This week I want to you to take a few moments, click through some of the songs on this playlist and rediscover the music of Sesame Street (and The Muppet Show).
Children's songs usually mean watered-down sentiments in sing-song voices. Yet I content that of the 20 songs featured here, at least 10 are incredible pieces of music ï¿½" and could have been legitimate hits if not sung in falsetto by a guy in the Children's Television Workshop bent under a facade with his hand up a muppet's ass. Indeed the song "Sing" here really was a hit for The Carpenters.
With no more fanfare, I give you 15 great Sesame Street Songs and another 5 from The Muppets era. Lists first then a playable Spotify list at the bottom.
Sesame Street Top 15
1) Up And Down
Perhaps a little bit of a surprise at the #1 spot but it's got everything: a lesson about gravity, a legitimately great groove, killer horns and a surprise ending from Cookie Monster.
2) Bein' Green
I think we all remember this one. A classic. And I strongly encourage you to listen to Van Morrison's legitimately great cover version.
3) Mah Na Mah Na
Once you start singing this, can you stop? I don't think so.
As alluded to above, The Carpenters took this to #3. The kids on this are a little cloying sounding but the arrangement is maybe even better than The Carpenters version.
5) Rubber Duckie
A complete tour-de-force from Ernie, almost everybody's favorite Muppet.
6) The People In Your Neighborhood
All of the Sesame Street humans take the lead here and the song is catchy AF.
7) Sesame Street Theme
This song is deep in almost everybody's head. A driving 4/4 beat as persistent as anything from The White Stripes. It deserves adult singers but otherwise an A+.
8) 'C' Is For Cookie
Might be the frankest admission of addiction I've ever hear in a song.
9) I Love Trash
Sub out the lyrics with something about a sexy lady and this would be a Tom Jones single from a 60's British movie with go-carts and David Niven. There's a nice cover of this from Steven Tyler
10) Elmo's Song
Would have been a hit in the vaudeville era.
11) Little Things
I think this was adapted into "Little Person" by Jon Brion in the midst of the intense Philip Seymour Hoffman / Charlie Kaufman film Synecdote, New York.
12) Cookie Disco
Yes, it's just a Shaft parody. Despite this being sung by Cookie Monster, it's still 10x truer to the spirit of the original Shaft movie than the TWO lame Samuel L. Jackson remakes.
13) I've Got Two
If they kept Bob's Jim-Nabors-sounding ass off of this and let Gordon rip, this one would be a lot higher
Elmo is getting a little too much play for me on this list. Sometimes it's cute, but had this song been done by a human performer I could see it being decent
15) I Can Sing
If Wilson Pickett sang in a falsetto through a felt head, then this is what you'd end up with.
Five More, From The Muppet Universe
16) Muppet Show Theme
Another visceral joy for anybody over 35. Of all of the songs here, this is maybe the only one with a legitimately great bridge in addition to great verse/chorus.
17) Rainbow Connection
Written by Paul Williams (who's also the President of my performers royalty organization, ASCAP and a real sweetheart). We even get a legitimately solid singing performance out of Kermit here.
18) Can You Picture That
The Electric Mayhem (aka The Muppet Show band) was incredible with a rhythm section of Animal and Janice. This is where Dr. Teeth sounds like a combo of Dr. John, George Clinton and the one hit wonder Bazooka ("Dynamite").
19) Movin Right Along
This might have been the highlight of The Muppet Movie. Kermit can do uptempo banjo as well as the slow Rainbow Connection stuff.
20) Dancing In The Moonlight
Yes, it's a cover of a 70s hit, and not a Muppet original. But Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem knows what they're doing. In all seriousness, some seriously sweet sax playing from Zoot here.