Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram also recorded a pop version of the song that was very popular when the film came out, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1987 and #4 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. At the 30th Grammy Awards, the song won two awards, one for Song of the Year and the other for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television. It also earned nominations for Best Original Song at the 44th Golden Globe Awards and the 59th Academy Awards, but lost both to Take My Breath Away from Top Gun. At the Academy Awards ceremony, Natalie Cole performed the song live with James Ingram.
The song had a lasting legacy in Hollywood, one that it doesn't often get traced back to. "Somewhere Out There" was responsible for popularizing the "Award Bait Song", or the slow, emotional ballads that accompanied many animated and some live action movies throughout the rest of the 1980's and through the 1990's.
Somewhere out there
Beneath the pale moonlight
Someone's thinking of me
And loving me tonightTanya:
Somewhere out there
Someone's saying a prayer
That we'll find one another
In that big somewhere out there
And even though I know how very
Far apart we are
It helps to think we might be wishing
On the same bright star
And when the night wind starts to sing
A lonesome lullaby
It helps to think we're sleeping
Underneath the same big sky
Somewhere out there
If love can see us through
Then we'll be together
Somewhere out there
Out where dreams
Steven Spielberg, the producer of An American Tail, invited songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil to collaborate with James Horner on four songs for the film's soundtrack, to be completed in a four week timeframe. The composers "felt no pressure to come up with a radio-friendly hit" and were surprised when Spielberg felt "Somewhere Out There" had Top 40 hit potential and recruited world renowned recording artists, Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram, to record a pop version of the song for the film's closing credits. In the main body of the film, "Somewhere Out There" was performed by Phillip Glasser and Betsy Cathcart in the characters of the anthropomorphic mice Fievel and Tanya Mousekewitz.
Produced by Ronstadt's regular producer Peter Asher, the single release of the Ronstadt/Ingram track debuted at #31 on the Adult Contemporary chart in Billboard dated 15 November 1986, crossing over to the Billboard Hot 100 dated 20 December 1986 with a #83 debut. In January 1987 "Somewhere Out There" returned Ronstadt to the Top 40 after a four year absence to eventually peak at #2 that March. The song was kept from the top spot by "Jacob's Ladder" by Huey Lewis and the News. One of the last commercially released 45 RPM singles to be certified Gold for United States sales of over one million copies, "Somewhere Out There" was also a major UK hit (peaking at #8), marking Ronstadt's first of three appearances in the UK Top 10.
Fievel Goes West
Tanya Mousekewitz also sings this song when she gets older, and is shown singing it out a window at the beginning of the film. But as she sings, she gets food thrown at her after two failed attempts and always getting interrupted on the lyric, "and loving me". This is not unlike the old trope of a cat getting things thrown at it as it meows on a fence. The family actually uses this as a means of getting food, and Tanya is teased by Fievel about it.
This scene could be seen as the more light-hearted and fun sequel distancing itself from its dark and emotional predecessor, though it would later feature a somewhat similar James Horner song, "Dreams to Dream".
Appearances in Other Media
- Phillip Glasser performs a solo version of the song, to the music of Linda Ronstadt's version, on An American Tail: A Musical Adventure With Fievel And Friends.
- The song was briefly sung at the An American Tail Live Show at Universal Studios theme parks, as a crowd song.
- Four year old Kaitlyn Maher once sung the song on an episode of America's Got Talent.
- "Somewhere Out There" was performed by cast members Danny Pudi and Donald Glover in the NBC comedy Community during the episode "Environmental Science".
- "Somewhere Out There" had also been recorded by David Essex (A Night at the Movies/ 1997), Paige O'Hara (Dream With Me/ 1998), and by Kenny Loggins (Return to Pooh Corner/1994) in his Neverland Medley with Patti Austin.
- Barry Mann himself covered the song in his album “Soul & Inspiration”, released September 21, 1999 by Atlantic Record Corp.
- On November 19, 2009, on NBC's Community, Abed and Troy have to get a rat (that they named Fievel) to respond to a song for a science project. After the rat runs away they sing this song accompanied by music in the background. They later did an improptu performance at Comic-Con 2010 by fan's requests.
- On 16 September 2011, talk show hosts and comedians Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon sang a rendition of the song to each other as a climax to their multi-episode arc of being "best friends for life" for six months.
- In December 2012, former Scrubs stars and real life best friends Zach Braff and Donald Faison sang a rendition of the song for their fans.
- A suspiciously similar song, "Fur Fur Away", appears in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Starting From Scratch", which is an homage to An American Tail.
- Don Bluth himself played this song on a piano as a gift to his fans when his Indiegogo campaign to fund an animated film of Dragon's Lair reached $200,000, in a Youtube video.
|An American Tail|
|Characters||Papa Mousekewitz • Mama Mousekewitz • Tanya Mousekewitz • Fievel Mousekewitz • Yasha Mousekewitz • Tiger • Henri • Tony Toponi • Bridget • Gussie Mausheimer • Honest John • Warren T. Rat • Digit • Mott Street Maulers • Moe • The Bullying Orphans|
|Locations||Shostka, Russia • Statue of Liberty • New York • Castle Garden • Moe's Sweatshop • Orphan Alley|
|Songs||There Are No Cats In America • Never Say Never • Somewhere Out There • A Duo|