Voice of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch Retires: Hear His Best Songs

Caroll Spinney has been the voice behind Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since the show began in 1969. While he stopped controlling the puppets back in 2015, today, the 84-year-old is retiring his vocal talents as well. His last voice recordings will be used next year, when the show celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Though there’s no official episode count, Spinney has appeared in thousands of the over 4,400 Sesame Street episodes that have aired to date and has made countless public appearances in character on top of them.

In a statement he gave about his departure, Spinney says, “Big Bird brought me so many places, opened my mind, and nurtured my soul.” Oscar the Grouch, on the other hand, was inspired by a crabby New York City cabdriver—though, of course, we know there’s a heart of gold somewhere in the middle of all that trash.

Upon Spinney’s retirement, we rounded up some of our favorite songs from his long history with the show.

Oscar the Grouch - "I Love Trash"
Big Bird - "Big Bird's Song"
Oscar the Grouch - "I’m Sad Because I’m Happy"


Big Bird - "Everyone Makes Mistakes"
Oscar the Grouch - "The Gross Grouch Song"
Big Bird - "I Just Adore Four"
Sesame Street: A Tribute to Caroll Spinney
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