Top Ten: David Letterman Live Performances

  • Words: Spindle Team

The king of late night television David Letterman is due to make his final appearance on the Late Show tonight (May 20) after 33 years on the air.

Over his three decade reign the comedian and host has showcased a seemingly endless reel of talent pulled from all corners of the entertainment business. With the news that Foo Fighters will be the final musicians on the current incarnation of the Late Show, we count down the show’s all-time top ten musical moments.

 

10. Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over 2010

This appearance came almost a year after her debut album Lungs cracked the American charts right down the middle. Florence’s mind-blowing vocals and instrumentally varied live band makes this performance particularly special.

 

9.  White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl 2002

The duo at their very best; stripped down and red/white raw. Hold on to your seats and turn it up as the Stripes tear through the second single off their third album White Blood Cells.

 

8. Radiohead – Karma Police 1997

One of those performances which feels as though it documented the start of something important. Although the band were already three albums deep into their existence, OK Computer was the first to make a mark across the pond and truly propel them into the international spotlight.

 

7. Beastie Boys – Sabotage 1994

The Beasties tend to draw a mixed reception when they’re brought up in a conversation on 90s hip hop; people tend to flinch at a bunch of white boys rapping with backwards caps. Backed by producer demi-god and founder of Def Jam Records Rick Rubin the NY group are unarguably one of the most important, and funniest, groups to hit the hip hop stratosphere.

 

6. Butthole Surfers – Pepper 1996

The Texan punk rockers were the one of the weirdest and most abrasive groups to emerge in the early 80s alternative music scene in the US. Known for their circus like live shows this appearance is relatively PG-13, though it gives a perfect chance to see just how brilliant they were without any distractions.

 

5. The Shins – New Slang 2012

This performance of New Slang is one of the few to do it justice. Just let the twangy guitars and whisper-like vocals serenade you into a nostalgic daydream.

 

4. Rage Against the Machine – Guerrilla Radio 1999

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3. Amy Winehouse – Rehab 2007

Appearing for her US network debut off the back of her second album Back to Black, which topped the charts in almost every country which had one, this is one of the best examples of Amy at her most flawless.

 

2. Blur – Tender 1999

See here.

 

1. James Brown 1982

For the number 1 spot we chose the unquestioned godfather of soul and all round questionable guy, James Brown. The whirlwind set opens with Get on Up and continues to turn up the heat from there.