|Released April 12, 1996|
Label Walt Disney
Writer(s) Randy Newman
|Format Cassette, CD single, digital download|
Genre Country, pop, soundtrack
"You've Got a Friend in Me" is a song written and first recorded by Randy Newman. Originally written as the theme song for the 1995 Disney/Pixar animated film Toy Story, it has since become the theme song for its sequels, Toy Story 2 (1999) and Toy Story 3 (2010) as well as a musical leitmotif throughout the whole Toy Story franchise. The song was nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Original Song and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, but lost both to "Colors of the Wind" from Disney's Pocahontas
Like many other Disney theme songs, "You've Got a Friend in Me" has been covered numerous times. Cover versions featured in the three Toy Story films include a duet with Newman and Lyle Lovett in Toy Story, a version by Robert Goulet and an instrumental by Tom Scott in Toy Story 2, an Italian language version by Riccardo Cocciante, and a Spanish language version by the Gipsy Kings in Toy Story 3.
The song in Toy Story
The song is played during the opening credits for Toy Story and Toy Story 3, establishing the importance of Woody and Andy in the first film and the importance of all his toys in the third. Toy Story 3 also uses it for irony and dramatic effect, as the opening credits harken back to the first film and the song abruptly fades out with "As the years go by/Our friendship will never die", before showing that Andy's remaining toys in the present day are boxed up and unused.
In the two sequels, the song is listened to by the characters as part of the story. Two of these are cover versions done at the end of the film for thematic reasons: at the end of Toy Story 2, the character Wheezy starts to sing it to the other toys; during the end credits of Toy Story 3, Buzz Lightyear and Jessie (now a couple) perform a pasodoble to a Spanish version of the song, deliberately played by Jessie to get Buzz to dance.
The most significant use of the song was in the third act of Toy Story 2, where an episode of Woody's Roundup (the 1950s puppet show he was based on) shows the puppet Woody singing the song, directed at the young audience and featuring a small child hugging the puppet. Woody sees this and has an epiphany, realizing that his mission as a toy is to be there for a child. (In-universe, the song was presumably written for Woody's Roundup.)
The Woody's Roundup version was performed by Tom Hanks, with acoustic guitar backing; Wheezy's version was sung by Robert Goulet (though the character was voiced by Joe Ranft); and the Spanish version, "You've Got a Friend in Me (Para el Buzz Español)", performed by the Gipsy Kings.
The lyrics have a chirpy feeling and a very relaxing tune and it is familiar to many other calming songs:
You've got a friend in me You've got a friend in me When the road looks rough ahead And you're miles and miles From your nice, warm bed You just remember what your ol' pal said Boy, you've got a friend in me Yeah, you've got a friend in me You've got a friend in me You've got a friend in me If you've got troubles, I've got them too There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you We stick together, we can see it through 'Cause you've got a friend in me (Yes, you do) Yeah, you've got a friend in me Some other folks might be A little bit smaller than I am Bigger and stronger too, maybe But none of them will ever love you The way I do Just me and you, boy And as the years go by Our friendship will never die You're gonna see it's our destiny You've got a friend in me Baby, you've got a friend in me Yeah, you've got a friend in me!