours! True dish
How about a little more Baklava?
Have some of column “A”
Try all of column “B”
I’m in the mood to help you dude
You ain’t never had a friend like me

 

The entire song is devoted to the Genie describing the powers Aladdin has at his disposal now that he has three wishes and a Genie to command. There are many pop culture references, and a lot of sight gags (with the Genie frequently changing his appearance). I remember loving this song as a kid, I would often pretend to be the Genie, doing that crazy dance and imitating all the different voices (good times!!).

Can your friends do this?
Can your friends do that?
Can your friends pull this out their little hat?
Can your friends go, poof?

Well, looky here
Can your friends go, Abracadabra, let ‘er rip
And then make the sucker disappear?
So don’tcha sit there slack jawed, buggy eyed
I’m here to answer all your midday prayers
You got me bona fide, certified
You got a genie for your chargé d’affaires
I got a powerful urge to help you out
So whatcha wish? I really wanna know
You got a list that’s three miles long, no doubt
Well, all you gotta do is rub like so – and oh

Mister Aladdin, sir, have a wish or two or three
I’m on the job, you big nabob
You ain’t never had a friend, never had a friend
You ain’t never had a friend, never had a friend
You ain’t never had a friend like me

You ain’t never had a friend like me, hah!

I love the ending of this song when Genie sets up the grand finale, with dancing elephants, swordsmen, piles of gold, dancing girls, and everything inbetween appear in one riotous finish (the dancing monkeys on the giant ruby are a particularly nice touch). Of course, with Genie being Genie, as the song ends, everything is sucked away and we’re left with a simple neon “Applause” sign.

“Friend Like Me” is a good song to listen to if you’re feeling down, because with Robin Williams’ outstanding performance, you’re feeling bright and happy before the first verse is even over. Hope you enjoyed listening to “Friend Like Me”, next time it will be “A Whole New World” 🙂 Enjoy the rest of the day guys, you’re the best!

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

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For more Aladdin, see:

Aladdin “Arabian Nights” (1992)

Aladdin “One Jump Ahead” and reprise (1992)

Aladdin “Prince Ali” (1992)

Aladdin “Prince Ali (reprise)” (1992)

Aladdin “A Whole New World” (1992)

Aladdin “The End”

For more great Disney songs and films, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

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9 thoughts on “Aladdin “Friend Like Me” (1992)

  1. Pingback: Aladdin “Prince Ali” (1992) | Film Music Central

  2. Pingback: Aladdin “A Whole New World” (1992) | Film Music Central

  3. Pingback: Aladdin “Prince Ali (reprise)” (1992) | Film Music Central

  4. Pingback: Aladdin “The End” | Film Music Central

  5. Pingback: Aladdin “Arabian Nights” (1992) | Film Music Central

  6. Pingback: Aladdin “One Jump Ahead” and reprise (1992) | Film Music Central

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