15 ‘MTV Unplugged’ episodes with alt artists you need to watch
Last week, we learned that MTV Unplugged—a music programming staple from the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s—will make a return to airwaves this fall. Pop star Shawn Mendes is scheduled to re-inaugurate the MTV classic Sept. 8, with a performance filmed at The Theater At Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.
Besides pop, the show highlighted an array of genres in its first 20 years. It reached into R&B and country, while also featuring alternative artists prominently. The original MTV Unplugged broadcasted regularly from 1989 to 1999, and then less frequently from 2000 to 2009. After 2009, MTV Unplugged was saved for occasional specials.
To celebrate this nostalgic comeback, we’ve listed 15 MTV Unplugged episodes with alternative artists you need to watch.
Read more: Total Request Live is coming back to MTV
1. The Cure – Jan. 24, 1991 from Limehouse TV Studios in London
In front of a regal purple and navy backdrop, the Cure offered an extremely raw and relaxed performance on an early episode of MTV Unplugged in 1991.
2. Pearl Jam – March 16, 1992 from Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, NY
Almost a year after the release of their debut album, Ten, Pearl Jam was welcomed to Astoria’s Kaufman Studios for a rousing MTV Unplugged performance, exposing lead singer Eddie Vedder’s vocals against his band’s natural talent.
3. Stone Temple Pilots – Nov. 17, 1993 from Sony Music Studios in New York City
With Scott Weiland’s talent on display, Stone Temple Pilots performed for MTV Unplugged in New York City almost 25 years ago, a treasure from the ’90s alternative rock vault.
4. Nirvana – Nov. 18, 1993 from Sony Music Studios in New York City
Recorded and released as MTV Unplugged In New York, this moving performance rightfully earned Nirvana a Grammy for Best Alternative Album in 1996. The record was Nirvana’s first after Kurt Cobain’s death, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard, eventually going five-times Platinum and featuring lesser-known material and covers.
5. Hole – Feb. 14, 1995 from Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York
Burrowed in a dimly lit space, Hole put forth an MTV Unplugged set that mixed Nirvana, Duran Duran and Crystals covers with original material.
6. KISS – Aug. 9, 1995 from Sony Music Studios in New York City
Not only does this MTV Unplugged show off KISS’ lighter side, but it also includes footage from 1995’s KISS Convention Tour, where the band played an intimate acoustic set as well.
7. Alice In Chains – April 10, 1996 from Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York
Alice In Chains shed their metal exterior for an hour-plus, 13-track, stripped-down MTV Unplugged performance.