A view of the world from my own unique perspective

I agree with that old sentiment “childhood is wasted on the young”. Although I watched Sesame Street almost daily as a kid – and did enjoy it in my own child-like way – I never truly appreciated it. Now that I’m an adult, I’m starting to understand what I didn’t comprehend the first time; I’m realizing only now how awesome it really was. Looking back (via TouTube clips), the most impressive segments for me were the songs and the various musical guests over the years. I didn’t recognize these people the first time around, but now I am absolutely astounded by the musical talent.

 

These kids probably have no idea how fortunate they are, to sit on the piano bench beside the genius himself, Ray Charles, and sing the ABCs.

 

Paul Simon: The beginning of this video is so cute – the little girl is bopping along to Paul Simon’s opening guitar riffs, and making up her own words to the song. Paul waits very patiently for her to finish, but Sesame Street is only an hour long – so at some point you just have to start singing the first verse…

Billy Joel sings a special version of Just The Way You Are to the denizen of the trash can. In return, the ever-appreciative Oscar hurls abuse at Joel throughout the video. Star-struck Oscar definitely is not…

Johnny Cash (who, surprisingly, is not wearing black) sings a song that actually appeals to the grouchy one. Afterwards, Oscar asks “Say – aren’t you Johnny Trash?” Once again, star-struck Oscar definitely is not…

 

Stevie Wonder tries to teach Grover to sing, but isn’t having much success. While Grover does try his best, some people (or muppets) can internalize music and express it more soulfully than others.

When (resident jazz night owl) Hoots criticizes Yo Yo Ma by suggesting that his cello playing is putting everyone to sleep, Yo Yo Ma throws down the gauntlet and says “My cello can play anything your saxophone can play”. Thus begins a classical / jazz variation of Dueling Banjos…


Andrea Bocelli takes the song Con Te Partirò (Time To Say Goodbye), writes new lyrics, and turns it into a lullaby just for Elmo. Being a muppet is actually a pretty good gig – how many of you can claim that Andrea Bocelli sings you to sleep at night? You must watch this video right to the end – Elmo’s innocent irreverence is just hilarious!

Tony Bennett: It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female, old or young, rich or poor – just imagine sitting on a park bench with Tony Bennett, undisturbed, and having this legendary crooner sing a song just for you… this is just indescribably awesome.

 

This is a very powerful scene because it demonstrates that children are naturally curious, and will ask questions that adults won’t. In this segment, Big Bird asks Christopher Reeve why he’s in a wheelchair, since he wasn’t using one the last time they met.

Life doesn’t get much better than this – Stevie Wonder and his band performing an extended, high-energy, jam-session version of Superstition (with a few Sesame Street references included the lyrics) live, in your neighbourhood… and just when you think the song is over, they start up again! I defy you to stay still while listening to this video!

Sesame Street Fever: Just about every middle-aged person has a copy of Saturday Night Fever in their record collection, but how many of you knew that Sesame Street also jumped on the disco bandwagon in the late 1970s? This is the album Sesame Street Fever, that contains disco versions of songs such as C Is For Cookie, Rubber Duckie and Doin’ The Pigeon. Sadly, it was never released on CD, although you can find the vinyl album on Amazon and eBay.


Mahna Mahna: This song was probably every child’s introduction to scat – the strings of incomprehensible phonemes that jazz musicians sing when mere words will cannot convey what they feel. This song is also a classic because it has the staying power of a commercial jingle – once you hear it, the tune will be in your head all day long. In fact, I’ll bet this song is going through your head right now!

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