2 Mar 2021

Music Feature - MTV Unplugged

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 2:25 pm on 2 March 2021

Before there was Tiny Desk there was... MTV Unplugged. So far, there have been over 100 MTV Unplugged performances covering most genres. 

RNZ's Brad Warrington (AKA DJ Sticky Fingaz) takes Jesse Mulligan through the best live tracks.

Michael Stipe of REM performing for MTV Unplugged in 1991

Michael Stipe of REM performing for MTV Unplugged in 1991 Photo: YouTube screenshot

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.


Stevie Ray Vaughan: 'Pride and Joy' (1990)

"I was blown away by this guy's performance. He traded in his Fender Stratocaster for a 12-string guitar, and it was just basically a masterclass in blues… it's just so mesmerising."


Crowded House: 'Four Seasons in One Day' (1990)

"The song is basically just about living in Melbourne...and just the emotional rollercoaster of the weather was matching what was going on in [Neil and Tim Finn's] lives."


REM: 'Losing my Religion' (1991)

"The way they break down and strip this one back is so beautiful… they were at the peak of their power and I feel like this is a defining moment for REM."


De La Soul: 'Ring Ring' (1991)

"This is the first time hip-hop had been unplugged… so it took a bit of getting used to, performing with a band."


Alanis Morrissette: 'You Oughta Know' (1999)

"You forget this is live. Honestly, how good does she sound? Incredible voice…"

Florence and the Machine featuring Josh Homme: 'Jackson' (2012)


Aha: 'Take On Me' (2017)

"This deconstructed version of the song is so incredible. It pans out to the crowd and you can see middleaged women who were obviously teenagers in the '80s singing along but also crying. It's soft, it's beautiful, it's good."


Neil Young: 'Like a Hurricane' (1993)


The Cranberries: 'Zombie' (1995)


Live: 'Lightning Crashes' (1995)


Chris Isaak: 'Wicked Game' (1995)

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