“Sunny day, sweeping the clouds away… on my way to where the air is sweet…”
Can you finish the song?
“Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street.”
It’s probably the earliest memory I have of a song. For many 70s and 80s babies, that was the first exposure they had to a melody beyond Mary Had a Little Lamb, or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
For many people, music tells a story – not just metaphorically, but literally.
Like the smell of Ethel Marcinek’s chocolate chip cookies or the scent of freshly cut grass for a 6:08 tee time at Falcon Lake in Manitoba, for me, music is the nose’s auditory cousin, reminding me of so many of life’s amazing, painful and comforting moments.
For the next several (I don’t know how many) Knowledge Bomb posts, I’m going to take you back to 1974 (or shortly thereafter… when I had lucidity as a child) and let the music that guided me tell the stories of life, the lessons I learned and hopefully open you up to how music has had an impact on you.
This is a project I’ve wanted to do for some time, so I’m excited to get started.
I think back and I try to remember anything before this. But, like I said from the outset, aside from your regular children’s songs, I can’t remember anything that’s stuck with me for 43 years like the jingles from Sesame Street.
Obviously, there’s the opening song. That’s still an iconic song in many people’s minds, coming up from time to time in life whether we like it or not. It’s an earworm that, once it gets in there, it’s tough to shake.
But for me, there are two others that stick with me. And, while there’s no profundity to these tunes, they do speak to the Children’s Television Workshop’s ability to create sticky content for kids.
Here’s the first one. Most of you will remember this one.
You’re lying if you tell me you’re not jigging to this song right now.
EVERY kid knew her or his numbers up to 12 because of this tune. Likely one of my favourite segments in all of Sesame Street. How could it not be? The sheer genius of the music and the cadence of it all makes it sooooo easy to remember.
But, what made this REALLY sticky for me, was the ending part. I still, in my mind, will play out these scenes.
That’s fun stuff. And every kid loves to see some dude in a baker’s hat splash a bunch of desserts all over him. BUT GUESS WHAT? He showed me that he had one wedding cake or two chocolate cream pies. I was learning. (Thanks Alex Stevens for taking all those falls for kids’ learning.)
Arguably, the most memorable in-program jingle aside from the opening is, of course Ernie’s Rubber Ducky song.
What parent didn’t, at some point, use a rubber ducky to help get their kids into the bath? But the beauty of this is that Ernie also talked about the soap to clean his body, the cloth and scrub brush and the towel to wipe himself off.
Kids watching are learning that Ernie is doing it and they learn the mechanics of bathing. And, when parents are struggling to get the kids into the tub, they’re leaning on Ernie and the duck to massage any grumbling about taking a dip.
Again, it’s pretty genius stuff.
(Don’t let me get into the CTW’s Electric Company – I love that song. Heeeeyyyy yoooouuuuu guuuuuyyyyyssss!)
So, what’s the first song you remember?
We all have songs that we remember for certain reasons when we were first kids. For me it was the Sesame Street songs. What was it for you? Please share in the comments section.
Can’t wait to hear what you remember from your childhood!