In the autumn of 1979, Grammy-winning country music recording artist Crystal Gayle (One from the Heart) was the special guest on the second episode of season four of The Muppet Show. Gayle’s episode, like all the others from the last two seasons of the series’ original run, has not been made accessible to the masses since its Disney Channel rebroadcast, Variety reports. However, the recent announcement that every episode of The Muppet Show will grace the Disney Plus media library on February 19 means that the streamer’s worldwide subscriber base can look forward to experiencing the unique blend of Crystal Gayle’s refined musical stylings with the Muppets’ comic chaos, according to a recent press release.
Gayle reportedly regards her Muppet Show experience with a great deal of fondness. “I loved taping The Muppet Show in London. Jim Henson (Labyrinth), Frank Oz (The Stepford Wives), and all the Muppets made me feel like a part of their family,” Gayle recalled, via the press release. The acclaimed vocalist, twenty-six at the time of her episode’s filming, even posed for a picture with Miss Piggy (Oz), which she posted to her Twitter in October 2020.
— Crystal Gayle (@TheCrystalGayle) October 17, 2020
Although Gayle’s episode does not see her sharing scenes with Miss Piggy, she does play opposite Oz during the first of her two musical numbers, “River Road.” Gayle stays faithful to the original lyric’s narrative about running away from home until she encounters an old woman voiced by Oz who shows Gayle how a lifetime on the road may not be as glamorous an idea as she thinks. Gayle accordingly alters the lyrics in the final verse to indicate that she is returning home because she does not want to end up like the old woman.
“River Road,” along with Gayle’s other musical number “We Must Believe in Magic” both come from her album We Must Believe in Magic, which is allegedly the first album recorded by a female country singer to go platinum, as reported by The NWI Times. Gayle’s Grammy-winning single “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue” also comes from this 1977 release.
The year before Gayle met the Muppets for herself, her older sister Loretta Lynn (Nashville Rebel) had taped her own Muppet Show episode as part of its season three slate. Both Gayle and Lynn also lent their vocal talents to the 1981 album Sesame Country. The record includes “Songs,” Gayle’s duet with Big Bird (Carroll Spinney, Portlandia), and “Count On Me,” Lynn’s duet with The Count (Jerry Nelson, Fraggle Rock), both of whom are characters constructed by the Henson Workshop.