Top 10 Letterman Musical Performances

Future Islands, The White Stripes and War on Drugs show Letterman what they've got

Today the last episode of The Late Show with David Letterman airs. As I started pouring over an endless list of musical guests from over the years, I realized how much The Late Show provided massive exposure for up and comers even when other venues wouldn’t. In true Letterman fashion, I’ve pulled together a Top 10:
 

ARCADE FIRE – “REBELLION (LIES)”

You can almost feel Win’s nerves when he first opens his mouth. Afterwards, I can only imagine viewers asking themselves “who was that??”

 

WHITE STRIPES – “FELL IN LOVE WITH A GIRL”

Meg never was much of a drummer, was she? Still, it’s fun to see a fresh-faced Jack and Meg bashing out a hit.

 

ROBYN – “DANCING ON MY OWN”

What’s better than a live drummer on a dance track? TWO live drummers. And, call me old fashioned, but I always liked when Dave would give the ladies a kiss on the hand.

 

METRIC – SYNTHETICA

Dave nails the pronunciation of “Turonno” on his second attempt, and offers to help the band stay in the U.S. There’s also a sweet guitar solo at 3:20.

 

CATFISH & THE BOTTLEMEN – “KATHLEEN”

Dave gets a chuckle out of the artwork for their album The Balcony.

 

KATHLEEN EDWARDS – “CHANGE THE SHEETS”

Before she retired from music to open a coffee shop, Kathleen Edwards delivered this heartfelt performance with Hannah Georgas adding vocals.

 

PHOENIX – “1901”

It’s hard not to dance to this spot-on synth and drum-heavy performance.

 

THE WAR ON DRUGS – “RED EYES”

It’s always fun to see Paul jump into a band’s performance, and he added some ethereal keys to this one.

 

FOXYGEN – “HOW CAN YOU REALLY”

What fuelled this high energy performance? Drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.

 

FUTURE ISLANDS – “SEASONS”

Of course, the performance (and dancing) that launched them into the mainstream. The best part is when Dave exclaims “Oh Buddy!” and “How about that!” and “I’ll take all that you got!”