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Best Musical Moments from Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

by Rob Slater on February 07, 2014

Tonight, Jimmy Fallon will close the book on Late Night and prepare to take the reigns from Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show on February 17, bringing the famed late night show back to New York City for the first time since Johnny Carson gave up the post to Leno in '92. Fallon's current gig, which he's held since 2009, boasts one of the most impressive musical histories of any late night show.

Fallon and his staff have a knack for getting some of the best in music to not only perform on their show, but partake in some of the skits the host puts on as well. From recruiting David Crosby and Graham Nash to sing Miley Cyrus' "Party In the USA" while Fallon impersonated Neil Young, to hosting entire weeks dedicated to Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones, Late Night brought us some of the most unique and hysterical musical moments ever put on television. It can only leave one to wonder what the new host of The Tonight Show has in store for the future. Here are some of the best of music on Late Night.

Paul Simon, Jimmy Fallon and the Cast of STOMP Perform "Cecilia"

Paul Simon had some fun during his appearance on Late Night. The singer/songwriter invited Jimmy as well as the cast of popular Broadway play STOMP to join him for his hit "Cecilia" in one of the coolest and most unique performances ever on Fallon.

Eddie Vedder and Jimmy Fallon: "Balls In Your Mouth"

Following the BP oil spill, Fallon enlisted the help of Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder to spread an important message about the tar balls that were floating in the Gulf, hampering your ability to swim. This is the folk classic, "Balls In Your Mouth." Vedder called the song an "environmental anthem" during his latest visit to the show while the band was promoting Lightning Bolt.

Sir Paul Pays Tribute to John Lennon

Per the request of the host, Paul McCartney delivered the emotional ballad "Here Today," written for the late John Lennon. Paul gives a stirring speech prior to the performance as the lights dim and the crowd goes deathly silent. In a show full of humor and light-hearted moments, this was one on the heavier side.

History of Rap

For fans of hip hop and/or fun, the History of Rap is for you. Justin, Jimmy and The Roots combined to bring listeners on a trip down hip hop memory lane. From Jay to Biggie to Sugarhill Gang's "Jump On It," these physically demanding segments provided plenty of laughs and entertainment. The Roots hold it down as songs change quickly, making it musically impressive as well.

Bruce Springsteen and "Neil Young" Cover "Whip My Hair"

Fallon's landmark impersonation came when he broke out his Neil Young impression for a cover of Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair." The surprise came halfway through the song when Bruce Springsteen (the actual Bruce Springsteen), walks out dressed as his 1978 self (for comparison) much to the delight of the audience. Decked out in a wig and his actualsunglasses from the Born to Run tour, Springsteen and Fallon finished the song as a duet. The host spoke about the performance during his appearance on CBS Sunday Morning.

Dave Matthews Debuts "Mercy"

In 2012, Fallon held a special Late Night on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. A show that featured an appearance from President Barack Obama as well as a special edition of "Slow Jam the News" with the President also included a special performance from Dave Matthews. The guitarist enlisted the help of The Roots' Captain Kirk to debut a brand new song "Mercy," from the band's forthcoming album. While a national TV spot doesn't seem like the safest place to debut a brand new song in the solo form, Matthews nails it, making this widely regarded as one of the best versions of the tune.

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