Nile Rogers has written and produced some of the biggest songs and albums ever. Among his creations is the disco-funk group CHIC, who stopped by NPR Music with Rogers. The mini-concert’s six mega-hits: CHIC’s Le Freak and Good Times, Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out, Sister Sledge’s We Are Family, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, and David Bowie’s Let’s Dance.
Grammy Award-winning musician Post Malone and a dozen bandmates stopped by the NPR Music offices and turned in a wonderfully intimate acoustic set. The mini-concert includes performances of his multi-platinum hits Sunflower, I Fall Apart, and Circles, along with a new track, Enough is Enough, fresh off of his 2023 album Austin.
(PG-13: Language) Opposites attract, so naturally, punk-metal band GWAR and NPR hooked up for a Tiny Desk Concert. Blöthar the Berserker held court, saying they brought maestro Wilhelm Fartwrangler along to class things up, then plunged into a surprisingly blood-splatter-free set of Sex Cow, I’ll Be Your Monster, Ratcatcher, and Phantom Limb.
(PG-13: Language) When the sh*t goes down, you betta be ready. B-Real, Sen Dog, and the rest of the Cypress Hill gang stopped by the NPR Music offices to celebrate 50 years of hip hop. Their 30-minute, brass-heavy mini-concert includes razor-sharp performances of Hand on the Pump, How I Could Just Kill a Man, (Rap) Superstar, and Insane in the Brain.
To celebrate 25 years on Broadway, the cast and musicians of The Lion King stopped by the NPR offices to perform a series of songs from the award-winning musical. Their warm and enveloping performance of songs like Circle of Life, They Live in You, and Can You Feel the Love Tonight will bring sunshine to even the darkest day. HAKUNA MATATA!
DJ Fred again… is known for his energetic performances at dance clubs and arenas. In the more intimate setting of NPR’s offices, he demonstrates his true talents with a captivating and enveloping one-person concert that incorporates marimbas, a piano, looping, sequencing, sampled recordings, and his own live vocals.
During their visit to the BBC’s Radio 2 Piano Room, U2’s Bono and The Edge were joined by an orchestra for this toned-down cover of the ABBA track SOS. They also turned in an excellent orchestral version of their hit track Vertigo. Also, this isn’t the first time U2 performed an ABBA song.
School of Rock is a great place for kids (and adults) to hone their musicianship and performance skills. This group of AllStar students was a the top of their game when they took on Europe’s hair-metal classic The Final Countdown in the studio. Lead vocalist Eliza could go out and record an album right now.
Santi White, aka Santigold is best known for L.E.S. Artistes and Disparate Youth, but she’s got a rich history as an alternative and punk rock musician. She recently stopped by the NPR offices to perform a diverse set, backed by a fantastic band, including Chuck Treece of Bad Brains fame and George Lewis, Jr. aka Twin Shadow.
During their October 2022 stadium show in São Paulo, Brazil, the Rockin’ 1000 assembled an informal band of musicians from around the world. Their performance of Metallica’s Enter Sandman brought down the house with infectious energy. You’ll want to crank up the volume all the way for this one.
Back in August, Regina Spektor put on this fantastic, intimate performance, kicking things off with an improvised song about the Tiny Desk, followed by tracks from her 2022 release Home, Before and After, along with a couple of classics. Sadly, she had to cancel her 2022 tour due to COVID, but we hope to see her on the road in 2023.
We’ve heard some pretty fantastic performances on the marimba over the years, but these guys from Zimbabwe’s Hillcrest College Marimba Band have got way more flair. Here’s a video of the spirited performance that won them the 2017 Marimba Cup Challenge. Here’s footage from another one of their shows.
The guys from Signal Snowboards teamed up with Ernest Packaging to create a custom electric guitar and drum kit made from cardboard. The Cardboard Sessions hands those instruments over to talented musicians to perform in impromptu jam sessions. Though they didn’t manage to make a cardboard brass section.
Musician Jacob Collier is known for ending his concerts with singalongs. At the end of his performance at London’s O2 Academy, he turned his entire audience into a choir. He achieved this impressive result by dividing the audience into three sections, assigning them a note, and conducting them to raise and lower their pitch.
Musician Luke Million has an awesome collection of vintage synthesizers – and he knows how to get the most out of them. In the first video clip, he performs a series of classic 1980s jams with spot-on sounds, then does the same for movies and TV shows in the second video. His recreation of Running Up That Hill is perfect too.
Filmmaker Brett Morgen (Cobain: Montage of Heck) directed this visual and auditory spectacle about the late, great David Bowie. Rather than present his life as a documentary, the film celebrates Bowie and his personas through concert and archival footage, some of which has never been seen before. In theaters 9.2022.
During the 2022 Glastonbury Festival, Jack White performed one of his biggest hits, and blew the roof off of the place – despite it being an outdoor event. The White Stripes’ 2003 classic Seven Nation Army sounds as killer as ever, and is the ultimate crowd-pleaser.
From 2010 to 2017, The Onion’s A.V. Club invited musicians to cover songs from a list of diminishing choices as the season went on. This amazing collection vanished a few years back, but has resurfaced on the YouTube channel Alvin Untercover. Bands include TMBG, GWAR, Punch Brothers, and more. Watch ’em before they’re gone again!
Throughout his 60-year jazz career, double bass maestro Ron Carter has always been the coolest cat in the room. To celebrate his 85th birthday, the national treasure jams supreme in an NPR Tiny Desk Concert filmed onstage at the Blue Note Jazz Club. The jazz deity will be fêted at Carnegie Hall on 5.10.22.
As part of the 2022 Aberdeen Jazz Festival in Scotland, musician Michael Owers performed on trombone in the empty Bon Accord Baths, and the wonderful echoes that it produced are everything you could hope for. It turns out that strings also sound amazing in the same setting, as violinist Victoria Field demonstrated.
At NYC’s MoMA, composer Dorit Chrysler used the movements of iconic Calder mobiles to control Theremins, musical instruments played without physical contact. As the metal sculptures moved, they produced sounds by affecting the electromagnetic fields of the Theremins, resulting in a musical “collaboration.”
The Coen Brothers’ 2000 movie O, Brother Where Art Thou featured a fantastic bluegrass soundtrack, highlighted by George Clooney’s lip-syncing to Dan Tyminski’s version of Man of Constant Sorrow. Nearly two decades later, Tyminski stopped by the Paste Magazine offices for this flawless performance of the tune.