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Sesame Street's five best musical cameos

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."

See also: If Katy Perry's a bit much for Sesame Street, here are five other acts for PBS to avoid booking



Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music


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