Yes, SNL has been on that long–and every single week (I think) they’ve had a special musical guest. The Village Voice ranked their top 40 here.
My pick for number one?
1. Elvis Costello, December 1977.
1a. Bonus: Elvis gets his revenge.
2. Then there’s the Fear riot for 1981. Yes, that’s pre-Chili Peppers Flea playing bass for them.
3. David Bowie (with support singer Klaus Nomi) 1979.
4. There’s the Tragically Hip’s performance, of course.
5. And this Band performance from 1976 is the first musical guest I recall seeing.