Beyond ‘Rubber Duck’ — A ‘Sesame Street’ Deep-Cut Playlist

Beyond ‘Rubber Duck’ — A ‘Sesame Street’ Deep-Cut Playlist

- in Ages & Stages, Featured, Parenting

Sesame Street is a minor miracle. It’s an educational show that children like and parents can stand (depending on one’s Elmo tolerance.)

Moreover, its music doesn’t suck. You can play it in the car and not want to drive into the divider.

But what can you do when “Rubber Duck” and “‘C’ is for Cookie” have worn out their welcome?

You come to me for the deep cuts.

So here’s my playlist. I hope you and your kids enjoy it, and please let me know what I missed in the comments.

By the way, I’ve attached hyperlinks so you don’t have to waste time searching for songs. Fortunately, Sesame Street keeps its YouTube channel well stocked, and most of these songs can be downloaded or streamed for free using Freegal and your library card.

  • Disclaimer: My day job is at Mentor Public Library; so, most of the time, I’ll tell you how you can get what you want for free with a library card.
  1. “African Alphabet” with Kermit the Frog & Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Sesame Street has 400,000 alphabet songs. They’re nice variations when you get tired of the standard “Twinkle Twinkle” variety. This one has a nice tune, a neat mnemonic device where each letter is paired with an image from the African countryside, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo doing what Ladysmith Black Mambazo do. (YouTube) (Freegal)

Speaking of alphabet songs, check out Patti LaBelle’s Sesame Street appearance. She takes the alphabet to church!

  1. “A World Without Music” by Jose Feliciano

You might only know Feliciano for “Feliz Navidad.” That’s a shame, because that man makes magic with his guitar. Here, he tells a group of kids what the world would miss without music. (Freegal)

  1. “Little Things” by Tony Bennett

The shortest bridge from Elmo to the Rat Pack. Bennett treats the Sesame Street standard like a nightclub classic. (Freegal) (YouTube)

  1. “Wonder Child” by Helen Reddy

A pretty song about seeing life through the eyes of the child. The Reddy version may be lovely, but the Richie Havens cover is mystic. (Freegal)

  1. “1-2-3 Sesame Street” by Stevie Wonder

Wonder appeared on Sesame Street in 1973 during the peak of his powers. (Seriously, dude could sneeze and win Album of the Year for it.) He cast off this ditty and it was the fonkiest thing to hit Sesame Street since Oscar’s trash can. (Freegal) (YouTube)

  1. “Nasty Dan” by Johnny Cash

Oscar thought he was the grouchiest, but Cash reminds him that there are levels to this. (Freegal) (YouTube)

  1. “But I Like You” by Bert & Ernie

No celebrity guests. Just two best friends celebrating their differences. (Freegal)

  1. “Healthy Food” by Cookie Monster

You’re favorite sugar addict reps fruits and veggies while channeling his inner Reverend Run. (Freegal) (YouTube)

  1. “My Name Is David” by David, Susan, Luis & Bob

The humans in the Sesame Street cast get some love. (Lest we forget that Northern Calloway could sang.) (Freegal)

  1. “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon” by Ernie

I thought about listing the Aaron Neville version, but honestly Jim Henson’s original is perfect as is. (Freegal) (YouTube)

  1. “It Feels Good When You Sing a Song” by Hoots and John Legend

The closest thing in the Sesame Street discography to a soul barnburner (non-Patti Labelle division.) The official YouTube channel only offers the John Legend version, but it only takes a couple of keystrokes to find the superior original with Olivia and David. (YouTube)

  1. “One Small Voice” by Hoots, Prairie Dawn & the Sesame Street kids

This song is insufferable before you have kids. After they’re born, it’s tear-rending. (Freegal)

You can tweet me the song I forgot to include @jasonmarklea.

About the author

Jason Lea has a son, daughter, and a full-time job at the Mentor Public Library. He also blogs for Northeast Ohio Parent in his nonexistent free time. You can find this East-sider on Twitter at @jasonmarklea or read his blog at

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