Robin Williams' 10 Greatest Musical Moments

Categories: Columns

Still from "Good Morning Vietnam"
Robin Williams' career was full of memorable musical moments
It's not unfair to say that Robin Williams' tragic passing this week hits home more than most. Generations of kids have grown up with his work, entertained by his wild, manic impersonations and, later, inspired by his deep pathos in films like Dead Poet's Society, Good Will Hunting, and Patch Adams. He elicited such engaged sympathy towards his characters, that he nearly managed to have audiences rooting for his sinister, lonely sociopathic character in One Hour Photo.

Yet Williams also had a fantastic sense of musicality, starring in many animated musicals, and was possessed of the odd theatrical habit of erupting into song every other sentence, even in real life. In memoriam, here's a look back at Williams' greatest musical moments:

10. "The Mirror Song" (from Toys, 1992)

In this scene, eccentric toymaker Williams creates a music video as a diversion to distract the guards monitoring his toy factory. As wonderfully absurd as the movie itself, it resembles a Talking Heads music video had it been directed by surrealist painter Rene Magritte.

9. "Fire" (from Throbbing Python of Love, 1983)

A piece of vintage Williams stand-up during his "Reality...What a Concept" tour, and possibly the oddest cover of all-time: Bruce Springsteen a la Elmer Fudd.

8. Bobby McFerrin's " Don't Worry, Be Happy" (1988)

The music video for the original and simple sentiment before "Hakuna Matata", in which McFerrin sang completely acappella, finds Williams and comedian Bill Irwin making a goofy cameo.

7. "I Feel Good" (from Good Morning Vietnam, 1987)

In the film, Williams plays a radio Dj in Vietnam who lifts troops' spirits through his song selection and wacky humor. The first video, where his character plays James Brown's "I Feel Good" is classic Williams, improvised and manic.

6. "It's a Wonderful World" (from Good Morning Vietnam, 1987)

The use of Louis Armstrong's "It's a Wonderful World" is both ironic and hopeful, set against a poignant backdrop alternating between war clips and scenes of utter countryside bliss.

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Great list! Reminded me of the "Fosse, Fosse, Martha Graham, Martha Graham" dance bit in The Birdcage. 

What a talented, inspired guy. What a loss.

As a musical bonus, I would also recommend watching his bizarre but hilarious UK appearance with comedian (and musician) Bill Bailey where they sang a 'Royal Birthday Blues'.

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