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The Rainbow Connection

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Written by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher
Date 1979
Publisher Welbeck Music Corporation and Muppet Music Inc. (renewed); Fuzzy Muppet Songs
Rainbow connection finale

The cast of The Muppet Movie sing "The Rainbow Connection" as part of the finale

"The Rainbow Connection" was written for The Muppet Movie and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song in 1979. It is sung by Kermit as the movie's opening number and reprised by the whole cast of Muppets at the end of the movie. The single of this song reached #25 on Billboard's "Hot 100 Singles" chart in 1979.


When Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher started work on their songs for The Muppet Movie, they had a discussion about a film they both loved, Walt Disney's adaptation of Pinocchio. At the beginning of Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket sings "When You Wish Upon a Star," which the pair felt set the mood for the whole picture. This was the inspiration to write something very special for Kermit as well. [1]

Although they had nearly completed the song, they had difficulty coming up with a title until a friend of Williams asked them "What's the problem? You having difficulty finding that rainbow connection between people and their dreams?" They knew at once that they had their title. [1]

In the Music, Mayhem and More! CD booklet, Paul Williams briefly spoke about the creative process that surrounds "The Rainbow Connection" and the movie's finale, as follows:

It's one of two favorite songs I've written in my life, and oddly, they're both from The Muppet Movie. (The other is "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday.") When we started working on the film, Kenny and I and Jim and Jerry Juhl all agreed that we had to establish Kermit's soul from the very beginning. And to do that, he has to ponder some big questions. Kenny and I began to write this song -- the song addresses that inner voice that tells Kermit he can try to do these big things. Then Jerry Juhl did this great thing in the script at the end, when the stage explodes and the end of the rainbow appears -- the actual “rainbow connection.” That's the proof of the whole Muppet philosophy.

Muppet performances

Picture Description
Rainbow connection 1
Kermit in The Muppet Movie (1979).
Kermit and the Muppets in the finale of The Muppet Movie (1979).
Kermit in the Academy Awards ceremony (1980).
Debbie harry rainbow connection
Kermit and Debbie Harry duet in episode 509 of The Muppet Show (1981).
Kermit during the second act of The Muppet Show On Tour (1984).
A ballroom full of Muppets in The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years (1985).
Kermit and Raven-Symoné in The Muppets at Walt Disney World (1990).
Kermit on The Odyssey Channel series, Donna's Day (2000).
Kermit, Paul Williams, and the Muppets in The Muppet Show Live at MuppetFest (2001).
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes in the end credits and over a reel of outakes from Kermit's Swamp Years (2002) (originally featured on their 1999 album Are a Drag).
Kermit on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition with Paul DiMeo on guitar (2006).
Kermit, Pepe the King Prawn and Wilco on the red carpet of the 50th annual Grammy Awards, as seen in a video released on Disney Xtreme Digital.
Kermit at Bernie Brillstein's Memorial Service (2008).[2]
An instrumental version has played in various Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades when the Kermit the Frog balloon appears.
The Muppets at D23 Expo (2009).
Jason Mraz and Elmo on inFANity.
Kermit and Rowlf at D23 Expo (2011).
Fozzie Bear and The Moopets sing a rendition of the song with new lyrics in The Muppets (2011).
Muppets2011Trailer01-1920 45
Kermit, Miss Piggy and the Muppets in The Muppets.
Kermit on The Muppets soundtrack; iTunes exclusive (2011).
Kermit at the Puppeteers of America's 75th annual National Puppetry Festival (2011).
Kermit on promotional tour for Die Muppets with Christoph Krachten on YouTube (2012).[3]
Kermit and Darren Criss at the 2012 Academy Awards preshow on E!
GMA-IMG-2178-JPG 153455-(2012-03-13)
Kermit, Miss Piggy and Walter on a 2012 Good Morning America appearance.

Sung at Jim Henson's Musical World by Paul Williams, Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Scooter, Gonzo, Dr. Teeth, Rowlf the Dog, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Zoot, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, Bob, Gordon, Susan, Leela, Gina, Alan, Maria, Rachel Dratch, Stephanie D'Abruzzo, and John Tartaglia.
Kermit and Miss Piggy lead in singing the song on The Bachelorette (2012).
Kermit, Miss Piggy, Floyd, Pepe, Gonzo, Scooter, Walter, Fozzie, Animal and two chickens at the Just for Laughs festival (2012).

Non-Muppet performances

Muppet Movie poster- Richard Amsel

"The Rainbow Connection" is a main focus in this poster by Richard Amsel for The Muppet Movie.

  • The Carpenters recorded the song in 1980, but it wasn't released until 2004
  • Bob McGrath with Erich Kunzel & Cincinnati Pops Orchestra for the album Young at Heart (1992); McGrath has performed the song for various Canadian Children's telethons since then.
  • Kenny Loggins on his Return to Pooh Corner album (1994)
  • Paul Williams, as Bernard Weeden, at Ginny's funeral in the third season Picket Fences episode "Cold Spell."
  • Vera Lynn on her Thank You For The Music album (1997)
  • Livingston Taylor, as heard over the end credits for an episode of National Arts (1997)
  • Lea Salonga on her Small Voice album (recorded when she was 9 years old, but only released in 1988) and her I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing album (1997)
  • Less Than Jake on Muppets (1997)
  • Vonda Shepard, in the second season Ally McBeal episode "Angels and Blimps" (1999)
  • Willie Nelson on his Rainbow Connection album (2001)
  • Sarah McLachlan on the For the Kids album (2002).
  • Various employers in a commercial for Yahoo HotJobs (2003).
  • Justin Timberlake and "Kermit" (Will Forte) on Saturday Night Live (2003)
  • The Dixie Chicks on the album Mary Had a Little Amp (2004)
  • Jason Mraz performs the song on For the Kids Too (2004)
  • Willie Nelson and Paul Williams on the dual-disc DVD I'm Going Back There Someday (2005)
  • John Michael Higgins & His Symphony of Guys, a cappella version arranged by John Michael Higgins as heard during the ending credits for The Break-Up (2006)
  • Jason Mraz performed the song as a exclusive, now Yahoo! Music, introducing it as "one of [his] favorite songs" (2006) (YouTube)
  • Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) in the third season The Office episode "The Convict" (2006)
  • Jason Mraz and Paul Williams on Mraz's Influences album (2007)
  • Willie Nelsons 2001 version of the song, was used at the end of Las Vegas season 4 episode "The Chicken Is Making My Back Hurt" (2007), when Ed Deline was smashing up a car with a golf club.
  • Paul Williams on the Nickelodeon series, "Yo Gabba Gabba!" (2008)
  • Jane Monheit recorded the song for her album The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me (2009)
  • The Yale Whiffenpoofs have performed the song on multiple occasions, including April 18, 2010 in Kansas City.
  • Paul Williams and the Roots performed it on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (June 15, 2011)
  • Weezer performed it with Hayley Williams of Paramore in The Green Album (2011)

Audio releases

Video releases


Rainbow connection

The Rainbow Connection illustration by Norman Green



"The Rainbow Connection" has been referenced many times, both by Muppets and others:

  • The Muppets at Walt Disney World - Mickey Mouse and Kermit "argue philosophy." Kermit's philosophy is "Someday you'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me."
  • Muppets Tonight, Episode 107 - When Bobo puts the mad bomber on hold, the song that plays is "The Rainbow Connection."
  • Muppets Inside, Rizzo the Rat suggested about making up a song about rainbows connectors but Kermit doesn't like Rizzo's idea because he's stealing his song.
  • Family Guy - In the episode "Fifteen Minutes of Shame," Peter tries to get attention on the Griffins' reality show with a puppet. When the camera starts to pan away from Peter to something more interesting, Peter tries to regain his attention saying, "She's gonna sing Rainbow Connection!"
  • It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie - Kermit passes by a statue erected in his honor, the caption of which reads "For the lovers, the dreamers, and you."
  • Wonderfalls - In the episode "Muffin Buffalo," lead character Jaye is playing Pictionary with her family and her friend Pat. While Jaye's sister draws frantically, Pat shouts out guesses as to what she's drawing: "It's a frog! He's singing! 'Rainbow Connection!'"
  • Nightwing comic book, #135 - Vigilante references "The Rainbow Connection."
  • Saturday Night Live - In a sketch called "Rowlf and the Swedish Chef", Rowlf, as played by Seth Rogen, offers to play "Rainbow Connection."
  • Elmo's World: Skin - At the end, a chameleon asks Elmo if he knows how to play "Rainbow Connection" on his piano.
  • InFANity - Jason Mraz mentions that The Muppet Movie was the first movie he saw. He and Elmo sing the beginning of "The Rainbow Connection."


  • For the opening number, Jim Henson had to perform underwater in a big metal tank with a pump under a pool of water on a film set. Steve Whitmire used a remote-control device to operate Kermit's hand while playing the banjo.
  • On March 20, 1996, The Rainbow Connection was the basis of a bizarre crime in Wanganui, New Zealand. A twenty-one-year-old overly enthusiastic Muppet fan took a radio station manager hostage claiming to have a bomb and demanded to hear the song played nonstop on the air for the next twelve hours. Several buildings were evacuated due to the threat. When it was learned that the man had no bomb, police stormed the station and arrested him. [4]
  • I Love the 70s lists the song as Kermit's favorite.
  • In Jim Henson's childhood hometown of Leland, Mississippi, a local bridge was named "The Rainbow Connection," in his honor on September 24, 2011 (Henson's 75th birthday).


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Muppets Go Hollywood
  2. Hollywood Honcho Bernie Brillstein Remembered
  3. YouTube - Clixoom: Kermit singt mit Christoph: Rainbow Connection (2012-02-13)
  4. CNN report

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