Kieran Moore – I can’t believe it!
Last week was my 100th top 10 chart for The Muppet Mindset (well done to the Facebook commenter who noticed!). Little did I know when I wrote my very first piece on Jim Henson back in October 2014 that I’d be sitting here two and a half years later writing my 100th anniversary special. When I look back on that first chart I’m struck by how very little has changed from then to now. I think it’s a great format, but I am biased! I suppose you could say top 10 lists are a bit clickbaity, but I disagree. If you don’t believe me check out this article about the top 10 Muppets who’ve lost weight since the 1970’s – you won’t believe what number seven looks like now!
In order to celebrate this momentous occasion the Muppet Mindset Gods have given me permission to go a little crazy and make a definitive ranking of every number one song since this series began. At first I was overjoyed – then I realised what a tough job it was and spent an afternoon having Gollum-esque arguments with myself over what should go where. Anyway, I’m sure you’re desperate to see if anything from Studio DC made the top 10 so here goes…
100 – Dixie Wailin’ by The Skeptics – Muppet Fan Week Chart
99 – It’s a Small World – Disney Chart
98 – Row, Row, Row Your Boat – Wayne and Wanda Chart
97 – Sonny Boy – Link Hogthrob Chart
96 – Six (My Favorite Number Is) – Muppet Mindset Birthday Chart
95 – I Want a Snuffleupagus for Christmas – Caroll Spinney Christmas Chart
94 – Mary Had a Bicycle – Sheep Chart
93 – Stinky’s Love Song – Joey Mazzarino Chart
92 – Wedding Pictures – 1988 Chart
91 – Alphabet Song – Louise Gold Chart
Now that we’ve gotten going, here are a couple of things that are briefly worth mentioning: Inevitably after 100 charts there have been a handful of songs that took the top spot more than once – where this occurs I’ve taken the theme into account to decide which gets the highest place. Also, the songs that appeared in my 50th anniversary chart aren’t necessarily in the same order as they were then – sometimes a song grows on me and sometimes the opposite happens… Professional courtesy dictated that I put my own fan cover at 100, but obviously I think it’s great. If you do too, here it is again!
90 – Light Opera Alphabet – Mr. Snuffleupagus Chart
89 – Ode to Joy – Beaker Chart
88 – My Own Fairytale – Leslie Carrara-Rudolph Chart
87 – Pig Calypso – Pigs Chart
86 – Put Down the Duckie (Celebrity Version) – Kevin Clash Chart
85 – Little Things – Prairie Dawn Chart
84 – Doin’ the Pigeon – Bert Chart
83 – Share it Maybe – David Rudman Chart
82 – Counting is Wonderful – 1995 Chart
81 – I Will Survive – Hallowe’en Chart
This is where things started to get tough. Look at those awesome songs! I have to remind myself that these are all previous winners which is why they’re here in the first place. I feel especially bad about the classic that is Doin’ the Pigeon so I’ve spotlighted it here!
80 – What Now My Love? – Muppet Break Up Chart
79 – Hairy Fairy – Primates Chart
78 – You and Me Against the World – Bill Barretta Chart
77 – I Am Chicken – Chicken Chart
76 – A Salute to the Year – 1982 Chart
75 – Here in My Neighborhood – Roscoe Orman, Emilio Delgado & Bob McGrath Chart
74 – Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da – 1991 Chart
73 – Don’t Fence Me In – Horses Chart
72 – Kodachrome – 2015 Chart
71 – How Wide, How Far, How Long? – Junior Gorg Chart
This last batch of 10 has a few personal favorites. I love the humor in A Salute to the Year, Louise Gold in I Am Chicken and the sheer unexpectedness of Kodachome, but I have to feature Hairy Fairy. It’s an absolute joy!
70 – The Entertainer – Frank Oz Chart
69 – Bohemian Rhapsody – Queens Chart
68 – Sing/Our Favorite Street – 1994 Chart
67 – Hugga Wugga/You Are My Sunshine – 1976 Chart
66 – Mad Dogs and Englishmen – Dogs Chart
65 – Put Down the Duckie (Hoots Version) – Birds Chart
64 – It Feels Like Christmas – 1992 Chart
63 – I’ve Seen Troubles – The Trash Heap Chart
62 – Tweet in the Morning – Sesame Street Celebrity Parodies Chart
61 – Underground – 1986 Chart
Well with a Queen and a David Bowie song in this last batch I guess I’m really feeling “Under Pressure” now (jokes both old and rare etc.), not least because I’ve put Hugga Wugga so low and it’s a personal favorite of our Great and Bountiful Leader. Have another listen quick while I sacrifice a slice of pizza in an effort to appease him!
60 – Lazy Bones – Dr. Teeth Chart
59 – Bein’ Green (Rowlf) – Rainbow Connection Chart
58 – Sweet Vacation – Summer Vacation Chart
57 – Bear Cha-Cha-Cha – Bears Chart
56 – Please Don’t Bump Into Me – Fran Brill Chart
55 – Pukka, Pukka, Pukka, Squeetily Boink – Wembley Fraggle Chart
54 – Fraggle Rock Theme – 1983 Chart
53 – Mr. Bassman – Richard Hunt Chart
52 – Kokomo – 1993 Chart
51 – Grouch Anthem – Caroll Spinney Chart
I think you’ll agree there are some corkers here. Some of my favorite ever Muppet songs including Lazy Bones, Kokomo and Sweet Vacation have just missed out on a place in the top 50. What strikes me about this section is how almost every song comes from a different Henson production. That’s pretty cool and so is Richard Hunt as Scooter singing this…
50 – To Morrow – USA Road Trip Chart
49 – Six String Orchestra – Scooter Chart
48 – Muppet Show Theme – TV Theme Tunes Chart
47 – Duermete Mi Nino – Carmen Osbahr Chart
46 – Easter Parade – Easter Chart
45 – Riff’s Riff – 1989 Chart
44 – Copacabana – Global Road Trip Chart
43 – Singin’ In the Rain – Muppet Weather Chart
42 – Professional Pirate – Villains Chart
41 – I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu) – Matt Vogel Chart
As we enter the top 50 we (kind of) hit our lowest placed Muppet movie songs (you’ll see…) It’s interesting that they’re two villains’ songs, but I don’t think we can read too much into that. There are a handful of classic Muppet Show songs here – not least the theme tune itself, but also Copacabana, Six String Orchestra and of course – To Morrow.
40 – Children of Tomorrow – Fraggle Rock Group Songs Chart
39 – One More Sleep ‘til Christmas – Christmas Eve Chart
38 – Tides (Jerry Nelson) – Muppeteers in Non-Muppet Roles Chart
37 – Ain’t No Road Too Long – 1985 Chart
36 – Ragtime Queen – Kathryn Mullen Chart
35 – Something So Right – Eric Jacobson Chart
34 – Man or Muppet – Unsung Heroes Chart
33 – Movin’ Right Along – Fozzie Bear Chart
32 – Grouch Anthem – Oscar the Grouch Chart
31 – It Feels Like Christmas – Jerry Nelson Christmas Chart
So here we see the return of Grouch Anthem and It Feels Like Christmas which have both appeared previously. These two songs really could be in the top 10 on another day. In fact, if this batch of ten was the top of the list I’d be very happy indeed. One song in particular would be higher I’m sure if it was from an actual Muppet production, so enjoy the incredible Tides and this tribute to the late, great Jerry Nelson – I’ll wait…
30 – I Hope That Something Better Comes Along – Rowlf Chart
29 – San Francisco/Can You Picture That? – 2016 Chart
28 – Pictures in My Head – Steve Whitmire Chart
27 – Turn the World Around – Muppet Show Guest Stars of ’79 Chart
26 – The Christmas Wish – 1979 Chart
25 – Let Me Be Your Song – Number 2’s Chart
24 – United We Stand – 1980 Chart
23 – In the Good Old Summertime – Muppet Show Guest Stars of ’78 Chart
22 – Wild Thing – Sgt. Floyd Pepper Chart
21 – The Christmas Wish – Jim Henson Christmas Chart
Eagle-eyed readers will spot the same song twice in this set of 10 – The Christmas Wish really is an amazing song. Also listed here are some other tracks that are full of heart like Pictures in My Head and United We Stand, but this batch is all about philosophy really. Let Me Be Your Song, Can You Picture That?, I Hope That Something Better Comes Along and Turn the World Around all offer something for the soul. With three songs in this batch though it’s only fair Floyd Pepper gets to sing us into the top 20
20 – Happiness Hotel – 1981 Chart
19 – Shadow’s Lullaby – Bear in the Big Blue House
18 – I Need a Word – Grover Chart
17 – One Little Star – Martin P. Robinson Chart
16 – Fever – Animal Chart
15 – For What it’s Worth – 1978 Chart
14 – Just a Dream Away – 1987 Chart
13 – Saying Goodbye – 1984 Chart
12 – Halfway Down the Stairs – Robin Chart
11 – Friendship Song – Karen Prell Chart
Doing their best to hang on in, but slipping out of the top 10 from last year’s anniversary chart is Shadow’s Lullaby, I Need a Word, One Little Star and Friendship Song. All four are fantastic. It’s clear to see we’re really looking at the crème de la crème now. It strikes me that most of these songs are slow and/or introspective. I guess I’m an old softie at heart. To counter that let’s enjoy a hilarious song that won an Emmy…
So here we go with the final countdown…
10 – Dixie Wailin’ – Boober Fraggle Chart
The best Muppet funeral song on the planet – need I say more? A personal favorite as song 100 attests.
9 – Wishing Song – The Great Gonzo Chart
One of the sweetest Muppet songs I know. This is just beautiful and deserves to be preserved in the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry. Can we lobby for this? It seems more likely than seasons 4 and 5 on DVD!
8 – Rainbow Connection – Jim Henson Chart
The one that started it all – my very first number one and the song most associated with the Muppets (except maybe some of the TV themes perhaps). If you’re a Muppet fan this song is speaking directly to you – you can’t deny it.
7 – Just One Person – 1977 Chart
The original version of a track that became synonymous with Jim Henson and the Muppets. This is a very personal song for me as I’ve used it in the past for the very same reason that Bernadette Peters and the gang did for Robin. Simply amazing.
6 – When the River Meets the Sea – Jerry Nelson Chart
The theme of Jim Henson continues with another song that appeared at his memorial. This is my favorite version of this track. Jerry and Louise Gold give a truly stunning performance. I’ve always loved both of their voices and (spoiler alert) this is their highest appearance today. I’m glad it’s this track as it’s so deserved.
5 – Let Me Be Your Song – Cantus Fraggle Chart
My absolute favorite Fraggle Rock song in what is an already crowded field. These next five songs all seem to speak to me and my personal philosophy in various ways. I guess your favorite Muppet songs do the same to you, though if that happens to be “Hugga Wugga” I have no clue how to help you…
4 – This Frog – Frogs Chart
I just love the message behind this song. It’s incredible and this clip should be required viewing for all children, in fact, all humankind. There are many songs that speak about Kermit and his character, several of which are in this top 10, but this track’s message of persistence and self-belief underpin all those other songs in my opinion. Jim Henson puts in a stunning performance here.
3 – Bein’ Green (Big Bird) – 1990 Chart
This is the second version of this song to appear on today’s list, but this is head and shoulders above the others for me and I include Kermit’s original in that. I’m listening to it as I type this and it’s impossible not to be moved by Big Bird’s heartfelt tribute. It’s sad yet happy and painful yet comforting. How Caroll Spinney got through this I’ll never know.
2 – I’m Going to Go Back There Someday – Dave Goelz Chart
From the very first time I heard this track it spoke to me. I genuinely don’t know if this song shaped my beliefs or if it just happened to match my own personal ideology, but somehow this beautiful song and I seem to be perfectly in sync. Everything about it is wonderful. Paul Williams’ and Kenny Ascher’s ethereal music and lyrics, Dave’s performance and the simple, but stunning arrangement all combine to create soulful Muppet magic. A true gem.
1 – The Christmas Wish – Muppet Christmas Productions Chart
This is the only song on this chart to appear three times and as soon as I realized it became a strong contender for the number one spot – after all it’s earned it. I adore the album this song comes from and it isn’t Christmas for me until I’ve worn out at least one CD of it in the car. I love the message of inclusivity almost as much as Jim Henson’s incredible performance. I’ll happily go on record as saying for me this is his best singing performance as Kermit bar none. If I could only listen to one Muppet song ever again I’d be more than happy if it was this. It’s been tough ranking 100 amazing Muppet songs, but this is a very worthy number one.
So as is traditional it’s time now for a few fun facts:
- With 50 new songs in my anniversary chart it was tough for songs to climb the list, but 3 managed it and all were in the top 10 (Wishing Song, When the River Meets the Sea and The Christmas Wish).
- Many songs went down of course, with the biggest drop being It’s a Small World dropping 55 places from 44 to 99.
- The biggest drop for a song staying within the top 50 is Children of Tomorrow which fell by 27 places.
- 54 of these songs are from the core Muppet gang, 24 from Sesame Street, 13 are Fraggle songs and 2 from Bear in the Big Blue House. Mopatop’s Shop, Labyrinth, Billy Bunny’s Animal Songs and Faffner Hall each got 1. 2 songs were from non-Muppet productions.
- Kermit has a significant role in 18 songs; Floyd Pepper is next on 9. Miss Piggy appears 7 times. Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf and Dr Teeth are next with 6. The highest ranking Sesame Street character (not counting Kermit) is Big Bird with 5. Red, Boober, Wembley, Jr. Gorg and Cantus each appear twice.
- 24 of the songs feature female Muppets in a lead role. This seems bad as a percentage, but it should be noted that Miss Piggy, Janice, Red, Mokey, Zoe, Rosita and Abby Cadabby haven’t had individual lists yet.
- When adding in other performers such as guest stars the number with a lead female goes up to 37.
- Jim Henson is the top performer with 23 appearances; Jerry Nelson has 18, Frank Oz 13, Richard Hunt 11 and Dave Goelz and Steve Whitmire tie on 7. The top female performer is Louise Gold who makes 5 as does Caroll Spinney.
- 10 songs have the name of a musical style in the title, 6 songs have “song” in the title, 8 songs are Christmas songs, 7 songs mention a location in the title, 6 songs have numbers in the name, 9 songs include the name of an animal and 4 reference “wet things”.
- We now have Emmy, Grammy and Oscar winners in the chart. My series almost has an EGOT!
All that is left to say now is a big thank you to both Ryan Dosier for believing in me and giving me this gig and Jarrod “Bless us All is a Dull Song” Fairclough for his continued support. Finally, the biggest thanks go to you the readers. It’s a cliché, but it’s true – without you this would all be meaningless. Thank You.
Note from the editor
Congratulations to Kieran on 100 of these Top 10 Charts! To do one would be commendable, but to do 100 is far and away incredible. Thanks Kieran for making Fridays a lot easier on us, and we can’t wait to read the next 100!
Also, I bought you a cake, but then you put ‘Hugga Wugga’ as Number 67, so I threw it in the garbage. — Jarrod.