The Best Songs from ‘Fraggle Rock’
It's been 30 years since Jim Henson's 'Fraggle Rock' first introduced kids of the '80s to the world of Fraggles, Doozers, Gorgs and a whole host of other fantastic creatures. Like most Henson productions, the show relied heavily on music to advance the plot, convey emotion or just entertain viewers. Here are the 'Fraggle Rock' songs we're still singing along to three decades later.
One of the very first Fraggle songs, this duet reveals the relationship between Gobo and Uncle Traveling Matt and their shared love of exploring. Matt serves as Gobo's inspiration as he explores the caverns of Fraggle Rock. The song showed up again later in the series, often with slightly modified lyrics.
Music is an essential part of Fraggle culture, so it makes sense that the Fraggles have their own band of traveling minstrels. They are led by Cantus, an enigmatic sage and one of the few 'Fraggle Rock' characters puppeteered by Jim Henson. This song is their introduction and a summation of the minstrels' belief that music exists in all things.
Silliness is a constant of the Fraggle way of life, including their music. "Wembling" is a Fraggle word for being indecisive and the source of the perpetually indecisive Wembley Fraggle's name. This particular performance is from Jim Henson's memorial service. Steve Whitmire, in the Kermit green suit, puppeteers Wembley while the late Jerry Nelson played Gobo.
'Fraggle Rock' has a reputation for being a bit morbid at times. Often the references to death are lighthearted, but that's not the case in 'Marooned,' where polar opposites Red and Boober are trapped by a cave-in. Singing might not seem like the best idea when faced with a limited air supply, but the sweet duet they sing to reassure each other is one of the prettiest 'Fraggle' songs and a great addition to this emotionally-charged episode.
This song is more typical of how 'Fraggle Rock' handles the idea of death. To escape the clutches of Junior Gorg, the Fraggles convince the dimwitted Junior that he has died and use this up-tempo funeral dirge as a distraction to dance their way home.
Jim Henson himself was fond of this sort of ragtime/Dixieland music and requested that 'When the Saints Go Marching In' be played at the conclusion of his own funeral.
In this episode, Red becomes jealous of gentle poet Mokey and decides to remake herself in Mokey's image. Red is soon in over her head as she tries to keep up with Mokey in this musical tongue twister.
Like many great Fraggle songs, it's a fun tune that also advances the plot, showing how hard it is for Red to imitate Mokey.
Fraggle music isn't limited to any particular genre. Convincing John, a Fraggle so charismatic that he can convince other Fraggles to do just about anything, resembles an evangelical preacher, so his theme song is appropriately gospel-like.
In his first episode, Convincing John is brought in by Mokey to convince the Fraggles to stop eating Doozer constructions. His logic may be hard to follow, but it's delivered in such an appealing way that it becomes, well, convincing.
When the Trash Heap takes away the Gorgs' radishes in an attempt to teach the Fraggles, the Gorgs and the Doozers how much they have in common, the industrious Doozers abandon building. Radish powder is the main ingredient in their Doozer constructions, so the absence of radishes forces the Doozers to find a new pastime. They decide to try knitting, but as the pun-loaded song demonstrates, it doesn't go over well.
When Junior Gorg blocks the entrance to the Gorgs' garden with a Fraggle trap, Mokey crafts a dummy to spring the trap. Mokey's friends doubt that she can come up with a practical solution to the trap problem, so she relieves her loneliness by bonding with her creation.
When Red's friends poke fun at her for exaggerating to get attention, she consoles herself with this lovely, wistful song. It's as much about longing for a simpler time as it is about missing her friends and evokes the kind of bittersweet nostalgia brought on by watching a TV show from your childhood.
'Bring Back the Wonder' is also a great example of the level of detail that went into the production of 'Fraggle Rock,' from the convincing landscape around the pond to the odd creatures singing backup for Red.
Of course we can't have a list of the best Fraggle music without including this one. Everybody sing!