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Where did the song Mahna Mahna make its debut?

The Answer

The song first appeared on the soundtrack of an Italian soft-core film about sex in Sweden.

Most people likely remember Mahna Mahna from the debut episode of The Muppet Show in 1976. But that’s not the debut of the song.

Mahna Mahna – Muppet Show – 1976

It had been performed on Sesame Street, The Ed Sullivan Show and was featured on The Benny Hill Show as early as 1969.

The debut came a year earlier…

Originally titled “Mah Nà Mah Nà,” the song appeared on the soundtrack of the Italian film Sweden: Heaven and Hell (Svezia, Inferno E Paradiso). The film is a pseudo-documentary (now known as “reality television”) about the wild sex lives of folks living in Sweden; the track was used in a scene that takes place in a sauna.

The History of 'Mahna Mahna': From a Swedish Sex Film Soundtrack to the Muppets and Beyond! | OC Weekly

The following video clip contains no nudity or sex. You can exercise viewer discretion but it is not necessarily advised.

Mah Nà Mah Nà composed by Italian composer Piero Umiliani for the film Sweden: Heaven and Hell.

The Many Versions of Mahna Mahna

The song made its American TV debut on the first season of Sesame Street in an episode on Nov 27, 1969. The singer was named Bip Bippadotta, and he was accompanied by two “anything muppet” girls. Enjoy!

It was performed again on the Ed Sullivan show a few days later, this time featuring the more-familiar characters Mahna Mahna and the two Snowths.

The Fandom Muppet Wiki documents many other performances of Mahna Mahna over the years. These include the following…

  • The Benny Hill Show featured the song frequently during the 1970s and 80s as a sometimes-substitute for the famous Yakety Sax.
  • Johnny Carson, Ruth Buzzy, and Goldie Hawn performed it on a variety special called Pure Goldie in 1971.
  • Also in 1971, Mahna Mahna and the Snowths made appearances on the Dick Cavett Show and This is Tom Jones (a Tom Jones hosted variety show that ran from 1969-71)
  • The song was performed in many iterations of Muppet Shows and specials over the last 4 decades.
  • Cake recorded a cover of the song on their 2002 album For The Kids.

And, we leave you with David Brent and co. singing Mahna Mahna on the British series of The Office. Your welcome.

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