Hakuna Matata (song)

"Hakuna Matata" is a song from Disney's 32nd animated feature The Lion King.[1] The music was written by Elton John with lyrics by Tim Rice. The song is based on Timon and Pumbaa's catchphrase in the movie, Hakuna matata, a Swahili phrase meaning "No worry(s)". It is characterized by its simple 4/4 time, upbeat message and catchy lyrics.

"Hakuna Matata"
Hakuna Matata single cover.jpg
Dutch single
Single by Jimmy Cliff & Lebo M.
from the album Rhythm of the Pride Lands
RecordedApril 1994; BOP Studios, Mmabatho, ZA
LabelWalt Disney Records
Songwriter(s)Elton John (music)
Tim Rice (lyrics)
Producer(s)Jay Rifkin
Fabian Cooke
Mark Mancina
Audio sample
Jimmy Cliff & Lebo M - "Hakuna Matata"


The song's music and melody were composed by Elton John, with lyrics by Tim Rice. In the film the song is sung by Timon (a meerkat voiced by Nathan Lane), Pumbaa (a warthog voiced by Ernie Sabella), and Simba, a young lion voiced by Jason Weaver (singing voice as a cub) and Joseph Williams (singing voice as an adult). Taking place after the death of Mufasa, it features Timon and Pumbaa, the two main comedy characters in the film, talking to Simba about moving forward from their troubled pasts and forgetting their worries, and Simba grows from cub to adult as the song progresses. The song also provides a backstory for Pumbaa, explaining that he was ostracized from animal society for his excessive flatulence. It makes use of a large proportion of the orchestra as well as many other more unusual instruments including an elaborate drum kit. Rice is said to have got the idea for the lyrics for the song from watching the comedy series Bottom and at one point wanted the show's stars Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson to play Timon and Pumbaa.

A second version of the song, produced for the companion album Rhythm of the Pride Lands, was performed by Jimmy Cliff featuring Lebo M. This version has a slightly modified, previously unreleased verse focusing on Timon's past. It was partially rewritten with a different instrument arrangement, but remains very similar to the original. This version of the song was released as a single with "He Lives in You" as a B-side and was ultimately used in the Broadway theatrical version of The Lion King.


"Hakuna Matata" replaced another song written early on in the production stage, titled "Warthog Rhapsody". This song was eventually recorded and released on Rhythm of the Pride Lands, along with several other songs that did not appear in the finished film. The vocal melody of "Warthog Rhapsody" was later used for the song "That's All I Need" in the spinoff film The Lion King 1½.


Hakuna matata is a phrase in Swahili that is frequently translated as "no worries". In a behind-the-scenes segment on The Lion King Special Edition DVD, the film's production team claim that it picked up the term from a tour guide while on safari in Kenya. It was then developed into an ideology that, along with the seemingly antithetical value of duty to the monarchy, is central to the moral content of the film.

The title phrase is pronounced with American English phonology within the song, including a flapped "t", rather than as it is pronounced in Swahili.

Critical receptionEdit

"Hakuna Matata" has become one of Disney's most celebrated and popular songs, establishing itself as one of the studio's greatest and most iconic. The song was nominated for Best Song at the 67th Academy Awards but lost to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", one of three Lion King song nominations (the third one was "Circle of Life").[2] It was also ranked 99th in the AFI's list of the 100 best American movie songs of all time, Disney's seventh and last entry of songs on the list (the others being "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio at #7, "Some Day My Prince Will Come" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at #19, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from Mary Poppins at #36, "Wind Beneath My Wings" from Beaches at #44, "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" from Song of the South at #47, and "Beauty and the Beast" from Beauty and the Beast at #62).[3]

A shortened version of "Hakuna Matata" was used as the theme song of the spinoff Timon & Pumbaa TV series. Another shortened version of "Hakuna Matata" was used in the TV series The Lion Guard in the first-season episode "Bunga and the King" (2016), sung by the cast members.

The film's 2019 photorealistic CGI remake features a new version performed by Billy Eichner as Timon, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, JD McCrary as young Simba, and Donald Glover as adult Simba.

In popular cultureEdit

Track listingsEdit

CD single
  1. "Hakuna Matata" — 4:24
  2. "He Lives in You" — 4:51
CD maxi
  1. "Hakuna Matata" (radio version) — 3:50
  2. "Warthog Rhapsody" by Nathan Lane & Ernie Sabella — 3:06
  3. "Hakuna Matata" (album version) — 4:24



  1. ^ King, Alex P. (2004). Hit-parade — 20 ans de tubes (in French). Paris: Pascal. p. 339. ISBN 2-35019-009-9.
  2. ^ Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "Academy Awards Database". Retrieved 2008-05-02.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ American Film Institute (2004). "The Top Movie Songs of All Time" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  4. ^ Mueller, Max Perry. "A Cringe-worthy Depiction of Africa". Harvard Divinity Bulletin. 40, Nos. 3 & 4 (Summer/Autumn 2012). Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Ultratop.be – Jimmy Cliff & Lebo M. – Hakuna Matata" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – Jimmy Cliff & Lebo M. – Hakuna Matata" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  7. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 28, 1995" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  8. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Jimmy Cliff & Lebo M. – Hakuna Matata" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  9. ^ "Lescharts.com – Jimmy Cliff & Lebo M. – Hakuna Matata" (in French). Les classement single.
  10. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Jimmy Cliff & Lebo M. – Hakuna Matata" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  11. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Jimmy Cliff & Lebo M. – Hakuna Matata". Swiss Singles Chart.
  12. ^ "Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles". Billboard. May 27, 1995. p. 109. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  13. ^ "Hot Adult Contemporary for the Week Ending April 29, 1995". Billboard. April 29, 1995. p. 90. Retrieved April 6, 2020.
  14. ^ 1995 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart Ultratop.be (Retrieved August 6, 2008)
  15. ^ "Single top 100 over 1995" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  16. ^ 1995 French Singles Chart Disqueenfrance.com Archived 2009-02-14 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved January 30, 2009)
  17. ^ French certifications Disqueenfrance.com Archived 2009-06-02 at the Wayback Machine (Retrieved August 6, 2008)

External linksEdit