The 40th season of Sesame Street premiered on Nov. 10, 2009, promising guest spots from notable figures such as Kobe Bryant, Ricky Gervais and Michelle Obama. But in all of its four decades of running, the children’s television show has already featured a slew of celebrity moments worth remembering—at the very least, one for every wonderful season.
Feist performs 1234>
Save for child guest star John John’s attempt to count forwards and backwards, Feist’s “1234” became the show’s most charming song of enumeration.
Aaron Neville performs with Ernie in I Don’t Want to Live Under the Moon>
Before he collaborated with Trisha Yearwood in the 1994 Rhythm Country and Blues session, Neville sung with Ernie in one of many duet versions of the show’s lullaby.
Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Susan Sarandon, Ellen DeGeneres sing the alphabet:
Note: Despite what DeGeneres may say, a few attempts to spit out some beatboxing hardly constitutes “rapping.”
Norah Jones performs Don’t Know Y>
Instead of wondering why she didn’t come, Jones ponders why her friend, the letter Y, had not shown up to play that day.
Ben Stiller sings about the neighborhood:
Though nervous and apprehensive at first, Stiller manages to pull through with Telly in their own rendition of the classic Sesame Street tune.
Paul Simon sings El Cóndor Pasa>
Simon squats to sing during a rare quiet moment on Sesame Street.
Yo Yo Ma performs a “Beethoven” quartet for two honkers, a dinger and cello:
Rightfully so, Big Bird shoves the doubtful Bob off screen to make way for this delightful performance—not of Ludwig Van, the famous composer, but of Murray Beethoven, the famous honker.
Billy Joel and Marlee Matlin sings Just the Way You Are>
Joel and Matlin insist on singing “right from the heart” as a kind gesture, despite protests from Oscar the Grouch.