Rainbow Connection

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This article is about the song. For the concept in graph theory, see rainbow coloring.
"Rainbow Connection"
Song by Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson)
Published 1979 (Fuzzy Muppet Songs)
Label Atlantic (1979)
Walt Disney
Cover versions
Judy Collins
The Carpenters
Sarah McLachlan
Kenny Loggins
Justin Timberlake
Willie Nelson
Weezer and Hayley Williams
Darren Criss
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
Less Than Jake
Peter Cincotti
Trespassers William
Jim Brickman
Abney Park
Jane Monheit
Kate Nash
The Jolly What!
Dixie Chicks
Gwen Stefani

"Rainbow Connection" is a song written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher and originally performed by muppet Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) in The Muppet Movie in 1979.

Critical reception and legacy[edit]

Kenneth Ascher and Paul Williams received Oscar nominations at the 52nd Academy Awards for the score of The Muppet Movie and for "Rainbow Connection," which Allmusic described as an "unlikely radio hit ... which Kermit the Frog sings with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short, green Judy Garland"[1] and went on to add that "Rainbow Connection" serves the same purpose in The Muppet Movie that "Over the Rainbow" serves in The Wizard of Oz, with nearly equal effectiveness: an opening establishment of the characters' driving urge for something more in life."[1] The song lost the Oscar to "It Goes Like It Goes" from Norma Rae, a win that some critics decried.[2][3]

The song's name has been used by a number of charitable organizations wishing to evoke its message, including a children's charity similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation,[4] a summer camp for seriously ill children,[5] and a horseriding camp for people with disabilities.[6] The name's influence can also be seen throughout culture-from business names[7] to artificial Christmas tree products.[8]

The American Film Institute named Rainbow Connection the 74th greatest movie song of all time in AFI's 100 Years…100 Songs.[9]

Kermit the Frog reprised the song on The Muppet Show in 1980 as a duet with Debbie Harry when she was a guest star. The song is also reprised by a large group of The Muppets as the closing number in the 1986 special The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years. Kermit the Frog also reprises the song in The Muppets, this time as a duet with Miss Piggy that leads into the entire Muppet group singing together. A shorter version of the song performed by The Moopets tribute band is also used in the film. The iTunes release of The Muppets soundtrack includes a new version of the song as an exclusive bonus track, recorded by Steve Whitmire, the current performer of Kermit the Frog.

In 1996 in Whanganui, New Zealand, a 21-year-old man burst into a radio station (Star FM) and took the manager hostage. His demand was to play "Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog.[10]

Cover versions[edit]

Kermit the Frog's original version of "Rainbow Connection" reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979; the song remained in the Top 40 for seven weeks total.[11] Artists who have covered "Rainbow Connection" include Judy Collins,[12] The Carpenters, Dana Valery, Sarah McLachlan, DAT Politics, Aaron Lewis, Kenny Loggins, The Dixie Chicks, Priscilla Hernandez, Justin Timberlake, Kiki and Herb, Jason Mraz (both as a solo and in a duet with Paul Williams), The Pussycat Dolls, Tay Zonday, Jim Brickman, Caroline's Spine, Estradasphere, Leftöver Crack (with dramatically different lyrics), Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, The Dresden Dolls, Willie Nelson, Peter Cincotti, Jane Monheit, pop-punk band Fifteen, Lea Salonga, Andy Bernard (played by Ed Helms) in The Office, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, The Loves, Trespassers William and Tara Jane O'Neil. It was sung by Blondie's Debbie Harry in a duet with Kermit on The Muppet Show in 1981 (Season 5) and implied that Kermit is well known for the song in the Muppet universe. Free Wild performs a rendition of the song on their 2010 Spin Dry tour. Also sung by Vonda Shepard in Ally McBeal (Season 2, episode "Angels and Blimps")

In 2007, a new recording of the song appeared on the Klone Records and EQ Music dance album, "Forever Carpenters", a tribute to The Carpenters by singer Jenny Sinclair. The album was essentially a dance remake of Carpenters hits; however, the "Rainbow Connection" is featured as stripped back (piano, strings and vocals only) ballad.[13][14]

"Rainbow Connection" is the title song on Jane Monheit's 2009 album The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me (the album title being a line from "Rainbow Connection"). Prior to this album, Jane Monheit's closing song in her concerts had usually been "Over the Rainbow". In her 2009 tour, she usually closed with "Rainbow Connection" followed by a direct segue into "Over the Rainbow".[15]

Samuel Preston recorded a version on Jim Henson's birthday in 2010 and gave it away free on his Twitter page.[16]

Weezer and Hayley Williams, joined by harpist Allison Allport, recorded the song for the tribute album, Muppets: The Green Album, released in 2011.[17] The cover peaked at No. 23 on Billboard's Rock Digital Songs chart.[18]

Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman (a.k.a. Kiki and Herb) covered this song on the album, "Kiki and Herb Will Die For You - Live at Carnegie Hall" (2004).[citation needed]

In the Yo Gabba Gabba! season 2 episode Weather, Paul Williams himself performs the vocals for the song during the Super Music Friends Show segment.[19]

In 2011, characters from the web series Waterman covered the song.[20]

In 2012, West End performer Meredith Braun recorded "Rainbow Connection" in both English and French ("L'Arc En Ciel") for her debut solo album "Someone Else's Story".

The Muppets as a group sang the song during the climax of the 2011 Muppets film entitled The Muppets. A loose rendition of it was also sung by Fozzie Bear and the "Moopets" in the same film.[21]

During E!'s Countdown to the 84th Academy Awards show, Darren Criss performed the song live with Kermit the Frog.[22]

Andrew Horowitz of Tally Hall recorded a version for his solo album Sketches.[23]

In 2013, Kate Nash recorded a cover of the song for her Daytrotter session.[24]

On May 21, 2015, Ed Sheeran performed the song with Kermit the Frog for Red Nose Day USA 2015.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cater, Darryl. "Muppet Movie Original Soundtrack Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 May 2007. 
  2. ^ Tom Shales. "Kramer vs. Everybody," The Washington Post (DC), April 15, 1980, page B1: "The already forgotten ballad 'It Goes Like It Goes,' from 'Norma Rae,' won the Oscar as best song over competitions that included 'The Rainbow Connection' ..."
  3. ^ Rich Copley. "'The 75th annual Academy Awards' – trophy date on your night with unpredictable Oscar. Will he be a dream—or a dud?", Lexington Herald-Leader (KY), March 21, 2003, Weekender section, page 18: "Sometimes, old baldy leaves us scratching our skulls: ... the 1979 Oscar for best original song goes to It Goes Like It Goes from Norma Rae instead of Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie ..."
  4. ^ "Rainbow Wish Connection". Rainbow Wish Connection. 2010-09-11. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "RC Camp". RC Camp. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  6. ^ Carlisle Graphics - Jeff Carlisle - www.carlislegraphics.com (2012-11-03). "The Rainbow Connection.org". The Rainbow Connection.org. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Rainbow Connection - Suspenders & Ties". Archived from the original on 2005-03-12. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Rainbow Connection Arch". Treetopia.com. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  9. ^ "The Top Movie Songs of All Time" (PDF). 2004. Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "CNN, 1996". Cnn.com. 1996-03-27. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "CASEY KASEM AMERICAN TOP 40 - 10/11/79 (and see also 102779.html, 110379.html, 111079.html, 111779.html, 112479.html, 120179.html, on the same site)". www.oldradioshows.com. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Song "Rainbow connection" by Judy Collins". Youtube.com. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Jenny Sinclair - Forever Carpenters (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "iTunes - Music - Forever Carpenters by Jenny Sinclair". Itunes.apple.com. 2007-11-05. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Video from tour at". Youtube.com. 2010-10-26. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  16. ^ Samuel Preston (November 24, 2010). "this one is for jim http://www.sendspace.com/file/i1gj3u preston-rainbow connection xx". Twitter. Retrieved April 2, 2014. 
  17. ^ Schillaci, Sophie (29 June 2011). "Hayley Williams of Paramore joins 'Muppets: The Green Album'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Trust, Gary. "The Muppets Score First Billboard 200 Top 10". Billboard. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "Paul Williams on Yo Gabba Gabba! - Rainbow Connection". YouTube. 2010-09-09. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  20. ^ Waterman Studios (November 27, 2011). "In honor of The Muppets, Waterman, RoyBot, and Mr. Dillo, recorded their own version of Rainbow Connection!". Twitter. Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  21. ^ Phil Gallo (October 10, 2011). "Exclusive: 'The Muppets' Soundtrack Song List". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Watch Now! Glee Star Darren Criss and Kermit the Frog Duet Before the Oscars". E!. 
  23. ^ "Release "sketches" by edu - MusicBrainz". MusicBrainz. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  24. ^ "Kate Nash 2KHz". Daytrotter. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "Red Nose Day USA on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 

External links[edit]