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"Rainbow Connection" is a popular song written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher and originally performed by Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) in The Muppet Movie in 1979. By extension, as evidenced in the TV special, The Muppets at Walt Disney World, the song has come to epitomize the ideals and artistic spirit of Henson and his company as much as "When You Wish Upon a Star" represents Walt Disney and his company.

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Chart success

Kermit's version of "Rainbow Connection" reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979; the song remained in the Top 40 for seven weeks total.

Critical reception and legacy

Kenny Ascher and Paul Williams received Oscar nominations at the 52nd Academy Awards for the movie score and for "Rainbow Connection", which Allmusic describes as an "unlikely radio hit ... which Kermit the Frog sings with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short green Judy Garland."[1] and goes on to add that "'Rainbow Connection' serves the same purpose in The Muppet Movie that 'Over the Rainbow' serves in The Wizard of Oz, with nearly equal effectiveness: an opening establishment of the characters' driving urge for something more in life."[1] The song was also nominated for the Golden Globes for "Best Original Song" in 1979, losing both Oscar and Globe to "It Goes Like It Goes" from Norma Rae, a win that some critics decried.[2][3]

The popular song's name has been used by a number of charitable organizations wishing to evoke its message, including a children's charity similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation,[4] a summer camp for seriously ill children,[5] and a horseback riding camp for people with disabilities.[6]

American Film Institute named "Rainbow Connection" the 74th greatest movie song of all time in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs.

Cover versions

A version of "Rainbow Connection" was recorded by The Carpenters in 1979 during a hiatus after the release of the album Christmas Portrait, and packed away in a box labeled "Only Yesterday,. It was not uncovered until 1995, when it was remixed and remastered for the release of the album As Time Goes By. The song charted at #47 in Japan in 2001.

Other artists to cover the song include Sarah McLachlan, DAT Politics, Aaron Lewis, Kenny Loggins, The Dixie Chicks, Justin Timberlake, Kiki and Herb, Jason Mraz, The Pussycat Dolls, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Tay Zonday, Jim Brickman, Caroline's Spine, Estradasphere, Leftöver Crack (with dramatically different lyrics), The Dresden Dolls, Willie Nelson (who is quite often incorrectly credited with penning the song), Peter Cincotti, Jane Monheit, pop-punk band Fifteen, Lea Salonga, Andy Bernard (played by Ed Helms) in The Office, and The Loves. It was sung by Blondie's Debbie Harry in a duet with Kermit on the Muppet Show in 1981 (Season 5). Rock band Weezer is recording the song for the Muppets Remastered soundtrack with an appearance by Paramore's Hayley Williams.

It is the title song on Jane Monheit's 2009 album The Lovers, the Dreamers, and Me (the album title being a line from The Rainbow Connection). Prior to this album, Jane Monheit's closing song in her concerts had usually been Over the Rainbow. In her 2009 tour, she usually closed with The Rainbow Connection followed by a direct segue into Over the Rainbow.

Trivia

On March 22, 1996 a young man briefly held a New Zealand radio station hostage. One of his key demands was that the station play "The Rainbow Connection".[7]

On Televison

In the The Office episode, "The Convict", Andy Bernard serenades Pam Beesly with a high-pitched (partially Pig Latin) version of the song with banjo accompaniment.

In the episode "Cold Spell" of the Series Picket Fences (first aired October 28, 1994), Paul Williams appeared in a guest role and performed his own song.

In the made for TV movie It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie Kermit comes across a statue of himself in the park. The statue's plaque has the words "THANK YOU KERMIT" FROM THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD. "...FOR THE LOVERS, THE DREAMERS, AND YOU." - a section of the lyrics from the reprise of "Rainbow Connection" at the end of The Muppet Movie.

In 2002, a Japanese Television show entitled “Love Love Love” used “The Carpenters” version of the song as their opening song.[8]

In the Yo Gabba Gabba! season 2 episode "Weather" (October 20, 2008) Paul Williams performed "Rainbow Connection" during the Super Music Friends Show segment of the show.

References

  1. ^ a b Cater, Darryl. "Muppet Movie Original Soundtrack Review". Allmusic. http://www.allmusicguide.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:hnfixqwgldke. Retrieved 2007-05-09.  
  2. ^ Tom Shales. "Kramer vs. Everybody," The Washington Post (DC), April 15, 1980, page B1: "The already forgotten ballad 'It Goes Like It Goes,' from 'Norma Rae,' won the Oscar as best song over competitions that included 'The Rainbow Connection' ..."
  3. ^ Rich Copley. "'The 75th annual Academy Awards' - trophy date on your night with unpredictable Oscar. Will he be a dream -- or a dud?", Lexington Herald-Leader (KY), March 21, 2003, Weekender section, page 18: "Sometimes, old baldy leaves us scratching our skulls: ... the 1979 Oscar for best original song goes to It Goes Like It Goes from Norma Rae instead of Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie ..."
  4. ^ Rainbow Wish Connection
  5. ^ RC Camp
  6. ^ The Rainbow Connection.org
  7. ^ "CNN World Fringe". http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/fringe/9603/03-27/index.html.  
  8. ^ [1], U.S. Nippon article on the Show..

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