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Pinball Number Count  performed by  The Pointer Sisters  (1975)
Composed by Walt Kramer
From: USA
Mood: Groovy
Recommended by Festy [profile] on Tuesday 29th November 2005

There seems to be a cut off age where people either recognise this tune immediately, or have never heard it. I'm not sure what year Sesame Street stopped using this cartoon, but my guess is somewhere between 1980 and 1985. Having said that, for those of you who do recognise the track, it may bring back images of a cartoon pinball racing around a pinball machine with you following closely behind. I never realised that this track was by The Pointer Sisters (no surprise there), nor appreciated how funky it was as a toddler (no surprise there either). This track was never released on any Sesame Street records, but a label called "Legacy" has recently released a 3CD box set of tracks from Sesame Street, mostly including the celebrities that have visited over the years (check Stevie Wonder's funky toon), but with this track on it also. This re-edited track was also released as a 12" (with two versions of "C is for Cookie" on the flip) at the same time that the box set was released.

Sesame Street expanded into many countries, some of which created their own versions ("Vila Sesamo" in Brazil, "Sesamstraat" in the Netherlands, "Iftah Ya Simsim" in Kuwait and "Rechov Sumsum" in Israel to name a few), and I'd be interested to hear comments as to whether or not Pinball Number Count was shown in these countries also.

available on CD - Songs From The Street: 35 Years of Music (Legacy)
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  04 Dec 05 ·snafkin: Wow! What a great track! This song has always been lurking around the darkest depths of my mind, every now and again inexplicably popping out into the sunshine. Now I know what it's called and who did it. Thanx Festy!
  04 Dec 05 ·Katya:
It's so true that this is either embedded in you as a kid, or you missed it altogether. There is a letter kicking around on the web from Walt Kramer to Matthew Jones of the Helium site in which he discusses this tune and the recording session. Fun stuff.
[Walt's letter]

This is from the SolidSteel subsite:

"It all started a couple of years ago when Strictly Kev, part of DJ Food, desperately wanted to include the infamous 'Pinball Number Count' on the first 'Solid Steel Presents' mix CD. You know the track, it was super funky and was accompanied by the cool animation of a pinball rolling around strange landscapes. Now this track is the stuff of legends within beat digging circles, DJs have scoured record bins for decades in the hope of finding it included on old Sesame compilations but alas, it was never on any of them.

"Fortunately Kev knew this and rang Sesame Workshop in New York asking for a copy of the tape. It never actually made it onto the mix CD but that's another story. What you have here is a composite of numbers 2-12 of the 'Pinball Number Count' animations (number 1 was never created). Kev has re-edited all the key elements and cleaned up the sound while he's at it. And cooing those syncopated numbers and do-dos in the background is only the Pointer Sisters on a session singing assignment."

You can also SEE the old cartoon segments that the song accompanied. The entire series seems to have been included with several other number classics on the DVD "Sesame Street - The Great Numbers Game."

  04 Dec 05 ·Festy: My pleasure, Snafkin! Thanks Katya for the extra info and links. It was great to read up on the history of the track and also see the lengths some people were going to when trying to find the track before it became readily available. I noted DJ Food refer to another release on Ninja Tunes featuring Sesame Street toons in the near future. Yay! Also, there were quite a few references to an earlier, jazzier track titled "Jazz Numbers". I hope this pops up somewhere too.
  06 Feb 06 ·Eclipse80: The pinball skits are one of my fondest classic Sesame Street memories. I was born in 1980 and remember seeing this skit from about 1983 to 1986. So sad they don't use it anymore. The song brought back great memories! Thanks!

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