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Jarrod Fairclough – In news we’re reporting way later than we should be, it was announced last week that Fraggle Rock would be celebrating it’s 35th anniversary by bringing the entire series to Blu-Ray, and will be available 25th of September.  All 96 episodes will be there, meaning you can see Ma Gorg’s terrifying first season face in High Definition, giving you all sorts of nightmares.

Also available in the set will be Fraggle Rock: The Complete Animated Series, meaning literally the entire catalogue of Fraggle goodness is getting dropped.  The animated series will also be made available seperately on DVD.

But even better than the chance to see Lanford in detail is the special features on the Blu-Ray release.  They include all new features:

  • An interactive Fraggle Music Celebration, that allows you to sing along to every song.
  • Life On Set: Moments with Jim Henson
  • A 1993 appearance by Uncle Travelling Matt on The Today Show

Also included in the special features are:

  • Down at Fraggle Rock: Behind the Scenes (48-minute version)
  • Fraggle Songs & Doozer Music
  • Interviews with Fraggle Rock Creators and Puppeteers
  • Seasons 2, 3 and 4 Overviews
  • Docs and Sprockets
  • “All Around the World” Music Video
  • Travelling Matt
  • 20 Travelling Matt Segments
  • Special Tribute to Jerry Juhl
  • Scared Silly: Art Imitating Life
  • Production Design Featurette
  • Electro-Mechanical Puppetry
  • Doozer Design
  • How the Trash Heap Came to Be
  • Gorg Design
  • Interviews with Michael Frith, Kathy Mullen and Gerry Parkes
  • HBO Promos
  • You Cannot Leave the Magic: Excerpts from the Last Day of Shooting
  • Dance Your Cares Away: The Evolution of the Theme Song
  • The Inner Gorg: An Interview with the Performers Inside the Costumes
  • Let the Music Play: An Interview with Phil Balsam and Dennis Lee
  • Celebrating Fraggle Rock: Excerpts from the Wrap Party
  • Designing the Puppets: An Interview with the Puppet Makers
  • Directing the Fraggles: An Interview with Eric Till and George Bloomfield
  • Interview: Dennis Lee with Mokey
  • Interview: Jerry Juhl with Gobo
  • Interview: Jocelyn Stevenson with Red and Mokey
  • Interview: Faz Fazakas with Cotterpin Doozer
  • A Minute with Travelling Matt
  • All 13 Episodes of Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series
  • Animated Series Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
  • Animated Series Character Galleries
  • Animated Series Opening Scene Storyboards

Yikes, that’s a lot of features!  But there’s more!  Also included is a limited edition scrapbook with behind the scenes photos, and an introduction by Uncle Travelling Matt. Finally, speaking of everyone’s favorite bewildered explorer, a cut out photo of Uncle Matt will be in the set, so that you can take him on your vacations and snap great pictures of him at the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, or your friend’s grandma’s shed.

You can pre-order the collection via Amazon right here!

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Greg Whittle – What is it about a frog, a pig and a bear that is so captivating to us as a species?

Before Saturday night I believed myself to have been part of a niche and rapidly dwindling audience for these puppets. An audience largely fuelled by nostalgia. But sitting in that arena, surrounded by old timers singing the songs and little boys and girls laughing their heads off, I was comforted to realise that I was wrong.

So what is it about this group of weirdos and misfits that makes them so inherently watchable?

I believe it’s their humanity. Despite the fact that none of the core cast is actually human, they still represent the best we have to offer. Kermit just wants to make people happy, Fozzie to make people laugh. Piggy just wants to be loved while Gonzo just wants adventure and excitement. All of these are fundamentally human traits. They are the foundations and the building blocks for all of our greatest endeavours and I believe it is this that keeps people coming back. To be reminded that we are better than the news would have us believe. That love is not a fringe emotion. That a desire to make the world better is in no way futile.

I truly believe this world would be a significantly better place if we could learn to take off our mask every once in a while, accept the silliness of the world and just laugh at a frog doing his best.

I shed a tear as a felt puppet sang a song about rainbows. Because the song has been my shining light through many of my darkest days. I shed a tear because I realised I was not alone in this.

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Kieran Moore – You know how it feels when something so celebrational and Muppetational happens that you don’t know quite how to process it? That’s kind of how I feel today. Which means if I don’t find some way to write about The Muppets Take The O2 this could be a real short review…

In an effort to turn my non-sequitur thoughts into something a little more sequitur, I’m going to group them into categories so that this all hopefully makes sense! Let’s give it a go…

Background
Most of you guys know this bit, but after a hugely successful run last year at The Hollywood Bowl the Muppets decided to take their live stage show over to Europe. Booking in three days at London’s O2 Arena, The Muppet Show was coming home – Elstree Studios where the show was taped is just 36 miles away.

Through a mixture of good luck, begging and a landmark birthday I was able to bag tickets for all three shows. I’m so glad I did. On the first night I met up with a Muppet friend (Hey Rob!) and had a seat about 20 rows back. The following day I was joined by my niece (13) and Nephew (11). We decided to dress up as Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo from The Great Muppet Caper (because why not?) I honestly think I let the side down a little, but we got awesome reactions from those in the know. For the matinee show we were seated right at the back and for the final evening performance we had amazing seats 4 rows from the front! I honestly consider buying those tickets one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Anyway, let’s get on with the interesting stuff!

The Show
Probably the best part of this whole experience for me was just how much this felt like watching The Muppet Show. I’ve often wished I was in the audience to see Gonzo’s daredevil lunacy or Fozzie’s comedy bits. Now I don’t have to. I’ve been there and done it and it was marvellous. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

There were backstage shenanigans, a frog barely keeping the show together, a guest star, a UK spot and just about everything you need for an authentic Muppet experience. From the moment Kermit appeared from inside a letter “O” to Zoot’s final sax note, this was as close as anyone will get to being in the Muppet theatre. It even eclipsed the Disney theme park show for immersion – not an easy feat in a massive arena.

I have it on good authority that about 30% of the show was different to the Hollywood version so here is a quick rundown of the full programme for all you completists out there:

ACT 1
A Few Words from Sam Eagle
The Opening Theme
At the Curtains with Kermit
A Moving Medley – Moving Right Along/I’ve Been Everywhere/On the Road Again
Pigs in Space
Miss Piggy Preview
Happy Feet
A Salute to England
Wayne and Wanda – Send in the Clowns
Croak-A-Pella
Muppstream: Sneak Preview
Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem – Can You Picture That?, Ho Hey, Suffragette City

ACT 2
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Boo Danube
Muppet Labs
Fozzie Bear World Record/The World’s Funniest Joke
KØØKÏNG with The Swedish Chef
Wayne And Wanda – Sitting on the Dock of the Bay
Miss Piggy Behind the Scenes
A World of Delusion with Gonzo
Mahna Mahna
Miss Piggy – Hello
Rainbow Connection/Magic Store
ENCORE: With A Little Help from My Friends

(Note from the editor – Click here to watch clips from the vast majority of the show)

The whole show took over 2 hours.

Except for The Electric Mayhem, all the big Muppet stars get their moments in the second half in extended slots. That (along with the encore) made the second act feel shorter, but I have no clue if that’s true.

Britishness
There were some great nods to the fact that this show was in the UK. Sam’s opening speech alluded to Donald Trump’s visit to our shores (which coincided perfectly) and there was a brief moment where England’s performance in the World Cup was mentioned which featured a wonderful, semi-improvised turn from Brit performer Mike Quinn as a football.

Pigs in Space was a wonderful mash up with Doctor Who. We already knew The Doctor is a fan of the Muppets, so can we now officially say they are both canon with each other? (Did somebody say… never mind) Whoever wrote that sketch is clearly a fan of the show as it was full of perfect in-jokes.

The other big “British” sketch was the “Salute to England” in which Charles Dance/Anthony Head tried in vain to read “I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud” while Pepe did his best to prevent the show from becoming “boring”. This skit was brilliant and a highlight of the whole show to just about anyone I’ve asked.

A lot of the artwork onscreen – particularly during The Electric Mayhem’s set featured British landmarks. As a side note, the artwork was incredible. I’ll buy one of every piece of merchandise they want to put it on.

Croak-A-Pella performed London’s Calling, Rowlf sang Maybe it’s Because I’m a Londoner (in what felt just like a UK spot from The Muppet Show) and UK shows were featured in the Muppstream previews. The stereotypical British Bobbies (cops) were also featured a couple of times. Finally, Statler and Waldorf made several mentions of the show’s location, including one about how time differences meant they’d be wide awake for the show! They promptly fell asleep two seconds later.

Songs
I can’t say enough good things about the music in this show. Not a beat was missed, not a note was out of place. It was incredible. I swear you’ve never really been to a rock show until you’ve seen The Electric Mayhem. Every single moment of their act was incredible. Each of the main singers got a track where they could shine (and boy did they!) Animal, Zoot and Lips all got featured moments too.

Kermit’s solo tracks were just as amazing as they should be. Happy Feet was fun and joyous with incredible puppetry and Rainbow Connection was every bit as emotional as you’d expect. Seeing the frog sing that song live will linger for a very long time.

Mahna Mahna was fun but truncated from the Hollywood version to simply feature a guest star who took over when Mahna Mahna went missing. It’s astounding the reaction that song gets. I can see why it was placed towards the end of the show.

Any moment Rowlf sang was wonderful. His version of I’ve Been Everywhere featured London tube stations instead of Californian towns and got a huge cheer from the crowd.

The last word, however, has to go to Miss Piggy. Her version of Hello by Adele was a real tearjerker – for her. For those who don’t know the sketch (which was largely the same as the Hollywood Bowl version), Piggy finds out the hard way the importance of rehearsal as she’s tossed around the stage by her backing dancers. I’ve been critical of this sketch in the past as I thought Piggy looked like a ragdoll through parts of it, but it plays much better in person. I still can’t help but wish we’d got a full version of the slower, more emotional intro part…

Since it’s what I’m known for on The Muppet Mindset, here are my top 10 musical moments…

10 – Ho Hey
9 – Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner
8 – Hello
7 – Happy Feet
6 – A Moving Medley
5 – Suffragette City
4 – Can You Picture That?
3 – With A Little Help from My Friends
2 – Rainbow Connection
1 – The Magic Store

The Magic Store beats out Rainbow connection by being a joyous, triumphant celebration of success over adversity – just what the Muppets are known for.

Just missing out is Bohemian Rhapsody which was fantastic to see live. I’m sure most people would have it in their top 10, but I have to call it as I see it.

Muppets
I must give a quick shout out to certain Muppets for their contribution to the show. In the more obscure corner, there were several hilarious moments from Julianne Buescher as a nameless hair.

Beauregard was able to get some great jokes in. Wayne sounded so like Richard Hunt I wondered if there was a tape recorder strapped to David Rudman. Pepe and The Swedish Chef shone in their sketches and Rowlf was perfect every time he appeared. Rizzo appeared very, very briefly in a silent cameo onscreen during Pigs in Space.

I can’t write about Muppets without mentioning Scooter though. His role as gofer has been fully promoted to stage manager now and he really suits the role. His geeky side was still present, but he has that snarky attitude that Richard Hunt gave him in The Muppet Show back. I’m happy to see him feature so prominently and so in character.

Guest Stars
Bobby Moynihan was once again the main guest star of the show. This wasn’t mentioned in any publicity because, quite frankly, Bobby is not known here in the UK at all. When I saw his name in the programme I actually felt a little annoyed because I figured they hadn’t bothered to change it for the UK shows. He was a lot of fun and held the show together well. Much bigger news here in the UK were names like Kylie Minogue, David Tennant, Peter Davison and Charles Dance.

Other than Bobby, it was a completely different roster of guests for each day’s shows. Real life in-laws David Tennant and Peter Davison shared the role of The Doctor with there being very little between them. I would say the skit felt like it was written more for David than Peter though.

Charles Dance and Anthony Head were interrupted by Pepe. I’d say Anthony Head brought just the right amount of pantomime to his role of straight man and consequently felt like he had a better connection with the Muppets. He wins this one on points.

Jim Hawkins himself, Kevin Bishop cooked with The Swedish Chef on Friday while on Saturday Adam Hills donned the “Bork Stops Here” apron. Both have appeared with the Muppets before, but I’d say Adam was the better of the two. You could see his genuine thrill at being onstage with the Muppets and he adlibbed and improvised brilliantly.

On Friday Kylie sang Mahna Mahna, duetted with Kermit on Rainbow Connection and generally lit up the stage, clearly having a blast. On Saturday afternoon STEPS filled her role on Mahna Mahna (in what seemed a shorter version) and didn’t perform the Rainbow..

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Jarrod Fairclough – This weekend The Muppets took the O2 Arena in London by storm! By all accounts, the show was fantastic, and while some segments were very similar to last years Hollywood Bowl show, there were enough differences to satisfy anyone who happened to attend both.

Not long after the final show, clips started popping up online, so going by the schedule on Muppet Wiki’s page for the event, we’ve collated them in order (or close enough to it).  Some bits were different each performance, so we’ve included both versions of those sketches.  Enjoy!

The muppets take o2 13 July - YouTube

The muppets take o2 13 July - YouTube

The muppets take o2 13 July - YouTube

The muppets take o2 13 July - YouTube

The muppets take o2 13 July - YouTube

Frogglebox and Electric Mayhem Set - Muppets Take the O2 - Saturday 14th July 2018 Evening - YouTube

The Muppets Take the O2 live in London - Bohemian Rhapsody - YouTube

The muppets take o2 13 July - YouTube

The muppets take o2 13 July - YouTube

Adam Hills køøkïng with The Swedish Chef - The Muppets Take The O2, 14/7/18 - YouTube

The muppets take the o2 arena 13 July Kylie mingue - YouTube

Mahna Mahna - The Muppets Take The O2, 14/7/18 - YouTube

The muppets take o2 13 July - YouTube

The muppets take o2 13 July - YouTube

The muppets take o2 13 July - YouTube

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The Muppet Mindset by Jarrod Fairclough - 1w ago

Jarrod Fairclough – In just a matter of hours, The Muppets will perform their first of 3 shows at London’s O2 Arena, in a similar fashion to last years Hollywood Bowl shows.  The event promises to be an amazing night, full of fun, silliness and music, often all at the same time.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a live gig without merchandise, and we’ve got a look at the bunch.  Included are t-shirts, hoodys, mugs, lanyards and more.  You can take a look at the full list below (open the image in a new tab for full size), as well as the official website here.  All prices are in British Pounds, and are available for international shipping.  So if you’re in Germany but want to pretend you flew to London for the shows when you drink your coffee, you’re in luck!

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The Muppet Mindset by Jarrod Fairclough - 1w ago

Jarrod Fairclough – Exciting news for all you Big Bird lovers out there.  Production company Matador Content is creating a documentary series about iconic leaders who have inspired people to overcome adversity and accomplish amazing things, and one of their episodes is all about Big Bird!

They’re looking for amazing real-life stories or anecdotes from parents, kids, and fans of all ages who Big Bird has had a positive impact on, from teachable moments to nostalgic ones to getting themselves or their kids through a difficult time. In other words, what are your favorite Big Bird stories?

A select few will possibly be interviewed on camera to be a part of the episode.

If you have a fun, heart-warming, funny or inspiring story that relates to Big Bird, they want to hear from you!   You can e-mail Colleen at colleen@matadorcontent.com for more information, and let her know we sent you!

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Pediatrician Teeth And The Muppet Babies
The new Muppet Babies series is going from strength to strength, and if you’re not watching it, go find a couple of episodes and enjoy some of the freshest Muppet content we’ve seen in a while.  Of course, the show is CGI, and the performers aren’t around to voice their own characters, but that didn’t stop Bill Baretta and Dr Teeth from showing up in puppet form in a recent episode, Muppet Rock.  You can see a preview of the episode below:

Muppet Babies - Muppet Rock EXCLUSIVE CLIP - YouTube

Comic Con-stantine
Hey, remember Constantine from Muppets Most Wanted and his starring role in Pentatonix Christmas and that time he asked Alan Carr why he wasn’t married? Well, 2000 lucky visitors to San Diego Comic Con can get their hands on new Constantine plush, marketed as both Constantine and Dark Kermit, because Memes.

The Muppets On Jeopardy–  Sorry, What Is The Muppets On Jeopardy?
The Muppets were a topic on the quiz show Jeopardy a couple of weeks back, under the category Nom De Muppet.  Here’s the questions, so you can pretend you won $1000 or something.

$200 – “This balcony-based curmudgeon is named for a New York City hotel—his wife is even named Astoria.”
$400 – “He may have told us his name, but we didn’t understand him, so we know him by his nationality.”
$600 – “Miss Piggy was named for a Peggy, this ‘Fever’ singer.”
$800 – “One of the 2 scientific Muppets who share their names with laboratory equipment.”
$1,000 – “Rizzo the Rat’s name came from Dustin Hoffman’s character in this Best Picture Oscar winner.”

Sesame Place –  Certified Autism Center.
In wonderful news, Sesame Street theme park Sesame Place has been designated a Certified Autism Center, with over 80% of its staff having attended austism sensitivity training.  According to CNN:

In addition to staff training, Sesame Place has created quiet rooms: small, dimly lit spaces with comfortable armchairs and sensory bead mazes on the walls to provide a break from the stimulation. The park also offers noise-canceling headphones as well as designated “low-sensory zones” along a parade route and in theaters. Guests who may struggle with standing in line or require special assistance boarding a ride can also use a fast pass called Abby’s Magic Queue.

The park also offers parents a chance to research online what it takes to order food, and even what standing in line looks like, in order to prepare everyone.
Watch the video by CNN below:

Sesame Place is the first theme park to be designated as a Certified Autism Center. 80% of their staff has undergone autism sensitivity training. https://t.co/ZJHUHsIfqg pic.twitter.com/qzNRni9FgF

— CNN (@CNN) July 8, 2018

1,841 Muppet Objects!
We’re pretty big Muppet fans.  I mean, we spend a large chunk of our week here writing about them and talking about them and watching them.  But perhaps our fandom is eclipsed by 16 year old Rhett Safranek, who holds the Guiness World Record for The Largest Collection of Muppet memorabilia, with 1,841 pieces!
The collection includes McDonald’s toys, mugs, figurines, busts, phones – you name it, Rhett has it.  The Guiness page has the full story, including a bunch of photos, and we’re in awe.  Congratulations, Rhett!  We only need another 1,820 to beat you!
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Kieran Moore – I must admit to being a bit conflicted about how to open this week’s chart. On the one hand I could talk about how Sesame Street is continuing to move forward by taking its biggest road trip to date and expanding its educational horizons, on the other I can wax lyrical about how the show is getting back to basics with an emphasis on reading and letter sounds and songs and sketches that feel decidedly old school. Sesame Street season 9 had a lot going on and could have been a little muddled if not for the talents of the cast, crew and writers of the show. Instead, they masterfully walk the line between going back to basics and presenting new ideas.

Musically, the show has probably never had a better year – certainly this is the most prolific season after the first. Sam Pottle and Danny Epstein who were in charge of the music and songs of Sesame Street this year have to be praised for their work. There were over 70 eligible songs this week. Here are 10 absolute classics. I’m hoping they show the broad range of what was on offer.

Sesame Street - I'm an Indian Wherever I Go - YouTube

10 – I’m an Indian Wherever I Go
In season 9, Sesame Street once again packed its bags and went off to explore other parts of the United States of America. And just as they did when they travelled to New Mexico a few years before, the cast spent time with Buffy Sainte-Marie. One of Sesame Street’s core messages this year was cultural diversity and this trip to Hawaii was a big part of showing how different ethnic groups can live together in harmony. This song was a big part of that. The message is right there in the song’s title (despite the now outdated use of the term “Indian”). No matter where you go and where you live your background and ethnicity will always stay the same and should be celebrated. This jaunty song, along with Big Bird and Snuffy’s quest to find Mount Snuffleupagus are the highlight of an excellent week of shows.

Sesame Street - Wynken Blynken and Nod - YouTube

9 – Wynken, Blynken and Nod
Wynken, Blynken and Nod is a classic poem that’s been used as the inspiration for cartoons, books and songs for over 100 years. This is Buffy’s own composition and I love how well it shows off her voice. It sounds clear and pure and utterly captivating. I’ve featured Buffy lots over the last few weeks so instead of praising her even further I’ll use this opportunity to highlight the many musical guest stars Sesame Street featured in season 9. We’ve got Helen Reddy, Madeline Kahn, Paul Simon, Judy Collins, Deadly Nightshade, Ray Charles, Richie Havens, Keola Beamer, Jose Feliciano and Victor Borge to choose from! Some of whom you’ll be hearing from later… It’s a testament to the show that so many big stars wanted to appear, a trend that continues to this day. As a side note – the eagle-eyed amongst you will note that several of these names also appeared on The Muppet Show at around the same time. I guess once the Muppets pull you in you just don’t want to leave!

Sesame Street: The New Row, Row, Row Your Boat Song| Kermit News - YouTube

8 – Row, Row, Row Your Boat
You’ve just got to love Don Music! His version of Mary Had a Little Lamb has already been number one on a previous chart and while this hasn’t quite hit the same heights, it’s every bit as good. The writing is fantastic and combines an educational message with humor and music. It’s a microcosm of Sesame Street in just a few minutes. Of course the main reason Don Music is such a favorite of mine though is the incredible performances of Richard Hunt. They perfectly suit the aforementioned writing and are funny and wonderfully musical. As well as showing off Richard’s singing, this sketch also demonstrates just how well he and Jim Henson worked together. Just in case Statler and Waldorf weren’t proof enough…

Muppet Songs: Grover and Madeline Kahn - Sing After Me - YouTube

7 – Sing After Me
In 1977 Madeline Kahn appeared on The Muppet Show. In 1978 she made this appearance with Grover on Sesame Street. In 1979 she made a cameo in The Muppet Movie. It’s fair to say the late 70’s were very Muppety for Madeline. With her musical chops and background in comedy, Madeline is perfectly suited to playing with our favorite furry friends. Her natural chemistry with Grover is a testament to how good she and Frank Oz are as performers. And Frank Oz really is good here. He makes Grover cute, lovable and hilarious – all the things he should be. This can’t have been easy to do vocally, but he manages to hit every beat and stay in character throughout.

Sesame Street: Paul Simon Sings El Condor Pasa - YouTube

6 – El Condor Pasa
Here’s another wonderful moment from a guest star. I’ve always loved this song, but this stripped back acoustic version is particularly effective and affective. When sung with more force El Condor Pasa plays not just as an affirmation, but as a kind of protest song; by performing it in a more low-key manner it becomes much more personal. It allows the lyrics to have new meaning and resonate even more profoundly. Speaking of the lyrics – am I the only person that likes to make up my own? For example, “I’d rather be a Honda than a Ford” or “I’d rather eat a biplane than some soot”. The possibilities are endless. I also like to do the same with Do You Want to Build a Snowman? “Do you want to catch a squirrel? Do you want to pinch a moose?” Try it now; it’s literally seconds of fun!

Sesame Street: The Frazzle Song - YouTube

5 – Frazzle
This song is representing not just Frazzle himself, but also the myriad of rock ‘n’ roll style songs that featured on Sesame Street in season 9. There were a lot. Tracks like Oh G, The Ten Commandments of Health and Sound it Out showed the full range of the musical genre from straight doo-wap to something a little more jazz inspired. This song is channelling classics like Splish Splash and The Monster Mash with a little dash of girl group thrown in for good measure. I suppose it’s Frazzle himself that really sells this. Every good rock ‘n’ roll song has a hook and Frazzle’s indecipherable ramblings are certainly that. If this song was released in the right era with some good radio play, it could have been a big hit in the real for real charts. Sadly by this point a different type of music was ruling in 1978…

Sesame Street: Cookie Monster's Disco Debut - YouTube

4 – Cookie Disco
…And that different type of music was disco! In 1978 the soundtrack album to Saturday Night Fever was the best selling of the year in 8 countries, including the USA, the UK and Australia. Everyone was donning their flares and strutting their stuff, and that includes Cookie Monster. Taking a cue from the Theme from Shaft, this song tells the listener all about Cookie Monster and why he’s the world’s biggest, baddest snacker. The lyrics are clever and funny and Frank Oz delivers them in what’s probably his funkiest ever performance. Who knew this guy had street cred? This song goes a long way towards delivering one of Sesame Street’s main goals – using current pop culture that kids enjoy and recognise to keep them engaged, entertained and educated. That’s why I love Sesame Street parodies so much.

Jose Feliciano / The Gypsy Live on Sesame Street - YouTube

3 – The Gypsy
What an amazing piece of music this is! Sesame Street songs are truly some of the best you’ll ever hear, but this could happily grace any top 10 list I make regardless of whether it has a Muppet connection or not. Jose Feliciano is an astounding musician and singer. Hailing from Puerto Rico his talent is somewhat undercut by the fact that he’s probably best remembered for Feliz Navidad, a Christmas song loved and loathed in equal measure. This song takes me away to another place as all the best music should. I find myself travelling from dusty town to dusty town working as a minstrel, seeing all and telling all with my music – my biggest friend and best companion. Jose sells this whole scenario through his emotional singing and virtuoso guitar playing. The final, instrumental part of this song is phenomenal. If you listen to only one thing from this week’s chart, promise me it’s the end of this song.

Sesame Street: This Frog - YouTube

2 – This Frog
It had to be something pretty special to knock the last song into third place (two things to be exact), and this is it. My love for this song is well documented. In fact in my ranking of the first 100 number one songs on my charts this came in in fourth place! The song’s theme of empowerment and overcoming obstacles is as important now as it was 40 years ago and I think it will always have a place. At some point or other we all need to hear this message. And often it means far more coming from us than it does anyone else. Over the years we’ve occasionally seen Kermit falter and have crises of conscience (when the script dictates), but overall he seems to be a frog who knows and loves himself. I can’t stress enough how important that is. As RuPaul says “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” (Can I get an “Amen”?)

Classic Sesame Street - A Song From Kermit - YouTube

1 – A Song from Kermit
I’ve wanted this song to be number one for a long, long time so I’m pleased I can make it happen today. Not just because of my desire to see it on top, but because it’s extra poignant right now. 40 years ago this week Sam Pottle, who wrote this song with David Axlerod, passed away. It’s a strange notion to consider that just nine months after this song debuted Sam was no longer with us. It’s a sad honor, but one nonetheless to be able to commemorate his life and music with my chart. Sam is probably best remembered for co-writing the Muppet show Theme, but also penned classics like What’s The Name of That Song?, Keep Christmas With You and I Want a Monster to be My Friend. He’s an absolute legend and his contribution to Sesame Street is immeasurable. Over the last few weeks Sam has made my job wonderful and incredibly hard at the same time. This song always makes me think of people I’ve lost and what I’d sing to them if I had the chance. It seems fitting that I end this chart with a song from Kieran to let Sam know he’s being remembered and that his legacy lives on. He left the world a bit better than when he got here.

To bring the mood back up, since there were so many good songs in season 9 here are the ones that made places 11-20:

11 – Mount Snuffleupagus
12 – Sound It Out
13 – I Got a Song
14 – I Love a March
15 – Wonder Child
16 – Nice People
17 – One Thing Leads To Another
18 – Rubber Dolly
19 – I Like My Name
20 – Oh, G

All of these songs scored over 90 out of 100 and might well have made the top 10 in other weeks. So I have to thank everyone on this chart, or who was connected with Sesame Street during season 9, for their fantastic work. Thank You.

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Jarrod Fairclough – Next week The Muppets are taking London’s O2 Arena, in a series of live shows similar to last year’s The Muppets Take The Hollywood Bowl.  Up until now, no guest stars have been announced, but our own Kieran Moore took a stab in the dark at some potential names, and amazingly got 2 correct!

According to The Sun, the live shows will feature Kylie Minogue and the band Steps, as well as Doctor Who stars David Tennant and Peter Davison who will take part in a Pigs In Space sketch, presumably as the Doctors.

Even more exciting, young Jim Hawkins himself comedian Kevin Bishop, who starred in Muppet Treasure Island, will take part in the show, the first time he’s been with his old friends in over 20 years!

The shows are shaping up to be great, and in talking with David Rudman just a couple of weeks back, the performers are just as excited as we are.  Our own Kieran Moore will be in attendance giving us a full run down, and we’ll endevour to get you some videos and photos as soon as we can after the event.

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Jarrod Fairclough – Sesame Street is well known for its parodies of film, television and music.  Whether it’s James Bond, Game of Thrones or James Blunt’s ‘You’re Beautiful’, Sesame Street has found some way to skewer it during its prime position in the public’s eye.

Which makes it all the more hilarious and slightly baffling that Sesame Street’s newest video, celebrating the Fourth of July, is a parody of NSYNC’s ‘Bye Bye Bye’, a song that hasn’t been popular since the year 2000.

Below is a genuinely great video celebrating the holiday, featuring Elmo, Ernie, The Count, Oscar, and a tonne of auto-tune.  Enjoy!

Sesame Street: Fourth of July Song (Bye Bye Bye Parody) - YouTube

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