The Muppets - Music Playlist
Cassette tape design from Positive Spin 3x4 Journal Cards by
One Little Bird Designs. Image of Animal from Disney -
If you are a child of the 1970s or 1980s, The Muppets are quite likely a part of your pop culture history. They definitely are for me. I will be sharing my memories of, and fondness for, these adorably kooky cast of characters in later posts, but for the purpose of this article, it is all about the music of and by The Muppets.
the muppet show
Because The Muppet Show was a variety-style program featuring popular celebrities of the time, there are any number of songs that did extremely well both on the charts and on the show hosted by Kermit the Frog. I have included my favorites on this playlist. Elton John performing "Crocodile Rock," Julie Andrews singing "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music, and Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" are the best - I totally remember seeing these performances on t.v. as a kid and I. Loved. Them. And although there is no recording of her singing it, Gilda Radner's "The Pirates of Penzance" could not go unacknowledged so I found another version to represent instead, sans a singing carrot.
For quick links to some of these performances, look at this The Muppet Show's Top 10 Musical Guests by Stephanie March.
There are also movie soundtracks featuring songs by The Muppets, and if they were available on Spotify, I included a selection of picks from those albums. I still have The Muppet Movie album thanks to my mom who has saved some wonderful things from my childhood. In fact, I just retrieved it on my last visit home. Do you ever have a song pop up on the radio, t.v., the internet, etc. which you haven't heard in awhile, and it just catches you by surprise, maybe puts a little lump in your throat or a tear in your eye? Well, that is the case for me with Kermit's "Rainbow Connection" and "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday" by Gonzo. Both almost always gets me all choked up - for real. And it was this movie that showcased Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Seriously, what a name for a jam band.
Other Muppet movies followed, and in the past few years there has been a renaissance of sorts of The Muppet brand on the big screen. Thank you, Disney. I think they have done a fantastic job breathing fresh life into these amazing characters. The celebrity cameos and the charming-yet-goofy music has done a nice job linking muppets of the past to the current generation. I chose my favorite songs from The Muppets (2011) and Muppets Most Wanted (2014) for the playlist. "Life's a Happy Song" is a toe-tapping, head-bobbing tune, and if lyrics to a song could be described as "cute," then this has the cutest lines. Ever.
While not part of The Muppet cast, there has been some crossover in the past with Kermit, and so I felt compelled to include a few selections that have Sesame Street origins. They undeniably have that same vibe and Jim Henson influence that is present with The Muppets productions. The Dixie Chicks and The Fugees both had hip yet poignant renditions of popular songs showcased on Sesame Street, as did R.E.M. I chose to include the original R.E.M. track "Shiny Happy People" because I love the peppy, positive sound of the song. It's so...Muppet-like.
Sometimes it's fun to hear a slightly different version of a favorite or memorable song. There are several represented in the list, like Sarah McLachlan's "The Rainbow Connection," and a couple of tracks from the alternative-rock cover album Muppets: The Green Album. It's not a cover or a Muppet song proper, but I can't help but think of that guy when I hear Neon Tree's "Animal." He would tear up the drums on this one.
If you like the-best-of lists, The Muppets, Jim Henson, or an eclectic mix of popular and not-so-popular songs, check out this detailed blog post My 50 Favorite Muppet Songs on Electronic Cerebrectomy. I actually found this after I put my playlist together, so it was fun to see someone else's choices. It includes Fraggles, Emmet Otter (awwww, cutie pie), and plenty of images and links to reminisce over.
listen to the playlist
Click directly on the playlist below to begin listening (it will play from this post if you have Spotify Desktop Player or Web Player on your computer), or click on this link to take you to Spotify's site: The Muppets - The Mixtape Edition.
the muppets - music playlist
- "The Muppet Show Theme" - The Muppets
- "The Rainbow Connection" - Sarah McLachlan
- "Shiny Happy People" - R.E.M.
- "Life's A Happy Song" - Mickey Rooney, Amy Adams, Jason Segel, et al.
- "Crocodile Rock" - Elton John
- "Man or Muppet" - Jason Segel, Walter
- "Sing" - Dixie Chicks
- "Forget You" - Cee Lo Green
- "The Big House" - Tina Fey, Josh Groban
- "Mahna Mahna" - The Fray
- "The Lonely Goatherd" - Julie Andrews, et al.
- "Bein' Green" - Andrew Bird
- "Just Happy to Be Me" - The Fugees
- "Can You Picture That?" - Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem
- "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday" - Gonzo
- "The Muppet Show Theme" - Los Muppets
- "The Pirates of Penzance" - D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and Orchestra
- "Animal" - Neon Trees
- "We're Doing a Sequel" - The Muppets, Lady Gaga, Tony Bennett
- "Banana Boat Song (Day-O)" - Harry Belafonte
- "Together Again" - The Muppets, Josh Groban
- "Rainbow Connection" - Kermit
- "They've Ordered a Sequel" - Walter, Statler, Waldorf