Ryan Dosier – I’m back! (Not that I really ever went anywhere.) I’ve brought 15 more songs to add to my list of 120 Awesome Muppet Songs, which I started last week in Part 1. I encourage you to check out Part 1 before we charge forward with the next 15 songs, if you haven’t already. You won’t want to miss a beat! (Get it?!)
16. “Disco Frog” from Sesame Street
One of my favorite Kermit songs, period, is this fun, danceable tune from Sesame Street and later performed on The Muppet Show. My favorite version of “Disco Frog” comes from the album Sesame Disco!, which is fantastic in its own right but reaches new heights with this Kermit hit. The instrumentation here is amazing and Kermit’s vocals are wonderful. Favorite lyrics: “Soon the water ripples catch their eye/And the ladies hush and breathe a sigh/On a lilypad all dressed in white/He appears there.”
17. “The People in Your Neighborhood” from Sesame Street
This song has been performed so many times by so many different people and in so many different ways. For me, the original remains the best. Bob McGrath singing to two anything Muppets and clearly having a great time. It’s Bob, who is the best, and Jim Henson and Frank Oz, who are the best of the best. It’s an undeniable classic that is as fun to learn from as it is to listen to. Favorite lyrics: “Who are the people in your neighborhood?/They’re the people that you meet/When you’re walkin’ down the street/They’re the people that you meet each day!”
18. “Everyone Matters” from It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
The only song from It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie that I enjoy is also one of the Muppets’ best. It works really well as a Christmas song but is also great (for the most part) to listen to all through the year. It also has the rare beauty of being one of the few duets between Gonzo and Kermit (honestly it’s the only one I can come up with right now). Dave Goelz and Steve Whitmire’s voices blend so well. The song’s message that “Everyone Matters” speaks true to the Muppet message perfectly. Favorite lyrics: “If only I could go back/and take another crack at/all the things I left undone/I’d do them right.”
19. “The Bear Cha-Cha-Cha” from Bear in the Big Blue House
Don’t worry, I didn’t feel obligated to include at least one song from Bear in the Big Blue House, I legitimately adore this number. Having not seen much Bear, this song is one of my few entries into the show. It is arguably the most fun song in this post today. The joy in Bear’s voice as he sings about the joy he feels when he lets loose and dances is palpable. Noel MacNeal is such a brilliant singer and it shows wonderfully in this song. Favorite lyrics: “You might notice some people stop and stare/You can explain to them you’re an honorary bear/Everybody now!/Cha-cha-cha!”
20. “Oscar Don’t Allow” from Bert & Ernie Sing-Along
I am perturbed that I couldn’t find this song on YouTube. I might have to put it up myself just so people who haven’t heard it can sing it. The video I linked to is “Mama Don’t Allow,” which this song is based on. For those of you who don’t own a copy (physical or digital) of the album Bert & Ernie Sing-Along need to mend that. This song is one of the best songs on the album. David, Ernie, Luis, and Big Bird sing about how Oscar don’t allow sing-along-singin’, piano-playin’, drum-drum-drummin’, or banjo-playin’ here. You can tell that the entire cast is having so much fun singing this song. Favorite lyrics: “Oh we don’t care what Oscar don’t allow/cause we do some sing-along-singin’ now/Oscar don’t allow no sing-along-singin’ here!”
21. “I’m the Baby (Gotta Love Me)” from Dinosaurs
Baby Sinclair is the baby, and you’ve gotta love him. Same goes for this song–it’s so hard not to love. Before Kevin Clash was the most popular character on Sesame Street, he was also the most popular character on Dinosaurs, the amazing 90s sitcom from Disney and Henson. This was one of the only songs on the show, and it’s so great. The music video is also great, but our friend Davide Maugeri’s animated tribute to the song is even better. Favorite lyrics: “Mama says it’s too much sugar/Daddy is all perplexed/ABCDEF-gee, you never know what/I’m gonna do next!”
22. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Muppet Show
My favorite performance of this song, hands down, goes to Robin the Frog. Jerry Nelson is my favorite Muppeteer singer and it shows through so brilliantly in this song. This delightfully cute moment from the otherwise eery Alice Cooper episode of The Muppet Show is one of Robin’s finest performances. He sings with such heart and soul that it’s impossible not to want to give the little guy a hug. Favorite lyrics: “If happy little blue birds fly/Beyond the rainbow/Why, oh why, can’t I?”
23. “I Hope That Something Better Comes Along” from The Muppet Movie
Oh my goodness, it’s my anthem! This song is the perfect song for single people and there’s no one better to illustrate that than Rowlf the Dog and Kermit the Frog. This double Jim Henson duet is one of my very favorite songs of all time. It’s bouncy and entertaining while still being about disgruntled guys. Rowlf and Kermit make a great duo and this song is some of Rowlf’s finest work both vocally and on the piano. Favorite lyrics: “You can’t live with ’em/You can’t live without ’em/There’s somethin’ irresistible-ish about ’em/We grin and bear it ’cause the nights are long/I hope that somethin’ better comes along.”
24. “Pictures in My Head” from The Muppets
I couldn’t make this list without including Kermit’s most recent heart-wrenching ballad. Kermit is one of my favorite balladeers, and “Pictures in My Head” was perfect for him. Steve Whitmire’s performance in this song is one of hist best, period. This is probably the moment in The Muppets that made most Muppet fans tear up. It speaks so fully to the plight of the Muppets in recent years and I’m so glad Kermit got to deliver it. Favorite lyrics: “If we could do it all again/Just another chance to entertain/Would anybody watch or even care?/Or did something break we can’t repair?”
25. “The First Time it Happens” from The Great Muppet Caper
Ah, the quintessential Muppet love song. This gem from The Great Muppet Caper is so beautifully Joe Raposo. The instrumentation and choral performances in “The First Time it Happens” are truly amazing–there’s a reason it was nominated for an Academy Award! Miss Piggy’s dance number is breath taking and her sweet, soft duet with Kermit at the beginning of the song is a perfect contrast to the lively step routine it becomes. Favorite lyrics: “The first time you see her/No magical change/No angels appearing/No dreams to arrange/It’s warmer and colder than springtime or snow/The first time it happens, you know.”
26. “The Monster in the Mirror” from Sesame Street
Is this our first Grover song on this list? I think so! Oh, I am so happy for him! Furry, adorable Grover has many, many songs on Sesame Street, but “The Monster in the Mirror” is definitely one of his very best. The song evokes the classic There’s a Monster at the End of This Book with Grover being concerned about a monster in the mirror that is actually him. But really, this song is great if only for the “Wubba wubba wubba wubba woo woo woo!” Favorite lyrics: “Told the monster in the mirror, ‘No I am not scared’/Then I smiled at him, and thanked him for the song that we had shared.”
27. “Marley and Marley” from The Muppet Christmas Carol
I’ll go ahead and reveal now that this is the only Statler and Waldorf song on the list of 120. But… of course it is. It’s such a classic, beloved moment from an equally classic and beloved movie. Statler and Waldorf as Jacob and Robert Marley singing this song about chains (or change, I could never tell) to Scrooge. It’s brilliant, it’s funny, and it’s just plain well-written. Paul Williams proved with this song that he could write a song for any Muppet. (Except maybe Beaker…) Favorite lyrics: “We specialized in causing pain/Spreading fear and doubt/And if you could not pay the rent/We simply threw you out!”
28. “Can’t Get Along Without You” from Kermit Unpigged
This odd little album from the 90s features only two songs that don’t include a shoe-horned celebrity vocal cameo. The first is “She Drives Me Crazy” with Kermit and Piggy, and the second is this beautiful, perfect duet between Kermit and Robin. The song was written by the producers of the album and, honestly, it’s a true wonder. It’s so unknown and underrated but it would be right at home in any Muppet production. The love that Kermit and Robin show for each other in the song is amazing and speaks volumes about their relationship. Plus… it’s a chance to listen to Jerry Nelson sing, something one should never pass up.
29. “Dixie Wailin’” from Fraggle Rock
This is my favorite song from Fraggle Rock. I know it’s an unconventional choice, but I have my reason. It was “The Challenge” episode that completely sold me on Fraggle Rock. It was so joyous, funny, fun, and the characters are just perfect. Red and Gobo have convinced Junior Gorg that he’s dead, so of course Boober sings a funeral dirge, and of course Junior wants to liven it up, and of course Red and Gobo are happy to comply. I honestly would love it if my friends sang this song at my funeral. Same tempo. Favorite lyrics: “When it’s time to say goodbye/All my friends will sit and cry/And they’ll watch the coffin rockin’ round and squirmin’/Then they’ll raise a mighty shout/When my bones come marchin’ out/And I raise myself and preach the final sermon!”
30. “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon” from Sesame Street
Oh I’m so glad that this week’s selection ends with the most beautiful Ernie song ever written. Ernie’s longing for adventure and discovery is matched by his reluctance to abandon what he knows. And is that not true of all of us? Jim Henson’s vocals are perfect here. Ernie is also one of the only Sesame characters who could sing this song. He is as poetic as he is silly, and this song is the perfect example of that. Favorite lyrics: “Though I’d like to look down at the Earth from above/I would miss all the places and people I love/So although I may go, I’ll be coming home soon/’Cause I don’t want to live on the moon.”
Well that’s it for this week, Muppet fans! Stick with us next week for Part 3 and 15 more Awesome Muppet Songs!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org
6 thoughts on “120 Awesome Muppet Songs, Part 2”
link is the same for “Dixie Wailin'” and “I Don't Want to Live On the Moon”. :O)
Major props for including “I Can't Get Along Without You” on the list. It's always been a favorite of mine too, though I love the entire Kermit Un-Pigged album.
You are a genius ryan, part 1 and 2 (can't wait for 3) have been delightful and amazing! I was singing along with them in my head and when I clicked on the links. Pictures in my head has been my album for a while now, because there are no muppet fans where I live and I feel alone. But then I come here or write a muppet fan fic or sing a song and everythings better. I love geeking out with you guys! And I'll still be here tomorrow!
Hugs and Giggles~Maria Gayle K.
Another good list, you've got a couple of my faves there too! I love Dixie Wailin' (so much so that I sing it with my acapella group)!
Doesn't Wild Thing from Kermit Unpigged have no celebrity cameo too? I hope that makes the list – it's a great version of a classic track!!!
This is favorite of my children they always listen on this.
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Great post! I'm hoping “cock-a-doodle-blues” from Muppet Musicians of Brennen makes an appearance in a future post. And for that matter, “The Skin I'm In”– I am a history professor and so much of the burgeoning identity politics of 1970s can be seen in that song! I use it in class when I teach on that decade.