Friday, September 9, 2011

Seasme Street Count It Higher (2005)

Count on Sesame Street: Count It Higher for fun.

Welcome a new school year with this great collection of music videos which originally aired on Sesame Street in the 1970s and 1980s.


Seven songs are featured in this 30-minute collection hosted by, who else, The Count.

Younger viewers can dig counting from one to 12 and learning about words beginning with "z" while adults are able to get down and groove to parodies of songs from The Beatles, ZZ Top and Bill Haley and the Comets.

The Fab Four get two terrific tributes in this collection. Letter B is based on, yes, Let It Be. Beatles fans might scratch their heads a little bit at this takeoff. The Muppet band is decked out in matching green jackets and white shirts a la early Beatles. Go figure.

Here's a great line from lyricist Christopher Cerf:

"When I find I can't remember what comes after A and before C, my mother always whispers Letter B."


Twist and Shout started with the Isley Brothers, but it was also a standout track from the Fab Four's debut disc. Here, with Count It Higher, with much encouragement, band members manage to count to 10. Hurray!

For lots of fun, and to sharpen numeracy skills, Honk Around the Clock (1982) offers about a half-dozen colorful Honkers squeezing their noses, to make honking sounds, while bopping around a big clock. This could be the most musical fun with The Muppets since Mahna Mahna (1968).

Creativity is always a big selling point with Sesame Street and The Muppets. The highlight for great minds conceiving of a memorable idea in this collection is The Ten Commandments of Health. The 1978 effort is based on The Ten Commandments of Love from Harvey and the Moonglows (1958).

This doo wop song is set in a hospital operating room. IV bottles are used for bells. The patient has a deep bass voice who repeats lyrics, just like The Ink Spots. This is great fun.


Kermit the Frog scored a big solo hit with It's Not Easy Being Green. His plea for self-acceptance continues with Do-Op Hop.

"I don't know how to fly, high up in the sky" he says.
"A frog is what I am. I'm as happy as a clam."

Kermit can also hop, which he does with great enthusiasm in this video from 1984.

Count It Higher highlights the talents of folks like Christopher Cerf, Sara Durkee and Norman Stiles who have created songs that teach and offer lots of laughs.

The Muppet Wiki offers neat background on these tracks.

My only beef: How about some commentary from Cerf, who has his hands on most of these tracks. How does he decide on the songs he chooses? How do musicians react when they are tapped to perform these songs? Would such an effort be considered a career highlight? What does a parodist like Weird Al Yankovic make of these tunes?

RATING: 8/10

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