And so over the next 10 days, I shall present the Top 10 Best Sesame Street Songs (that I haven't already discussed).
10. "Pinball Number Count" - The Pointer Sisters
To present educational basics within the context of the show, Sesame Street had "commercials" for letters and numbers. And, since children could easily memorize jingles for coffee or other products that they didn't actively care about, making songs for the alphabet and counting seemed like a natural fit.
When you see that an episode is "brought to you by 12," you mentally prepare yourself for the fact that you are going to sit through many variations of someone counting to 12. This can get tedious for the non-toddler mindset. There has to be a way to make it memorable without being annoying and repetitive.
How excited are we supposed to get over these numbers?
The Pointer Sisters' 1976 tune "Pinball Number Count" is the best of these counting songs. Eleven variations were made for numbers 2 through 12, which allowed the song to be used in multiple episodes. And with some surreal visuals and a simple tune, the "Pinball Number Count" proved to be one of the most effective counting methods.
With all the sound effects and whistles, it just has FUN. Try listening to this song on a bad day. I guarantee it will lift your spirits, even if you already know how to count to 12 (or 6 or 4 or 9). Seeing the ball travel across various locales to a funk-jazz tune never ceases to mesmerize, and each iteration of the song featured it's own trek and musical solo.
I'll admit, I had forgotten about this song until reference-happy Family Guy recreated it for a cutaway gag. Sure, these are cheap laughs, but it serves to remind us of the little gems that get overlooked and tossed aside.
The whole Stewie-in-a-Ball storyline was probably written just for this reference.
At any rate, it resurrected a treasured ditty from my childhood and when it comes up on my iPod, it is never skipped. Counting is important. Let us never forget that.