Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
Nothing says late night counterculture comedy mayhem quite like Anne Murray, eh? Everyone's favourite Lite FM Canadian songbird appeared on SNL on multiple occasions, although we're reasonably certain she wasn't snorting coke at the after- parties. The Juno Award magnet appeared in season one of Saturday Night Live with Elliott Gould serving as the host. Murray would return in season five and perform the song "Lucky Me" following a sketch where Burt Reynolds tried to pick up women at a Roman vomitorium.
Gary Busey + Eubie Blake & Gregory Hines
Gary Busey boasts some impressive musical chops and they served him well in the title role of Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story. (The lovable maniac scored an Oscar nod for his work in that flick.) If you catch Busey's season four hosting performance on SNL you can see the actor perform as a secondary musical guest at the end of the program knocking out "Stay All Night." The episode also features the primary musical guest combo of the legendary Eubie Blake and actor/singer/dancer Gregory Hines tackling a three-song medley.
The Cast of Pirates of Penzance
No, that's not an incredibly confusing typo or a copyright lawyer-baiting New Wave group. The cast of The Pirates of Penzance, complete with Linda Ronstadt in tow, really were the musical guest on an episode of Saturday Night Live. Their appearance (with host, David Carradine) occurred during the notorious sixth season of SNL, a.k.a. the one year helmed by instant pariah Jean Doumanian. It was actually an incredibly interesting year for SNL musical guests. The 13-episode 1980-1981 edition of the program featured performances from acts like Prince, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, James Brown, Cheap Trick, Funky Four Plus One, Jimmy Cliff, Aretha Franklin and Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band.
Andy Sturmey/ZUMAPRESS.com/Keystone Press
Delightful L.A. pop weirdos Sparks were a nice fit for a season seven episode that featured an appearance from fellow beloved, Andy Kaufman. Danny Devito served as the host for the episode, which includes two performances from Sparks. The duo performed "Mickey Mouse" and "I Predict" on that night's broadcast. Speaking of season seven Los Angeles oddities, this was the year that hardcore loudmouths Fear absolutely decimated the place with their performance. (They were on the program at John Belushi's insistence.)
Bjork's appeared on SNL a number of times, both as herself and in parody form. The Icelandic superstar's first appearance on Lorne's Saturday evening hangout actually occurred long before 'Debut' captivated listeners and MuchMusic/MTV viewers in the early '90s. Bjork's genre-blurring alt-pop/rock outfit The Sugarcubes graced the Studio 8H stage in 1988 with host Matthew Broderick providing the intro. The band trotted out "Birthday" and "Motorcrash" for the studio and television audience. Bjork would return in 1997 as a solo act.
The Tragically Hip
We hosers have a history of worshipping at the altar of The Tragically Hip, but in the United States they're more of a curio than anything else. (To be fair, Gord Downie & Co. haven't exactly exhausted much in the way of resources in a bid to conquer the States.) Surprisingly, the Canadian rock vets popped up on Saturday Night Live in season 20 to serve as the musical guest for an episode hosted by the always reliable John Goodman. The band served up the cuts "Grace, Too" (with an intro from visiting SNL alum and fellow Kingstonian, Dan Aykroyd) and "Nautical Disaster".
Country megastar Garth Brooks brought a friend along when he hosted SNL for a second time. Brooks' little-loved Chris Gaines persona served as the evening's musical guest (brooding adult contemporary emo magician get-up and all) and the character was brought up in multiple sketches. One backstage segment featured Tracy Morgan sharing his thoughts on Gaines (he's not a fan) and another sketch featured Chris Kattan's exotic dancer character Mango pining for the mysterious pop performer. On a later episode, Tina Fey made a joke about Garth Brooks and his Chris Gaines persona (in relation to Brooks' divorce) on Weekend Update and the comedic jab infuriated the country performer. Fey told Howard Stern that Brooks demanded a full-page print apology for her joke. No apology was provided and Brooks was never seen on the show again.
So So Def
2004 was a thrilling time to be J-Kwon. "Tipsy" was the boozy novelty smash the planet needed and St. Louis was still enjoying the glow of being a hot hip-hop market. The teen rapper served as the musical guest for a relatively forgettable season 29 finale of SNL hosted by the Olsen Twins. (It was also Jimmy Fallon's last show.) Traditionally, musical acts on the program are given two spots in which to showcase their talents, but J-Kwon was even a one-hit wonder on this episode. He was only given a single slot on the show. J-Kwon performed "Tipsy" and promptly disappeared from the planet.
Does the name David Cook look familar but you can't quite place where it's from? You're not alone. Cook was one of the assorted super bland white guys that won 'American Idol' and were promptly relegated to pub quiz question status. You can find the singer-songwriter performing musical guest duties in episode 7 of season 34 of SNL with Ben Affleck handling the role of host.
The Reddit-endorsed Boston duo known as Karmin wrangled their way onto an episode of SNL in season 37. The pair performed two offerings from their major label debut EP Hello ("Brokenhearted" and "I Told You So") in an episode hosted by 'New Girl' star Zooey Deschanel. In a year with Radiohead, Rihanna and Sleigh Bells on the musical guest slate, the inclusion of Karmin felt a bit like something a grandmother would recommend to the show in an email forward.