Talk to the Animals

"Talk to the Animals" is a song written by British composer Leslie Bricusse.[1]

Written for the film Doctor Dolittle, it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 40th Academy Awards.[2] It was performed in the film by Rex Harrison. The song was not generally well appreciated, and in some cases was disliked, by those who were working on the film during the time of its production.[3] However, it has since become the signature song of the character and was even sung in the 1998 remake of the film starring Eddie Murphy.

Story contextEdit

The song first appears in Dolittle's residence, when the Doctor fully realizes from his parrot, Polly, that intelligently communicating with animals is an acquirable skill. In reaction, Dolittle resolves to master it with as many species as possible and starts the song as he muses about the skill's possibilities. The song is reprised outdoors when the Doctor finds he has mastered the skill and joyfully celebrates, surrounded by animals.

Cover versionsEdit

The song has also been performed by Herb Alpert,[4] Alvin & the Chipmunks,[5] Bing Crosby (on his album Thoroughly Modern Bing), Bobby Darin,[6] Sammy Davis, Jr.,[7] Roger Moore and the Muppet animals on The Muppet Show,[8] and Chief Wiggum of The Simpsons, in the episode "Homer's Barbershop Quartet". Chief Wiggum's voice was provided by Hank Azaria [9] The children's television show, Kidsongs, produced a music video of their rendition of the song. Larry Hooper included the song as a semi-regular part of his repertoire on The Lawrence Welk Show. A cover recording of the song by Louis Armstrong is played during the end credits of the 1998 film, Dr. Dolittle, starring Eddie Murphy.

Rita Pavone made an italian cover on her Ritaland 1968 record.

It was the theme song of the Australian Talk to the Animals television show.

The 1970 De Patie-Freleng cartoon series based on Doctor Dolittle has the song as its opening and closing themes, with vocals in the opening (lyrics changed to have song verses sung by the character Sam Scurvy).


  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 135. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ Internet Movie Database - Doctor Dolittle(1967) - Awards
  3. ^ Harris, Mark (2008). Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. New York: The Penguin Press. ISBN 978-1-59420-152-3.
  4. ^ The Beat of the Brass
  5. ^ Greatest Hits: Still Squeaky After All These Years (2007 re-issue)
  6. ^ Bobby Darin Discography: The Albums Archived 2010-03-30 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Sammy Davis, Jr. Studio Recordings 1965-1969
  8. ^ The Internet Movie Database - "The Muppet Show" - Episode # 5.24 (1980) - Soundtrack
  9. ^ The Internet Movie Database - "The Simpsons" - Homer's Barbershop Quartet (1993) - Soundtracks