The 10 Most Rock 'N' Roll Moments in 'Saturday Night Live' History
We count down the top 10 most rock 'n' roll moments in Saturday Night Live history.
01. Elvis Costello just won’t play by the rules
The Scene: When you think controversy, Elvis Costello probably isn’t the first name to pop into your head. Back in ‘77, Costello was scheduled to play Saturday Night Live -- albeit as a last-minute replacement for the Sex Pistols. He had wanted to play “Radio, Radio” on the show but was pressured by his label and the folks at SNL to play a tamer number (i.e. one that wasn’t critical of mass media). Costello and the Attractions took the stage that night as planned, but made it only a few bars into “Less Than Zero” before Costello stopped the song and told the audience, “I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, there’s no reason to do this song here,” before leading the band into “Radio, Radio.” If you’ve been paying attention, you know what comes next: Costello was banned for life from the show.
Fast forward to 1999 for the show’s 25th anniversary, and the Beastie Boys take the stage to perform their hit, “Sabotage.” Shortly after starting the song, the hip-hop group are interrupted by who else but Elvis Costello, who once again apologizes to the crowd before launching into “Radio, Radio,” with the Beasties acting as his backing band. Costello is only three people to have their SNL bans lifted.
Why was it was rock ’n’ roll? Pissing off Lorne Michaels? Check. Sticking it to "the man"? Check. Doing it in those glasses? Number one!
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