“MTV Unplugged” Begins

The first episode of MTV Unplugged made its television debut on Sunday, November 26, 1989. The series would eventually feature many classic episodes and recordings, such as four years later with the November 18, 1993 show featuring Nirvana.

But back in 1989, the show had not established a reputation so the performers on the first episode were not superstars. The show featured Squeeze, Syd Straw, Elliot Easton (of the Cars), and Jules Shear.

Below Shear, Straw, Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook, and Elliot Easton come together to cover The Monkees during that first show. Check out “I’m a Believer” from the very first episode of MTV Unplugged.

Many credit Paul McCartney with helping make MTV Unplugged a popular show that would attract major artists. During the second season, after his appearance, he released a recording of the show, Unplugged – The Official Bootleg, which went on to be quite successful.

MTV Unplugged aired regularly between 1989 and 1999. The show appeared less frequently during most of the next decade usually called MTV Unplugged No. 2.0.

Since 2009, MTV has occasionally run the show as a special, sometimes in online-only versions. But for those of us who were around during the decade that was the show’s heyday, it was an important cultural touchstone of that time.

What is your favorite episode of MTV Unplugged? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Paul McCartney & Bruce Springsteen: “I Saw Her Standing There”

    On Friday, September 15, 2017, Paul McCartney welcomed Bruce Springsteen on stage.  The two then ripped into the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There.”  McCartney performed at Madison Square Garden in the midst of a run of eight shows in four different locations in the New York area.

    E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt also joined the pair on stage, providing a stellar guitar solo.  McCartney had so much fun on the song, he then had everyone play “I Saw Her Standing There” a second time.

    Below, check out Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen on the Beatles classic.

    What Beatles song would you like Springsteen to sing with Paul McCartney? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    The Beatles’ 1969 Rooftop Concert

    On January 30, 1969, the Beatles went to the rooftop of Apple headquarters for their first live performance in more than two years. The impromptu show continued for 42 minutes until the band was shut down by the police.

    The Rooftop Performance

    The performance was in some ways a last gasp of a group that was coming apart. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were trying to get back to their roots with some help from keyboardist Billy Preston.

    Of course, the performance did not save the band.  But it gave the world one more glimpse at the genius that was The Beatles. And they rocked.

    The rooftop concert was part of The Beatles’ work on a project that was entitled Get Back at the time. The album would ultimately be entitled Let It Be, as would the film that included 21 minutes of the performance.

    Currently, the full performance is not available for embedding, but below is the Beatles performing “Don’t Let Me Down” on the roof.

    Release of Let It Be

    The Beatles released the album from the sessions, Let It Be, in May 1970.  The release came soon after the band had broken up.

    Let It Be was the final studio album released by The Beatles. However, they recorded their album Abbey Road after Let It Be.  But they released Let it Be earlier, releasing it in September (U.K.) and October (U.S.) 1969.

    For more on the concert, check out Rolling Stone’s 15 Things You Didn’t Know about the performance.

    Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    The Beatles: “Blackpool Night Out” Live Performance

    On August 3, 1965, the Beatles released the album Help! in the United Kingdom, releasing it ten days later in the United States on August 13.  During this time in their careers, the Fab Four were reducing their promotional appearances. So they only appeared on only one U.K. television show to promote the new album, Blackpool Night Out.

    ABC TV made Blackpool Night Out, filming the show at the ABC Theatre in Blackpool, a summer seaside resort city with other connections to John Lennon.  The live broadcast with the Beatles ran from 9.10 pm to 10.05 pm.

    The Beatles performed several songs on the Sunday, August 1, 1965 show.  They started with “I Feel Fine,” “I’m Down,” “Act Naturally,” and “Ticket To Ride.”

    Next, Paul McCartney sang “Yesterday” by himself in the song’s first performance on British television.  The band returned, with Lennon carrying flowers and joking, “Thank you Ringo, that was wonderful.”  The band closed with “Help!” Below you may hear the audio of part of the 1965 show.

    Although some thought the video of the show was lost, a video of the show popped up on YouTube recently. Unfortunately, they had to take it down for copyright issues.

    The album Anthology 2 (1996) included fours songs from this performance, “I Feel Fine,” “Ticket To Ride,” “Yesterday,” and “Help!”

    What is your favorite Beatles TV appearance? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    )

    Paul McCartney Joins Springsteen for “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town”


    After it was announced that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band would appear on NBC’s Saturday Night Live during the week of Christmas, it was a safe bet to predict that the band would be busting out its Christmas classic “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” But who would have known that they would be joined onstage by Paul McCartney?

    After performing “Meet Me in the City” and “The Ties That Bind” earlier in the evening to promote the new box-set release of The Ties That Bind: The River Collection, Springsteen and the E Street Band appeared at the end of the show for the goodbyes from the show’s hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Then, the whole cast danced while Springsteen sang “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” capturing the joy of what Christmas music should be, with a little help from Paul McCartney.

    Although McCartney stays in the background on the singing, it is great to see two rock legends on stage together having fun. Check it out.

    Leave your two cents in the comments.

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