The first sequel to Don Bluth’s beloved-if-somewhat-disturbing An American Tail is an underrated gem of a story that follows Russian immigrant mouse Fievel Mouskewitz and his family as they immigrate to the wild West to make a better life than the one they have in New York City. Predictably, Fievel is separated from his family during the journey and he must race to catch up to their new home in Green River before the nefarious Cat R. Waul (John Cleese) fulfills his dream of turning all the mice into mouse burgers via a giant mouse trap.
One of my favorite sub-plots in this story is that of Tanya, Fievel’s older sister. With a gorgeous singing voice, Tanya is filled with dreams of becoming a great actress or a singer (or both) but her mother won’t hear of it. It’s not until Cat R. Waul happens to hear her singing to herself one day (“Dreams to Dream”) that Tanya is given a chance to realize her dream of becoming a performer. She’s taken to the local saloon and made up into a show girl by Miss Kitty (Tiger’s on-again off-again girlfriend) and is then thrust onto the stage where she has to perform for a saloon full of cats! Tanya’s nerves almost get the better of her, but with a little encouragement from Miss Kitty, she lets out a glass-breaking note that leaves the entire room staring at her in awe, and then the real fun begins!
“The Girl You Left Behind” is one of my favorite animated songs that doesn’t come from a Disney film. It was created by the late James Horner and features the vocals of Cathy Cavadini (aka Blossom from The Powerpuff Girls). In this song, Tanya entertains the cats by singing about “the girl you left behind” and how they shouldn’t let her go.
Do you… do you ever miss…
Do you ever miss the girl…you left behind?
Is the girl you left behind out there tonight romancin’?
Makin’ eyes at someone else and singin’, is she dancin’?
Only the girl you left behind is real when you’re sleepin’
Puts the teardrops in your eyes from secrets she is keepin’
Happy just playin’ a tune and dance the whole night away
Hope the girl you left behind will be there for you someday
Lonely is the wind that blows, you know you’ll always miss her
Lonely is a lover’s heart, if only you could
Kiss her, kiss her, kiss her
Tanya’s debut takes place while Chula (Cat R. Waul’s tarantula henchman) is hunting Fievel to eliminate him as a loose end (he knows about the cats’ plan to kill all the mice). The poor mouse tries time and time again to get his sister’s attention but she’s so caught up in her performance that she doesn’t notice.
Chula is a sadistic tarantula with a high aversion to pain (just listen to his dialogue during the scene where he gets sprayed with Miss Kitty’s perfume). At one point, he corners Fievel and sings a demented version of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” that goes like this: The itsy bitsy spider caught a mouse in his web/The itsy bitsy spider BIT OFF THE MOUSE’S HEAD!
All the girls you left behind could fill up California
Please don’t leave them too darn long, I think I oughta warn ya
Absence makes the heart go cold and makes a heart to wander
If you stay there by their sides, you’ll feel their hearts grow fonder
Hope you see her someday
Hope I find my way
Back to the girl I left behind
So tell me you will never roam
(We swear we won’t go roaming)
You’ll be by your fireside
(We’ll all be home sweet home and kiss her, kiss her, kiss her)
So where’s the girl you left behind?
She’s waitin’ for her sister
We won’t stop until we’re home we’ll hug and hug and kiss her
I’ll find the girl
I’ll find the girl
I’ll find the girl
I’ll find the girl
You’ll (I’ll) find the girl
You’ll (I’ll) find the girl you (I) left behind
Tonight! Tonight! Tonight!
I can’t lie, as a little kid, I used to pretend I was Tanya putting on the performance of a lifetime. I wanted to put a big feather in my hair and dress up too (*sighs* good times…) What do you think of “The Girl You Left Behind”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day 🙂
See also: Disney Soundtracks A-Z
You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460
Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)
You know, after all these years, and being a big dreamer myself, I, Tim, can still relate to the subplot in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) involving Fievel’s sister Tanya Mousekewitz (who once shared the same voice artist as the Powerpuff Girls’ commander and leader Blossom Utonium in Cathy Cavadini) and her ultimately successful quest to fulfill her dreams of acting or singing a song or two for the whole wide world to hear, especially on some kind of human or emotional level.
And I do think that Tanya’s quest for fulfill her dreams of singing a song or two for the whole world to hear in Fievel Goes West almost certainly still reminded me of my own big dreams: as in my undying quest to make some great big huge epic movie for the whole wide world to see (be it Dexter’s Odyssey or some other title, shape, or form), and I like one of the two songs that Tanya sang in Fievel Goes West, ‘Dreams to Dream’, so much so in fact, that if I were any of you folks, I will certainly and pretty much hang any one of my story ideas ultimately on the mood the song ‘Dreams to Dream’ from Fievel Goes West created, and especially the way that Tanya’s rendition of ‘Dreams to Dream’ in Fievel Goes West affected myself emotionally!
Long story short, but I can really still relate to Fievel’s sister Tanya’s quest to sing a song or two for the whole wide world to hear in An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, especially after all these years!
LikeLiked by 1 person