Covers Switching styles

Revisiting the Nightmare Revisited Album

Introduction to Nightmare Revisited Album

The album Nightmare Revisited, is a collection of covers from the soundtrack which started with the additions to the film’s 2006 re-release in Disney Digital 3-D. Included in the  13th- anniversary edition DVD was a bonus disc with covers of five of the film’s songs by Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Marilyn Manson, Fiona Apple, and She Wants Revenge. 

The album itself was released by Walt Disney Records on Sept 30, 2008, with many more artists. It’s gotten quite the audience of music and Tim Burton Lovers. 

Nightmare Before Christmas

There are few who deny, at what I do I am the best
For my talents are renowned far and wide
When it comes to surprises in the moonlit night
I excel without ever even trying
With the slightest little effort of my ghostlike charms
I have see grown men give out a shriek
With a wave of my hand and a well-placed moan
I have swept the very bravest off their feet

Danny Elfman, “Jack’s Lament”

Long known to be both a Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s Day film. Tim Burton wrote the versatile, “Nightmare Before Christmas”. directed by Henry Selick and produced/co-written by Tim Burton, this is considered a cult classic.

Fun Fact: Originally, there were plans to make a second film in the “Nightmare Before Christmas” series, “The Unlucky Clover”. However,  it never went to fruition, as Tim Burton thought it would “spoil the magic of the first movie.”

Danny Elfman is the musical personally behind Tim Bruton’s cult classic. When he was writing the lyrics for the songs, it was “one of the easiest jobs I’ve ever had. I had a lot in common with Jack Skellington.” Writing music isn’t the only part he played. Elfman is also a voice within the film voicing, the singing voice of Jack Skellington and the voice of Barrel, as well as the Clown with the Tear-Away Face.

Fun Fact: The reason that Chris Sarandon was cast as Jack Skellington was that Saradon’s speaking voice matched Elfman’s singing voice.


Nightmare Revisited Album Track List

Here are the songs from the album, Nightmares Revisited for your listening pleasure and Skeleton Jack Nostalgia. Check them out here!

  • Overture – DeVotchKa
  • Opening – Danny Elfman
  • This Is Halloween – Marilyn Manson
  • Jack’s Lament – The All-American Rejects
  • Doctor Finklestein / In The Forest – Amiina
  • What’s This? – Flyleaf
  • Town Meeting Song – The Polyphonic Spree
  • Jack & Sally Montage – The Vitamin String Quartet
  • Jack’s Obsession – Sparklehorse
  • Kidnap The Sandy Claws – KoRn
  • Making Christmas – Rise Against
  • Nabbed – Yoshida Brothers
  • Oogie Boogie’s Song – Rise Against
  • Sally’s Song – Amy Lee
  • Christmas Eve Montage – RJD2
  • Poor Jack – RJD2
  • To The Rescue – Datarock
  • Finale / Reprise – Shiny Toy Guns
  • Closing – Danny Elfman
  • End Title – The Album Leaf

The album itself is well put together with a great group of artists.

Starting with Marilyn Manson’s cover of “This is Halloween”, the album itself is off to an amazing start with his dark vocals. Contrasting the opening song, the album contains artists are diverse as they are dark. Korn performs “Kidnap the Sandy Klaws” with “Sally’s Song” being covered by Evanescence vocalist Amy Lee.

“Kidnap the Sandy Klaws” by far is my favourite of the album, despite Marilyn Manson’s “This is Halloween” being more well known from the album. Both are deliciously dark covers made by talented musicians with a flair for the dark.

The other artists include Datarock, Yoshida Brothers, Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Album Leaf and RJD2 bringing their own sound forward. Danny Elfman himself shows up on the album with opening and closing remarks. 

“Nice work, bone daddy.”
Can you pick a favourite? Let us know in the comment below!!


331ERock EMeets Switching Styles; Musical Q&A

331Erock is the name of a youtube guitarist with fantastic fingering skills. In addition to just over one million subscribers, this musician has collected more than 136 million views. That’s impressive. And then you listen to his music and it becomes even more impressive.

Behind the youtube channel, is Eric Calderone, a metal guitarist. He describes himself as a “Tattoo gettin’ comic book readin’ guitar strummin’ point and clickin’ tv watchin’ movie buffin’ wifey lovin’ average guy.”

Most of his music contains metal guitar covers of anything you could want. With the titles “… Meets Metal”, he combines nostalgia, film, fantasy, and video games with the metal genre. The majority of his covers are metal covers of gaming soundtracks. these gaming soundtracks like Castlevania, Silent Hill, Battlefield, Duke Nukem, God Of Way, Assasins Creed, Undertale, Super Mario Bro, Overwatch, and Halo. This list is full of amazing nostalgic content perfect for any kind of nerd there is. Each of these music videos takes anywhere between 35 to 40 hours each week.

One of his fantastic playlists is “Memes Meet Metal”. It’s exactly what you think it is. Metal covers of meme music. This playlist includes The Trololol Song, Careless Whisper, The Nyan Cat Theme And Never Gonna Give You Up (everybody loves a good rickroll eh?).

Collaborating with other fantastic artists such as Jonathan young in a “Toss A Coin To Your Witcher” Cover.

Fun Fact: Let’s not forget that he’s a metal musician with an impressive background. Calderone received the 2013 “‘Dimebag Darrell Shredder’ Award” at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards.

Calderone told Live Wire in an interview that it wasn’t his first video, Pirates of the Caribbean, that got him started as a youtube musician. instead, it was his cover of lady gaga’s “bad romance” – his 12th video.

“And then my brother mentioned, “Hey man, this chick Lady Gaga is kind of big right now. Maybe give her a listen? Maybe you can do one of her songs.” I was like, “Yeah. okay,” Calderone explains.

Before his cover of Lady Gaga, he would get excited about the 80 subscribers. After he uploaded the video, his views were beyond triple digits.

“I woke up the next morning and my inbox, it was something stupid, like 1100 messages in it. I was like, “What the hell?” I went through the inbox and it was all the YouTube stuff. I was like, “What’s going on with this?” I went on and it had 125,000 views and I was like, “Oh my god! This is awesome!” That’s kind of the one that started it,” he continues.

The youtube channel provides a range of songs with a metal twist thanks to Calderone’s guitar strumming. Check them out!

Let us know what you think in the comments below!!


Covering IT’s Soundtrack

As a horror movie junkie, I have a neutral opinion on remade classic horror flicks. There are some that just can’t be made again in a way that does the first justice.  Frankly, I loved it. Both the original and the remake.

Andy Muschietti did do justice to the work of Stephen King and Tommy Lee Wallace by recreating the story of Pennywise. This goes hand in hand with the musical soundtrack originally by Richard Bellis. Benjamin Wallfisch was responsible for the original motion picture soundtrack of both chapter 1 and chapter 2 of the It remakes. Though it’s not the only horror movie score he’s brought to life. Other horror films that include his compositions include Shrooms (2007), Red Riding Hood (2011), Dracula (2013), Lights Out (2016), A Cure for Wellness (2016),  Annabelle: Creation (2017), The Darkest Minds (2018)  and Hellboy (2019).


Now let’s hear some musicians that have done justice to the music of It.

“It Medley” by Alexop


“It Piano Medley” By Marco Tornatore


“IT Trap Remix” By Onderkoffer


Every 27 Years (Reprise) By DJA28


Which musician did you like the best? Comment below!


What did you say?; Misheard Lyrics

Add in background music, back up vocalists, and instrumental, and it’s sometimes hard to hear the lyrics for what they truly are. This leads to misheard lyrics that are often hilarious.

When I was little I was sure that “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” by Cher didn’t go ‘We’d hear it from the people of the town. They’d call us gypsy’s, tramps, and thieves’ but instead went, “They’d call us Carrots, Stamps and peas”. I was always slightly confused at why carrots, stamps and peas were insulting names. I didn’t question it as a kid because it was a good song and what the heck did I know about making songs or about gypsies.

This is actually a fairly common occurrence. There’s a phenomenon called mondegreens, It means, “a word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of another word or phrase, especially in a song or poem”.

The phrase came from an American writer by the name of Slyvia Wright, and written about San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll. Mondegreen is inspired by a misheard line in a poem. She misheard “he laid him on the green” as “Lady Mondegreen” from the Scottish ballad “The Bonny Earl o Moray”.

“The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens since no one else has thought up a word for them is that they are better than the original” comments Wright. This brought forward a vivid image of a beautiful and brave woman, a lady and she was rather disappointed that she wasn’t actually a character in the poem.

Although Wright coined the term fairly recently, people have been mishearing words for much much longer. Sigmund Freud explains that when we don’t really hear things properly, our mind hears things that we want to hear. With the earlier example, he would explain that I heard ‘Carrots, Stamps and peas’ instead of ‘gypsy’s, tramps, and thieves’ because I was hungry or wanted to make better eating choices.

Although as a kid, that seems less likely than what linguists think. Linguinsts don’t quite see it as so emotional. Instead, it’s more about how we process auditory stimulus.

University of Pennsylvania professor Mark Liberman explains, “There’s a piece of what we understand that comes from the sound that comes in our ear,” but “there’s a piece of what we understand that comes from [our] expectations.”

When we can’t quite hear what someone is saying, our brain guesses what it could possibly be. What does it sound like? What’s the context?

If you want some more amazing mondegreens, check out this list from the Independent Article by John Rentoul.

I’m not the only one to mishear lyrics and to sing the completely wrong lyrics. This has come to the internet in the most hilarious way.


What is your favorite misheard lyrics?!
Let me know what you think in the comments below!!



Melissa Mohr Correspondent. (2020, February 13). Hearing isn’t always believing with “mondegreens.” Christian Science Monitor, N.PAG.

Sylvia Wright, “The Death of Lady Mondegreen.” Harper’s, November 1954

The Ballad of Lady Mondegreen. (2014). Quadrant Magazine58(5), 60.

Covers Interviews Reviews Switching styles

Violin in a new light; Featuring Lindsey Stirling

“On stage, Stirling moves with the grace of a ballerina but works the crowd into a frenzy, “dropping the beat” like a rave fairy.” as the internet accurately describes

Starting to learn the violin at the young age of 6, Lindsey Stirling has always had a passion for music. Growing up in Gilbert, Arizona, Lindsey pursued to dream to become a household name in music. But she wanted to do it her way. 

One of her first steps into Stardom was on America’s Got Talent. That didn’t go well.




Even on the stage, she showed her passion and that she’s different from other musicians. That’s what got her so far in the competition and her talent.

The judges thought she was talented and skilled but they didn’t think she was good enough because of the choreography and the fact that she’s a soloist.





There had been many obstacles in Lindsey’s life; disappointment, rejection, health issues, mental health issues. Throughout it all, she didn’t give up.

“Every time she felt like quitting, she felt like there was God saying, “Nope nope nope, you’re almost there. you have a mission. it’s going to be okay’,” said Lindsey’s sister, Jennifer.

Fast forward nearly a decade later and Lindsey did exactly what the judges denied her for and became legendary as a musician and as a violinist.

Her music career has flourished since her time at America’s got Talent. She’s proven the judges wrong. As a solo artist performing modern popular music with a traditionally orchestral instrument, she is taking the world by storm. Merging the worlds of classical and modern music, she has created a sound all her own. A sound that’s infectious.

Her Youtube Channel has over 10 million subscribers with over 2 billion views. That’s not all, Lindsey has won 2 billboard music awards, with Billboard chart-topping hits and sold-out tours throughout the world. 

In 2012, her career really took off as she released her debut album featuring one of her most popular hits, “Crystallize“. The song itself has over 225 million YouTube views while the album reached #1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Chart and Classical Album Chart,. 

Two years later, she released her album, Shatter Me which reached #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart, selling over a quarter-million copies. The song sharing the same name as the album has over 78 million views on YouTube and won the 2015 Billboard Music Award for “Top Dance/Electronic Album”. 

Her album Brave Enough debuted at #5 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart and went on to score the #1 spot on Billboard’s year-end Top Dance/Electronic Album list. This single album earned Stirling a 2017 Billboard Music Award for “Top Dance/Electronic Album”. On this album alone, the collaborations included Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness, Carah Faye, Christina Perri, Raja Kumari, and Rivers Cuomo to name a few,

She’s collaborated with numerous other musicians such as Elle King, Peter Hollens, Switchfoot, John Legend, Kurt Hugo Schneider, Tyler Ward, ZZ Ward, and so many more. Here are some highlights of her collaborations.










She has a great mixture of original and cover songs. Her magnificent style doesn’t waver between the projects. Here are a few highlights of her songs.










Her next musical endeavour is a tour across South America. Previous tours of hers have sold over 500,000 headline tickets worldwide at venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, Chicago Theater, New York’s Central Park Summerstage and the Greek Theater in Los Angeles.

Her most recent tour is focused on her new Album Artemis. Locations include Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay.

Do you have a favourite Lindsey Stirling song? Let us know on Twitter @StyleSwitching!


Featuring Flakron Rexha

Flakron Rexha. You’ve heard his remixes when Switching Styles showcased our article on “Snake Jazz“, now let’s showcase some more of his hip hop beats. 

These chill beats are just a few highlights of his work. With nearly 25 thousand subscribers and over 3 million views, Flakron has created quite an audience on YouTube.

YouTube has provided a great platform for sharing his beats and music with his audience. The internet has given a huge opportunity for him to not only share his music but learn new things about creating music itself.

His only complaint is the strict rules that seem to be getting Stricter in terms of the copyright, which is a concern for many online artists.

“It’s both good and bad that [copyright] exists,” Flakron explains, “It’s good that it exists because it protects the original owners. But they have made it very strict, and if that continues, I wouldn’t be able to do this interview just because it wouldn’t be possible for me to upload Snake Jazz which is sampled.”

Although his music career began in 2012, he started making beats when he was only 10 years old. Listening to the beats from other musicians, he knew that’s something he wanted to do. With inspiration from several artists, he gained an ear for what sounds good.

Primarily my musical influence comes from the 90s and early 00′ old school rap, like Rakim, Big L, Cormega, Gang Starr, Masta Ace, DMX, Eminem. My producer influences are Scott Storch, Dr. Dre and Apollo Brown”, he said. 

His beats and sound are both rather diverse, “It’s very varied. I don’t have a human voice over my music which must be compensated for. Therefore, the beat can’t be a simple loop. Instead, I try to make a “journey”,” he explains. 

Over a decade, Flakron has been creating music and beats for a range of occasions. Though in the following decade, his music is more as a hobby and not quite a music career. He doesn’t see himself in the music industry making a living off of his beats but it won’t stop him from putting out his works for fun.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!!



Interviews Reviews

Featuring Philip Serino; Love. Family. Music.

Love is the basis of Philip Serino’s music. A love for music, a love for his audience, and a love for his family; all combine into his sound.

With family at the foundation of music, he was a part of a musical community from a very young age. Growing up in a family of worship leaders, he was always surrounded by music and music lovers. Music was always something larger than life.

Family didn’t stop at the inspirational start, in his present music career, he regularly collaborates with his family members including his brothers Andrew Serino, Matt Serino, and Thomas Serino, and his cousin DJ. The Serino brothers have a strong connection with music separate and together.

Creating, producing and even touring with his brothers is exciting for them (not to mention their audiences). The collaboration allows each of them to bring their own sound forward to one single harmony. One example is the Serino brother’s cover of “Burning House” originally by Cam. This is a fantastic and moving cover full of passion. Each musician brings the piece to a deeper level of emotion.

“We made it happen. It wasn’t even spectacular, it was just, “let’s make music”. It didn’t even get a lot of views, but it was like, “Wow! we just came and made something happen”, Serino explains how publishing the cover felt.

Cover music for all of them, Serino especially, is a way to take a song somewhere that you and your audience wouldn’t expect. The different perspective from a cover of the same song is entertaining and doesn’t get boring.

“I did this one version of “Annie’s Song” by John Denver, and it sounds completely different from the original. I think it’s a really good practice for musicians to be able to cover the song, not to try to imitate the actual original but making their own version,” Serino said, “the artist, they are storytellers, even though John Denver — I don’t know if he actually wrote this song — but he sang that song his way and another artist can sing it with a different perspective, and it’s just fascinating.”

Serino’s music both past and present shows a great amount of diversity. As nostalgic as it is, his love for music was sparked by his love for video games. Video games were a way for him to connect with others as he moved around quite a bit as a kid.

“I loved my Gameboy. It gave me so much serenity. But it wasn’t so much the game itself that kept my mind at peace. It was the music,” Serino reminisces.

His life in music continued from his childhood to his adulthood starting with the alto saxophone, then drums, bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, then the voice, ending with the piano. It’s hard to put his finger on a single genre when his sound can be described as Pop, A Cappella, Soundtrack, and Electronic. Having a music career is a lot of hard work, especially one so diverse. Serino’s resume as a musician is extensive and incredible and throughout the USA.

Graduating from Pacific Lutheran University in 2011, he has a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition. At the time, only one freshman gets chosen into the top choir. In 2007, that was Serino. During his senior year, he was the featured composer for the school’s Student Soloist Concert and world premiered. His orchestral piece, “Ruach Ha Kodesh” (Hebrew for “Holy Spirit) was broadcast around the world.

He was featured on America’s Got Talent in 2007 with the men’s A cappella group, PLUtonic. They performed Serino’s musical arrangements.

Four years later, in 2011, PLUtonic took first place at ICCA Quarterfinals where Serino won the award for “Outstanding Soloist”. At the ICCA Semifinals in Berkeley, PLUtonic won third place. Again, he won the “Outstanding Arrangement”.

With such an impressive background, He’s a musician that aims to do it all; composing, lyric writing, production, guitar, piano-octave singer/bass II and alto saxophone player. His versatility doesn’t stop there. He can and has performed in congregations, choirs, orchestras, bands, and so many more. There’re many projects and dreams in his future.

As a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), he’s a musician with a business in mind. The ASCAP assists artists in ensuring they are being properly paid for their intellectual property. His work is published in both Pavane Publishing and Santa Barbara Music Publishing both have published his work. His main business is simply music and sharing that music with the world.

“I want to establish my business to help composers, and also producers, and also artists. I wanna start that project and keep with it, where we create demos from scratch, and send them off. We’re just a music laboratory, like a beat factory”, he explains.

Other ideas include a music café, film and television composition, trailer and advertisement composition, video game music rearrangements, going on tour, and so much more.

“I have a lot of ideas. I want to help people share their stories in a creative way. TV and film are a passion of mine, that’s why I went to school for music composition. That’s the big dream,” Serino describes.

Having such plans makes life really hard. For many musicians, it’s difficult to find a balance between life, love and work. With so many projects on the go and in the planning stages, it’s not easy to balance all of them.

It starts with being patient with yourself and knowing what you want from your life in general not just in one particular spot. Focusing all of your energy on one aspect of life does impact the other areas.

“If that’s something that you really love when it comes to music, or whatever your passion is you don’t want to squander it. You don’t want to make it something that is not enjoyable for you, I had to let go of my past, of my obsession with music. If it’s creating a problem in your relationship, and it’s creating a problem, then is a problem”.

Passion is amazing to have but your passion isn’t the only thing that defines you. There are other aspects such as hobbies, loved ones, family, future, day to day concerns. Serino admits in an interview with Switching Styles that he was so focused on his work that he didn’t give his family the time they needed.

“I’ve been so focused on trying to make this work, that I haven’t given her the time. I didn’t really give my child the time. In order to save my marriage, I must make the conscious decision to lay down my desire for significance, which meant that I had to lay down my dreams and adopt the only dream that mattered most—to be the best husband and daddy I could be for our family,” he explains.

Love is at the basis of Serino’s actions. His passion for music is strong even if it’s not currently full-time. It’s a passion for him as much as it is love.

“You need to really look at yourself, your life, and be thankful for everything you have, and realize that, this is for me, that, what I have with music, is all bonus.”


Dennis James; Organist and Historial Preservationist

It all started when Dennis James was young. But it didn’t begin with the organ instead it was something altogether smaller. The “Stomach Piano” or accordion was the first instrument he ever played. It was the “local instrument of choice for budding musicians in Cleveland, Ohio in 1957”.

Floren (left) with Welk (center) performing in 1969

Myron Floren was a television show accordion player, who played on The Lawrence Welk Show between 1950 and 1980. Floren inspired a young 6-year-old Dennis James with a love for music. This inspiration became reality when Hames passed by a pawn shop with an accordion in the window. His parents bought it for him as a birthday present and his lessons started immediately afterwards.

Junior high school changed it, as it does most things. There was a moment of realization that maybe the accordion was not the coolest instrument. He recognized that “none of my classmates wanted to hear my renditions of Lady of Spain complete with bellows shake.”

Shifting to the pipe organ at the age of 12 has since been a consistent part of his life. This change from accordion to the organ was overall a benefit to both James’s career and his audience. Looking back, he admits that he probably wouldn’t have stayed with music and instead pursued another interest namely oil painting. Instead of Dennis James the oil painter, he is currently known internationally as a professional organist and a historic preservationist.


Dennis James performs Richard A. Whiting’s “Hooray for Hollywood” at Allen Organs’ Octave Hall.

In the summer of 1969, he watched his first silent film with live accompaniment by a professional theatre pipe organist, Gaylord Cater. During Cater’s major tour at the time, he performed at the Tower Theatre’s Wurlitzer organ in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. The accompanied film is the action-packed drama “The Mark of Zorro” starring Douglas Fairbanks. His accompanied score was created using several published theatre organ generics used in the 1920s with his own “inimitable improvisation cascades”.

Thinking back to that day, James remembers, “It was a sold-out house and I remember eagerly turning to my dad at the end, being thoroughly impressed by the cheers and standing ovation from the sellout crowd, and saying to him those fateful words; ‘I can do that!’ To this day, as a sort of tribute to Gaylord Carter, I build my own score around Gaylord’s work, preserving about 20% of his efforts encased in my own historical revival work.”

The main genre he preserves is silent films. Silent film accompanists used music in the original showings of the films. This means that silent films weren’t entirely silent. Accompanists ranged from a single pianist to a small orchestra either with composed scores or improvisation.

James creates his performed works faithfully preserving the original scores. His scores use the same style and methods as the original silent film accompaniments throughout the 1890s and 1930s. At the time, film studios released enough for cinemas to have a variety of films and to change their showings several times a week. Having a fully composed, published, and rehearsed instrumental ensemble for each film was not feasible. It would take too much time that the studios and the cinemas simply didn’t have. The solution was to create a score within each cinema. Each theatre musician built libraries of music. This included a huge array of styles; classical music, current tunes, folk songs, foxtrots, hymns, marches, one-steps, two-steps. Organized by key, and emotional content, these were repurposed towards the scoring of the film. If there was a chase scene, the musician would modulate into a different key, usually d minor. Thus they would construct a sequence of chase music with allegros, hurries and agitatos. The same goes for other emotions such as love or joy, or despair. The musician would go through the library and find music that matches the emotional cue.

“It was this carefully tailored assembly kind of music scoring technique that was heard both from the solo keyboard players in the theatres and on an expanded scale, existing right along with through-composed newly composed scorings for fully rehearsed instrumental ensembles,” James explains.

Using either the published original scores or compilation scoring guides (guides sent along with the film intended for assisting with cues), he creates a score true to the original as opposed to a historical revival.

“There is this remarkable flow that happens where I’m looking at the screen and reading my carefully prepared and rehearsed music that causes the music to come out as a continuously synchronous emotion sequence matching the visuals like a perfectly fit glove on a hand,” describes James.

However, it’s more than just creating a score and presenting it. It’s a performance. There are visual real-time cues from the audience’s reaction and the film itself that need to be taken into account. This results in a kind of “fully-synchronous spontaneity”. Working with professionals in the field such as Lee Erwin, Gaylord Carter and Dr. C. A. J. Parmentier, has provided James with the ability to improvise when need be.“I’m not even conscious of what the added expressive choices are in the real-time of performance having now been continually doing this for over fifty years.” He explains.

His first silent film score debut came about during the peak of the Vietnam War protest era, this was a time with a real need and chance for some tension relief. Dennis James provided it with his silent film scoring debut.

As a sophomore at the university, James had access to the new Schantz-built concert pipe organ within the school’s 3,800 seat I. U. Auditorium. The film he chose was “phantom of the opera” just in time for Halloween. James collaborated with New York based silent film organist Lee Erwin to create the score for the accompaniment. as well, a fellow student conducted the local Bloomington Symphony Orchestra.

Leading up to the big debut, James took the time to print and hand stamp 400 tickets. This film lends itself to clever marketing with the phrase ‘The Phantom is Coming!’ littering the campus on posters, hung notes from trees, chalked announcements on empty classrooms’ chalkboards, stickers on toilet seat covers, and so much more. It was all counting down to Halloween, all counting down the big debut.

Only 40 tickets were sold in advance but over 4,000 people showed up at the doors. Wearing a mask and a cape from the university’s theatre department, James went on stage and performed his newly composed score to thousands of people.

“The energy of the occasion was so great, and I was so inspired, I almost immediately abandoned my carefully prepared composition to improvise something ever so much more appropriate to that event on the spot. Quite the thrilling way to begin what has turned out to be a full-length career.”

That was Jame’s first silent film accompaniment, but it was not the last. He’s travelled around the world performing live music for silent films, opera performances, as well as a range of concerts including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Hollywood film scorings, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Tanglewood Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Dennis James performing ‘Butterflies in the Rain’ to demonstrate the organ in the beautifully restored Missouri Theatre in Columbia, Missouri, at the 2012 Blind Boone Ragtime Festival.

With over five decades of experience, James has seen the appeal that silent films. It’s a sense of marvel, of fascination for recreating something a century old.

When asked about the impact of music on film, James referenced a quote that best outlines his sentiments.

“Mocked, ignored, the victim of a massive cultural disinformation campaign that insisted these movies were too primitive to take seriously, silent film has managed to outwit history. Not only is there a phoenix-like rebirth of interest in the medium, but the films themselves and the artifacts surrounding them are constantly coming to light in rich and unexpected ways. To be seen to their best advantage, however, silent films should be experienced, as they were in the medium’s glory days, with live musical accompaniment. To understand what makes silent film so special, the central place of music can’t be avoided. The live music enhances what we see, bringing us inside the film.”

“Silent films and their soaring music are rediscovered” by Kenneth Turan, from the LA Times

This appeal comes from the authenticity of it, both in a historical and a cultural aspect. When he performs, he wants it to be accurate to the original.

James explains that this is the way that silent films are meant to be experienced exactly as it was seen a century ago, “If one loves movies as do most moviegoers today, seeing and hearing, them as they were originally intended to be experienced simply should not be missed.”



Disney and Dreams; Sleeping Beauty Cover Songs


Disney brings magic to every home and Switching Styles is bring magic to you with Sleeping Beauty Cover Songs. 

I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream
I know you, that look in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
And I know it’s true that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you’ll do
You’ll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream

~Sleeping Beauty (1959)


Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Sleeping Beauty is one of Disney’s most iconic princess films. This Disney story is an adaptation of Charles Perrault’s fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty”, as well as the Brothers Grimm’s retelling of the story, “Little Briar Rose”. Although it was released in December 1959, it was in production for years longer than other Disney films. Altogether, the film itself took 8 years to complete.

“Story work began in 1951, voices were recorded in 1952, the actual animation took place between 1953 and 1958, and the stereophonic score was recorded in 1957. The movie was finally released one to two years later, in 1959,” writes the IMDB profile of Sleeping Beauty.

That long amount of work paid off in the terms of awards. 

Sleeping Beauty won an Academy Award in 1960 for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture. Beyond that, the film was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album, Original Cast —  Motion Picture or Television (1959)  Saturn Award for Best DVD Classic Film Release (2009), Satellite Awards for Best Overall Blu-Ray Disc and Best Youth DVD (2008), Young Artist Awards for Best Musical Entertainment Featuring Youth (1980).

Sleeping Beauty Soundtrack

There’s a reason that all but one of those previously mentioned awards are specifically for the music within the film. The soundtrack is beautiful. It includes gorgeous songs such as “Hail to the Princess Aurora”, “One Gift”, “I Wonder”, “Once Upon a Dream”, “The Skumps Song”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Sleeping Beauty Ballet”, “Sing a Smiling Song”, The majority of the songs had music by George Bruns and lyrics by Tom Adair. However, there were several other musicians that had a musical hand in the creation of the Sleeping Beauty soundtrack; Erdman PennerWinston HiblerTed Sears, Sammy FainJack Lawrence, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. All together these musicians create a splendid soundtrack that harmonized with this magical Disney film.

“Tchaikovsky always fascinates me because he was dramatic, he had humour he had these luscious melodies. he could move from mood to mood seamlessly. It was absolutely fantastic,” Explains Mary Costa.

As a fun fact, most of the musical score of the film is based upon Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Sleeping Beauty” (pyashaya krasavitsa) is composed of a prologue and three acts. First performed in 1890, this is the second of his three ballets. his first composition was “Swan Lake”. Ivan Vsevolozhsky, Director of the Imperial Theaters in St. Petersburg at the time, approached Tchaikovsky to write an adaptation of Undine. Later, it was decided that Charles Perrault’s La Belle Au Bois Dormant would make a better adaptation into a ballet form with the Brother’s Grimm version is the inspiration for the ballet scenario.

In an interview with Mary Costa, the voice of Sleeping Beauty admits that “I think if these two people, Tchaikovsky and Walt Disney had met today, they would be great friends. Because each had such a myriad of colours in their mind in which to create.”

Fun Fact: Second only to Dumbo (who doesn’t speak at all), Aurora had the least lines of any Disney Movie lead. The princess spoke less than 20 lines in the whole film. As the voice of Princess Aurora, Mary Costa became entwined with the character.

In an interview with DvDizzy, Mary Costa explains that even though Aurora is silent during most of the movie, she shares physical mannerisms from the actress, “I think you’ll be amused by this – my mother lived to be 101. In her late nineties, I was living in Florida and I took her to a small theatre to see Sleeping Beauty. It was packed and we were right in the middle. In the middle of the scene in the middle of the woods, she all of a sudden said, ‘Oh, Mary! That looks just like you!’, And I had to put my hand over her mouth. I got so tickled, but nobody knew who we were, they were all so into the scene.”

She continues to explain why the mannerisms are the same, “I think that there was a lot of me in that character because Marc Davis came in every time I was recording and sketched me. Because my father always spoke with his hands, I never could sing or do a line without using my hands. So I see a lot of myself in that film. I truly do.”

Regardless of the lack of lines, when the audience does hear her voice especially for the songs she sings, it’s majestic. Trying to decide which specific song to highlight is almost as difficult as the fairy godmother’s trying to decide whether Aurora’s dress should be pink or blue.

Sleeping Beauty Cover Songs

The scenes where the two fairies couldn’t agree on whether the dress should be pink or blue is inspired by the filmmaker’s own indecision on the dress’s colour. The iconic song of Sleeping Beauty is “Once Upon a Dream” is the focus of our article. Enjoy these amazing covers!

Evynne Hollens and her husband, Peter Hollens provide a soft and romantic cover. The fact that it’s a married couple covering the song as a duet is even more romantic.

Philip Serino‘s cover of “Once Upon a Dream” combines his deep soothing vocals with gorgeous piano accompaniment.

Portland Choir & Orchestra and Grammy-nominated Jenny Oaks Baker bring forth a powerful orchestral cover.

Jess Anderson‘s cover of “Once Upon a Dream” is a beautiful and energetic rendition of the soft Disney song.

Patrick Moon Bird‘s Lofi Remix of “Once Upon a Dream” is perfect when you want an upbeat rendition with a great beat.

Which is your favorite Sleeping Beauty Cover Songs?

Finding Tunes from ‘Finding Nemo’ Cover Songs

Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailing

Somewhere beyond the sea
She’s there watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high
Then straight to her arms I’d go sailing

~Robbie Williams performing “Beyond the Sea”, Finding Nemo (2003)

For the film, Finding Nemo Andrew Stanton pitched his idea to Pixar’s head, John Lasseter. The pitch lasted an hour with the use of visual aids and character voices to create the biggest impact possible. When asked what he thought of the idea, Lasseter simply replied, “You had me at ‘fish.'”

Finding Nemo’s Soundtrack

When I chose to write about Finding Nemo, I had no idea what song to choose. Mainly because Finding Nemo wasn’t a movie with a prominent soundtrack. What I mean is that the quotes are what you think of first not the music. This is probably because most of the soundtrack is simply musical scores, not lyrical music. In fact, there are only three lyrical songs in the whole film; “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” by Darla played by LuLu Ebeling, “Just Keep Swimming” by Dory played by Ellen DeGeneres, and finally “Beyond the Sea” performed by Robbie Williams.

Despite not being used for a lot of Disney karaoke events, Thomas Newman has composed a beautiful score loved by fans. The score of the film received a nomination for the 76th Academy Awards for Best Original Score losing against  Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. I can’t argue with that choice as it’s a film series I eventually will be covering (Yes, pun intended). 

The music we’ll look at is one of the few lyrical songs in the film; “Beyond the Sea” which is used in the ending credits. This song was originally by Jack Lawrence, with music taken from the song “La Mer” by Charles Trenet. From there countless musicians have covered the original song including Django Reinhardt, James Melton, The Sandpipers, and of course Bobby Darin, who became the best-known artist for this song as his version top numerous charts in the ’60s. These include No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 15 on the US R&B Chart, and No. 8 in the UK Singles Chart

In 2001, Robbie Williams released his version of “Beyond the Sea” on his album Swing When You’re Winning. Two years later and this version is used in the film “Finding Nemo”.


Finding Nemo Cover Songs

Without further ado, here are our highlighted Disney covers for your listening entertainment.

As the film itself is mostly scores that add to the film without lyrics, an instrumental cover seems fitting. Together Kezia Karran and her friend Felicia Janice provide a beautifully energetic cover.

With an impressive amount of instruments, Riz Ramadhan performs “Beyond the Sea” with his violin, viola, cello, and harp. Together, they blend beautifully into this instrumental cover.

This cover of “Beyond the Sea” by Kina Grannis is lullaby soft and endlessly beautiful. Her vocals complement the subtle instrumental perfectly in this cover.

With a Ukelele in his hands and a tune on his tongue, Josef Pitura-Riley has produced a warm and energetic cover of “Beyond the Sea”. This swing style ukelele cover is a fantastic tribute. Not to mention, the background shows a beautiful ocean scape. Some may even say Josef is just beyond the sea (That pun was painfully intended).

Bringing an electric big band style to the Disney outro song is Electra Music. Their sound is hopping, making you want to get up and dance!

Let me know what you think of these Fishy Tunes.

And remember Just Keep Swimming!