The Best Musical Guests on ‘The Simpsons’
by Aly Semigran
On Sunday night (Sept. 25)Â The SimpsonsenteredÂ its perfectly cromulent 28thseason.Â Over the course of their nearly 600 episodes, the Simpson family have done just about everything and met just about everyone. (After all, â€œSimpsons did it!â€)
One of the best things about The Simpsons has always been their memorable musical moments, whether they are taking in a Broadway musical (â€œI love you, Dr. Zaius!â€), or breaking into a show tune of their own (â€œMonoraiiiiiil!â€).
But, itâ€™s not just the Simpson clan and companyÂ with the pipes to sing â€œWe Put the Spring in Springfield.â€ Since their debut in 1989, The Simpsons have been serenaded by everyone from The Dixie Chicks to Aerosmith to James Brown and crossed paths with the likes of Katy Perry, â€˜NSYNC, and Dolly Parton, among many others.
In other words, musical guests are as essential to The Simpsons as the nuclear power plant and donuts. Mmm, donuts.Â In celebration of Season 28, weâ€™re looking back at the best musical guests of the series thus far.
This is, arguably, one of the best Simpsons episodes of all-time and thatâ€™s thanks largely in part to the voice work of the one and only Johnny Cash. After ingesting some Guatemalan insanity peppers, Homer goes on a journey of the mind and soul, where he encounters his wise spirit guide known as â€œSpace Coyote,â€ voiced beautifully by Cash.
U2 in â€œTrash of the Titansâ€
U2 brought their PopMart tour to Springfield at the same time that Homer was running his campaign for Sanitation Commissioner, a cause near and dear to Bonoâ€™s heart. (â€œHeâ€™s talking about waste management, and that affects the whole damn planet!â€) Not only did we get to see U2 perform â€œPride (In the Name of Love)â€ on The Simpsons, but we learned that the best way to sneak backstage into a U2 concert is to tell security youâ€™re their potato man.
Michael Jackson in â€œStark Raving Dadâ€
When Homer winds up in a mental institution he meets Michael Jackson. Or, at least, a guy that sounds a hell of a lot like him. (The character, Leon Kompowsky was, indeed, actually voiced by the King of Pop himself.) In the classic episode, Michaelâ€”dâ€™oh!â€”Leon helps Bart pen a tune to Lisa, called â€œHappy Birthday, Lisaâ€ and itâ€™s arguably the best Michael Jackson song related to The Simpsons. (Sorry, â€œDo the Bartman.â€)
Sir Paul McCartney in â€œLisa the Vegetarianâ€
Sir Paul, accompanied by his late wife Linda McCartney, didnâ€™t perform anything during their visit to The Simpsons, but for a cameo this great, they really didnâ€™t need to. (Besides, Apuâ€™s rendition of â€œSgt. Pepperâ€™s Lonely Hearts Club Bandâ€ sure wasâ€¦something.) Lisa meets Paul and Linda gardening on the roof of the Kwik-E-Mart to discuss vegetarianism and animal rights, and with all due respect to Ringo and George, it was the best Beatles. Cameo. Ever.
The Entire Hullabalooza Lineup in â€œHomerpaloozaâ€
â€œBilly Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins.â€
â€œHomer Simpson, smiling politely.â€
Sting in â€œRadio Bartâ€
â€œSending Our Love Down the Wellâ€ became the â€œWe Are the Worldâ€ of The Simpsonsuniverse when Bart posed as Timmy Oâ€™Toole, a fictitious boy trapped in a well. Celebrities joined together to make the charity track, lead by none other than Krusty the Klownâ€™s good friend Sting.
Bette Midler in â€œKrusty Gets Kancelledâ€
This episode featured wall-to-wall celebrity guests, including Johnny Carson, Luke Perry, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who all appear on Krustyâ€™s comeback special. But itâ€™s Bette Midler who takes the cake for her hilarious method of cleaning up the streets of Springfield, as well as her emotional â€œWind Beneath My Wingsâ€ duet with Krusty.
James Taylor in â€œHomer in Spaceâ€
When Homer causes a dangerous situation in outer space thanks to some ruffled potato chips and a broken ant farm, the only person who could truly save the day (besides the inanimate carbon rod) was former President/music superstar James Taylor.
Paul Anka in â€œTreeehouse of Horror VIâ€
Leave it to The Simpsons and Paul Anka to make a song about ignoring rampaging billboards and advertisements that have come to life thatâ€™s not only funny and catchy, but also incredibly poignant.
Tito Puente in â€œWho Shot Mr. Burns?â€
The legendary mambo musician played a pivotal role in one of the most iconic television cliffhangers of all-time, as both Lisaâ€™s new jazz instructor at Springfield Elementary and, eventually, a suspect in the shooting of Mr. Burns. He also penned a pretty snazzy song about the whole ordeal.
Robert Goulet in â€œ$pringfieldâ€
Marge had a gambling problem when Mr. Burns casino opened in Springfield, but the real star of this episode was crooner Robert Goulet, who got conned into singing off-beat Christmas songs at Bartâ€™s treehouse casino.
Weird Al Yankovic in â€œThree Gays of the Condoâ€
Sure, it was no â€œAnother One Bites the Crust,â€ but Weird Alâ€™s ode to Homer and Marge, â€œLove Goes On,â€ was enough to reunite the temporarily estranged pair. Thatâ€™s the power of Weird Al.
Spinal Tap in â€œThe Otto Showâ€
The Simpsons and This is Spinal Tap! are two of the most influential pieces of musical comedy in pop culture history, so it made sense that when they came together theyâ€™d be in perfect harmony. Thatâ€™s because nobody rocks likeâ€¦ Springfield.
Phish in â€œWeekend at Burnsiesâ€
Just like they would during any of their shows, Phish demanded to see the medical marijuana prescriptions of the Springfield concertgoers.
The Rock â€˜N Roll Fantasy Camp gang in â€œHow I Spent My Strummer Vacationâ€
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Petty, Brian Setzer, and Elvis â€œMy Image!â€ Costello gave Homer and friends a crash course in what it takes to be a rock star, but you know, â€œwithout the lawsuits and STDs.â€