|Written by||Johann Strauss II|
"The Blue Danube" is the popular name for "By the Beautiful Blue Danube," also known as "the Blue Danube Waltz". Although the piece by Johann Strauss, Jr. (as what would become categorized as his opus #314) was originally meant to have been accompanied by lyrics, the composer favored the orchestral version. It stands in this form as one of the most popular pieces of classical music today; and is often known for it's use in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The song was performed in episode 124 of The Muppet Show with Zelda Rose as a librarian who conducts a group of noisy patrons (Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Hilda, Nigel, and Wayne and Wanda) as they cough, rustle paper and chew gum to the tune of "The Blue Danube." The sketch was later marketed on its own as the Muppet Meeting Film "Teamwork in Action".
On Sesame Street, Madame Schwartzhead sings about front and back to this song. The song is also featured on the Sesame Street album, Elmo and the Orchestra. In Music Works Wonders, Big Bird, a duck, and a chicken make bird noises to the tune of "The Blue Danube." Later, Telly joins in with his triangle instrument, Rosita uses her feet to stomp, and Hoots the Owl plays his saxophone to the tune. It was also performed by Béla Fleck as a "concerto for banjo and two chickens". (EKA: Episode 4003)
Gonzo conducted a chorus of chickens (including Jon Voight) in clucking "The Blue Danube" for The Muppet Show Live in 2001. The song was again performed by a group of musical chickens in a 2008 a viral video under the title "Classical Chickens." The video was posted on various websites (including MySpace, YouTube, Vimeo, and others) and was said to be posted by Gonzo himself using such usernames as thegreatgonzo, weirdowhatever and bluenosedgeek.