With David Letterman recently signing off after over thirty years on The Late Show, now seems like a good time to celebrate a few great, terrible, interesting or awkward musical TV appearances. With all my might, I have resisted including Future Islands and Jocky Wilson. There’s also nothing from Later… in here. Has anything of note even happened on that show?
R.E.M. play a song too new to be named for David Letterman
In which Dave chats with the boys from Athens, GA, for a bit, before they close their national TV debut with a new track that nobody knows, and which doesn’t even have a name yet. Because that’s just what you do if you’re R.E.M.
The House of Love storm Christine in front of a bored-looking audience in 1988
One of the commenters on youtube claims to have been at this Melvyn Bragg endurance contest of a recording for five hours without being granted so much as a toilet break. No wonder the audience ignore the direction for tumultuous applause, offering their best Victorian portrait pose instead.
Blur make their TV debut on a cookery show. Hosted by a member of Bucks Fizz
It may sound like an accidental Partridge, but Eggs “n” Baker was a cookery and music program for kids hosted by Cheryl Baker. And it was the scene of Blur’s first TV appearance.
Occasionally, Cheryl would burn simple recipes while engaging in awkward interview banter. Here she is making landfill television with members of folk-fiddly indie band Pele.
And for the hat-trick, here’s Pele performing “Megalomania”, from their well-worth seeking out album Fireworks, to a crowd of kids. If the response of the little ones seems muted, I expect it’s just because inside they are busy mulling over the complex personality issues raised by the track.
Oasis make their TV debut on The Word
In which Liam is all over the mic like a touchy-feely person who hasn’t invented his trademark hands-free persona yet.
The Auteurs play Light Aircraft on Fire while sparkly dancers wing it
Hotel Babylon was a late ITV grab for the drunken young adult market that almost entirely passed me by during its mid to late 90s run. I guess I was just old and mature by then, or had grown tired of its spiritual mother-programme The Word (both, along with The Big Breakfast, were made by Planet 24). Easy as it is to mock this Dani Behr-fronted music and entertainment fare, it’s worth asking where are the shows now that would book The Auteurs during Luke Haines’ most nihilistic phase, and the likes of Therapy?
Bez gives it the full Bez
In which The Happy Mondays, signed to Tony Wilson’s Factory Records, make an appearance on “The Other Side Of Midnight”, a Granada show hosted by none other than Tony Wilson. You can be Shaun Ryder, I’ll be Bez.