|Music by||Joe Raposo|
|Lyrics by||Ton Hasebos and Hans Dorrestijn|
|Publisher||Sesame Street, Inc.|
Sesamstraat Theme is the opening theme song of Sesamstraat. The song was originally sung by a chorus of kids.
The song has been remade a number of times over the years not only for the show's opening and closing credits, but also for inserts. One of the earliest and most distinctive versions includes a harmonica solo performed by Toots Thielemans. There were also instrumental versions, and a version sung by Frank and the kids.
The first season used a translation by Ton Hasebos of the original Sesame Street Theme. The original intro sequence featured the Sesame Street Muppets, Pino and Tommie, as presented in cut-out animation (somewhat similar to Monty Python's Flying Circus). This variation of the song also mentioned the two networks which cooperated with the show at the time: NOS (Dutch) and BRT (Belgian).
The second season featured a purely instrumental opening. Half of the lyrics from the original theme (without the mention of the networks from the second half) were re-used again for the third season in 1979. The lyrics were re-written for the fourth season in 1980. The fifth season returned to the instrumental version of the song.
During the 6th season in 1982, the theme was played in F major and the lyrics were altered again, this time, written by Hans Dorrestijn. These included "Laat je speelgoed staan voor Sesamstraat" (put your toys aside for Sesamstraat), implying that watching TV was more important than playing.
A press release brought up a complaint over the theme song in the early 1980s. Children tried to sing along with Frank (who sang the theme for the eighth season), but couldn't reach the high pitch; this led to a key change from F major to C major.
In 1984, the eighth season theme was in C major, and a reggae-style beat was added. This version of the theme remained in use for twenty years until 2004, making it the longest-running version of the theme used on the show. Small modifications to the singers were made to reflect the evolving cast during this time: in 1991 Tommie replaced Frank Groothof, in 1994 Pino and Ieniemienie were added, and starting in 1997 the vocals were recorded by the kids.
For the 27th season in 2004, a salsa version of the song was used. This was replaced in season 28 created an upbeat remix of the theme in D major. The music was remixed 3 years later, and again in 2010, when the song was placed back in C major. In 2013, the lyrics were re-written for the first time since 1982, to remove the line "Laat je speelgoed staan" ("put your toys aside").
Instrumental versions of the theme song were used during the early 1980s as background music or introductions for street scenes. These include the reggae cover recorded by Sly Dunbar on his 1979 album "Sly Wicked and Slick".
The closing theme is a shortened instrumental version of the opening theme. Like the opening, the closing has changed many times throughout the show's run. Most of the closings involved the whole cast waving goodbye to the viewers.
During the first season, a harmonica solo performed by Toots Thielemans plays, unlike the rest of the show's run. (This piece was often used at the beginning of the first street scene of several American Sesame Street episodes from 1969 to 1992.) The original closing sequence would end with an illustration of Cookie, Ernie, Bert and Grover poking out of a curtain with the Sesamstraat sign (with a bit of the sign bitten off by Cookie Monster) and the BRN and NOS logos. (This illustration was also used to close out the show's co-productions in France and Japan.)
For the second and third seasons, a generic music piece was used instead of the theme song, and involved varying closing activities with either one or both of the clown mimes featured on the show at the time.
During season 6, the closing showed the Sesamstraat residents walking home together at night. For season 7, the closing is a pan-out shot of the street, with the lights slowly turning off, as the boy from the opening rides home on his tricycle. Unlike most seasons, the 7th season's ending features a full instrumental version of the opening, as opposed to an instrumental version of the last part of the opening, (which plays twice during the sixth season's ending, due to its length).
Since season 8, almost all endings would have the cast waving goodbye to the viewer. Some endings had the characters waving from a table while enjoying a meal (as shown in seasons 12 and 31-34), while others featured them in bed. (Season 5 had the cast together in a giant bed laid in the street, while for seasons 9-10, three or four different characters were shown sleeping individually in their own homes. Seasons 28-30 also had the characters in their own individual beds laid in the centre of the street, like season 5.)
All versions released are performed by kids, unless otherwise noted.
- Sesamstraat (album) (1976)
- 15 Jaar Sesamstraat (1991)
- Vakantie Favorieten (1993)
- Vrolijk Op Weg (1995)
- Vakantie Pret (1996)
- Zomerkriebels met Bert en Ernie (1997)
- Dance Party (1997)
- Uit Je Bol met Bert en Ernie(1998)
- Dieren (1998)
- Muziek (1998)
- Sesamstraat is Jarig! (2000)
- Feest (2000)
- De Leukste Liedjes uit Sesamstraat (2004)
- Monsters en Andere Enge Dingen (2005)
- Dierendingen (2006)
- Vriendjes Voor Altijd (2007) performed by the Muppets
- Sesame Street Playground (2008)