Nathan Lane Says Timon And Pumbaa First Sang ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight?’ — But Elton John Nixed It

Timon and Pumbaa

Timon and Pumbaa Getty

Elton John was not feeling the original choices in The Lion King to sing his Oscar-winning ballad, Can You Feel The Love Tonight?

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Nathan Lane revealed that early versions of the animated classic saw Timon and Pumbaa singing all of Can You Feel the Love Tonight?

“Originally, we sang the whole thing,” Lane said. “Elton John was mortified that the warthog and the meerkat were singing it. He said, ‘The reason I wrote the score was because I wanted to have a Disney love song. I didn’t want it to be sung by the rat and the pig.'”

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nathan lane says timon and pumbaa first sang ‘can you feel the love tonight?’ — but elton john nixed it
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There is an original rat/pig version floating around with Lane and Ernie Sabella, who voiced Pumbaa.

“We did [record] a version,” Lane said. “We sang the whole thing in our character voices. It wasn’t like we were going to do our legit Broadway version. We were doing two very character-type voices. It’s hard to do that and be romantic. Elton was right.”

In a switch, the duo was also to do a number titled The Warthog Rhapsody, but it was replaced with Hakuna Matata.

“Thankfully, everyone came to their senses,” Lane joked.

Lane and Sabella will appear in Disney’s The Lion King 30th Anniversary – A Live-to-Film Concert Event at the Hollywood Bowl that ends tonight.

The show will feature Lane and Sabella performing a live rendition of Hakuna Matata, as well as their verses in Can You Feel The Love Tonight? Jeremy Irons, Billy Eichner, and Jennifer Hudson will also participate in the event.

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