Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Kids of Sesame Street

Mahna Mahna

First appeared in the movie Svezia, inferno e paradiso [Sweden: Heaven and Hell] (1968).
Hit version (as “Mah Nà Mah Nà”) credited to “‘Sweden Heaven and Hell’ Soundtrack” (US #55/MOR #12/CAN #22 1969 |UK #8 1977).
Most popular version version performed by The Muppets (1969).

“Most people know Mahna Mahna as a Muppets sketch, but the song — titled Mah Nà Mah Nà — is actually by Italian composer Piero Umiliani. The Tuscan musician composed scores for exploitation films in the ’60s and ’70s, including spaghetti westerns and softcore sex films, but Mah Nà Mah Nà would be his most famous work.

“The song originally appeared in a racy Italian film called Svezia, inferno e paradiso (Sweden: Heaven and Hell), in a scene where a bunch of Swedish models crowd into a sauna wearing little more than bath towels.


First performed by The Kids of Sesame Street (1970).
Hit versions by Barbra Streisand (MOR #28 1972), The Carpenters (US #3/UK #53/JPN #1 1973).

(Above is from a 1971 broadcast of Sesame Street.)

From the wiki: “”Sing” is a popular song created for Sesame Street, written by staff songwriter Joe Raposo for the popular children’s TV show. In its initial appearance, the song was sung by adult human cast members of the show (the most frequent lead singer was Bob McGrath), and Muppets, including Big Bird.

“Although Barbra Streisand had an Easy Listening hit with ‘Sing’ (in medley with ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’) in 1972 with ‘Sing’, Karen and Richard Carpenter first heard the song as guests on ABC television special Robert Young with the Young in 1973. They loved the song and felt it could be a big hit. ‘Sing’ became the debut single off The Carpenters album Now & Then, released in 1973.”