Hidden Gems of Sesame Street Music: Part 5

Published: September 4, 2008
Categories: Feature

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Welcome back! This is part five of a five-part series of articles on lesser-known but wonderful Sesame Street songs. Before you read this, you really oughtta read part one, part two, part three, and part four. In today’s installment, my fellow Tough Pig Anthony and I have a fascinating and insightful conversation about the subject at hand.

Ryan: So, fellow Tough Pig Anthony, there certainly are a lot of great Sesame Street songs, aren’t there?

Anthony: There are, which isn’t at all surprising. The show’s been on the air for almost forty years – Forty! – and so many great songwriters have worked on it.

Ryan: Great songwriters? Yeah, I guess. If you consider people like Joe Raposo, Jeff Moss, and Christopher Cerf to be great. And you know what? I do.

Anthony: Well sure, so do I. Not to mention often-ignored talents like Sam Pottle, David Axelrod and Tony Geiss. Look ’em up on Muppet Wiki, folks – you’ll be surprised how many great songs those gentlemen wrote for Sesame Street.

Ryan: That’s true. And with 40 years of songs, this 5-part series of Tough Pigs articles could have easily been a 50-part article. Or 500! Or 5,000!

Anthony: Easily! I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. We’ve just begun to scratch the surface.

Ryan: Yeah, I have a whole list of songs I thought about writing about… “Pigeons, and Cookies and Trash” features Bert, Cookie Monster, and Oscar singing about their respective favorite things. “Google Bugle” is a song that only Cookie Monster could sing, because nobody else has googly eyes. “I Get a Nice Feeling,” sung by Bob (presumably to Linda?) is one of the loveliest love songs I’ve ever loved.

Anthony: I have a similar list of omissions – “Don’t Go Away Without Me”, an Ernie & Bert anthem about not wanting to be apart from your best friend for even a minute. “Breakfast Time”, where Cookie Monster tells Ernie about his daily breakfast of cookie juice and hard-boiled cookies.

Ryan: Oh, I like that one.

Anthony: “A Postcard from Amy”, in which Grover’s message from his friend gets mangled as it passes from one character to another… We could go on all day. But the point is that great Sesame Street songs are all over the place, and all you need to do is look for them.

Ryan: It’s also amazing to me that both of us, as lifelong Muppet fans, are still discovering material from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond, that we’ve never heard before. I’m not sure I’ve ever even heard that Bert & Ernie song you just mentioned.

Anthony: That song, like “Too Busy”, which I featured yesterday, is on the album Fair is Fair. But yeah, it really is amazing how never-ending the well seems to be.

Ryan: Oh. Then I guess I have heard that song. But I forgot it…which just proves how freakin’ many Sesame Street songs there are!

Anthony: Listen to it again!

Ryan: Okay! Maybe I will!

Anthony: But yeah, like you said – you forgot the song. There’s so much Sesame Street music out there that your brain can’t hold it all.

Ryan: Of course, they’re still writing new good stuff on Sesame Street. Did you see the musical number with Neil Patrick Harris this season?

Anthony: I did. It’s terrific.

Ryan: Music has always been such an essential ingredient in the Muppet recipe, and it’s great to see that tradition continuing.

Anthony: I agree. And as you say, it’s an essential ingredient in the Muppet recipe, not just the Sesame Street one. The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, Bear in the Big Blue House – all of them were marked by wonderful music.

Ryan: Yep. Birds fly, fish swim, camels spit, and Muppets sing. It’s just what they do. For the Muppet Show characters, it’s a little harder to pull that off in today’s post-variety show world, but for some reason it’s still expected in kids’ entertainment, and thank goodness for it.

Anthony: Yeah, say what you will about the recent Studio DC: Almost Live! special (I already did), but it featured Muppets singing, as do the videos made especially for YouTube. That’s a good sign for the future, as far as I’m concerned.

Ryan: Yes. The day when Muppets stop singing altogether would be a sad day indeed. I don’t think I’d even be able to get out of bed in the morning.

Anthony: Oh, but you will, because you’ll still have decades of great music. Much of which, once again, you haven’t even heard yet.

Ryan: I will? You’re right, I will! That’s amazing! We sure are lucky to have so much great Muppet music, Sesame and otherwise. It’s like we won some kind of good music lottery.

Anthony: Yes, sir. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon listening to my homemade Muppets at Walt Disney World soundtrack.

Click here to rave about Muppet songs on the Tough Pigs forum!


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