Since its inception, Saturday Night Live has been fertile ground for amazing musical performances by both established artists and new stars. Furthermore, SNL has been launched relative unknowns into the mainstream culture.
Here are the ALL-TIME BEST 10 SNL MUSICAL PERFORMANCES!
10. Counting Crows-“Round Here” (1994)
Usually, bands are pretty much household names before they appear on SNL. This was definitely not the case with Counting Crows in 1994. In fact, this stirring performance helped the band explode onto the mainstream music scene. During moments like these, you can really see SNL’s overall influence on pop culture.
9. Patti Smith-“Gloria” (1976)
Patti Smith annihilated this Van Morrison hit with her raspy pipes. The whole performance had a excitement and energy about it that most of those on recent seasons of SNL just don’t have. Furthermore, the show itself, doesn’t have the edgy quality to it anymore.
8. Sinead O’Connor-“War” (1992)
This is the famous…or infamous incident in which O’Connor tore up the picture of the Pope after she performed “War.” Whether you agree or disagree with the action, the performance took some serious guts. This is even more the case when you consider that the incident basically cost Sinead her promising career.
7. Paul McCartney-“Hey Jude” (1993)
There’s always something special when you see a rock legend like Paul McCartney perform on SNL. It’s even more special when he plays one of The Beatles’ all-time greatest songs. The whole thing was magical and really shows the incredible longevity of McCartney and the “Fab Four’s” music.
6. The White Stripes-“Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” (2002)
This was an inspired performance with an intensity that has rarely been matched on the SNL stage. Jack White & co. tore the place down and left the live audience speechless. Sometimes, bands and artists mail it in on SNL. This was not the case with The White Stripes.
5. Nirvana-“Smells Like Teen Spirit” & “Territorial Pissings” (1992)
Nirvana was blowing up in the early 1990’s, so a visit to SNL was all but a foregone conclusion. The band performed their mega-hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” but were told not to perform “Territorial Pissings.” Being the authority obeying folks they were, the band played the song anyways, nearly destroying the stage afterwards.
4. Neil Young-“Rockin’ in the Free World” (1989)
Just when rock needed a kick in the ass, along comes Neil Young. As a viewer, you could really feel the anger and frustration in Young’s voice as he belted out one of his greatest hits. The song was both a battle cry and warning for things to come.
3. U2-“I Will Follow” (2004)
What I really love about U2’s performances on SNL, is that they are so intimate. It’s almost like seeing the band in the early 1980’s, when they were playing small clubs. Everything about their 2004 appearance was legendary, but playing “I Will Follow” during the closing credits was a pretty boss thing to do.
2. Simon & Garfunkel-Various (1975)
This was only the second episode of SNL…and boy was it a big one. Paul Simon hosted shortly after he and Art Garfunkel broke up as a duo. The live and TV audiences were treated to a one-night only reunion, as the two were absolute magic performing a host of their greatest hits. This episode alone, seemed to seriously elevate the credibility of the show.
1. Elvis Costello-“Less Than Zero”…er…”Radio, Radio” (1977)
In one of the most badass moments in TV history, Costello decides that he’s not going to play “Less Than Zero,” instead playing “Radio, Radio,” a song he was told not to play. This performance is an all-time great, even leading Costello to be banned from SNL until 2000. If that’s not rock ‘n roll…
For tomorrow, the ALL-TIME BEST 10 NBA DRAFT CLASSES!
BE SURE TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT US, SO WE CAN KEEP GIVING YOU NEW DAILY CONTENT!!!!