In a new interview, the legendary singer, who co-wrote all the music for the 1994 animated film with lyricist Time Rice, shared his misgivings about how the music was altered for the new, photo-real iteration.
"The new version of The Lion King was a huge disappointment to me, because I believe they messed the music up," John tells British GQ. "Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn't have the same impact. The magic and joy were lost."
Although the singer-songwriter's music was used in the Jon Favreau-helmed adaptation, including his new song with Rice, "Never Too Late," managing the soundtrack was left to Pharrell Williams this time, who updated some lyrics and recorded the new music with the film's voice actors: Donald Glover, Beyoncé, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner and more. Beyoncé also contributed a track of her own, "Spirit." Nonetheless, John explained in the new interview that he found the updated music lacking.
"The soundtrack hasn't had nearly the same impact in the charts that it had 25 years ago, when it was the bestselling album of the year," he explains. "The new soundtrack fell out of the charts so quickly, despite the massive box-office success."
"I wish I'd been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn't really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect," John continues. "That makes me extremely sad. I'm so happy that the right spirit for the music lives on with the 'Lion King' stage musical."
As John noted, the new adaptation was a runaway success for Disney, earning over $1.6 billion worldwide. See more on the film below.