|Music by||Joe Raposo|
|Lyrics by||Ton Hasebos and Hans Dorrestijn|
|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.
Unlike the original Sesame Street, nearly every season features a different intro sequence for the Sesamstraat theme song. The first variation (used only for the first season) was a translated version by Ton Hasebos of the original Sesame Street Theme. The original intro sequence that was accompanied, featured stop-motion animated cut-outs of the Sesame Street Muppets, and of course Pino and Tommie. This variation of the song also mentioned the two networks, which cooperated with the show at the time: NOS (Dutch) and BRT (Belgian). (Sesamstraat was later broadcast by only NOS beginning in 1983, NPS from 1994 until 2010, and NTR since 2010.)
Half of the lyrics from the original theme (without the mention of the networks from the second half) were re-used again only for the third season in 1979, while the show later re-altered the lyrics for the fourth season in 1980. The second and fifth seasons (from 1977 and 1981, respectively) only used instrumental arrangements for their intro sequences.
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. 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 for 31 years.
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 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 updated the theme (now reverted back to C major) with a reggae-style beat. It remained in use for twenty years until 2004, making it the longest-running version of the theme used on the show, although it was modified in 1991 (with Tommie singing, instead of Frank), 1994 (again with Tommie, this time, joined by Pino and Ieniemienie), and 1997 (with a synthesized update to the instrumental soundtrack, and sung by the kids who cheer at the beginning).
After the 27th season briefly introduced a salsa version in 2004, season 28 created an upbeat remix of the theme performed in D major. It was remixed again for season 31. This lasted until 2010, when yet again a triumphant-sounding version was reverted back to C major. In 2013, the lyrics were re-altered for the first time since 1982, this time, without the mention of "putting your toys away".
Apart from the intro sequences, instrumental versions of the theme song were used during the early 1980s 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 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 varying-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 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. (A similar 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.
All versions released are performed by kids, unless otherwise noted.
- Sesamstraat (album) (1976)
- 15 Jaar Sesamstraat (1991)
- Vakantie Favorieten (1993)
- Vrolijk Op Weg (1995)
- Vakantiepret (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)