The Carpenters’ first single from Now & Then, “Sing,” reached #3 on the Billboard chart — not a bad performance considering their label and management expected it to tank. Karen and Richard Carpenter had predicted the song would be a hit the first time they heard it.
It was written by Joe Raposo, a staff writer for the Children’s Television Workshop — the public television organization that produced Sesame Street. Raposo and his frequent collaborator Jefferey Moss are often cited here on the Hymie’s blog as a primary influence on our musical taste.
Sesame Street made several surprise appearances on the Billboard chart, starting with “Rubber Duckey” in 1970 — credited to “Ernie (Jim Henson),” the song reached #16 — losing the Best Children’s Recording Grammy to the album from which it came, The Sesame Street Book and Record.
Sesame Street originally released the albums through Columbia Records, but soon saw the potential in creating their own imprint — Sesame Street Records eventually produced dozens of titles, focusing on specific themes or characters (ie, Let Your Feeling Show or The Count Counts). Each Sesame Street album, like their books, contained a message about their mission:
With this record, Sesame Street is only as far away as your record player. Now your child can visit his Sesame Street friends at any time of the day and discover the same combination of entertainment and education found on our television programs.
Children familiar with the Sesame Street characters will delight in hearing their favorites again and again. But even those who have never watched the show will be able to enjoy, and learn from this album.
Workshop revenues from this project will be used to support the continuing production of Sesame Street.
We have already posted some of our favorite Sesame Street titles, including My Name is Roosevelt Franklin and Grover Sings the Blues. We have also posted this next album, which surprised the recording industry by reaching #74 on the Billboard Album Chart in 1977.
Sesame Street Fever features Robin Gibb (“courtesy of his children, Melissa and Spencer Gibb) and some pretty good disco. It was probably inspired by the popularity of “Cookie Disco,” a single released earlier the same year with a hilarious sleeve picturing Cookie Monster decked out like George Clinton.