This edition of “The Sesame Street Songbook” collects sheet music for forty songs from the groundbreaking and beloved children’s TV show. You’ve got the essentials: familiar musical friends like “Rubber Duckie,” “People in Your Neighborhood,” and “Sing.” Then there are character songs like Oscar the Grouch’s credo, “I Love Trash,” and a certain blue monster’s explanation that “C Is for Cookie.”
The monsters of “Sesame Street” stir up oodles of mischief, and their ditties can be great fun to play. I’m partial to the vaudevillian silliness of “Fuzzy and Blue,” as well as Grover’s tale of bravery about confronting a “Monster in the Mirror.” Two or three verses of “wubba wubbas” and “doodle-dee-doos” and that shaggy blue stranger has been vanquished and you’ve had a chance to wiggle and warble and share in the song! The Sesame Street YouTube account showcases a 1991 version of “The Monster in the Mirror” in which a host of celebrities, from Ray Charles and Robin Williams to Julia Roberts, Jeff Goldblum, and The Simpsons, get into this classic monster groove.
Kermit the Frog’s thoughtful lament, “Bein’ Green” makes for a philosophical interlude amidst all these colorful, muppety romps. Our friend Nancy Stokes points out that Kermit’s contemplation of life as a green guy almost follows Elisabeth Kubler Ross’s stages of grief, opening with a sincere complaint, “grieving and aching at first,” later exploring “all the lovely and important things about being green,” and eventually winding up “at a kind and tender, finally joyful acceptance of self.”
But my favorites from this collection are two dreamy pieces, each of which I play pretty often. There’s “Imagination,” which Ernie sings with his friends and to the children watching at home. It’s a blissed-out paean to the transporting, transformative power of allowing your mind to wander and letting your dreams come true, if only right there in the middle of your head.
Come to think of it, my other favorite is an Ernie song as well: the gorgeous and sweet “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon,” composed by the incomparable Jeff Moss. It makes my heart glad to play along with this song. Starry-eyed and adventurous, but also glad to be right at home.
What are you favorite “Sesame Street” songs?
For further exploration: There have been several editions of Sesame Street songbook, starting in 1971. The 1992 edition contained a whopping sixty-four songs! The Muppet Wiki page includes an article about three of these songbooks, including a comparison of which songs each edition contains. In the So Many Songbooks library, we also have a beat-up edition of “The Sesame Street Songbook, Volume 1,” which features arrangements by Denes Agay.
Where to find it: "The Sesame Street Songbook" CURRENT SONGBOOK: on Amazon Publisher: Hal Leonard (2007) ISBN: 1423413326 (paperback) Status (2020): In Print EARLIER EDITION (1972): on Amazon, on eBay, on AbeBooks Publisher: Warner Bros. Publications (1972) Arranged by: Denes Agay ISBN: B00354UP6M (paperback) Status (2020): Out of Print