Jarrod Fairclough – Hello, I’m Jarrod Fairclough for The Muppet Mindset, in for Kieran Moore who is on assignment (or holiday, I’m not sure). Yes, your reguarly scheduled writer is off this week, so I’ve decided to chime in with another one of my Unofficial Top 10 Songs list! Today, I’ve decided to tackle songs about their corresponding numbers, which is great considering how many songs Muppet’s have done about them! Would you believe that in this whole chart, there is only ONE song by The Count? There’s also one song where I completely cheated, but this is my list, and if you don’t like it, then there’s the door. Let’s begin, shall we?
10 – Take Ten Terrific Girls – The Muppet Show
In one of their only musical appearances, Statler and Waldorf begin our list with a jaunty vaudeville number. Sick of the garbage Kermit and the gang put on the air, the two hecklers decide to show them how it’s done. Also appearing in cameos are Fozzie Bear, who of course gets his revenge by heckling from the box, and Janice, who is one of the lucky nine chorus girls who gets a costume! Jim Henson and Richard Hunt had a ball with these characters, and it’s nice to see them out of their balcony and cooking up something grand!
9 – Cloud Nine – Sesame Street
As I said in my intro, would you believe there’s only ONE song by The Count on this list? That’s no accident, as that was my rule going in to this thing, otherwise it would have become a Top 10 Songs of The Count list, and that’s probably already been done (I didn’t check), and we’re not in the business of repeating articles (besides that time we did Angel Marie’s Weekly Muppet Wednesday twice in 2 months). Yes, here the Count sings about why counting clouds puts him on Cloud 9! That makes sense! What doesn’t make sense is how he’s sitting on a cloud, because they are not a solid, and he should be plummeting to his demise… The good thing about the above video is you get to enjoy the song twice, so have fun with that.
8 – King of 8 – Sesame Street
When Sesame Street hired Jim to come on board, he was promised that he could make other videos as well, not just Muppet pieces. And so over 2 days in October 1970, he created a stop-motion animated song about a King who lives in the land of 8, with 8 guards and 8 daughters. Jim sounds great as the King, and although Jim never played Pa Gorg (that distinction went to Jerry Nelson), I’m gettin a strong Gorgish feeling in that voice.
7 – Rainbow Connection – The Muppets
Here it is. Here’s my massive cheat, seeing as Rainbow Connection has absolutely nothing to do with the number 7, besides one thing… You see, Kermit sang it in the episode ‘Pigs In A Blackout’, which happens to be EPISODE 7 of the series! It’s a stretch, I know, but it’ll do. I’m a huge fan of Steve Whitmire’s Kermit (and of Steve in general) and while I was young when he took over the role from the late Jim, I’ve always been able to integrate both performances in to the one character when watching him. That said, the only time I ever really notice the change in performer is whenever Steve sings Rainbow Connection. Perhaps it’s because Jim’s version is so iconic. But never the less, this was one of the most touching moments in the gone-too-soon series, and Steve sounds great as Kermit plucks away at his banjo. Oh, and Phil – CHILL OUT!
6 – Pennsylvania 6-5000 – The Muppet Show
Bobby Benson is a character that probably wouldn’t work much today, seeing as he was once a smoking sleazy promoter of babies who like to get violent. This was their debut performance, setting us up for 35 years of hitting, slapping and burping. They’re also really creepy looking…
5 – Gimme 5 – Sesame Street
Our first and only Muppetless number comes to us from the men of Sesame Street, as Luis, Gordon, Bob and David don their tacky best and sing an ode to their favorite number, 5! The humans of Sesame Street are often underappreciated, but let’s remember that 3 out of the 4 men on that stage are still with the show today, some 38 years after it was filmed. These men harmonize together perfectly, and all they need is Gladys Knight singing about a midnight train to Georgia.
4 – I Just Adore 4 – Sesame Street
Number 4 also happens to be the fourth Sesame Street song on this chart (but not the last). Big Bird loves a lot of things. He loves his nest. He loves his teddy bear, Radar. He especially loves his best friend Snuffy. But one thing he just adores is apparently the number 4! He adores it for many reasons, including the shape of it, and that you can have 4 grocery stores! He’s backed up by The Tarnish Brothers in their first appearance, who also appeared in Kermit’s ‘This Frog’ later on. I too adore four. Because that’s how many sides a square has, and it’s hip to be a square.
3 – Knock Three Times – Sesame Street
Our final Sesame Street song on the list is another Caroll Spinney character. While Big Bird loves the number four, and all the stuff mentioned before, Oscar hates pretty much anything and everyone that isn’t trash or his menagerie of pets. He especially hates people knocking on his can, and in this song he tells everyone that they can do it all they like, he isn’t coming up. Because the knocking annoys him, which he enjoys, because he’s weird like that and probably needs to go and see a therapist.
2 – Two Lost Souls – The Muppet Show
Sweetums and Robin are a strange pairing, but one that completely works on every level. One is a hulking ogre with a heart of gold, the other is a nephew of a movie star with a habit of sitting on the stairs. And together they form an unlikely friendship, with culminates in them singing this sweet song back in Season 2. Interestingly, this pairing probably won’t come up much again in the future, as both characters are now played by the same performer, Matt Vogel! Although I would like to see him harmonize with himself…
1 – One (Is The Loneliest Number) – Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to attend filming of a Muppet production (which I very luckily have been multiple times) you’ll know that the Muppet performers stay in character pretty much the entire time the cameras are rolling. If a director needs Vogel to move to the left a little, he’ll often get a reply from Floyd. So when cameras were rolling on the rehearsal of The Muppets singing ’12 Days of Christmas’ with Jimmy Fallon, they got on a tangent of saying ‘One’ over and over. This leads to them singing a rousing impromtu rendition of the classic Harry Nisson song. Improvising Muppets are the best type of Muppets, and even this clip could make the biggest Fallon-Grinch smile.
So there we have it, 10 songs about their corresponding numbers (and one cheat). Let’s look at some stats, seeing as we’re all about numbers today!
Sesame Street makes up half the list with 5 songs.
The Muppet Show nabbed 3 spots.
The Muppets didn’t get a Season 2.
Kermit is in 2 of the songs but 4 of the videos.
Caroll Spinney got his 2 main characters mentioned.
Kieran should be back next week to continue his Animal themed charts! Until then, thanks for letting me fill in, and we now return you to your regularly scheduled program.