During its five-season run, The Muppet Show featured guest appearances by Elton John, Alice Cooper, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez and many other hugely popular musicians. But it wasn’t until Paul Simon guested early in the show’s final season in 1980 that they finally devoted an entire episode to the music of a single artist.
It was a wise choice. Paul Simon was a regular guest on the first five seasons of Saturday Night Live, and he fit in seamlessly with the silly sketches – even when it involved singing “Scarborough Fair” at a Muppet Renaissance Fair, complete with Miss Piggy blurting out “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.” Later in the episode, Floyd and Janice sang “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” Gonzo and his chickens did “El Candor Paso” and Bobby Benson’s baby band did the Simon and Garfunkel deep cut “Baby Driver.”
Simon appeared on the show to promote his new movie and album One-Trick Pony, and he sang the new tune “Long Long Day” in his dressing room surrounded by Muppets. He wrapped up the show with “Loves Me Like a Rock” with all sorts of Muppets chiming in on background vocals.
The appearance did little to help One Trick Pony, which was the first true flop of Simon’s solo career. The next year he was singing “Scarborough Fair” again, but this time it was with Art Garfunkel as opposed to Miss Piggy.