Elton John – Can You Feel the Love Tonight (The Lion King Soundtrack) (Lyrics Analysis and Song Meaning)
Possibly one of Elton John’s most successful tracks, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is a true feel-good anthem for love. The song gained a worldwide reputation after being sampled and featured in the popular Disney movie ‘The Lion King.’ The song speaks about two people who are in love and how love makes the worlds move. The song peaked at #4 on Billboard Hot 100 chart and is still a very popular song to-date.
“Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is sampled in the movie The Lion King from 1994, and is also featured on the end titles of the movie. The original song is featured on Elton John’s 1994 classic album ‘Rocket Man – The Definitive Hits.’ However, the song appears on The Lion King official soundtrack release as well.
The sampled version of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” includes different lyrics to the original, except for the chorus. The movie track is performed by Ernie Sabella, Joseph Williams, Kristle Edwards, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane and Sally Dworsky.
The original track is a piano-driven Rock ballad by Elton John written in collaboration with Tim Rice.
Watch “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King Movie
Watch “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John Live
In the movie The Lion King, the song is based around the budding love of young Simba and Nala. We see Pumbaa and Timon wallowing about their best friend Simba growing up and finding a lady friend, at the beginning of the song. Then the scene moves on to a romantic escapade by Simba and Nala displaying their affection for each other.
The movie song lyrics take the form of thoughts of Simba and Nala about each other.
“So many things to tell her
But how to make her see
The truth about my past, impossible
She’d turn away from me
He’s holding back, he’s hiding
But what, I can’t decide
Why won’t he be the king I know he is?
The king I see inside?” – ‘The Lion King’ OST
Below is an annotation of the original lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice.
Lyrics Analysis and Song Meaning of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”
The first verse describes what love can do in a tiresome situation. The heat-stroke rush of the day fades away when you are with the right person. The restless warrior who has been fighting his own wars, may even be those of love, can finally lay his head to rest with his love. He is a warrior, but he calmly surrenders his soul to love.
Elton John calls being in love an enchantment.
Few of the most famous lyrics in music history are laid in this verse.
The singer asks if his partner can feel the love that has entrapped both of them tonight. Love is where they are now.
A ‘wide-eyed wanderer’ would be a person with an open mind searching for something. In the context of the song, we can assume that this wide-eyed wanderer is out looking for love. He may be wide-eyed because he is shocked or amazed at the comfort and nurture he found in her love. He could very well be the same restless warrior appearing in the first verse.
Elton John says that love makes anyone move and believe in the best. This is true to kings and vagabonds alike. A vagabond is a person who wanders from place to place as he is homeless and poor.
In the second verse of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” the singer explains that true love will find everybody.
The ‘twisting kaleidoscope’ is a reference to fate. “A kaleidoscope is an optical instrument with two or more reflecting surfaces tilted to each other in an angle, so that one or more objects on one end of the mirrors are seen as a regular symmetrical pattern when viewed from the other end, due to repeated reflection.” – Wikipedia
Elton John reflects the patterns of life in the universe: “rhyme and reason of the wild outdoors.” These patterns have a way of pushing us towards our lovers, and that is fate.
A voyager is someone who travels. A star-crossed voyager is someone who has travelled extensively, or metaphorically around the universe. When his heart starts beating in sync with another; that is where you find love.
“Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is a track filled with love and romance. The video clip from The Lion King movie of Simba and Nala’s love dance matches perfectly to the song, even though the lyrics are somewhat different. Elton John’s soulful voice along with the piano play makes the feelings intense.
We expect to see a new rendition of the song in the upcoming ‘The Lion King’ remake to be released in July 2019.
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Complete Lyrics to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John