Yesterday we got the ball rolling on our picks for the best musical cameos from The Simpsons' first 25 years on the air, in honor of the show's ongoing marathon of 552 episodes on FXX. We went through the first half of our list of 30 episodes, meaning it's time for us to finish what we started. So, without further ado, we'll count down the list all the way to No. 1.
The Ramones played Mr. Burns' birthday party with a punk version of "Happy Birthday" and told him to "go to hell, you old bastard." That line was immediately followed by one of the best quips ever, from Burns himself: "Have the Rolling Stones killed."14. Metallica - "The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer"
In what amounts to a cold opening, Otto meets Metallica and things don't go well when Bart steals his bus and the band abandons him to play a live show in Hans Moleman's truck bed. This was a very Family Guy-like episode.
13. The Who - "A Tale of Two Springfields"
Springfield is a town devided until Pete Townshend tears down that wall via guitar riff. Yes, this is very silly, and very much one of the episodes people point to when they talk about The Simpsons' later season faltering. But the band is pretty hilarious when riffing on themselves (and Grand Funk Railroad).12. R.E.M. - "Homer the Moe"
Moe kicks Homer out of his bar, so Homer starts his own bar in his garage and books R.E.M. to play it. He also butchers the lyrics to "It's The End of the World," making the scene the most realistic moment in the history of all of Fox programming.11. The White Stripes - "Jazzy and the Pussycats"
The White Stripes were such a big deal that The Simpsons remade videos of their lesser songs in an episode where Bart becomes a drum prodigy and surpasses Lisa's musical talent. So, basically an allegory for Jack and Meg's whole relationship.10. U2 - "Trash of the Titan"
The 200th episode of the series featured Homer gunning for the local Sanitation Commissioner because of...uh, plot reasons. This really doesn't matter, because the highlight of it all was Homer invading a U2 concert to speak about his campaign, causing Bono to immediately take up his cause while the rest of the band got forlorn by yet another Bono crusade, and said fuck it, let's get a beer.
9. Willie Nelson - "Behind the Laughter"
In what many consider to be the end of the golden era of The Simpsons, the show breaks out a parody of VH1's '90s staple Behind the Music, and makes light of the show's past via mockumentary highlights. This culminates in the Simpsons breaking up as a family, until Willie Nelson tries to reunite them. This is awesome because 1) Willie and 2) I mean VH1ing your own show is absolutely brilliant.8. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty Brian Setzer, and Lenny Kravitz - "How I Spent My Strummer Vacation"
Rock 'n' roll fantasy camps are totally a thing, but in the Simpsons' world they don't get shitty '80s hair metal rockers, they get the fucking Rolling Stones to teach the camp. Plus it features the immortal line, "Please don't hold my actions against the entire Brian Setzer Orchestra."7. Kesha - "To Surveil With Love"
Fox once made The Simpsons replace the opening credits, and the hallowed couch gag with a opening that featured the denizens of Springfield singing Kesha's "Tik Tok." Yes this happened; yes this might mean Kesha is secretly Zuul, or some other all-powerful god-like being. Although if you think about it this sort of kicked off the trend of The Simpsons letting other creators play with their openings, leading to some legitimately great segments ,like the Banksy opening and Guillermo Del Toro's. So I for one welcome our new Kesha overlord.6. Green Day - "The Simpsons Movie"
"They let Green Day play the theme, and then killed Green Day, so we're counting the movie. Thank you, Simpsons movie." -- 2003 Jaime5. Weird Al - "That 90's Show"
In what is one of the most controversial (and hilarious) episodes of The Simpsons ever made the entirety of Homer & Marge's pre-child backstory is re-conned and moved to the '90s, where they live in a Melrose Place apartment, Marge leaves Homer for a snooty professor, and Homer invents grunge music. It has the best use of the Back To The Future "IT'S YOUR COUSIN MARVIN BERRY" reference ever when Kurt Cobain's cousin calls him to introduce him to grunge, and features a very '90s reference to Weird Al taking a song from the '90s and immediately taking over MTV's airwaves with a parody.
4. Johnny Cash - "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer"
The most psychedelic episode of The Simpsons ever made featured Homer going on what amounts to a vision quest after eating the merciless peppers of Quetzlzacatenengo, which were grown deep in the jungle primeval by the inmates of a Guatemalan insane asylum. This leads to Homer walking through a desert before meeting a Coyote voiced by Johnny Cash, who implores Homer to find his soul mate. It's a hell of a trip, so much so that the one time I ever smoked salvia the entire room I was in turned into the animation of this episode.3. Barry White - "Whacking Day"
Barry White would do anything for a lady, including singing his biggest hit to save the snakes of Springfield from a false holiday where they are whacked to death out of hate for the Irish.2. George Harrison & David Crosby - "Homer's Barbershop Quartet"
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So in a throw back episode (that was later retconned) we learn that Homer and his friends were in a Grammy Award-winning Barbershop Quartet who sang about babies being in cars and the like. The highlights were local drunk Barney Gumble telling David Crosby he was his hero, causing Crosby to say "You like my music?!" and Gumble to retort in disbelief, "You make music?!" And George Harrison driving by a reunion of the band's performance on a rooftop an homage to the famous last Beatles' performance feature in the documentary Let It Be) and quipping, "Eh, it's been done."1. Michael Jackson - "Stark Raving Dad"
At the absolute peak of The Simpsons, and Michael Jackson's peak of ubiquity (i.e. 1991), the show and the King of Pop teamed up in what is one of the best episodes of the series. Homer was sent to an insane asylum after wearing a pink shirt, where he meets a giant white dude who says he's Michael Jackson, which leads to confusion in Springfield and shame for Bart, who not only blew his chance at fame in town but forgets his sister's birthday. To make up for it, Bart and "MJ" team up to make Lisa a one-of-a-kind birthday song, that every girl named Lisa has had posted on her Facebook wall by a guy who likes he since 2005.