The Late Movies: 15 MORE Musicians and Their Awesome Sesame Street Appearances

Last week's Musicians and Their Awesome Sesame Street Appearances was a big hit, so I thought I'd follow up with a whole bunch more Sesame Street musical performances. This week we're featuring: James Blunt, Pee Wee Herman, Yo Yo Ma, India.Arie, Goo Goo Dolls, Hootie and the Blowfish, Johnny Cash, James Taylor, Smokey Robinson, Melissa Etheridge, Andrea Bocelli, Los Lobos, Backstreet Boys, Samuel Ramey, and Alicia Keys. There are actually more coming next week, so stay tuned.

James Blunt, "My Triangle"

James lost his triangle, and is heartbroken. (Sung to the tune of "You're Beautiful.") It's very touching and kind of hilarious. "I saw your shape [a triangle] in a crowded place, now I don't know what to do...."

Pretty Much Everybody Ever (Including Pee Wee Herman), "Put Down the Duckie"

From a 1988 PBS pledge drive special, this video features a ton of celebrity cameos (starting at about 1:30): "John Candy (as Yosh Schmenge from SCTV), Andrea Martin (as Edith Prickley from SCTV), New York Mets Keith Hernandez & Mookie Wilson, Jane Curtin (of SNL and Kate & Allie), Madeline Kahn, Joe Williams, Paul Reubens (as Pee Wee Herman), Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Wynton Marsalis, Celia Cruz, Ihtzak Perlman, Gordon Jackson & Jean Marsh (as Angus Hudson and Rose Buck of Upstairs Downstairs), Paul Simon, Jeremy Irons, Pete Seeger, Rhea Perlman and Danny Devito, and NY Giants Sean Landeta, Mark Ingram, Karl Nelson and Carl Banks."

Yo Yo Ma and the Honkers, "Beethoven Quartet for Two Dingers and a Honker"

India.Arie, "The Alphabet Song"

Elmo wants to hear music, but Elmo's radio won't work.

The Goo Goo Dolls and Elmo, "Pride"

The lead singer's hair is actually kinda Muppet-like. To the tune of "Slide."

Hootie And The Blowfish, "Hold My Hand"

Let's learn how to cross the street...together.

Johnny Cash, "Tall Tale"

More fun with counting from the Man in Black. See also: "Don't Take Your Ones to Town."

James Taylor, "Your Smiling Face"

Sung to Oscar the Grouch, who's grouchy as ever.

Smokey Robinson, "U Really Got a Hold On Me"

"I don't like U, but I love U; seems like I'm always thinking of U." Get it? U?

Melissa Etheridge, "Like The Way U Do"

More U jokes.

No one else begins uptown
No one starts up upside-down
No one else begins unable, uncertain or unstable
And no one else can spell a
A neat word like umbrella

Andrea Bocelli and Elmo, "Time to Say Goodnight"

To the tune of "Time to Say Goodbye."

Los Lobos, "Elmo and the Lavender Moon"

Kind of spooky in its awesomeness.

Backstreet Boys and Elmo, "One Small Voice"

Whoa.

Samuel Ramey, "L Toreador"

Any opera fans in the house?

Alicia Keys, "Do You See What I See?"

A Christmas duet with Elmo.

Who Did I Leave Out?

Share your favorite musical memories of Sesame Street in the comments! Also be sure to check out last week's roundup which included Feist, Queen Latifah, R.E.M., Norah Jones, Ray Charles, Patti LaBelle, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Spin Doctors, and Tilly and the Wall.

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Revisit Your Teen Years With Vintage Sweet Valley High Editions
Always Fits
Always Fits

The '80s and '90s were a special time to be a reading-obsessed child. Young adult series like The Baby Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High were in their prime (and spawning plenty of spinoffs and blatant knockoffs), with numerous books a year—Sweet Valley High creator Francine Pascal published 11 books in her series in 1984 alone.

You can't find original Sweet Valley High books on the shelves anymore (unless you want to read the tweaked re-release versions published in 2008), but fans of Jessica and Elizabeth no longer have to trawl eBay looking for nostalgic editions of their favorite installments of the series. Always Fits, a website that sells gifts it describes as “nostalgic, feminine, feminist and wonderful,” has tracked down as many vintage teen series from the '80s and '90s as it can, including a number of Sweet Valley High books.

A stack of Sweet Valley High books
Always Fits

The collection of books was sourced by the Always Fits team from vintage shops and thrift stores, and covers editions released between 1983 and 1994 (the series ran until 2003). While you can’t get a shiny new copy of books like Double Love, you can pretend that the slightly worn editions have been sitting on the bookshelf of your childhood bedroom all along.

Each of the Sweet Valley High books comes with an enamel pin inspired by the cover for one of the series's classic titles, Secrets. Unfortunately, you can’t pick and choose which installment you want—you’ll have to content yourself with a mystery pick, meaning that you may get In Love Again instead of Two-Boy Weekend. Hopefully you’re not trying to fill in that one hole from your childhood collection. (You may not be able to get Kidnapped by the Cult!, but it appears that Crash Landing!, with its amazingly ridiculous paralysis storyline, is available.)

The Sweet Valley High book-and-pin set is $18, or you can get a three-pack of random '80s books for the same price.

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Love Connection
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Telepictures

Between September 19, 1983 and July 1, 1994, Chuck Woolery—who had been the original host of Wheel of Fortune back in 1975—hosted the syndicated, technologically advanced dating show Love Connection. (The show was briefly revived in 1998-1999, with Pat Bullard as host.) The premise featured either a single man or single woman who would watch audition tapes of three potential mates discussing what they look for in a significant other, and then pick one for a date. The producers would foot the bill, shelling out $75 for the blind date, which wasn’t taped. The one rule was that between the end of the date and when the couple appeared on the show together, they were not allowed to communicate—so as not to spoil the next phase.

A couple of weeks after the date, the guest would sit with Woolery in front of a studio audience and tell everybody about the date. The audience would vote on the three contestants, and if the audience agreed with the guest’s choice, Love Connection would offer to pay for a second date.

The show became known for its candor: Couples would sometimes go into explicit detail about their dates or even insult one another’s looks. Sometimes the dates were successful enough to lead to marriage and babies, and the show was so popular that by 1992, the video library had accrued more than 30,000 tapes “of people spilling their guts in five-minutes snippets.”

In 2017, Fox rebooted Love Connection with Andy Cohen at the helm; the second season started airing in May. But here are a few things you might not have known about the dating series that started it all.

1. AN AD FOR A VIDEO DATING SERVICE INSPIRED THE SHOW.

According to a 1986 People Magazine article, the idea for Love Connection came about when creator Eric Lieber spied an ad for a video dating service and wanted to cash in on the “countless desperate singles out there,” as the article states. “Everyone thinks of himself as a great judge of character and likes to put in two cents,” Lieber said. “There’s a little yenta in all of us.”

2. CONTESTANTS WERE GIVEN SOMETHING CALLED A PALIO SCORE.

Staff members would interview potential contestants and rate them on a PALIO score, which stands for personality, appearance, lifestyle, intelligence, and occupation. Depending on the results, the staff would rank the potential guests as either selectors or selectees.

3. IN 1987, THE FIRST OF MANY LOVE CONNECTION BABIES WAS BORN.

John Schultz and Kathleen Van Diggelen met on a Love Connection date, which didn’t end up airing. “They said, ‘John, she’s so flat, if you can’t rip her up on the set, we can’t use you,’” he told People in 1988. “I said, ‘I can’t do that.’” However, they got married on an episode of Hollywood Squares. As the article stated, “Their son, Zachary, became the first baby born to a Love Connection-mated couple.”

4. IT LED TO OTHER DATING SHOWS, LIKE THE BACHELOR.

Mike Fleiss not only created The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but he’s also responsible for reviving Love Connection. “I always had a soft spot for that show,” Fleiss told the Los Angeles Times in 2017. He said he was friends with Lieber and that the show inspired him to “venture into the romance TV space.” “I remember it being simple and effective,” he said about the original Love Connection. “And I remember wanting to find out what happened on those dates, the he said-she said of it all. It was intriguing.”

5. A FUTURE ACTOR FROM THE SOPRANOS WAS A CONTESTANT.

Lou Martini Jr., then known as Louis Azzara, became a contestant on the show during the late 1980s. He and his date, Angela, hit it off so well that they couldn’t keep their hands off one another during the show. Martini famously talked about her “private parts,” and she referred to him as “the man of my dreams.” The relationship didn’t last long, though. “I had just moved to LA and was not ready to commit to anything long-term," Martini commented under the YouTube clip. "The show was pushing me to ask her to marry me on the show!" If Martini looks familiar it’s because he went on to play Anthony Infante, Johnny Sack’s brother-in-law, on four episodes of season six of The Sopranos.

6. BEFORE THE SHOW WENT OFF THE AIR, A LOT OF CONTESTANTS GOT MARRIED.

During the same Entertainment Weekly interview, the magazine asked Woolery what the show’s “love stats” were, and he responded with 29 marriages, eight engagements, and 15 children, which wasn’t bad considering 2120 episodes had aired during its entire run. “When you think that it’s someone in our office putting people together through questionnaires and tapes, it’s incredible that one couple got married, much less 29,” he said.

7. CHUCK WOOLERY WAS AGAINST FEATURING SAME SEX COUPLES.

In a 1993 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the interviewer asked him “Would you ever have gay couples on Love Connection?” Woolery said no. “You think it would work if a guy sat down and I said, ‘Well, so where did you meet and so and so?’ then I get to the end of the date and say, ‘Did you kiss?’ Give me a break,” he said. “Do you think America by and large is gonna identify with that? I don’t think that works at all.” What a difference a quarter-century makes. Andy Cohen, who is openly gay, asked Fox if it would be okay to feature gay singles on the new edition of Love Connection. Fox immediately agreed.

8. ERIC LIEBER LIKED THE SHOW’S “HONEST EMOTIONS.”

When asked about the show's winning formula, Lieber once said: “The show succeeds because we believe in honest emotions. And, admit it—we’re all a little voyeuristic and enjoy peeking into someone else’s life.”

9. IN LIVING COLOR DID A HILARIOUS PARODY OF THE SHOW.

In the first sketch during In Living Color's pilot—which aired April 15, 1990—Jim Carrey played Woolery in a Love Connection parody. Robin Givens (played by Kim Coles) went on a date with Mike Tyson (Keenan Ivory Wayans) and ended up marrying him during the date. (As we know from history, the real-life marriage didn’t go so well.) The audience had to vote for three men: Tyson, John Kennedy Jr., and, um, Donald Trump. Tyson won with 41 percent of the vote and Trump came in second with 34 percent.

10. A PSYCHOLOGIST THOUGHT THE SHOW HAD A “MAGICAL HOPEFULNESS” QUALITY.

In 1986, People Magazine interviewed psychologist and teacher Dr. Richard Buck about why people were attracted to Love Connection. “Combine the fantasy of finding the perfect person with the instant gratification of being on TV, and the two are a powerful lure,” he said. “There’s a magical hopefulness to the show.”

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