Having celebrated its fortieth anniversary last year, at which point its awards tally boasted over 100 Emmys and eight Grammys, few would begrudge Sesame Street its iconic status. Along with its colourful cast of puppets, one of the most well known elements of the show is its use of celebrity guests.

Since its premier in 1969, Sesame Street has compiled a visitor’s list comparable to that of any great chat show. From Sarah Jessica Parker to Kofi Anan, the diversity of guests is quite staggering. Actors, musicians, politicians; all were welcome on the paved slabs of Sesame Street. It was the musicians though who tended to have the most impact. Stevie Wonder’s seven-minute jam of his classic, Superstition was a performance even most current, adult-orientated shows would be lucky to get. When you think of all the other names that have appeared, such as Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Paul Simon and B.B. King, you begin to realise Sesame Street’s cultural reach.

By bucking the trend and offering the show’s songwriters full ownership of their songs, the producers effectively gave Sesame Street its timeless soundtrack. As many of the show’s songs have gone on to become classics, those songwriters will have cashed more than their fair share of cheques and it was this innovative attitude that allowed the show to develop and stay with the times. Recently contemporary singer, Feist made an appearance singing a slightly altered version of her hit, “1,2,3,4.” Having reached over four million views on Youtube, it’s testament to Sesame Street’s enduring appeal.

Music is at the centre of most of our lives and, in its theme tune, musical skits and celebrity performances; music is and always has been at the heart of Sesame Street.

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