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Under the Sea


Source "Under the Sea" is the iconic theme song from Disney's 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid, composed by Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman and based on the song "The Beautiful Briny Sea" from the 1971 film Bedknobs and Broomsticks. It is influenced by the Calypso style of Trinidad and Tobago.[citation needed] The song was performed in the film by Samuel E. Wright. The track won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1989.

The song is a plea by the crab Sebastian imploring Ariel to remain sea-bound, and resist her desire to become a human in order to spend her life with Prince Eric, with whom she has fallen in love. Sebastian warns of the struggles of human life while at the same time expounding the benefits of a care-free life underwater. However, Ariel manages to sneak off with the aid of Flounder just before Sebastian's finale.

In 2002, the song was featured in the Square Enix action RPG, Kingdom Hearts as the background music for the Atlantica world. In 2006, the song also appeared in Kingdom Hearts II as part of a minigame where it was rearranged to have parts for Sebastian, Ariel, and Sora. For both appearances, the music was arranged by Yoko Shimomura.

In 2007, the Broadway musical version uses this as the featured production number with the role of Sebastian played by Tituss Burgess. Because Burgess is a tenor (unlike the baritone Wright), the key of the song was raised from B-flat to D. The placing of the song is also moved to after the scene in which King Triton destroys Ariel's collection of "human stuff", where the purpose of the song was to cheer Ariel up.

The song is present throughout all the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts around the world as well as the Disney Cruise Line.

An instrumental version of the theme features heavily in the opening theme of the The Little Mermaid television series, which is a medley of this, "Part of Your World" and "Kiss the Girl". An instrumental version of the song is also played in the closing credits of the TV series.




The Broadway version of "Under the Sea" takes place after Ariel's grotto has been destroyed. Sebastian uses the song to cheer Ariel up. A reprise of the song is also played when Ariel leaves Sebastian.

Ariel, listen to me. The human world, it's a mess.
Life under the sea is better than any'ting they got up there!
The seaweed is always greener
In somebody else's lake
You dream about going up there,
But that is a big mistake
Just look at 'de world around you
Right here on the ocean floor
Such wonderful things surround you
What more is you lookin' for?
Under the sea
Under the sea
Darling it's better
Down where it's wetter,
Take it from me!
Up on the shore they work all day,
Out in the sun they slave away
While we devotin'
Full-time to floatin',
Under the sea!
(Repeat in sing along)
Down here all the fish is happy
As off through the waves they roll
The fish on the land ain't happy
They sad 'cause they in their bowl
But fish in the bowl is lucky
They in for a worser fate
One day when the boss get hungry...
Guess who's gon' be on the plate?
Under the sea
Under the sea
Nobody beat us
Fry us and eat us
In fricassee
We what 'de land folks loves to cook
Under the sea we off the hook
We got no troubles,
Life is the bubbles!
Under the sea (under the sea)
Under the sea (under the sea)
Since life is sweet here,
We got the beat here
Even the sturgeon an' the ray
They get the urge 'n' start to play
We got the spirit
You got to hear it
Under the sea!
The newt play the flute
The carp play the harp
The plaice play the bass
And they soundin' sharp
The bass play the brass
The chub play the tub
The fluke is the duke of soul (Yeah)
The ray he can play
The lings on the strings
The trout rockin' out
The blackfish she sings
The smelt and the sprat
They know where it's at
An' oh that blowfish blow!
(Instrumental bridge (First chorus sung a third time in sing along))
Under the sea
(Under the sea)
Under the sea
(Under the sea)
When the sardine
Begin the beguine,
It's music to me
(Music is to me)
What do they got? A lot of sand
We got a hot crustacean band
Each little clam here
Know how to jam here
Under the sea!
Each little slug here
Cuttin' a rug here
Under the sea!
Each little snail here
Know how to wail here
That's why it's hotter
Under the water!
Ya we in luck here
Down in the muck here
Under the sea!

The newt play the flute
The carp play the harp
The plaice play the bass
And they soundin' sharp
The bass play the brass
The chub play the tub
The fluke is the duke of soul
Yes he is!
The ray, he can play
The lings on the strings
The trout rockin' out
The blackfish, she sings
The smelt and the sprat
They know where it's at
An' oh, that blowfish blow!
Under the sea
Under the sea
When the sardine begin the beguine
It's music to me
What do they got, a lot of sand?
We got a hot crustacean band
Each little clam here know how to jam here, Under the sea
Each little slug here cutting a rug here, Under the sea
We got a hot crustacean band here, Under the sea
Each little snail here know how to wail here
That's why it's hotter under the water
Ya, we in luck here down in the muck here
Under the...
See, child, that's what I'm talking about!
You got to put your back into it. Ariel! Hello? Uh oh.

Single release

The song was released as a 12" single in 1990 by Walt Disney Pictures / Hollywood Records. The record listed the artist as "Sebastian C."

US 12" Single (ST-ED-66621A-SP)
  1. "Under the Sea (Atlantic Ocean Single Mix)" - 3:36
  2. "Under the Sea (Jellyfish Mix)" - 5:20
  3. "Under the Sea (Mermaid Dub)" - 3:27
  4. "Under the Sea (Pacific Ocean Single Mix)" - 3:10
  5. "Under the Sea (Polka Dot Bikini Mix)" - 5:33
  6. "Under the Sea (Sub Dub)" - 3:46

Other appearances

Kingdom Hearts II

"Under the Sea" appears as part of Sebastian's Musical minigame in Atlantica. It is sang by Sebastian, Sora, and Ariel. Its story-related appearance alludes to Ariel's discovery of Prince Eric's statue and wish to see the human world, similarly to how it's used in The Little Mermaid.

Cover versions

  • In 1995, Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song in their album, When You Wish Upon a Chipmunk. However, The Walt Disney Company did not sponsor nor endorse the album.
  • Mannheim Steamroller covered the song on their 1999 album, Mannheim Steamroller Meets the Mouse.
  • It is often performed by Suburban Legends during their live performances. The band performed frequently at Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort in their early years, and still often play at Disneyland's Tomorrowland Terrace. The song appears on their 2012 album, Day Job.
  • The song is also covered by the ATeens for Disneymania, by Raven-Symoné for DisneyMania 3 by Booboo Stewart for Disneymania 7 and later by Kate Ryan for DisneyMania 8. A remix of Raven's version is also featured on DisneyRemixMania.
  • The song is covered by the band Squirrel Nut Zippers on their album The Best of Squirrel Nut Zippers as Chronicled by Shorty Brown.
  • The Brazilian singer Diogo Nogueira made a Portuguese version of the song ("Aqui no Mar", something like, 'Here at Sea') in a samba style on the album Disney Adventures in Samba.
  • Powerglove was originally going to include a power metal version of the song on their second studio album, but Disney denied the rights to the song.[citation needed]
  • On 2012 album Disney - Koe no Oujisama, which features various seiyus covering Disney songs, this song was covered by Miyu Irino.
  • In 2013, Alex Day covered the song for his album Epigrams and Interludes.

Other versions

Performer(s) Title(s) Translations(s) Language عبدالله سعد (Abdullah Sa'ad) "جوه المحيط" "Inside the ocean" Arabic André Filho "Aqui no Mar" "Here in the Sea" Brazilian Portuguese Сава Пиперов (Sava Piperov) "В морския свят" "In the maritime world" Bulgarian Michel Comeau "Sous l'océan" Canadian French 葉振邦
(Yip Jan Bong) Cantonese Vicente Borland "Bajo el Mar" Castilian Spanish Dražen Bratulić "Na morskom dnu" Croatian Zdeněk Hruška "Pod hladinou" Czech Thomas Eje "Havet er skønt" Danish Freddy Gumbs "Diep in de zee" Deep in the sea Dutch Tom Wentzel (1990 version)
Antti Pääkkönen (1997 version) Finnish Henri Salvador (1989 version)
Christophe Peyroux (1998 version) "Sous l'océan" "Under the Ocean" French Joachim Kemmer (1990 version)
Ron Williams (1998 version) German Γιάννης Παλαμίδας (Giannis Palamidas) (1991 version)
Γιώργος Πετρόχειλος (Yiorgos Petrohilos) (1998 version) Greek אלי גורנשטיין
(Eli Gorenstein) "בתוך הים" (Betoħ hayam) "In the Sea" Hebrew Hindi Gábor Vass "Ringat a víz" Hungarian Egill Ólfasson "Í grænum sjó" "The green sea" Icelandic "Bawah Laut" "Under the Sea" Indonesian Ronny Grant "In fondo al mar" Italian 上條恒彦 (Tsunehiko Kamijō) "アンダー・ザ・シー"

(Andā za Shī)

"Under the Sea" Japanese 김 준
(Kim Jun) Korean Michael Cruz "Bajo el Mar" "Under the Sea" Latin American Spanish "Bawah Laut" "Under the Sea" Malay 謝文德 (Xie Wen-De) Mandarin Helge Jordal "Her må du bli" "Here you have to be" Norwegian Emilian Kamiński "Na morza dnie" "On the Sea Bottom" Polish Pedro Malagueta "No Fundo do Mar" Portuguese Putonghua Valentin Teodosiu "Într-un ocean" "In an ocean" Romanian Исмаил Зиядзаде
(Ismail Ziyadzade) Russian Michal Hudák Slovak Per Myrberg "Havet är djupt" "Under the Sea" Swedish Tamil ? (1991 version)
สรรเสริญ โภคสมบัติ (Sanrasoen Pokkhasombat) (1998 version) Thai Deniz Yılmaz Turkish


In 1991, this song was parodied by musician Tom Smith with his song, "On The PC". This song was re-written in 1999 as "PC99".

The song was parodied on the TV show Kappa Mikey where Mikey tries to convince a squid to live on land with him.

The song was parodied on the TV show Bobby's World as "Underwater the Fish Don't Stink". The context was a dream of Bobby's in which he was a fish and his Uncle Ted was a merman - it turned out Bobby was having the dream because he was sleeping outside and the lawn sprinklers had turned on.

The song was also briefly parodied in the Tiny Toons movie How I Spent My Vacation.

The song was parodied on the TV show The Simpsons in the episode "Homer Badman," in a sequence where Homer Simpson imagines living under water (eating all of the characters from The Little Mermaid) to escape the protesters and media circus who have accused him of sexually harassing a college coed.

The song in part inspired the song "That's How You Know" from Enchanted, which also had music by Menken.[citation needed]

It is parodied as "On the Wii U" and whatever Nintendo console.

On a 2011 episode of Saturday Night Live hosted by Tina Fey, a mermaid princess (Fey) sings another version called "Below the Waves" with her sea-animal friends: a crab resembling Sebastian (Kenan Thompson), two salmon (Abby Elliot and Vanessa Bayer), a seahorse (Paul Brittain) and a manta ray (Fred Armisen).

The song, as well as a majority of other factors in the film, was parodied in an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy in which Billy's character goes swimming and encounters a small yellow crab who sings a song for him entitled "Under the Ocean" in a style reminiscent the scene of Sebastian singing the song for Ariel.


  • Just as the Broadway version has this song placed after King Triton destroys Ariel's grotto, in The Little Mermaid Jr., the song is sung right after "Part of Your World" before Ariel first encounters Prince Eric.
    • Both of these placements could be due to the addition of the song "She's In Love".
  • The music is heard in the Phineas and Ferb episodes "Lawn Gnome Beach Party of Terror" and "Out of Toon". "Phineas and Ferb Hawaiian Vacation" parodies the song with A-Prime Calypso in Part 1.
  • The music is briefly heard during Aladdin just before Genie turns Aladdin into a prince. During this segment, the Genie opens a recipe book to find a supposed recipe for a prince and comes upon "Alaskan king crab", a snippet of "Under the Sea" playing as he pulls Sebastian from his finger.
  • The song is on Disc 1 of the UK release of Now That's What I Call Disney.
  • At least 12 known species of fish are mentioned in the song, even though it is entitled "Under the Sea", the fish mentioned are a mix between freshwater and marine.
  • This song is the only song in the Disney Renaissance to be both a main and ending song and use the same singer and melody in each use. Starting with Beauty and the Beast and its titular song, the main and ending covers are sung by different people.
  • The dolphin who loops around during the song is likely a cameo of Breaker, a character who was cut from the final film.
  • In the sing along version of this song, the first part was sung twice and after Sebastian sang "an' oh that blowfish blow!" the first chorus line was sung a third time.
  • In the official comic adaptation for The Little Mermaid, the song was instead incorporated into dialogue.


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