Sing (Sesame Street song)
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Cover to the single, "Sing"
|Single by Carpenters|
|from the album Now & Then|
|Released||January 13, 1973|
|Carpenters singles chronology|
|Now & Then track listing|
"Sing" is a 1971 song written by Joe Raposo for the children's television show Sesame Street as its signature song. In 1973, it gained popularity when performed by the Carpenters, who made it a #3 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
Raposo was one of the staff songwriters on Sesame Street, and the song became one of the most popular on the program, sung in English, Spanish, and sign language. In its initial appearance, it was sung by adult human cast members of the show (the most frequent lead singer was Bob McGrath) and Muppets, including Big Bird.
Barbra Streisand's 1972 version of the song was released as a single, reaching number 28 on the Easy Listening chart and number 94 on the Billboard Hot 100. Many other versions of it have since been recorded by a variety of artists, including Trini Lopez, who recorded a Spanish-language version in 1972 which appeared on his album, "Viva" (1972).
Background of The Carpenters version
Although Barbra Streisand had an Easy Listening hit in 1972 with "Sing", Karen and Richard Carpenter heard the song for the first time as guests on ABC television special Robert Young with the Young in 1973. They loved it and felt it could be a hit. It acted as their debut single from the LP album Now & Then, released in 1973. It reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number-one on the easy listening chart, and it became the group's seventh gold single.
Their recording of the song was produced and arranged by Richard, and engineered by Ray Gerhardt. The lead vocal was sung by Karen, with backing vocals by her, Richard, and the Jimmy Joyce Children's Choir. Keyboards were by Richard, bass by Joe Osborn, drums by Karen, and recorders by Tom Scott.
In 1974 while touring Japan, the Carpenters recorded their first live album in Osaka. It contained a new version of the song with the children's chorus sung by the Kyoto Children's Choir. It is featured on the album Live in Japan which was recorded in June 1974 and released in Japan only on March 7, 1975. The album has since been released on CD.
The 1991 box set From the Top contains a "Spanglish" version of the song. The title is listed as "Canta/Sing", and is sung with the Spanish and English versions switching off between certain lines.
An additional recording and remix of the Carpenters' version was done in 1994, that time with sound engineer Roger Young.
Subsequent Sesame Street versions
Lily Tomlin sang and signed the song to a group of deaf children on Sesame Street in 1975. The same year, she played the mother of two deaf children in Robert Altman's film Nashville; they sang the song in the film. In 1976, on the eleventh episode of The Muppet Show, guest Lena Horne sang it. Later, Alaina Reed (as Olivia) sang it, while Linda (Linda Bove) signed the lyrics. After the hurricane struck Sesame Street in 2001, Big Bird sang it in celebration of his nest being rebuilt.
As an iconic Sesame Street song, the song was used to close in a few episodes and many of the show's specials, including Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting, Sesame Street's All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever, Sesame Street: Unpaved, Sesame Street's 25th Birthday: A Musical Celebration, Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration, and Elmo's Playdate. It was used for the title of the 1990 documentary that eulogized Raposo, Sing! Sesame Street Remembers Joe Raposo and His Music.
The song was also used in animated segments. One segment involved Suzie Kabloozie (voiced by Ruth Buzzi) and her cat, Feff. Another involved Cab Callowmouse (parody of Cab Calloway), singing in an art museum as part of a medley. The other one featured a clay/sand animation segment of animals.
In 2000, various celebrities sang the song, including, Nathan Lane, Denyce Graves, Gloria Estefan, Patti LaBelle, Ben Stiller, Maya Angelou, Fran Drescher, Garth Brooks, Doug E. Doug, Vanessa Williams, R.E.M., Rosemary Clooney, and Conan O'Brien. A year before the celebrity edition of the song was released, Graves sang the song all by herself with the help of some penguins.
The original and subsequent Sesame Street recordings were released on Sesame Street Concert/On Stage – Live! (1973), Sing the Hit Songs of Sesame Street (1974), Bert & Ernie Sing-Along (1975), Sesame Street Silver – 10th Anniversary Album (1978), Sesame Street Disco (1979), Sing: Songs of Joe Raposo (1992), Sesame Street Platinum: All Time Favorites (1995), The Bird Is the Word – Big Bird's Favorite Songs, Songs from the Street: 35 Years of Music (2003), and The Best of Elmo. A Spanish version was included in Fiesta Songs! (1998).
- Karen Carpenter – lead and backing vocals, drums
- Richard Carpenter – backing vocals, piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, celesta, orchestration
- Joe Osborn – bass
- Tom Scott – recorders
- The Jimmy Joyce Children's Choir – backing vocals
- Doug Strawn - triangle, tambourine
- In 1972 Barbra Streisand had a single release of "Make Your Own Kind of Music" in a medley with "Sing" which became an Easy Listening hit (#28) but only reached #94 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- In 1973, Julie Andrews and Perry Como sang the song in a medley as part of the television special "Julie on Sesame Street."
- In 1974, Sammy Davis Jr. recorded it as a single for MGM.
- In 1975, Shirley Bassey recorded the song on her album Good, Bad but Beautiful, and also performed it in concert several times in the 1970s.
- In 1975, Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire recorded the song for their album A Couple of Song and Dance Men.
- In 1976, Donnie Harper and the Voices of Tomorrow performed a Gospel cover of the song on episode 13 of season 2 of Saturday Night Live.
- In 1977, Christopher Knight performed the song with a puppet named Collette on an episode of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.
- In 1981, the song was included in Lea Salonga's first album, Small Voice, recorded when she was nine years old.
- In 1989, Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett sang the song in a medley as part of their "Julie & Carol: Together Again" concert at Carnegie Hall.
- In 1996, Dutch group Nakatomi produced a happy hardcore version of this song.
- The Dixie Chicks once recorded a version of this song, and in 2000, there was also an all-celebrity version, featuring such celebrities as R.E.M., Conan O'Brien, Ben Stiller, and, again, The Dixie Chicks.
- In 2002, Ivy sang a version of this song on the For the Kids compilation album.
- The cast of That '70s Show sings the song in the opening of the season four episode, "That ‘70s Musical." Airing on April 30, 2002, it was the series’ 100th episode.
- In 2003, Benny Green and Russell Malone recorded a jazz duo version of this song on their album Live at the Bistro
- In 2008, Kristin Chenoweth covered this song with new additional holiday lyrics on her latest Christmas album, A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas.
- In the mid-1990s, American power band Autumn Teen Sound often played the song live.
- In 2009, Pink Martini included an English- and Spanish-language version of the song on their album Splendor in the Grass.
- MoccA, Indonesian story-telling pop band, covered the song on their album Colours.
- In 2009, the song was featured in the anime film Mai Mai Miracle.
- In 2010, the song was prominently featured in the video game Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.
- In 2012, Lea Salonga recorded another version of this song for her Inspired album.
- In 2013, it was one of many songs Japanese singer Rie fu included on her cover album, Rie fu sings The Carpenters.
- In May 2016, the Canadian-Chilean songwriter Cristian Rosemary wrote a French version of this song for his SING PROYECT.
- Carpenters version
- Review of "Sing" on allmusic
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