November is a big month for Sesame Street: Cookie Monster’s birthday is the November 2, and the show itself celebrates its anniversary on November 10. Hence, I’m going to regress into my childhood a bit and provide you a playlist of some of the best songs to come out of Sesame Street!
1) “Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? (Sesame Street Theme)” (1969)
For the first 23 seasons of the show, this version of the iconic theme song played as the introduction to the world in which Muppets and humans coexist to help each other learn. The intro borrows from the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” There have been multiple reincarnations of the show’s introductory song; but overall, this original rendition remains a staple of childhood memories for many.
2) “I Love Trash,” Oscar the Grouch (1969)
Even when Oscar wasn’t yet green, he still loved trash. He has reprised this song many times throughout the history of the show. Apart from being very telling about his character, “I Love Trash” is a great reminder that our friends might have different hobbies from us, but we can still care about them and get along with them.
3) “Rubber Duckie,” Ernie (1970)
Celebrating pure joy and affection for things, Ernie’s most famous song is undeniably catchy and cute. “Rubber Duckie” also made it to #16 on the Billboard charts, and was only beaten out for a children’s Grammy by The Sesame Street Book and Record.
4) “Somebody Come and Play” (1970)
Originally sung by the children’s chorus, I can’t help but feel that a song about being a lonely kid is valuable. Sesame Street presents a lot of great friendships, including Ernie and Bert; but it’s important to let kids know that although sometimes you’ll feel lonely and you’ll long for friends, you aren’t alone in that experience.
5) “C is for Cookie,” Cookie Monster (1972)
Jim Henson envisioned a song/sketch for every letter of the alphabet. Of course, Cookie Monster had to sing about cookies, because that dude has a one-track mind. But at least kids got to learn one “c” word.
6) “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon,” Ernie (1978)
This song about homesickness has made me cry in the past. It’s a beautiful melody, and it’s oddly sad coming from the usually upbeat Ernie. I know I’m not the only one who’s been emotionally affected by it.
7) “Born to Add,” Bruce Stringbean (1979)
Weird Al’s strongest competition may just be the writers of Sesame Street, who come up with a lot of learning-themed parodies. There is an entire album of Sesame Street rock parodies, in fact, named after this song.
8) “Just the Way You Are,” Billy Joel (1988)
One of the many unattainable things on my bucket list is to guest star on Sesame Street, so the celebrity/Muppet interactions have always been one of my favorite things. Here, Billy Joel and Marlee Matlin encourage Oscar to never change, with one of Joel’s most beautiful tunes.
9) “Furry Happy Monsters,” R.E.M. (1991)
R.E.M. are joined by a Muppet form of Kate Pierson (of the B-52s) to teach kids about emotions via monsters and a rewrite of “Shiny Happy People.”
10) “Pride,” Elmo and the Goo Goo Dolls (2000)
Who would have thought the Goo Goo Dolls would teach such an important lesson? In this adorable collaboration with Elmo, the band parody their own song “Slide.”
11) “My Triangle,” James Blunt (2007)
James Blunt has a surprisingly good sense of humor about himself, as evidenced by this song, in which he teaches kids about shapes to the tune of his smash hit “You’re Beautiful.”
12) “Monster Went and Ate My Red 2,” Elvis Costello and Elmo (2011)
It took a long time for Elvis Costello to make it onto Sesame Street with this perfect version of “(Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes,” originally released in 1977. The only other parody option I can think of is “(Angles Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes.” But I still think this works out nicely.
For more of the best songs from Sesame Street, see the Spotify playlist below.