Musicians The Best SNL Musical Performances  

Best of SNL
3.3k votes 459 voters 60.5k views 45 items
We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Ranker may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

The best SNL musical performances are those special moments where the musical guest on Saturday Night Live has wowed the audience with an especially great or memorable performance. Each Saturday Night Live episode features a musical guest, usually a band or singer popular at the time, who plays two or three songs in between the comedy sketches. While often these performances are good but not great, in these instances they stole the show.

For many of these great SNL music performances, the appearance on the long-running NBC show was some of the best and most memorable live performances for these musicians. It's hard to forget when Nirvana appeared in 1992, Patti Smith played in 1976 or Pearl Jam rocked out in 1992, the same when Radiohead, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and The Blues Brothers performed on the iconic SNL stage.

Though we remember those SNL musical guests for their high quality performances, others are remembered for including a bit (or in some cases a lot) of controversy. Elvis Costello was banned from SNL for over a decade after playing the media-trashing "Radio, Radio" in his 1977 appearance. Ashlee Simpson became the talk of the town after her dreadful 2004 lip-syncing incident on SNL. But few compare to the 1992 appearance from Sinead O'Connor during which she tore up a photo of the pope in an awkward unscripted moment.

Which Saturday Night Live music performance sticks out in your head? Vote for those you love, add any not listed or re-rank this list all below. When you're done, head over and vote for the most frequent SNL hosts you love best too.
1 124 VOTES

Riot18 added

Queen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best SNL Musical Performances
Photo:  Hulton Deutsch/Getty Images

Also Ranked

#2 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#5 on The Best Rock Bands of All Time

#39 on Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

#31 on The Greatest Heavy Metal Bands

94 30
Agree or disagree?
see more on Queen
3 173 VOTES

Ranker Video
Video: YouTube
104 69
Agree or disagree?
see more on The Blues Brothers