It’s hard to understate the sort of impact that a show like The Simpsons has had on the world of pop culture since it first aired almost 33 years ago. Now, that legacy is set to continue as the iconic animated series teams up with Levi’s for their latest collaboration.
Arguably one of the world’s most iconic clothing companies, it makes sense for The Simpsons and Levi’s to cross paths for their latest pairing, which utilises some of the show’s most memorable characters – including the likes of Bart, Lisa, Milhouse, and a whole host of Springfield’s most popular residents – for this youthful collaboration.
Reflecting the experience of going to school through the eyes of Springfield Elementary students, Levi’s new range is set to feel nostalgic yet progressive, capturing some of the colours most associated with The Simpsons as its bold styles and cutting-edge designs aim to underline the weird, eccentric, and unexpected moments in one’s life.
The range includes a reversible Puffer Vest with sky blue and cloud print on one side—a nod to the show’s opening credits—and The Simpsons yellow on the other, as well as a loose-fit faded indigo denim Levi’s Trucker featuring a graphic of Bart Simpson drinking a Squishee alongside the iconic Levi’s Batwing logo
Together, the collaboration provides a pairing that is both fashionable, and on the cutting edge of pop culture; much like The Simpsons and Levi’s themselves.
In celebration of this collab, which has now officially launched, we’ve decided to take a look back at some of the most memorable times that The Simpsons collided with pop culture, reflecting on some of their biggest, best, and most iconic musical crossovers.
Visiting Springfield for a rock concert in 2000’s “A Tale of Two Springfields”, English rockers The Who help to unite the town after an area code snafu splits the city in twain. Featuring Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle as themselves (though Pete Townsend is replaced by his brother, Paul), the episode closes with a powerful rendition of “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, and proved that The Who were still as iconic as ever.
Serving as the first band to make an appearance on the show when they joined the 1991 episode “Flaming Moe’s”, Aerosmith opened the door for countless other acts when they appeared as entertainment for Moe’s Tavern. First enticed to perform for free pickled eggs, the group hang around for longer than just an appearance of “Walk This Way”, even if drummer Joey Kramer does have his drumsticks confiscated by a lovelorn Mrs Krabappel.
“Krusty Gets Cancelled”
In 1993, Krusty the Clown found his career on the wane in the “Krusty Gets Cancelled” episode, forcing him to pivot in order to stage a miraculous comeback. Who do you get to pull off such an event? Well, according to The Simpsons, some of the biggest names in the entertainment world, including Johnny Carson and Luke Perry. However, it’s the musical guests who steal the show, including the likes of Bette Midler, Barry White, and an underwear-wearing Red Hot Chili Peppers (who are surprisingly open to changing some of their controversial lyrics).
In an episode dubbed “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” (which itself parodies the rise of The Beatles), it would only make sense for the great George Harrison to make an appearance. Effectively appearing as a way to confirm the fact that The Be-Sharps echo the career of the Fab Four, Harrison has only a few brief moments in the show – guiding Homer towards some brownies, and informing the viewer that the idea of a rooftop concert was old hat.
A stellar example of ‘short and sweet’, iconic New York punk outfit, the Ramones, made their brief appearance as the entertainment for Mr Burns’ birthday in the 1993 episode “Rosebud”, just three short years before their split. Introduced as “several fine young men that I’m sure are gonna go far”, the group’s 15-second profane birthday song is received as one would expect, with a shocked Burns soon reacting by uttering his famous line, “Have the Rolling Stones killed!”
Arguably one of the most unexpected guest stars in the 1999 episode, “Sunday, Cruddy Sunday”, country music icon Dolly Parton makes her appearance as the half-time entertainment for the Super Bowl (noting she’s booked in for a duet with Rob Lowe and Stomp). However, her cameo is limited to a non-musical one, existing instead to break Homer and his pals out of the stadium jail.
The irony isn’t lost on the writers though, with fellow guest star, late sportscaster Pat Summerall, asking at the episode’s conclusion; “Did it strike you as odd that in a Super Bowl show with Dolly Parton we didn’t see any football or singing?”
One of the three Beatles to appear on the show, Paul McCartney (along with late wife Linda) appeared on the 1995 episode “Lisa the Vegetarian” to help Lisa come to terms with the concept of vegetarianism. Helping her find her path, the writers noted that McCartney’s guest spot was predicated on the fact that Lisa would remain a vegetarian long after the episode aired, and that it wasn’t just a one-off affair. As it turned out, he was successful, and Lisa remains a vegetarian to this day, all thanks to McCartney himself.
Given that prolific voice actor Harry Shearer served as bassist Derek Smalls, it’s of no surprise that the fictional English metal group made an appearance on The Simpsons. Serving as the inspiration for Bart to take up the guitar, 1992 episode “The Otto Show” saw the group perform an ill-fated show which featured wayward lasers, a semi-inflated devil, and a waterlogged stage, before eventually culminating in a riot.
While Spinal Tap made the appearance during promotion for their (real) 1992 album, Break Like the Wind, it served as a temporary farewell, too, with the animated version of the band ultimately perishing in a bus crash. Seems like there was some truth to David St. Hubbins’ parting proclamation; “Goodnight Springton, there will be no encores.”
It’s impossible not to mention music on The Simpsons without referencing the 1996 episode, “Homerpalooza”. Written in response to the decade’s alt-rock boom and the Lollapalooza festival, the episode contains numerous musical appearances from icons of the day, including Peter Frampton, the Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, and Cypress Hill. Add in a closing theme rendition by Sonic Youth, and a brief pairing of Cypress Hill and the London Symphony Orchestra, and you’ve got one of the coolest musical appearances the show ever saw.