Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rainbow Connection

EDGY AND RAW - now I am covering songs from the Muppets.   Sigh.  Cliff, Celia and I went to see the new Muppet movie over the Christmas break.  Even though I'm working on other songs, I became obsessed with the notion that the classic melody Rainbow Connection would make a special jazz waltz that would sound really excellent with the right arrangement.  

Maybe I should use this picture instead?  More befitting for a jazz tune....

Unbelievably, there are NO instrumental jazz covers of Rainbow Connection that I could find on iTunes, the Spotify catalog, or elsewhere.  I must be breaking new ground here :-)  I modeled my version after a nice rendition done by the late Bobby Scott.  Bobby was a pianist/vocalist who died in his early fifties from lung cancer.  He recorded a vocal version of the song, but it has a beautiful piano solo in it that captures the essence of the jazz waltz.   

Be sure to listen for a cameo performance by Kermit on the very end of the song!

Additional instrumentation courtesy of PG Music, Inc (and some of my own tricks)

Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side
Rainbow's are visions
They're only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
So we've been told and some chose to
Believe it
But I know they're wrong wait and see

Someday we'll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

Who said that every wish
Would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
And look what it's done so far
What's so amazing
That keeps us star gazing
What so we think we might see

Someday we'll find it
That Rainbow Connection
The lovers the dreamers and me

*All of us under its spell
we know that it's probably magic

Have you been half asleep
And have you heard voices
I've heard them calling my name
Are these the sweet sounds that called 
The young sailors
I think they're one and the same
I've heard it too many times to ignore it
There's something that I'm supposed to be

Someday we'll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me 

Facts about Rainbow Connection:

Kenneth Ascher and Paul Williams received Oscar nominations at the 52nd Academy Awards for the score of The Muppet Movie and for Rainbow Connection, which Allmusic described as an "unlikely radio hit ... which Kermit the Frog sings with all the dreamy wistfulness of a short green Judy Garland" and went on to add that "'Rainbow Connection' serves the same purpose in The Muppet Movie that "Over the Rainbow" serves in The Wizard of Oz, with nearly equal effectiveness: an opening establishment of the characters' driving urge for something more in life." The song was also nominated for the Golden Globes for Best Original Song in 1979, but lost the Oscar to "It Goes Like It Goes" from Norma Rae, a win that some critics decried.

The song's name has been used by a number of charitable organizations wishing to evoke its message, including a children's charity similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a summer camp for seriously ill children,and a horseback riding camp for people with disabilities. The name's influence can also be seen throughout culture - from business names to artificial Christmas tree products.