When I was in elementary school, the junior choir sang “A Whole New World” at the Christmas concert. That was in 1994 (it could have been 1995, my memory of the time is a little hazy). The Disney magic from The Little Mermaid, which I clearly remember my parents taking to my sister and I to see in theatres, to Beauty and the Beast, which my grandmother was told to buy two copies of since the VHS tape would run raw from repeated viewings, had certainly continued to Aladdin.
A few of Howard Ashman’s songs survived from his early work on the film. “Arabian Nights,” “Prince Ali” and “Friend Like Me” were all Ashman’s songs. But it was a new lyricist, Tim Rice, who wrote the now iconic “A Whole New World” and the somewhat less iconic but still fun “One Jump Ahead,” which does a great job of setting up Aladdin’s character.
Sadly, many of Ashman’s songs wound up on the cutting room floor due to changes in the story. In the original treatment, Aladdin had three friends and the story was a fast-paced comic adventure about a young man trying to prove himself to his parents. The story didn’t work, though, especially as a musical. When John Musker and Ron Clements took over directing — fresh off their success with The Little Mermaid — they re-worked the plot to be about a young man searching for self respect and love, leaving many of the story-based songs no longer usable.