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Scene from The Muppet Movie
|Song by Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson)|
|from the album The Muppet Movie: Original Soundtrack Recording|
"Rainbow Connection" is a song from the 1979 film The Muppet Movie, with music and lyrics written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher. The song was performed by Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) in the film. "Rainbow Connection" reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979, with the song remaining in the Top 40 for seven weeks total. Williams and Ascher received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song at the 52nd Academy Awards.
Critical reception and legacy
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" and went on to add that "'Rainbow Connection' serves the same purpose in The Muppet Movie that 'Over the Rainbow' served in The Wizard of Oz, with nearly equal effectiveness: an opening establishment of the characters' driving urge for something more in life." The song lost the Oscar to "It Goes Like It Goes" from Norma Rae, a win that some critics decried.
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, a summer camp for seriously ill children, and a horseriding camp for people with disabilities. The name's influence can also be seen from business names to artificial Christmas tree products.
Other renditions in Muppets productions
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 Muppets as the closing number in the 1986 special The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years. Kermit also reprises the song in the 2011 film 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 tribute band "The Moopets" 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 then-current performer of Kermit. The song was also reprised in the TV series The Muppets, in the 2015 episode "Pig's in a Blackout".
The following artists have also covered the song:
- Judy Collins, on the 1980 album Running for My Life
- Mary O'Hara, on the 1980 album The Scent of the Roses
- The Brothers Cazimero, on the 1980 album Waikiki, My Castle By The Sea (sung primarily in Hawaiian)
- Kenny Loggins, on the 1994 album Return to Pooh Corner
- Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, on the 1999 album Are a Drag
- Willie Nelson, on the 2001 album Rainbow Connection
- Sarah McLachlan, for the 2002 compilation album For the Kids
- Peter Cincotti, on his 2003 album Peter Cincotti
- Jason Mraz, for the 2004 compilation album For the Kids Too!
- The Dixie Chicks, for the 2004 compilation album Mary Had a Little Amp
- The Carpenters, on the 2004 compilation album As Time Goes By (an outtake from the 1981 album Made in America)
- Weezer and Hayley Williams, for the 2011 compilation album Muppets: The Green Album
- Jim Brickman, on the 2012 instrumental album Piano Lullabies
- The Yale Whiffenpoofs, in 2013 (released as "Rainbow Connection (Glee Cast Version) - Single" and credited as the Glee Cast)
- Zee Avi, on the 2014 album Nightlight
- Gwen Stefani, for the 2015 compilation album We Love Disney
- Todd Smith, as "El-Creepo!", on the 2016 album Bellissimo!
- Sleeping At Last, on the 2016 album Covers, Vol. 2
- Dan Stevens recorded a version of the song for the official soundtrack of the Legion TV series.
- Julian Velard, from the 2017 album Fancy Words for Failure
- Lisa Loeb, from the 2017 album Lullaby Girl
- "Watch Muppets Sing 'Rainbow Connection' at Hollywood Bowl Concert". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
- "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.
- Kiefer, Halle. "Ryan Murphy Is Still Haunted by The Muppet Movie's Best Song Oscar Loss". Vulture. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
- Cater, Darryl. "Muppet Movie Original Soundtrack Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- 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' ..."
- 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 ..."
- "Rainbow Wish Connection". Rainbow Wish Connection. 2010-09-11. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "RC Camp". RC Camp. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- Carlisle Graphics - Jeff Carlisle - www.carlislegraphics.com (2012-11-03). "The Rainbow Connection.org". The Rainbow Connection.org. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "The Rainbow Connection - Suspenders & Ties". Archived from the original on 2005-03-12. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "The Rainbow Connection Arch". Treetopia.com. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "The Top Movie Songs of All Time" (PDF). 2004. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "CNN, 1996". CNN.com. 1996-03-27. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "Fancy Words For Failure, by Julian Velard". Julian Velard. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
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