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MTV Unplugged was one of the most loved TV shows about music. The show aired regularly from 1989 up until 2009. After a years-long hiatus, the popular TV made a comeback in 2017 with Shawn Mendes hitting the stage. A wide range of artists (from Paul McCartney to Jay-Z) had the honour of performing on MTV Unplugged. We made a list of 10 essential Unplugged performances that you must see!

#10. Alicia Keys – Unbreakable, 2006

Keys recorded her Unplugged show in her hometown New York in the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Her setlist contained a selection of songs from her two studio albums Songs in A Minor and The Dairy of Alicia Keys and a handful of covers. Maroon 5’s lead singer Adam Levine joined her on stage to sing The Rolling Stones’ classic ‘Wild Horses’.

#9. Oasis – The Masterplan, 1996

&t=12m59sIt’s probably not the best performance on this list, but it’s definitely one of the most memorable. Lead singer Liam Gallagher had a “sore throat” and wasn’t able to perform. But instead of cancelling, Oasis decided that Noel Gallagher could fill in for his brother. Liam decided to sit in the audience and tried to provoke the band while they were playing.

#8. Eagles – Take It Easy, 1994

Well, the title of the Unplugged album, When Hell Freezes Over, couldn’t be more fitting. This performance was the first time the band performed together since Don Felder and Glenn Frey had a row onstage back in 1980.

#7. Alice in Chains – Down in a Hole ,1996

After a nearly three-year-long break, the American rock band recorded their Unplugged show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Majestic Theatre in Brooklyn, New York. This would be one of the last performances of Alice in Chains with frontman Layne Staley. He left the band due to his severe ongoing drug addiction.

#6. Nirvana – All Apologies, 1993

The decor looks a bit like a funeral, with the black candles and the white lilies and the lyrics sound like a suicide note. Which might be seen as a bit of an omen, as Kurt Cobain died not long after they recorded the show.

#5. Mariah Carey – Emotions, 1992

Yes, Mariah Carey can sing! This performance is in stark contrast with her infamous performance at the lightning of the Christmas tree in New York in 2014. So let’s enjoy this version of ‘Emotions’. You just got to love that gospel intro!

#4. Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over, 2012

We all know that Florence Welch has an incredible voice, but she sounds phenomenal during her MTV Unplugged performance in 2012.

#3. Rod Stewart – Having A Party, 1994

Rod Stewart was joined by former bandmate Ron Wood, who left The Faces in 1975 to join The Rolling Stones. Stewart’s setlist consisted of his own songs and covers, like: ‘Have I Told You Lately’ (Van Morrison), a beautiful version of The Dramatics’ ‘People Get Ready’ (you should definitely watch that one too) and the soul classic ‘Having A Party’ (Sam Cooke). The album Unplugged…. and seated became one of his best-selling albums in years.

#2. Pearl Jam – Black, 1992

The band gives a brilliant performance of the Pearl Jam classic. This is probably one of the best live performances of ‘Black’ ever.

#1. Eric Clapton – Tears in Heaven, 1992

After his 4-year-old son died when hefell from the window of a 53rd-floor apartment in New York, Clapton was devastated. To try and cope with his loss, Clapton wrote the song ‘Tears in Heaven’. It became one of his biggest hits. Clapton sold 26 million copies of his Unplugged album.

Plug in your headphones

Don’t worry, you don’t have to miss a single MTV Unplugged performance, because we made you a Spotify Playlist!

Known From

In Known From you can find playlists with songs that you know from television shows, video games, movies or commercials. Songs you maybe didn’t even realize you knew, but the moment you hear them again, they immediately take you back. We put those songs together for you on YouTube and Spotify.

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