Twenty-nine years ago today (October 31), the very first episode of MTV Unplugged was recorded.
That episode featured the band Squeeze, and since that performance, some of the biggest names in music would go on to give timeless performances on the show. In honor of this anniversary, here are six of the most notable MTV Unplugged performances from classic rock artists.
Clapton’s Unplugged performance was released as a proper album in 1992 and has gone on to sell over 26 million copies worldwide. It would also nab the GRAMMYs for Album of the Year and Best Rock Song for the acoustic rendition of “Layla.” Of course, we’d be remiss in not mentioning the Unplugged version of “Tears in Heaven,” which remains devastatingly moving to this day.
Another incredible Unplugged performance that was also released as an LP, Stewart’s appearance on the show also featured former Faces bandmate Ronnie Wood and marked the first time in about two decades they shared the stage together.
Another album release AND reunion! KISS’ 1995 appearance on Unplugged featured the four original band members on stage together for the first time since the late 70’s and was so popular that it led to KISS’ famed 1996 reunion tour.
Fun fact about Sir Paul’s appearance on Unplugged: It was completely unplugged. Most other performances featured artists playing acoustically with the help of amps. It was also one of the first performances in the show’s history.
While technically not released as an official Unplugged special, The Eagles’ 1994 Hell Freezes Over special on MTV was produced by the Unplugged team. So, we think that definitely counts.
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page
Boy…Unplugged sure had a thing for reunions! Who could forget Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page’s set from 1994? As with other Unplugged performances, this one was also released as an LP three months after its recording.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.