In its four decades of endless laughs and infamous shenanigans, Saturday Night Live has produced some of the most beloved and iconic snapshots in the history of American comedy. Countless characters have leapt off the television screen and into the hearts of viewers for generations, from the stone-faced Blues Brothers to the spastic Spartan Cheerleaders to the glorious cultural exploits of Stefon. The writers, actors, and pop-culture heavyweights who've had the pleasure of hosting the show are a collection of greats who've gone on to net Oscars, stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and more — but SNL has never been a one-trick pony in the legacy creation department. Over 40 years, SNL has drawn stunning musical performances from artists of all walks of genre, documenting the rise of rock mavens, hip-hop kings, and pop players alike. To perform on SNL is to really, truly make it, proving that the late-night TV mainstay is about breaking artists who make you laugh and artists who make you sing (and/or scream out a chorus at the top of your lungs) in equal measure.
These 40 musical moments spanning the history of Saturday Night Live are not necessarily the most pristine, the most technically sound, or even the most enjoyable; they're not a collection of perfect presentations and radio-ready tracks. The chaos that ensues in Studio 8H makes legends out of men and shadows out of artists who aren't up to the challenge of performing on its stage, and the most memorable musical moments can be dubbed as good, bad, infamous, and everything in between. Read (and listen!) on to find out who made the cut, and let us know if we missed your favorite. (Just don't send the Land Shark after us if we did.)More »