In 2002, a generation lost one of its great guiding lights.

That generation was born in the mid-’90s, and its guiding light was a guy in a green striped shirt who only interacted with rudimentary animations, but his effect on the culture was still profound. 

Yep, we’re talking about Steve Burns, the charmingly goofy host of preschoolers‘ favorite TV show, Blue’s Clues

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Nickelodeon

When Burns departed from the show, leaving it in the capable hands of his follow-up host Joe (played by Donovan Patton), the in-show story was that Steve was going away to college, where he joined the hopscotch team. 

That wasn’t the only fiction surrounding Burns’ departure.

The internet, which was great at spreading misinformation even back in the early ’00s, quickly concluded that Burns was no longer with us. (As in, passed away.) They blamed all sorts of things for his untimely demise. 

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Nickelodeon

There was only one problem with the stories: Burns is still alive and well.

Other rumors suggested that Burns had left Blue’s Clues to pursue a music career. Those aren’t true either, although he does record children’s music along with Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips, who’s a friend and collaborator. 

Nope, the truth is much less dramatic than the fever dreams on Reddit. It turns out that Burns had simply had enough. Well, that, and he was going bald. 

“I left the show because it was simply time to go,” Burns told the Huffington Post in a recent interview. “I was pretty much playing a boyish, older-brotherish kind of character on the show. I was getting older; I was losing my hair; a lot of the original gangsters on the show, like the people who created it, were all moving on to other careers. It just felt like time. I just had a gut feeling like it was time to go.”

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Nickelodeon

So there you have it. The dude left because he felt like leaving. The music stuff, he said, was a happy accident that came together long after he had left the Thinking Chair behind.

(Well, only sort of. The producers of the show actually gave Burns the original Thinking Chair, which sits in his house today. “I use it to read books,” Burns said. “It’s where I read.”)

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@steveburnsalive/Instagram

Anyway, Burns and Drozd recently released their second album of children’s music, “Foreverywhere.” They go by the band name StevenSteven. If you or your kids like this record a lot, track down their first album, “Songs for Dustmites.” 

And if you still miss Burns—if you’re getting a little nostalgic right now just thinking of the guy from Blue’s Clues being out in the world somewhere far away instead of in your living room every day with a blue animated dog—well, here’s something that should make you feel better. 

It’s the first video from StevenSteven’s new album. The song is called “The Unicorn and Princess Rainbow,” and it’s a rocker. Check it out if you want to invite a childhood hero into your home one more time.