When You Wish Upon a Star


When You Wish Upon a Star (m. Leigh Harline, w. Ned Washington)

The song was written for Walt Disney’s 1940 adaptation of Pinocchio. The song, which eventually became the theme song of The Walt Disney Company, was introduced during the opening credits of the film by Cliff Edwards in the character of Jiminy Cricket and chorus.

Wikipedia says,

Pinocchio is a fictional character that first appeared in 1881, in The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, and has since appeared in many adaptations of that story and others. Carved from a piece of pine by a woodcarver named Geppetto in a small Italian village, he was created as a wooden puppet, but dreamt of becoming a real boy.


Cliff Edwards — from the soundtrack of Pinocchio (1940)


Horace Heidt and His Musical Knights recorded the song in December 1939, according to Wikipedia which places it in their list of songs published that year. Jazzstandards.com on the other hand dates it 1940. The fact that Heidt’s version is called a “cover” suggests that an earlier recording had been available to him. Since the film was released on 7 February 1940 (New York, with general release  on 23 Feb.) it is likely that the soundtrack version was recorded in 1939 and perhaps used to promote the film late that year.The site http://www.classicthemes.com gives a composition date of 1938 and provides an unpublished copyright registration number EU176054 (1938).

Horace Heidt and His Musical Knights — 1939

VBR MP3 (1.3 MB) audio file, from archive.org:


1940 When You Wish Upon a Star-Glenn Miller-Bluebird B-10570-AGlenn Miller Orchestra-1939-1-sm

Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, vocal: Ray Eberle–  recorded on 6 January 1940, and issued as Bluebird B-10570-A, b/w “Gaucho Serenade”


Vera Lynn 4Vera Lynn-cat-1a

Vera Lynn 1940

A more popular youtube video features a slide show of Lynn, but has lower sound quality.


Rosemary Clooney and Harry James together recorded a group of eight Academy Award winning songs which were released as Hollywood’s Best, a 10-inch 1952 album, (CL 6224). It was reissued as CL 585, a 12-inch LP in 1954 or 1955 (There is disagreement on the year in various discographies).

Harry James 3

Rosemary Clooney with Harry James and his Orchestra – recorded 23 May 1952, released on the LP Hollywood’s Best that year



1960 Cool School-June Christy-Capitol Records ST 1398 (1)-f6

June Christy with the Joe Castro Quartet —  from the 1960 album The Cool School: Songs for Grown-Up Children, Capitol Records ST 1398


Dion & the Belmonts – from the group’s second album Wish Upon a Star with Dion & the Belmonts, 1960



Bill Evans – from the album Interplay, recorded 16-17 July 1962


Chet Atkins — date unknown — Atkins released recordings of “When You Wish Upon a Star” on the RCA Victor albums Solo Flights, 1968, and Pickin’ My Way, 1971


Keith Jarrett Trio — Hitomi Memorial Hall Tokyo, 26 October 1986


David Matthews leads a trio of Manhattan Jazz Orchestra members consisting of Matthews (piano), Chip Jackson (bass), and Terry Silverlight (drums)


Una Stella Cade

Bruno Filippini – 1963


Marisa Sannia – from the 1973 LP (giri 33) Marisa nel paese delle meraviglie


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