Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Rainbow Connection done many different ways...

This morning, I was writing a post for Pop Rock Nation about kids' music.  The post was inspired, in part, by my discovery of Alison Krauss's latest project with children's author Sandra Boynton.  I blogged about that yesterday.

Anyway, as I was writing the post, I was thinking of classic children's songs.  And of course, the last song I put in the post was "The Rainbow Connection", made famous by Kermit the Frog in The Muppet Movie.  As a child of the 70s and 80s, that song was part of my childhood soundtrack.  I usually find it very moving, though I like some renditions more than others.

This is the classic interpretation of Paul Williams' and Kenneth Ascher's famous song…

Later, Debbie Harry of Blondie sang it with Kermit on The Muppet Show.

Jason Mraz tackles it in this video…

I love the way Willie Nelson does "The Rainbow Connection".  He starts playing at 2:00 in this video.  I used this song when I made a memorial video for my sweet old hound, MacGregor.


Here's Kenny Loggins' distinctly 90s version of "The Rainbow Connection".

And yes, Karen Carpenter sang it too.  I kind of think Richard went a bit schmaltzy with this arrangement.  Too bad, since Karen's vocals are exquisite.  Incidentally, Karen Carpenter died 31 years ago today.

Not to be outdone, Sarah MacLachlan sang it too… adding her own brooding style to this song.

Jazz singer Jane Monheit offers her dreamy interpretation of "The Rainbow Connection".  Jane Monheit is especially fond of songs about rainbows.  Check out her version of "Over The Rainbow".

The Dixie Chicks contribute a pleasing bluegrassy version of "The Rainbow Connection".  I really like their version, too.  And this video is very cute!

And finally, there's my version.  I actually recorded this in September in a key I don't usually do it in...

Who knew this song would touch so many people, kids and adults alike?  Now I think I need to pull out my Muppet Movie Soundtrack.


  1. I REALLY like your version. I also like Kenny Loggins' version, 90's stylisticity notwithstanding. Sarah Maclachlan's version was almost scary. I thought the Dixie Chicks' video was sweet.

    My dad told me that either his 1st or 2nd year at BYU, there was a local Provo radio station (KLRZ) that played "The Rainbow connection" every hour on the hour. Overkill.

  2. Thanks for the compliment, Alexis. I usually sing it in a lower key that I like better, but I think my voice sounds better in the key I did it in. Do you ever like something you hear played in a certain key, but it turns out your vocals aren't as good in that key? That's kind of what happened here. The other key is okay, but this one is notably better.

    I like Kenny's version, too. I used to listen to the album it came from all the time when I was clinically depressed. It kind of helped soothe the savage beast.

    I'm not wild about Sarah MacLachlan's version, but I give her points for originality. It doesn't sound like any other version I've heard. Makes me wonder how Sinead O' Connor would have done it.

    There's a guy on Epinions who is LDS and posts reviews on anything and everything pertaining to The Muppets. It seems kind of fitting, given the Mormons' love of Jello, clean entertainment, and shit.

  3. Muppets and mickey Mouse- many lDS are fond of both.

    In terms of kets and songs, yeah, range and what's most suitable for a song don't always match, which can be a bummer. My personal take is that many songs sound better either in a key from G to B-flat or from C to F, with B and G-flat being somewhat negotioable. A-flat or A (or D to E-flat) might be the best, but usually anywhere from G to B-flat (or C to F) is OK depending upon range. If you think about it, try to imagine the Hallelujah Chorus in the key of A. It would have sounded wrong no matter what the range of the vocalists.
    I hate it when people sing songs in keys that I don't like.

    1. Ugh. Bill's ex was a big Disney fan. She squandered a lot of their money on Disney collector's plates. I prefer the Muppets, but now they're owned by Disney, so there you go.

      Actually, I liked Disney stuff well enough when I was growing up, but I never really got obsessed with them. I have never been to a Disney theme park. I've seen a lot of the movies, but never owned one. I never had Disney themed toys, either. And when I grew up and heard about the way some of the artists who worked there were treated, I started thinking of Disney in a different light. I can appreciate how it's influenced our culture, though. I read some fascinating books written by people who worked at Disney. Talk about a personality cult!

      I don't really get so technical when I decide what I like and don't like. I just know what sounds good… A lot of times, I can make a key I like work, but this time I just decided to try something different and realized my vocals were better. This new mixer I bought and hope to get working at some point will hopefully help me make better recordings from a technical standpoint. I don't really need the new equipment, but I'm turning into a hobbyist.


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