The Most Sensational, Celebrational, Muppetational Muppets Musical Performances
When ‘The Muppet Show’ first conquered the airwaves in 1976, it was clear from the start that it wasn’t just a kids show. If anything, it was a weird mix of old-school variety show with jokes, music, skits … and puppets. Its musical acts varied from week to week, including everyone from period favorites like Linda Ronstadt and John Denver to Diana Ross and Paul Williams (who not only looked like a Muppet but also wrote ‘Rainbow Connection’ for frog star Kermit). But these are the Most Sensantional, Celebrational, Muppetational Muppets Musical Performances.
The period between Johnny Cash’s terrific ’60s material and his ’90s comeback records, he did a lot of things he probably wasn’t all that proud of, like starring in bad TV movies and making halfhearted records that nobody bought. But his fun and spirited appearance on ‘The Muppet Show’ from 1980 features a medley of his classic cuts, including ‘Jackson’ with Miss Piggy in wife June Carter’s role.
Alice Cooper scared the s— out of people back when they were still a band and truly revolutionizing rock ‘n’ roll onstage. By the time he showed up on ‘The Muppet Show’ in 1978 to sing his classic ‘School’s Out,’ he’d pretty much been neutered. But it’s still a fun appearance, with many of the big, unruly monster Muppets creating havoc on the set as schoolmaster Alice tries to instill some order.
Elton John fit right in when he joined the Muppets for a rousing rendition of his hit ‘Crocodile Rock’ on the show. He already had the feathers, flamboyance and colorful clothes for his appearance, so we’re guessing, for once, he didn’t require too much maintenance. He’s backed by a bunch of Muppets, including a chorus of crocodiles that sings that song’s most annoying part.
Debbie Harry was riding a high tide of fame with Blondie when she stopped by ‘The Muppet Show’ in 1981, coming off the big hit ‘Rapture’ and pretty much ready to make the solo leap (which actually didn’t turn out all that well for her). Her endearing duet with Kermit on his big hit, ‘Rainbow Connection,’ is just as sweet as you’d hope it would be.
This one isn’t from ‘The Muppet Show,’ but it’s from the show where the Muppets got their start, and it’s probably the best performance ever recorded for a kids show. Stevie Wonder showed up on ‘Sesame Street’ in 1973 and played a smokin’, nearly seven-minute version of ‘Superstition.’ While no Muppets actually make an appearance here, it’s way too awesome to leave off the list.