Google Doodle honors legendary harmonica player Toots Thielemans

Google is paying tribute to Toots Thielemans, a renowned jazz harmonica musician best recognized for his work on the Sesame Street theme song.

In Brussels, Belgium, on April 29, 1922, Toots Thielemans was born. Thielemans discovered his love of music at a young age, beginning with the accordion at the age of three before moving on to the harmonica and guitar.

Following World War II, jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, and Benny Goodman served as influences for Toots Thielemans when he launched his full-time musical career. As luck would have it, Goodman’s agent happened to be there when Thielemans performed at a small jazz club in New York. Thielemans’ career was launched when Goodman later requested him to join the band for tours of Europe in 1949 and 1950.

Toots Thielemans has collaborated with great performers over the years, including George Shearing, Miles Davis, and Charlie Parker. A teenage John Lennon is reported to have been inspired by both Toots and his Rickenbacker guitar while watching Thielemans perform while on tour with the George Shearing Quintet.

Thielemans believed the song Bluesette, which he created and recorded in the early 1960s, to be his best work. Following its publication, it went on to become a jazz standard that was covered by several jazz musicians for the next several decades.

From the 1960s until the 1990s, Toots Thielemans also composed the music for a large number of movies, television programs, and advertisements. There’s a good possibility that even if you’ve never heard of Toots Thielemans, you’ve heard his music because he played the harmonica solo in the well-known Sesame Street theme song.

One of the greatest harmonica players of all time, Thielemans eventually ended his jazz career in 2014. At the age of 32, Toots Thielemans passed away on August 22, 2016.

The Google Doodle presented in his honor displays the letters of Google surrounded by a fantastically vibrant and disorganized arrangement of jazz instruments. You can see Toots Thielemans concentrating on playing his harmonica in the center, in the spotlight.

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