Monday, August 14, 2006

Sesame Street -- the next generation

I was a little too old for the target demographic when Sesame Street started, but that didn’t stop me from watching it with my little brother. We fell in love with the characters, both human and Muppet. We giggled at the silliness between Ernie and Bert. And most of all, we sang the songs.
Somebody come and play
Somebody come and play today
Somebody come, and smile the smiles, and sing the songs, it won’t take long
Somebody come and play, today.

Most of my favorites were either written or arranged by Joe Raposo, the original composer and musical director for Sesame Street. He wrote, he arranged, and he borrowed songs to give Sesame its unique atmosphere. Ernie’s rendition of “Rubber Ducky” was classic. “Sing” (sing a song, sing out loud, sing out strong) originated in Sesame Street, and then the Carpenters’ recording reached #3 on the Billboard charts. Kermit and his “It’s not that easy being green” tugged on my heartstrings and still does.

When I introduced my children to Sesame Street, it was again the songs that held us. New standards such as “C is for Cookie” became part of family repertoire. We had a knack for improvising; did you ever try “V is for Vegetable, it’s good enough for me”? But our favorite then and now has a nonsense title and a simple tune: “Mahna Mahna”. I think it originated on The Muppet Show in the 1970s, and then made its way to the Street. “Mahna Mahna” still turns up in the back seat of the van when we’re stuck in traffic. It comes up randomly when someone says a word or phrase (i.e. banana nut; phenomena) that suggests it.

Consumer safety warning: singing is contagious. These songs may stick in your mind for a long, long time. Click at your own risk – enjoy!

Somebody come and play (original)
C is for Cookie
It's not that easy being green (Kermit)
Somebody come and play (Ernie)
Mahna Mahna (from the Muppet Show)

For more on Sesame Street's birthday, Look for The Lovely Mrs. Davis Tells you What to Think. She'll link you to more bloggers who are talking about the Street (and the other memories we'll share with our children) today!


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