Muppet Wiki
Big bird alphabet signs.jpg
Music by Joe Raposo
Lyrics by Jon Stone and Joe Raposo
Date 1970
Publisher Instructional Children's Music Inc.
Jonico Music Inc.
First Episode 0096

"ABC-DEF-GHI" is a Sesame Street song sung by Big Bird, which was first performed in the show's first season and re-recorded several times. In skits featuring this song, Big Bird sees the alphabet (often, written on a board or a sign) and interprets it as a long word that he doesn't understand. He sings it aloud, pronouncing it "ab-ca-def-gi-jeckle-mi-nop-kwer-stoov-wix-iz," attempting to decipher whatever meaning this word may have. He is eventually reassured by the adults that "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ" is not a word but the alphabet.


Image Year Description
1970 Sesame Street (First: Episode 0096)

Big Bird learns words by reading signs all over Sesame Street, and points Susan to a sign in the arbor, segueing into the song.

1970 The Sesame Street Book & Record

Sung by Big Bird, the opening and closing dialogue with Gordon and Susan is omitted on most subsequent album releases.

1970 The Flip Wilson Show

Big Bird sings the song and dances with Flip Wilson, who tells him that the word can mean anything he wants it to mean.

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1970 Sesame Street Episode 0133

In Gordon and Susan's apartment, Big Bird stumbles into the kitchen and ruins Gordon's peanut butter and jelly making music groove. He shows off a card he found with the alphabet on it and sings the song.

Boston Pops 1971 02.jpg
1971 Evening at Pops

Big Bird performs the song with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.

1971 Sesame Street Episode 0298

Big Bird sings the song after having written the alphabet on a blackboard, claiming it to be a word.

1972 Sesame Street Episode 0402

When Susan asks some kids about the longest words they know, Big Bird responds by singing the song.

1972 Sesame Street (First: Episode 0436)

The song is retaped with Big Bird reading the alphabet signs plastered around his nest area. This version uses audio from The Sesame Street Book & Record. Excerpts of this version are seen in the specials Sesame Street Unpaved and A&E Biography: Sesame Street

1974 You Will Be My Music

The song was covered by the Boston Pops, conducted by Arthur Fiedler. This performance was later included on Wish Upon a Star: All-Time Children's Favorites (1996).

1975 Sesame Street (First: Episode 0793)

An instrumental version of the song is used for an Ice Follies sketch in which Big Bird does a solo dance on the ice.

1980 Sesame Street Episode 1446

In a classroom, Big Bird reads out the alphabet banner and tries to guess what it means. Audio from the original first season recording is used when Big Bird performs the song.

1983 Sesame Street Live - Around the World

Performed by Big Bird

1986 Favorite Songs From Jim Henson's Muppets

A new recording of the song, sung by Big Bird, performed in a different key and with synth percussion instruments.

1987 Sesame Street (First: Episode 2266)

The song is retaped again with Big Bird and two kids, Erica and Jessica, finding a scroll of the alphabet in his toy chest, which leads to a flashback sequence of him singing the song. The prologue is often removed on video releases.

1987 Big Bird and the ABCs (Sesame Street Live)

Sung by Tee Hee and Big Bird.

Big bird abcs 8.jpg
1988 Big Bird & the ABCs

Sung by Big Bird.

1989 Sesame Street Episode 2616

Sung by Elmo.

1996 Sesame Street Episode 3457

Bird impressionist Michael Tweeter (Michael Jeter) does an impression of Big Bird by lip-syncing to the first verse of the 1987 recording.

Elmopalooza - ABCDEFGHI.jpg
1998 Elmopalooza

Sung by Big Bird, as part of the "Songs" medley.

2000 Sesame Street Episode 3875

Sung by Stinky the Stinkweed and Big Bird.

2003 Sesame Street Episode 4031

Big Bird sings the song as part of "Karaoke Night at Hooper's," hosted by Alan.

2000s Plaza Sรฉsamo

Abelardo Montoya sings the song after seeing Manuel and Daniela make some letters.

2019 YouTube

An animated lyric video, using the recording from The Sesame Street Book & Record, was published on the show's YouTube channel in March 2019. The video features an animated cameo by Caroll Spinney. (YouTube)

2019 Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration

Sung by Big Bird and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a part of a medley

2020 The Sesame Street Podcast with Foley & Friends: Episode One: ABCs

Big Bird sings the first verse of the song in the episode.


See also