Kieran Moore – Every time I hit a new milestone with my charts I’m stunned that time has flown by so quickly, and so it is that I’m here putting together the third edition of my character-based chart roundups.
Over the last 10 weeks we’ve been to Sesame Street six times, the Muppet Theater on three occasions and Fraggle Rock once. I don’t know about you, but I’m really enjoying racking up these air miles. Perhaps at this rate I will make it to the Hollywood Bowl later this year after all!
Before I rank the number one songs from each of the last 10 charts it goes without saying that all of these are fantastic tracks which deserve to be preserved throughout the ages – not just by Muppet fans, but the global population as a whole. That said, somebody had to be number 10 and this might be a surprise…
10 – I’m Flying – Big Bird
Yeah, I’m as shocked as you are! Putting Big Bird in 10th place feels like sacrilege, but every song here is a chart topper so we do have to brace ourselves for these kinds of things – a bit like Big Bird might need to brace himself for landing in this clip! Big Bird is everyone’s favorite eight foot bird (don’t listen to what that ostrich says) and truly one of the biggest Muppet stars ever created. He even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The thing that really attracted me to this song, and put it ahead of some of Big Bird’s better known tracks, is his enthusiasm as he finally gets to fly. It’s a sweet moment and the fairground feeling of this piece reflects that perfectly. Honorable Mention: Love Will Keep Us Together
9 – Just Like Magic – Abby Cadabby
I absolutely adore Abby Cadabby and yet somehow she never seems to get the love she deserves on my top 10 roundups. I guess it’s not really giving anything away though to say she’s the only character to appear on today’s list twice, so at least that’s some compensation. Leslie Carrara-Rudolph is a phenomenal singer who is up there with the very best Muppet performers in my book. Here she sings beautifully and puts just the right amount of chutzpah into Abby’s vocals. You’ll not just believe every word she sings; you’ll also believe nothing will be wrong in the world ever again. Sara Bareilles is the perfect partner for Abby and between them they create a song that is (ahem) just like magic. Honorable Mention: Wandering through Wonderland
8 – C is for Cookie – Cookie Monster
Ok, I’ll hand in my card and let myself out… If you pretend I was never here then this travesty can never have existed. This is a classic track and one of the best known Sesame Street songs ever and here I am placing it at number eight! I suppose in the context of the other songs on this list this track maybe seems a little simple, but that is in no way a criticism – simple is often best. I’d much rather listen to this than some high-falutin’ composition that’s so busy being worthy it’s too complicated for its own good. Frank Oz is on fire here and puts in a performance that is full of fun and gusto – this leaves us in no doubt about how Cookie Monster feels. My abiding memory of this chart though is the fact that according to an online test, I have a very similar personality to Cookie Monster! Who knew? Honorable Mention: Me Am What Me Am
7 – You’re Just in Love – Swedish Chef
I’m not going to lie – as much as I love The Swedish Chef, it’s really Cleo Laine who has propelled this to seventh place. Partly because of how funny she makes this track, playing off Chef fantastically, but mostly it’s because of how well she sings. (Enjoying Cleo Laine has an added bonus for me as she’s my mum’s absolute least favorite singer in the whole world!) This song is an absolute joy and the stand out comedy moment on this week’s list. I guess we should expect nothing less from The Swedish Chef who is one of the greatest comedy characters ever created in my opinion. I remember being very impressed with Chef’s songs when I compiled his chart, not just with the quality, but also the quantity. That guy gets everywhere! Honorable Mention: Rapper’s Delight
6 – With a Little Help from My Friends – Janice
I’m officially torn over whether or not I prefer Janice’s version of this classic track or Dr. Teeth’s Outside Lands Festival cover. I think Janice’s just edges it because it mixes things up a bit more. Richard Hunt has always been one of my favorite Muppet performers and is a human being I look up to – particularly in a performance sense. I’d love to know more about him. If only someone was working on his biography… Janice is a cool chick who, despite having musical bones and a beautiful singing voice, actually doesn’t sing as much as you might think. Come on Kermit, giver her some solos. That rarity does however make this song extra special. I just need to tackle Zoot now to get the full set of Electric Mayhem charts. (Sorry Lips fans, but – you know). Honorable Mention: Home
5 – Count on Me – Count von Count
I’m so pleased Count von Count has made it into the top five today. He’s a wonderfully musical guy and if you were judging this list solely on the amount of quality output, he’d be the hands down winner I’m sure. The Count is quite simply one of my favorite Sesame Street characters. I love his obsession with counting and also his sense of fun, but once again it’s probably his performer that really tips it over the edge. Jerry Nelson was not just a wonderful singer (after 100+ charts we can take that as a given), he was also an incredible actor who really embodied the characters he played. Whether it’s Robin the Frog, Floyd Pepper or Count von Count he was never less than 100% committed to giving an honest, characterful performance. Oh and Loretta Lynn ain’t bad either! Honorable Mention: The Transylvania Polka
4 – Valentine’s Day Song – Elmo
Maybe it’s because this is the most recent number one on today’s list, but I find myself humming this song more than any other presented here. I have no doubt that up against lesser competition this would have been even higher. As you might remember from my Elmo chart, over the course of 10 songs I found a whole new appreciation for the funny furry fellow and this song was one of the deciding factors. How can anyone who sings like this not be deserving of a little love? It’s infectious and irresistible. Today’s chart is littered with very, very famous Muppets, but even then Elmo is right up there at the top of the tree. Songs like this show why. (Also: Hi Abby!) Honorable Mention: Elmo’s Song
3 – Goodbye, Goodbye (Just a Rainbow in the Sky) – Gobo
This is one of the most beautiful Muppet songs ever. I love it so much I almost feel unable to put all the reasons why into words. Only a very few songs do this to me and they’re the absolute classics – things like “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday” and “Rainbow Connection”. This song is every bit as emotional as those two tracks and hits me in a very similar place. They touch my soul. Muppet music can be hilariously funny and wonderfully silly, and those tracks are fantastic fun, but this hits me on a completely different level. It’s incredible. Jerry Nelson really knew how put the “feels” into a piece of music. I’m stunned by what he could do with just a few words and eight little notes. Honorable Mention: Petals of a Rose
2 – Something So Right – Miss Piggy
Forget “Man or Muppet”, I think this is the best “modern” Muppet song. I realize that’s a bold claim, but it’s got everything – marvellous singing and a join-in chorus to die for; powerful emotions that really make us feel for Miss Piggy; great cameos from both Celine Dion and Link Hogthrob; funny moments and beautiful direction. See, that’s a lot of stuff! Add in how it kicks the final third of Muppets Most Wanted into gear and you can see this song really is something special. It’s all Miss Piggy deserves, and perhaps even a little bit more. Finally, much love to Eric Jacobson – your Piggy is fantastic (that sounded less weird in my head!) Honorable Mention: I Will Survive
1 – I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon – Ernie
It was a very close run thing between this and the song in second place, but I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon is quite probably my favorite ever Sesame Street track, so really it had it in the bag from the start. This is a very pretty song that flows and swirls along beautifully. It’s also sung by Ernie with such subtlety and poise that it grabs the listener and really makes them take notice. This is a guy who usually sings about duckies and jamborees, so it is doubly affecting to hear him being thoughtful. Jim Henson is at his absolute best here and proves why he was the master of his craft. Just listening to his voice in this clip is enough to bring me to tears. Like all the best Muppet songs this piece speaks to me on a philosophical level. I know exactly how Ernie feels. I’d love to visit the moon, but home is definitely where the heart is. Honorable Mention: Upside Down World
So there we have it. The last 10 weeks have brought us songs to make us laugh and songs to make us cry, song to make us feel romantic and songs to eat cookies to. There is certainly something for everyone… As I mentioned earlier, this round of character charts has featured some major Muppet players and the quality here reflects that. I have to say an enormous thank you to the performers, musicians, songwriters and, well, basically everyone who had some input into the 10 tracks that have made up this list. You are all amazing people who have done incredible things and deserve to be immortalised on a Muppet version of Mount Rushmore. Or at the very least have two words written in your honor. I’m not a sculptor so I’m taking the other route – here goes… Thank You.