“Hello, Sunshine”

Lyrics

Part 1:
Hop-hop (x16)
(Repeat as others sing Part 2)

Part 2:
Hello, sunshine
Hello, birds on the wing
Hello, springtime
We’ve been waiting for spring*
(Repeat as others sing Parts 1 and 3)

Part 3:
djghdjfghj waiting in the winter and the cold
sjgdjfgdjg slumbering in burrows all alone
Now it’s time to wake up in the honey-sunny spring
Now it’s time to wonder when the bunnies start to sing**

Hop-hop (x16)
(Repeat all parts sung together)

When this song is repeated at the end of the film, some lines change:
*”We’ve been living for spring”
and
**”Time for celebrating when the bunnies start to sing”

Music by: Philip Balsam, lyrics by: Dennis Lee, musical Director: Don Gillis

*Underlined words are my best guess at deciphering the lyrics, but I need your help to finish them. Comment with your own best guess, and we’ll complete the puzzle together.


“Hello, Sunshine” from The Tale of the Bunny Picnic

Why did I decide to start with The Tale of the Bunny Picnic? Partly because it’s springtime here in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., and I watch this movie every Easter. It’s dear to me for many reasons, which I’ll talk about more in later posts.

It’s definitely not as well-known as many other Henson projects, and I think it’s underrated. Some of the songs are still able to stir big feelings within me. This one, though, is kind of like a bunny-shaped marshmallow Peep—pure fluff with no substance, just fun. And that’s great! Anyone who says it’s a bad song for being fluff can fight me. Humans occasionally need songs that are pure sugary fun, hence the existence of pop music. Fluff is why we look at cat pictures on the Internet all day. It helps us deal with life.

This song is how I feel when spring really starts in earnest after five or six months of damp, drizzle, and gray. Each fall when it sets in, I shrug and think, “Meh. I can handle it.” Then on the first warm, sunny day we get, I think, “I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW I WANT TO LIVE OUT IN THE SUNSHINE FOREVER AND ALSO MAYBE I HAVE SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER.”

So “Hello, Sunshine” is for all of us who, for whatever reasons, love the Muppets and celebrating spring.

The songs of this film feel reminiscent of Fraggle Rock—that perfect combination of light, catchy, accessible to a young audience, poignant, and powerful—because they came from the same team of Philip Balsam, Dennis Lee, and Don Gillis who worked on the Fraggle Rock songs.

8 thoughts on ““Hello, Sunshine”

  1. I watched this movie so many times as a kid, and I still love the music!
    For what it’s worth, I hear Part 3 as:
    Everyone was hiding in the winter from the cold
    Everyone was slumbering in burrow[s?] all alone
    Now it’s time to wake up in the honey-sunny sky
    Now it’s time to wonder when the bunnies start to sing

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  2. After playing it at ear-splitting volume enough times on repeat to drive myself utterly mad, I’m “pretty confident” I have lines 1, 3, and 4… all seem to have 13 syllables,

    Wake up in the morning when the sun begins to shine

    Ev’ryone’s been slumbering in burrows (from the cold? I think? I think it makes sense in context, explains why you both put it, is better than anything else I can make of it, and… lines 1 and 3 have to end with similar sounds, which is also why I’m fairly confident on them, but the final line “sing” is meant to line up tonally and on beat with the end of part 2, “spring”, so this is the only line that doesn’t *have* to match up with a similar sound to its paired line, plus it allows all 4 lines, taken together, to form a simple, easy to follow narrative of what’s going on which would make sense for the intended audience of… well, everyone… this is an amazing movie that I think hits especially hard with the global health crisis right now).

    Now it’s time to wake up in the morning’s sunny sky

    Now it’s time to wonder when the bunnies start to sing

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    • While I think you and surlylibrarian are right about line 4 being “time to wonder” instead of “time to wake up,” this whole part 3 seems to have an AABB rhyme scheme rather than ABAB, so I think lines 1 and 2 are meant to rhyme with each other and lines 3 and 4 are meant to rhyme with each other.

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      • Alright, part 2 definitely has ABAB, Shine Wing Time Spring, which is at least part of why I’m pretty confident that, as it is clearly meant to serve as the fastest background rhythm track for this, I must say, beautifully composed a capella symphony, 3 will follow at least ACAB, with the B aligning with the B beat from part 2, sing-spring. ABAB or ACAB also I think work to keep the A’s of 2 and 3 aligned, shine-shine, time-sky (also, maybe “now it’s time to look up to the morning’s sunny sky”, instead of wake…)

        Man, it bothers me this information doesn’t exist on the internet. So, I’ve been listening to it more, even found a YouTube version so I could try to fiddle around with the audio settings, and I think I’m on to something…

        See, one of the biggest challenges I think we all have with this (aside from generally outdated audio quality given the age of the material) is that the bunnies, mostly, and there are many singing at once, have generally pretty high pitches. But I think, from lowering the treble and upping the bass and midrange I’ve been able to pick out a slightly more baritone leading voice in part 3… it’s still hard to make out some of the words, but I’m pretty confident that voice lowers at the last beat in line 2, which is another reason I’m getting more certain it’s definitely going into a long o sound.. not as confident in “cold”, “alone” is still a good contender, but I think because line 3… as confidently as I think anything at this point, ends in a long i, and line 4 ends in e (accomplished with an “i” in the words spring and sing, but you know what I mean) that would mean if the first 2 lines match, line 3 becomes the oddball – AACB, which I… would not expect, but having it at line 2, where it takes that little dip into a long o, would be a good way to vary the backing track to keep it from overlapping the part 2 rhythm so much the 2 parts completely canceled or drowned each other out.

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      • I think I know where the problem is… I think there’s actually a 4th part, I think it’s just one guy who is doing a “la-la-la-la-lah” over the ending beats of lines 1 and 2, extending and exaggerating the final “lah” that’s giving the impression of AABB, with both A’s softening into a long o or au sound, but the higher pitches, the ones more clear and separate when delivering lines 3 and 4, as best I’ve been able to tell from all this, in line 1 end their final beat with a long “i”, the same as they do in line 3 and the same as line 1 of part 2.

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  3. Yup! 4th part, only overlaps with the first 2 lines of part 3, I’m having trouble pinning down the exact beats that it overlaps with, and I think it may even change slightly each time, but it’s a different, more distinctly baritone voice/voices that only appear on those beats but seems to be more like non-word vocalizations that have those softer, deeper, more rounded vowel sounds than what’s happening in parts 2 and 3

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