Remember When: Johnny Cash Performed on ‘Sesame Street’ and Was Called “Johnny Trash” and “Johnny Clash”

In 1973 Johnny Cash made his first appearance on Sesame Street during the fifth season of the educational children’s series. During the episode, Cash performed four songs in different segments alongside some iconic Sesame Street characters—and even his wife June Carter.

Here’s a look a back at the songs Cash performed on Sesame Street—including two he later recorded and released on a children’s album—during his 1973 and 1992 appearances on the show.

Videos by American Songwriter

[RELATED: Top 8 Musical Cameos on ‘Sesame Street’]

“Nasty Dan”

“Who goes there?” asks Oscar the Grouch after Cash knocks on his trashsbin with the side of his guitar. “You’ll like this,” says Cash before performing “Nasty Dan,” a song about the meanest man he ever met—He’d frown a bunch he ate nails for lunch and he’d never laugh.

Oh Nasty Dan was the meanest man I ever knew
He’s stomp and scream and be real mean the whole day through
He’d frown a bunch he ate nails for lunch and he’d never laugh
He’d growl and yell and I heard tell that he never took a bath
Nasty Dan (nasty Dan)was a nasty man hard to understand that Nasty Dan

Now Nasty Dan was a nasty man the whole day long (good for him)
He’d go where he could and he’d try real good to make things go wrong (oh yeah yeah)
He’d jump for joy when a little boy would trip and fall (really mean)
And the only words that he ever said were “I don’t like you at all” (yeah, right on)
Nasty Dan was a nasty man hard to understand that Nasty Dan

In the song, Nasty Dan meets and marries Nasty Pearl and they have a nasty child together.

Nasty Pearl was a nasty girl that met Dan somehow
She said you like me rotten as can be let’s get married now
So they went and they did and had a nasty kid

[RELATED: 3 Songs You Didn’t Know Johnny Cash Recorded With Rosanne Cash]

At the end Grouch says to Cash: “Wow, that was really great. And say, aren’t you Johnny Trash?” Cash responds “Cash … Have a rotten day” to Grouch’s “Wow, that was my kind of guy.”

“Nasty Dan” was written by Jeff Moss, who also wrote Ernie’s iconic “Rubber Duckie,” performed by Jim Henson, along with other Sesame Street classics like “The People in Your Neighborhood” and Grouch’s “I Love Trash,” along with The Muppets‘ “Together Again.”

Cash later recorded “Nasty Dan” for The Johnny Cash Children’s Album in 1975.

“Five Feet High and Rising”

During his time on Sesame Street, Cash also performed “Five Feet High and Rising” with Biff the construction worker. “Say, don’t I know you,” says Biff to Cash. “I know you from somewhere. Don’t tell me. … You’re Johnny Clash.” After Cash corrects him, he tells Biff that he came to sing a song he wrote called “Five Feet Hight and Rising.”

Originally released on Cash’s fourth album Songs of Our Soil from 1959, “Five Feet Hight and Rising” tells the true story of the Great Flood of 1937, which forced Cash—then 4 years old—and his family to flee and leave their home behind.

How high’s the water, Mama?
Two feet high and risin’
How high’s the water, Papa?
She said it’s two feet high and risin’

We can make it to the road in a homemade boat
That’s the only thing we got left that’ll float
It’s already over all the wheat and the oats
Two feet high and risin’

How high’s the water, Mama?
Three feet high and risin’
How high’s the water, Papa?
She said it’s three feet high and risin’

“One and One Make Two”

A counting song, “One and One Make Two,” which was also written by Moss, also made it into Cash’s Sesame Street repertoire. Cash also included his recording of the song on The Johnny Cash Children’s Album.

Oh the number one is not my favorite number
Because one means only me and there’s no you
But one plus one you see makes two that’s you and me
And it’s more fun when one and one makes two
Oh yes one and one makes two at least I’m pretty sure they do
Oh yes it’s true one and one makes two

Now let me show you what I mean
Now you say you want to play upon a seesaw
You’re all alone and you don’t know what to do
Well just go and find a friend and sit him on the other end
You’ll have more fun when one and one makes two
Oh yes one and one

“If I Had a Hammer”

June Carter Cash also appears in the 1973 episode alongside Johnny. When the two visit Grouch, they sing him a duet of The Weavers’ 1950 song “If I Had a Hammer.”

If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning
I’d hammer in the evening all over this land
I’d hammer out danger, I’d hammer out a warning
I’d hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

If I had a bell, I’d ring it in the morning
I’d ring it in the evening all over this land
I’d ring out danger, I’d ring out a warning
I’d ring out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

[RELATED: 3 Songs You Didn’t Know June Carter Cash Wrote for Other Artists]

Written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays, the protest song was first recorded and released by Seeger adn Hays’ folk quartet the Weavers. In 1962, Peter, Paul, and Mary released their cover of “If I Had a Hammer,” which went to No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 before Trini Lopez took it to No. 3 a year later.

Cash later released the song, featuring June Carter, on his 1973 album Any Old Wind That Blows and took it to No. 29 on the Country chart.

“Don’t Take Your Ones to Town”

Nearly 30 years since his first appearance on the show, Cash returned to Sesame Street in 1992 during season 23 and performed “Don’t Take Your Ones to Town,” a parody of his 1958 hit “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town,” which he performed with Big Bird, Count von Count, and the Countess.

Originally a song about a young cowboy, who yearns for independence and become man, Cash reworked the slow-simmering ballad around the story of Birdie-Big (Big Bird), a cowboy who counts to one all over town but can’t Count and Countess when he meets them since they are two. In the song, they help him count higher than one.

[RELATED: Johnny Cash’s Debut Singles “Hey Porter” and “Cry! Cry! Cry!”]

“Tall Tale”

In the ’92 episode, Cash also performed “Tall Tale” with Noel Cowherd and a set of other cowpokes. The song tells the story of a town where everything was opposite. Cowherd recalls meeting aliens on a diet, while a cowgirl sings about a ring that made any “tall-tale-teller” disappear. When she presses the ring, Cash and Cowherd disappear.

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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