The Muppet Movie is celebrating 40 fantastic years of making us smile, laugh and sing. Every song is unforgettable thanks to the top-tier work of Kenny Ascher and Paul Williams. These tunes capture the Muppet spirit in a way every Muppet film since has tried to.
But how do the songs themselves measure up against each other? Let’s find out with this ranking of all of The Muppet Movie’s greatest hits. (NOTE: Fozzie’s rendition of America The Beautiful doesn’t count as it’s not an original song, but it gets an honorable mention).
#7: “Never Before, Never Again”
It’s love at first sight for Miss Piggy and Kermit, and what better way to show it than a montage parodying Hollywood’s greatest love scenes? It’s on the bottom of this ranking because it stops the plot for a long joke. But kudos to Frank Oz for giving it his all as our favorite love-struck swine.
Fun fact: Johnny Mathis was slated to sing this number, but it was decided that it’d be funnier coming from Piggy.
#6: “I Hope That Something Better Comes Along”
On the flip side, here’s a jazzy blues tune about the hardships of love. It’s a great bonding moment between Rolf and Kermit. No one needs an excuse to see Rolf tickle the ivories. But we’re all grateful for it.
#5: “The Magic Store”
This tune sums up every step of Kermit and the gang’s journey as they prepare for their first shoot. Their optimism reinforces the image of Hollywood as a dream factory — one that continues to inspire dreams in every generation.
#4: “Moving Right Along”
“Moving Right Along” is the perfect tune to add to your road trip playlist. It’s one of those songs that makes you want to get out on the open road with your pal.
And I don’t know about you but I’d totally let Big Bird hitch a ride with me — it’s a good thing my car has a sunroof!
#3: “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday”
You wouldn’t expect a poignant song like this from a daredevil like Gonzo. But it reveals a more tender side to this devil-may-care stunt Muppet; he feels free when flying and can only share what it’s like through song.
Its placement at the movie’s lowest point also plays up how beautifully melancholy the scene is. There’s no better setting for some emotional insight than a campfire under the stars.
#2: “Can You Picture That”
You can always count on the Electric Mayhem Band to bring the house down with their music. “Can You Picture That” is no exception. It’s relentlessly upbeat and inspiring. Put it on and you’ll be in the mood to create or change the world. And it’s got the groove that only Dr. Teeth and Co. can provide.
#1: “The Rainbow Connection”
Come on, we all knew this was going to be number one. It’s the Muppets’ theme song (barring their actual theme song, of course). “The Rainbow Connection” is a beautiful exploration of The Muppet Movie’s main theme: how dreams can bring all kinds of people together. The opening shot of Kermit singing alone in his swamp is enough to get you teary-eyed.
The fact this lost the Best Original Song Oscar to Norma Rae is a travesty. Seriously, when was the last time you listened to “It Goes Like It Goes”?) “The Rainbow Connection” sets the stage for the entire film. Forty years later, it’s still the anthem for the lovers, the dreamers, and Muppet fans like me.
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