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Sesamstraat Thema

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Music by Joe Raposo
Lyrics by Ton Hasebos and Hans Dorrestijn
Date 1976
Publisher Sesame Street, Inc.

The Sesamstraat Theme is the familiar 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. But there was also a kind of reggae version, instrumental version and mid 80's it was sung by Frank and kids.



The American Sesame Street Muppets pose for the opening sequence of the first season of Sesamstraat from 1976.


Another American Sesame Street Muppets pose for the opening sequence of Sesamstraat's third season from 1979

Every season features a different leader film for the Sesamstraat Tune. The first theme song for Sesamstraat was a translated version by Ton Hasebos of the original Sesame Street Theme. Classically, the opening theme was accompanied by clips of Sesame Street characters, and of course Pino and Tommie.

In the beginning of the show the song mentioned the two networks. In that time NOS (Dutch) and BRT (Belgian) cooperated with the show. When Sesamstraat was only broadcast by NOS (and in 1994 until 2010, NPS, and since 2010, NTR) they changed the lyrics and left the station name out of the song.

For later seasons, a slightly altered version was recorded, with lyrics by Hans Dorrestijn. Despite viewers' complaints about the lyrics "Laat je speelgoed staan voor Sesamstraat" (put your toys aside for Sesamstraat) indicating that watching TV was more important than playing, these lyrics have not been changed since 1982.

A press release states another complaint concerning the theme song in the early 1980's. Children tried to sing along with Frank (who sang the theme at the time), but couldn't reach the high pitch; this led to a key change from F major to C major.

During the early 1980's, instrumental versions of the theme song were used as background music or introductions for street scenes: one of which, with percussions by drummer Sly Dunbar, was released on the CD Sly Wicked and Slick.



The illustrated closing shot, as seen at the end of the closing from 1976-1977

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, the credits were displayed on a colored background. Unlike the rest of the show's run, a harmonica solo performed by Toots Thielemans plays; this piece was often used at the beginning of the first street scene of the American Sesame Street episodes from 1969 to 1992. The original closing 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 at the end of the 1980s closing for the Japanese co-production with the Sesame Street sign and the NHK logo.

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).

During season 8, when Frank did the theme, three different characters would wave goodnight at you one by one in the center of a black background, surrounded by waving hands.

For seasons 12 and 31-34, the closing showed the cast waving goodbye from a table, while enjoying a meal.

There were also three different closings that showed everyone in bed. During season 5, the cast were shown together in one big bed while the visiting kids run back home. For seasons 9-10, three different characters were shown apart from the street and sleeping in their own homes. (Like season 8, each episode showed three different characters.) When season 28 came, the beds were all in the centre of the street.

Season Variations


The cast from the opening sequence of Sesamstraat's first season.


Ernie watches as a Dutch family watches Sesamstraat on Dutch televisions in the first season opening for Sesamstraat.

  • Season 1: The background music of the original Sesame Street theme plays with the kids singing in Dutch
  • Seasons 2 and 5: The theme is instrumental, although season 2 uses dialogue from Tommie and Troel.
  • Season 3: A jazzier version of the theme plays. Starting with this version, only one verse is sung.
  • Season 4: The theme is played in a lower pitch and sung by the human characters. A new set of lyrics is introduced, although they were used for this season only.
  • Seasons 6 and 7: The theme is in F major and sung by a woman. This is the first theme to use the "Laat je speelgoed staan" lyrics.
  • Seasons 8-12, 14: A reggae version of the theme is used and is sung by Frank. The background music for this version would continue to be used until 2004.
  • Season 13: The theme is a few bars longer.
  • Seasons 15-17: The theme is sung by Tommie.
  • Seasons 18-20: Tommie is joined by Pino and Ieniemienie
  • Seasons 21-26: The theme is sung by the kids, who cheer at the beginning. This is the last version of the theme song to use an updated edit of the 1984 background music from season 8. However, for this version, a few instruments are left out and some new ones are added.
  • Season 27: A salsa version of the theme plays in D major.
  • Seasons 28-34: A remix of the theme is played, also in D major.
  • Season 35-37: The theme is reverted back to C major and is slower.
  • Season 38: The theme becomes faster again and slightly alters the lyrics.

Audio releases

All versions released are performed by kids, unless otherwise noted.

External links

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