If you’ve had a television or taken a pinch of interest in popular culture over the last few decades, chances are Robin Williams made you laugh at some point. Whether he was doing stand-up comedy, acting, producing, playing a bat or a pirate, an alien or a shrink, he brought his unique, poignant sense of absurdity around the human experience set off by comic relief. Some of his greatest moments involve music – he had a fantastic voice – and he was gifted at combining song with comedy. Here’s a countdown of five of his most joyful music moments.
The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’ cover
George Martin compiled a Beatles cover album in 1998 featuring such luminaries as Billy Connelly, Jim Carey, Goldie Hawn and Jeff Beck. The opening track is Robin Williams and Bobby McFerrin’s version of ‘Come Together’. It’s an aggressive rasp before erupting into a pitch-perfect chorus and sweeping strings. It’s made, too, by the duo’s infectious laughter at the end.
Robin Williams – Batty Rap
FernGully: The Last Rainforest, the film that turned a generation into vegans and environmentalists, saw Robin Williams cast as Batty Koda, the most loveable character of the story, not least because of this rap:
Mrs Doubtfire – Dinosaur Song
Only Robin Williams could get away with making a plastic dinosaur do a James Brown impression. A highlight of the 1993 film.
Aladdin – Friend In Me
Robin Williams’ Genie in Disney’s Aladdin dwarfed the other characters in the film, as he often did in other projects. ‘Friend Like Me’ was his signature tune.
South Park’s ‘Blame Canada’
Williams appeared as a surprise at the 2000 Oscar to perform the nominated satire ‘Blame Canada’ from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut.
Mork & Mindy
This is an extra because Williams doesn’t exactly perform but it’s still one of the greatest opening themes in television. Robin Williams enters as Mork the alien from the planet Ork with a ‘nanu nanu’ before heading to earth and breaking out of an egg. It was the role that set Williams on the road to stardom.