A unique version of The Beatles’ “Octopus’s Garden” by the Muppets has been shared from the archives of The Ed Sullivan Show.
The song, written by Ringo Starr under his real name of Richard Starkey, is of course fondly-remembered from the group’s 1969 album Abbey Road. It was Ringo’s final lead vocal with The Beatles. The version by Jim Henson’s Muppets, introduced by Sullivan himself, featured on the March 1, 1970 edition of the long-running CBS-TV variety series.
This was the second of three versions of “Octopus’s Garden” by Henson’s Muppets, who had already performed it on their own Sesame Street in 1969. It was later used in a Muppet Show of 1978, at their height of its success, featuring Robin the Frog, Kermit the Frog, and Miss Piggy.
The 1970 clip was part of a special edition of the show called The Beatles Songbook, which also featured other artists singing their material including Dionne Warwick as well as Duke Ellington who, with his orchestra, played a wide-ranging medley including jazz-flavored, big band versions of “She Loves You,” “All My Loving,” “Eleanor Rigby,” “She’s Leaving Home,” “Norwegian Wood,” and “Ticket To Ride.”
The show also included segments that are highly relevant to the recent debut of Peter Jackson’s Disney+ docuseries The Beatles: Get Back, his self-described “documentary about a documentary” based on film and audio footage created for their 1970 film Let It Be. The edition contained previews of the then-imminent arrival of the original film, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg.
Said Sullivan in the episode: “Now, for fans of Beatles music, there’s a wonderful new Beatles film which is opening soon and is just jammed with new songs. And as a special treat, here are The Beatles performing the title song ‘Let It Be.’” The show also included another clip from the 1970 film of the group singing “Two Of Us.”
Buy or stream The Beatles’ Let It Be Special Edition packages.