As we reported earlier, Muppets puppeteer and voice-actor Jerry Nelson has passed away. With a list of voice credits that includes The Count for Sesame Street, Robin the Frog for the Muppets, Gobo Fraggle of Fraggle Rock and Emmet Otter for Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas, I felt compelled to scour Youtube for some of the man's best musical moments in the Muppetverse.
There are numerous musical numbers that feature the late Jerry Nelson's voice. Here are six great ones well worth revisiting...
Sesame Street - The Count sings about counting.
Perhaps the lightest of the selection, the Count is likely to be Nelson's most well known role. The Count's enthusiasm for counting was not only what he was best known for, but it also served to add a bit of educational value to his segments. Because counting can be fun. And you can do it all the time, as the Count often demonstrated. "I'm counting and dancing, and I swear that it's true. if you do the same, you'll be happy too!" Thank you Jerry Nelson, for making counting fun.
Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas - "Brothers"
Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas was a must-watch in my household, each holiday season, and it continues to be, due in large part to the music, not to mention the great little story about family and brotherhood. Nelson voiced the lead role of Emmet in this musical Muppet twist on The Gift of the Magi, playing the part of a young otter who hoped to win a singing contest with the help of his furry pals. Nelson also voiced the parts of Doc Bullfrog, Melissa Rabbit, Stanley Weasel and Yancey Woodchuck, but his voice is best used as the kind-hearted Emmet, who just wanted to buy his Ma a piano.
Fraggle Rock - "Once Upon A Time I Knew My Name"
Of all the Fraggle's, Gobo was sort of the unofficial leader of the group, and also the most adventurous, often inspired by tales sent back to him via postcard from his adventurous Uncle Traveling Matt. He was the one willing to risk being caught by Sprocket the dog every time one of his uncle's postcards arrived. So it's fair to say he had a brave streak in him. But in the above video, he's struggling with his identity, singing, "I know that no one's made of steel. I sometimes think that nothing's real." Deep words for a kids show. And yet another great song sung by Nelson.
The Muppet Christmas Carol - "Bless Us One And All"
As the voice of Robin the Frog - through Robin - Nelson landed the role of Tiny Tim in The Muppet Christmas Carol, and thus, got to sing with Kermit and Piggy in the song that allowed Scrooge to see the true meaning of Christmas. Because, who can resist Tiny Tim? Also as Robin the Frog, he once sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Watch that video here.
The Muppet Show - "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
Floyd Pepper was one cool cat. In fact, he may have been the coolest Muppet voiced by Nelson. And if your name is Pepper and you're dressed like a sergeant, a Beatles cover now and then is probably expected. Originally sung by George Harrison for the White Album, Floyd does "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" justice. The Electric Mayhem simply won't be the same without him.
The Jim Henson Memorial - "When the River Meets the Sea"
Last, but certainly not least, is Jerry Nelson and Louise Gold singing "When the River Meets the Sea" at the Jim Henson Memorial in 1990. The song comes from Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas. It's a great performance, a touching tribute, and a wonderful way to remember Nelson's voice, which brought so much to Jim Henson's world over the decades. He will be missed, but never forgotten.
(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Sesame Workshop, Gil Vaknin)