Cover to the single, "Sing"
|Single by Carpenters|
|from the album Now & Then|
|Released||January 13, 1973|
|Genre||Children's music, pop|
|Length||2:54 + 3:18|
|Carpenters singles chronology|
|Now & Then track listing|
"Sing" is a 1971 song written by Joe Raposo for the children's television show Sesame Street. In 1973, it gained popularity when performed by the Carpenters, who made it a #3 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
Raposo was one of the staff songwriters on Sesame Street, and the song became one of the most popular on the program, sung in English, Spanish, and sign language. In its initial appearance, it was sung by adult human cast members of the show (the most frequent lead singer was Bob McGrath) and Muppets, including Big Bird.
Barbra Streisand's 1972 version of the song was released as a single, reaching number 28 on the Easy Listening chart and number 94 on the Billboard Hot 100. Many other versions of it have since been recorded by a variety of artists including Trini Lopez who recorded a Spanish language version in 1972 which appeared on his album, "Viva" (1972).
Although Barbra Streisand had an Easy Listening hit in 1972 with "Sing", Karen and Richard Carpenter heard the song for the first time as guests on ABC television special Robert Young with the Young in 1973. They loved it and felt it could be a hit. It acted as their debut single from the LP album Now & Then, released in 1973. It reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number-one on the easy listening chart, and it became the group's seventh gold single.
Their recording of the song was produced and arranged by Richard, and engineered by Ray Gerhardt. The lead vocal was sung by Karen, with backing vocals by her, Richard, and the Jimmy Joyce Children's Choir. Keyboards were by Richard, bass by Joe Osborn, drums by Karen, and recorders by Tom Scott.
In 1974 while touring Japan, the Carpenters recorded their first live album in Osaka. It contained a new version of the song with the children's chorus sung by the Kyoto Children's Choir. It is featured on the album Live in Japan which was recorded in June 1974 and released in Japan only on March 7, 1975. The album has since been released on CD.
The 1991 box set From the Top contains a "Spanglish" version of the song. The title is listed as "Canta/Sing", and is sung with the Spanish and English versions switching off between certain lines.
An additional recording and remix of the Carpenters' version was done in 1994, that time with sound engineer Roger Young.
Lily Tomlin sang and signed the song to a group of deaf children on Sesame Street in 1975. The same year, she played the mother of two deaf children in Robert Altman's film Nashville; they sang the song in the film. In 1976, on the eleventh episode of The Muppet Show, guest Lena Horne sang it. Later, Alaina Reed (as Olivia) sang it, while Linda (Linda Bove) signed the lyrics. After the hurricane struck Sesame Street in 2001, Big Bird sang it in celebration of his nest being rebuilt.
As an iconic Sesame Street song, the song was used to close many of the show's anniversary specials, including Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting, Sesame Street's All-Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Street Forever, Sesame Street: Unpaved, and Sesame Street's 25th Birthday: A Musical Celebration. It was used for the title of the 1990 documentary that eulogized Raposo, Sing! Sesame Street Remembers Joe Raposo and His Music.
The song was also used in animated segments. One segment involved Suzie Kabloozie (voiced by Ruth Buzzi) and her cat, Feff. Another involved Cab Callowmouse (parody of Cab Calloway), singing in an art museum as part of a medley. The other one featured a clay/sand animation segment of animals.
In 2000, various celebrities sang the song, including, Nathan Lane, Denyce Graves, Gloria Estefan, Patti LaBelle, Ben Stiller, Maya Angelou, Fran Drescher, Garth Brooks, Doug E. Doug, Vanessa Williams, R.E.M., Rosemary Clooney, and Conan O'Brien. A year before the celebrity edition of the song was released, Graves sang the song all by herself with the help of some penguins.
The original and subsequent Sesame Street recordings were released on Sesame Street Concert/On Stage - Live! (1973), Sing the Hit Songs of Sesame Street (1974), Bert & Ernie Sing-Along (1975), Sesame Street Silver - 10th Anniversary Album (1978), Sesame Street Disco (1979), Sing: Songs of Joe Raposo (1992), Sesame Street Platinum: All Time Favorites (1995), The Bird Is the Word - Big Bird's Favorite Songs, Songs from the Street: 35 Years of Music (2003), and The Best of Elmo. A Spanish version was included in Fiesta Songs! (1998).