Elvis Costello finally made his Sesame Street appearance last week with a number-orientated rendition of "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes." The show is a well-tread, 42-year-old road that has included a charmingly sweet Tony Bennett, an unexpectedly fitting LL Cool J, and corny inspiration from NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. Here are the five best cameos.
5. Johnny Cash This duet of "Nasty Dan" with Oscar the Grouch proves that songs on Sesame Street don't have to be without gravitas.
4. R.E.M. In happier times, the band sung "Furry Happy Monsters," a sanitized but still pretty dark take on "Shiny Happy People" which caused more than a few monsters to cry. Plus, the female vocals from Kate Pierson monster were sung by Stephanie D'Abruzzo, who went on to do Avenue Q. Read her fangirl over the encounter, and especially Mike Mills.
3. Stevie Wonder This 1973 rendition from Stevie Wonder of "1-2-3 Sesame Street" is as fresh and fun as anything coming out today and inspired some awkward chair-dancing. Can this be the intro song to every episode of Sesame Street?
2. Ricky Gervais Over 450 celebrities have appear on the show since its inception, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. And while it takes a bit of humor to seriously sing about the ABCs or counting, but it takes even more to get mocked by sweet, sweet Elmo. The premise: Ricky Gervais tells Elmo there'll be a celebrity lullaby. Elmo is excited that it might be Brad Pitt. Gervais, of course, gets his revenge.
1. Little Richard Only Little Richard could sit in a bathtub filled with suds while playing the piano and it not seem strange. And while "Rubber Ducky" is definitely more salacious material than the ABCs, there's an extra glint in the eye and a raise of the eyebrow when Little Richard sings "When I squeeze you, you make noise."
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.