Last Call: Let's all share our favorite TV music performances

Illustration for article titled Last Call: Let's all share our favorite TV music performances
Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images)

I love following Brian Stack on Twitter. It’s not just because he’s one of the giants among late-night comedy writers (responsible for countless iconic Conan sketches; now on Colbert’s staff), but because he’s a prolific tweeter of great live music performances. A worthy follow, indeed.


In that spirit, let’s all share our favorite TV music performances and load up our YouTube Watch Later queue. I’ll start it off with in-the-prime James Brown on Letterman from 1982, with a 12-minute medley of “Sex Machine,” “There Was a Time,” and “I Got the Feeling.” Electrifying.

I’ve posted this once before here in Last Call, but David Bowie appeared on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show in 1980, performing “Life on Mars” and “Ashes to Ashes.” I find Carson’s introduction of Bowie rather charming.

And this here is my all-time, no doubt, favorite TV live performance ever. It was Bruce Springsteen performing “Kitty’s Back” on Conan from 2002, featuring The E Street Band and the Max Weinberg 7. I was never much of a Springsteen fan until this very performance. Soon after I bought his Live at the Hammersmith Odeon album and I’ve been an ardent fan since.

What are yours? Please share below.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.


Probably Not Moriarty

Prince’s 2007 Super Bowl Halftime Show performance is the greatest Halftime show in Super Bowl history.

The full recording. (I can’t find the full show on YouTube, only the NFL’s shortened version, so here’s a non-YT full version because its necessary.)

I still get goosebumps watching it. Such an incredible performance.

Purple.  Rain.