When I remember my youth I am cast back into a time where life was simpler, expenses were lower, and music was far better. Don't get me wrong, I am not a big fan of the Good-Old-Days style theories. I don't believe that things were actually better in the seventies than they are now. People were treated less fairly, the world was less environmentally conscious and technology can't be compared to present day in any way.
No, I don't think things were great when I was a young child. We had the same crappy music, crappy TV, crappy movies, crappy politicians, etc. as we do today. However, when it comes to children's programming I think I can say that my childhood had the superior Sesame Street. Recently, a DVD set was released called Sesame Street - Old School. Volume 1 contains the years 1969-1974. Volume 2 comes out later this year and features years 1974-1979. Now I wasn't technically alive during 1969-1974 but given Sesame Street's proclivity for airing old material, I had seen a decent amount of it when I was growing up. Seeing it again just confirms to me that Sesame Street in the seventies rocked the socks off of anything they can come up now.
Take for example this clip of Stevie Wonder performing "Superstition" live on the set of Sesame Street complete with some kids wigging out in a fire escape, potentially feeling the effects of what would later be called, "Some Kool-Aid the bongo player gave us."
Arguably this is the best version of the song "Superstition" that has ever been performed. Personally, I've never heard a better version. Any time an artist can work the words "Sesame Street" into a song you know you're dealing with quality.
Compare this with a song from a children's program from about thirty years later, The Wiggles:
So obviously if you grew up in the early seventies watching Sesame Street you are going to have a much more refined sense of musical taste than if you grew up now. No offense to the Wiggles at all, they just fail to kick ass. Stevie Wonder kicked ass.
Maybe all of this is comparing apples to oranges. Just to be fair let's compare apples to apples and see what Sesame Street is up to these days:
Okay, that's a different vein than the Stevie Wonder thing but I guess that's pretty awesome too.
Please Note: These videos may not stay up forever judging on YouTube's copyright/fair use struggle at the moment. If any of them go down for any reason just PM me and I'll either repost a link or write a very descriptive text block. Yeah, that should be just as effective.