Secrets of ‘Sesame Street’ Songwriting (Featuring Usher) | NYT

  • Published: 27 September 2019
  • “Sesame Street” has been teaching the ABC’s for 50 years with music. Elmo, Usher and the writing team tell us how they create some of the best-known songs in educational media.

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Comments • 65

  • Shane O'Neill
    Shane O'Neill  2 months back

    Hello! I'm Shane! I produced and edited this video with a bunch of other people at The Times! Thanks for watching!

    Also check out this article by my colleague Melena Ryzik for more info about Sesame Street and how we made this video:

    • Shane O'Neill
      Shane O'Neill  1 months back

      @That Niki Life HEY THANKS!! :D :D :D

    • That Niki Life
      That Niki Life  1 months back

      Well u did an awesome job my friend! Its just such a feel good video.. Brings back memories, makes new memories.. It's an incredible thing and I'm so glad u chose to do this!

  • Elizabeth Hall
    Elizabeth Hall  3 days back

    wait hold on, what is Kermit from the Muppets doing here? Am I missing something? like bro he ain't from sesame street

    • Kylefassbinderful
      Kylefassbinderful  4 weeks back

      Ya gotta put down the ducky if ya wanna play the saxophone

      • £nv¥{KZ}
        £nv¥{KZ}  1 months back

        This would make a great children's show

        • Crushi .Music, Art & Love.

          I would be proud to work with Sesame Street! 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜 🖤

          • Crushi .Music, Art & Love.

            Beautiful! Thank you for making and sharing. 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜 🖤

            • Yes Idid
              Yes Idid  1 months back

              Emily from DP needs to be put on suspension until she's watched an episode 😂

              • debbalt
                debbalt  2 weeks back

                Even if she's never seen an episode, I bet a "Tickle-me-Elmo" commercial was on Nickelodeon lol

            • Marco Molito
              Marco Molito  1 months back

              Anyone surprised the NYT readers watch sesame Street

              • Shane O'Neill
                Shane O'Neill  1 months back

                I suspect there *is* quite a bit of overlap :D

            • April Taylor
              April Taylor  1 months back

              We still love Sesame Street, my sons ausitic and loves Elmo! He’s almost twenty and still plays with Elmo! Keep up the great work guys! Our future generations need to see Sesame Street!

              • April Taylor
                April Taylor  1 months back

                Shane O'Neill yes Elmo will always be around!

              • Shane O'Neill
                Shane O'Neill  1 months back

                @April Taylor Yes! I learned while making this that while Elmo remembers everything that has happened to him on the show, he always remains 3 and a half years old :D Also the design of's so simple and so effective. One of life's happy mysteries, I guess :)

              • April Taylor
                April Taylor  1 months back

                Shane O'Neill I don’t know what it is! Maybe because elmo stays so child like and he’s adorable! I thought we were done w Elmo but evidently my son still loves the furry red monster. So Christmas Elmo’s gonna show up again maybe his bday in November too. Lol

              • Shane O'Neill
                Shane O'Neill  1 months back

                What do you think it is about Elmo that people just react so strongly to him? I keep pondering it and I'm not sure! But you see it everywhere: that character just worms his way into people's psyche in the best possible way.

            • donnamariedemaio
              donnamariedemaio  1 months back

              WOW! Look what I've been missing all these years! All because I don't have kids!

              • Shane O'Neill
                Shane O'Neill  1 months back

                SAME! lol -- I'm thinking that this video is a starting point for conversations with my friends that do have kids

            • Lance Pena
              Lance Pena  1 months back

              Never post political stuff again. This kind of stuff is okay

            • David Rodriguez
              David Rodriguez  1 months back

              Usher: G is for Gifts I love to give out Gifts.

              • Ben t. Matchstick
                Ben t. Matchstick  1 months back

                Sesame Street is a national treasure and our finest exported product. Its diversity and humor make it shine. Congrats on 50 beautiful years of ABCs.

                • Barwry Offical
                  Barwry Offical  1 months back

                  Gods time world gods

                  • Sash
                    Sash  1 months back

                    Who are these souless zombies that down-voted this.

                    • That Niki Life
                      That Niki Life  1 months back

                      And I always loved the pin ball machine that goes 1 2 3 4 5, 6 7 8 9 10, 11 12.. LoL.. Its hard to type a song 😂😂 but those who know it, know it lol

                      • Shane O'Neill
                        Shane O'Neill  1 months back

                        @That Niki Life Hmmm I'm pretty sure it was on Sesame Street...what I know for sure? The Pointer Sisters sang it!!

                      • That Niki Life
                        That Niki Life  1 months back

                        @Jon Sands was it really? LoL.. I know I watched both but.. I'm going back MANY years so, not totally surprised I mixed them up..

                      • Jon Sands
                        Jon Sands  1 months back

                        That was actually from the show "the electric company"! Many people misremember it at seseme street

                    • That Niki Life
                      That Niki Life  1 months back

                      I remember when I was a kid (many moons ago lol) and they sang Letter B like the Beatles Let it Be and the Muppets were blue with hair like the Beatles in the 60's.. I'll never forget that..

                      • Shane O'Neill
                        Shane O'Neill  1 months back

                        Fun fact: that was the only song parody that Sesame Street was ever sued for :D (they ended up settling the case for $50)

                    • E F
                      E F  1 months back

                      They have a Muslim character now that should offend Muslims. Don't they believe that only Allah (aka Satan) can create the image of Man since it is supposed to be created in his image? in that case creating a muppet that's supposed to resemble a Muslim person should offend them. it would make more sense for it to be a headless one like their crosswalk signs are.

                      • Miles North
                        Miles North  1 months back

                        NYT 😂😂😂 It's fish wrapper...all the anti-Semites love it.

                        • Emerald Gemini
                          Emerald Gemini  1 months back

                          The New York Times is little more than a tabloid rag these days. They never got a penny from me and they never will.

                          • Top 10 around world
                            Top 10 around world  1 months back

                            Today, the New York Times has propagated false propaganda against India, this newspaper gets funds to run false news, what does New York know about India, it has run Pakistan's agenda,

                            • B May
                              B May  2 months back

                              I'm probably the only person ever who didn't really like Sesame Street as a kid. My issue was that they combined Muppets (which were fine on their own) and real people (also fine on their own) together. I dunno, something about that combination did away with my suspension of disbelief, which is required in order for someone to think of the Muppets as being "real" characters. But I totally appreciate what Sesame Street has done and continues to do and how much work goes into it!

                              • B May
                                B May  1 months back

                                @Shane O'Neill Yeah, everyone I've told about my childhood avoidance of Sesame Street thinks I'm nuts. That's so odd about the Flintstones and Jetsons, ha!

                              • Shane O'Neill
                                Shane O'Neill  1 months back

                                That might have been the most surprising thing in making this video for me-- that there are people who didn't like Sesame Street or didn't watch it. It's so synonymous with childhood for me that I forget that that's possible!! Interesting re: worlds colliding too ... I used to get nervous about Jetsons meeting the Flintstones for the same reason

                            • Pastor Batista - Preciosa Graça

                              Interesting!!! Greetings.

                              • Edd VCR
                                Edd VCR  2 months back

                                When I’m thinking of alphabetical order, I still sing the alphabet song in my head while looking serious in my office clothes.

                              • Complete Jumble
                                Complete Jumble  2 months back

                                All the different spins on the alphabet song are nice, but the GOAT is definitely the Patti Labelle version. I'm a grown woman and more than once I've found singing it while cleaning the house.

                                • Shane O'Neill
                                  Shane O'Neill  1 months back

                                  I COULD NOT AGREE MORE to be honest. Like...can you imagine being so good at your job that literally--LITERALLY--singing the ABCs is that riveting?

                              • Liz U
                                Liz U  2 months back

                                Patti LaBelle is the best alphabet and also Smokey Robinson.

                              • Josephine Waliszewski
                                Josephine Waliszewski  2 months back

                                I really enjoyed this video!

                              • Samantha Benavidez
                                Samantha Benavidez  2 months back

                                I love this. This was one of the songs that calmed down my kiddos! And they loved dancing to it!

                                • Jeremy Boulat
                                  Jeremy Boulat  2 months back

                                  Usher is fresh?

                                • Bram Helsing
                                  Bram Helsing  2 months back

                                  Sesame Street is a staple of American Society. I watched it on my grainy tv with my mom when I first arrived in the US. Today, I watch it on my flatscreen with daughter. No matter the quality or the medium, Sesame Street has changed my life for the better, and I hope to celebrate its 100th birthday, maybe with great grandchildren, still smiling and learning to be a better human being.

                                  • Arne Wiik
                                    Arne Wiik  2 months back

                                    Sesame street and their overseas counterparts are enormously under-appreciated for the extremely important work they do. Early literacy programs can be the difference 20 years later between massive conflicts and problems in society versus an functioning welfare state kept running by an educated populace. If you want humans to go to mars, solving poverty and pollution that starts with the ABC song and muppets.

                                  • D THE CHEMIST
                                    D THE CHEMIST  2 months back

                                    My 2 year old son loves that Usher ABC song

                                  • ZEBRA Ethiopian Channel
                                    ZEBRA Ethiopian Channel  2 months back

                                    Nice i love it

                                  • Priya Singh
                                    Priya Singh  2 months back

                                    kya baat hai...awesome

                                    • no comment
                                      no comment  2 months back

                                      Elmo is scared of black men

                                      • M. P.
                                        M. P.  2 months back

                                        Yeah...since the original Elmo actor was a black man LOL

                                      • JC.M Account
                                        JC.M Account  2 months back

                                        Lol, in your face 😂

                                      • Jilly Cooke
                                        Jilly Cooke  2 months back

                                        Interesting you say that, as the iteration of Elmo we know and love today was created and performed for decades by a black man, Kevin Clash.