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Video: The Best of Music on Late Show with David Letterman

by Rob Slater on April 03, 2014

Music and late night television have always had a close relationship. Today, David Letterman announced his retirement from television after 32 years behind the desk as host of Late Show with David Letterman. Over years, Letterman played host to some of the most prolific acts in music history, some performing multiple times. With 32 years of footage to sort through, here are a few cuts you'll hopefully enjoy. Feel free to share your favorite as you reflect on the king of late night's run. Congrats Dave, you outlasted Jay.

Phish: "Chalkdust Torture"

Phish made their television debut on 12/30/94 prior to their show that evening at Madison Square Garden. For those of you unaware of how that is possible--these "late night" shows tape in the afternoon. Letterman asking the band where they're from is the best and we're all winners for the editors not taking it out.

Beastie Boys: "Ch-Check It Out"

Probably the most epic performance in Letterman's 30+ year tenure. NYC's own paid homage to their city by starting their performance outside, ultimately ending up in studio. Supporting their album fittingly titled To the 5 Boroughs, Ad-Rock, Mike D and MCA delivered "Ch-Check It Out" much to the delight of everyone.

Blues Traveler: "Hook"

Already a powerful song, Blues Traveler really leaned into this version of their hit "Hook," further proving themselves as an act not-to-be missed in the coming years.

Paul McCartney

Anytime a member of The Beatles is close to something that says "Ed Sullivan Theatre," it is a moment to behold and remember forever. In 2009, Paul McCartney took to the roof with his solo band to perform a slew of tunes on his massive world tour. Watch Macca run through "Band on the Run," "Let Me Roll It" and "Helter Skelter."

Dave Matthews Band

One of the few acts who can say they've grown up on a television show, DMB really did spend most of their on-camera career with David Letterman. The band became one of Dave's favorite, prompting him to exclaim in 1997, "these guys are reeeeaallllly good!" Right you are, Dave.

To give you an idea of how popular Crash was--Letterman invited the band on the show three times in 1996. That's called "playing the hits," kids.



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