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09 April 2010

Ray Charles & The Muppets 1975 - 1996 (Part 2)

(For part 1 of this article, see this).

In 1989 (aired by NBC on 7 April 1989) Ray Charles again performed It Ain’t Easy Being Green, now with a chorus of lesser known Muppets (including Elmo when he was still in background character mode) on the TV special Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting, hosted by Bill Cosby.
This version was released under the title Bein' Green on the album Sing: Songs of Joe Raposo (Golden Music 5684, 1992). For Ray's first tv version, performed on the Cher show from 1975, see this.
This set photo appears to be from 1989, but I haven't
seen the sketch or song that was performed here.
'89 TV Sesame - It Ain't Easy Being Green (with Muppets chorus):


In 1990 (aired by CBS on 21 November 21) Ray appeared in The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson. This one-hour special, "a tribute to the man and his imagination", celebrated the life and career of Jim Henson. The retrospective includes appearances by celebrity guests, including Ray, and a variety of clips from Henson's television and film work, and behind-the-scenes footage of Henson working with his creative team.

Here's the complete Celebrate show. Ray delivers a testimonial about Henson and Being Green. Before seeing him perform the song with the Muppets choir, his rendition is cross-edited with behind-the-scene footage of Henson, with a few famous guests (is that the Ray from 1975?):


In 1991 Ray appeared in the Sesame Street music video for Monster In The Mirror, a Sesame Street tune sung by Grover. In this song, Grover wakes up one morning and sees a monster in his mirror. Instead of being scared, he sings, "Wubba wubba wubba wubba, woo woo woo”. In Season 22, the song was re-edited to include cameos by celebrities who had appeared on the show that year, including Ray, María Conchita Alonso, Candice Bergen, Chubby Checker, Glenn Close, Tyne Daly, Geena Davis, Bo Diddley, Roger Ebert, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Goldblum, Bo Jackson, Kadeem Hardison, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Kid 'n Play, Robert MacNeil, Lou Diamond Phillips, Julia Roberts, Gene Siskel, Jeff Smith, Tracey Ullman, Blair Underwood, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Robin Williams and the cast of The Simpsons. Watch the video here.
The Monster Song was also part of the rare Sesame Street TV special from 1991 celebrating Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake. Watch it here.

Ray sang Believe In Yourself in episode 3491, aired on April 15, 1996. It's a Sesame Street song of encouragement. The central message of the song is that you can be or do anything you want if you just believe in yourself. Even when other people doubt you can do something, or say you are crazy, you should believe in yourself and not get too scared to try. The song has also been performed by Luis, Jelani, the Neville Brothers, *NSYNC, Diana Ross, Ray, the Sesame Street cast, and as a trio between Bob, Gordon, and Susan.
On the DVD The Best of Elmo 2, for some reason, Elmo's singing was redubbed (Sesame Street, 4 May 2010, ASIN: B003AQTJKS).
The song has also been performed by Luis, Jelani, the Neville Brothers, *NSYNC, Diana Ross, the Sesame Street cast, and a trio between Bob, Gordon, and Susan.



During the same session Ray contributed to a 'multi-celebrity' edit of The Alphabet Song.

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