September 12, 2023

The Top Ten Musical Performances on Letterman

When David Letterman first appeared on NBC in 1982, people were astonished. This goofy gap-toothed guy from Indiana was going things on TV no other talk show host dared to do–and that included the kinds of musical guests he had on the show.

There have been hundreds (thousands?) of musical guests on the stage between Dave and Paul Shaffer, so it’s pretty much impossible to whittle them down to the ten best.

Pigeons and Planes has tried to do just that. Because this being Letterman, you gotta do a Top Ten List, right? Let’s start with Captain Beefheart.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37026 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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