Sesame Street’s Don Music: The Original Headbanger

Don Music’s headbanging technique.

A big memory from my childhood was Don Music, the tortured composer from Sesame Street who would be bang his head on the piano in frustration when his creative process would not gel. I thought he was hilarious. My mind recently went back to this manic pianist and his self-inflicted pain. Perhaps it was spurred on by listening to some old jams with my former bandmates that I recently transferred from cassette to CD. I loved hearing some of our old tunes but felt a bit frustrated over compositions I wish we could have finished.

Don Music always struggled with finishing things. The Muppet composer was always trying to create familiar nursery rhymes but failing to complete them. (Evidently we had the lyrics all wrong.) Kermit the Frog would visit him and offer suggestions, then Don Music would come up with new variations on the original words — for example, “Row row row your boat gently down the stream” became “Drive drive drive your car gently down the street” — and the soulful Alphabeats would usually come out and sing the new tunes with him. I always loved that. As a writer who occasionally dealt with the fear of a blank page, I appreciated his artistic torment.

Don Music was retired in the late Nineties. According to the Muppet Wiki, “He stopped appearing in new material after his performer, Richard Hunt, died in 1992, but his segments continued to air as part of new episodes until the end of Season 29 in 1998. According to Sesame Street Unpaved, which was published in 1998, ‘The character, played by Richard Hunt, was abandoned because of complaints about his alarming tendencies toward self-inflicted punishment. Apparently, kids were imitating his head-banging at home.'”

Are those people sure their kids weren’t listening to metal? While he might not have liked the music, Don Music would have had no problem fitting into the metal scene. He already had his concert stance down.

One Response

  1. Ron Music

    I am glad that Don Music doesn’t “fit into” the confines of metal. I always thought he had more talent than that!


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