The best MTV Unplugged sessions

1 November 2021, 15:00

Kurt Cobain On MTV Unplugged in November 1993
Kurt Cobain On MTV Unplugged in November 1993. Picture: Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Let's look back at some of the greatest moments of the acoustic series with Nirvana, R.E.M, Oasis, Biffy Clyro and more.

  1. Nirvana - 1993

    No discussion about MTV Unplugged would be complete without mentioning Nirvana. Recorded around five months before Kurt Cobain's suicide, their Unplugged session became the last televised performance of the troubled singer before he died. Unlike many MTV Unplugged sessions, it wasn't Nirvana's own track, but instead a David Bowie cover which became one of the most memorable performances of all time.Watch the band perform Bowie's Man Who Sold The World below: 

  2. R.E.M. - 1991

    To support the release of their Out Of Time album, the band performed a striking rendition of Losing My Religion with members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center in Madison, Georgia. The band went on to play another MTV Unplugged session in 2001- a testament to their longevity and popularity as a band. 

  3. Oasis - 1996

    Their epic gig at the Royal Festival Hall London saw Liam Gallagher refuse to perform, instead leaving his brother Noel to take the reins. Noel, who remarked: "Liam ain't gonna be with us 'cause he's got a sore throat, so you're stuck with the ugly four," went on to play a 12-song set to a captive audience. Unbelievably, despite not wanting to join them on stage, his brother Liam watched the whole show and heckled from the crowd. 

  4. Biffy Clyro - 2017

    Bringing MTV Unplugged back to London for a one-off special to celebrate the MTV EMA's, Simon Neil and co went down to the woods for their intimate performance, showcasing the best of their career and latest album, Ellipsis.

    No doubt taking inspiration from Nirvana's iconic Unplugged set as the band admitted to practicing it in their garage before they got famous, the band were surrounded by an ethereal forest setting. Simon Neil - who was clad in a kimono - also covered The Beach Boys' God Only Knows, which he dedicated to his wife.

  5. Bob Dylan - 1994

    Decades after going electric, Bob Dylan went acoustic again (sort of), delighting audiences with performances which lasted two nights and included renditions of his biggest hits. Watch him perform Knocking On Heaven's Door: 

  6. Alanis Morissette - 1999

    On 8 September 1999, the Canadian artist performed a selection of tracks, including songs from her 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill and its 1998 follow-up, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie.

    Watch her performance of Ironic, which solidified her status as one of the biggest singer-songwriters of the nineties: 

  7. Liam Gallagher - 2019

    Liam may have missed the Oasis session for MTV, but he made up for it with his solo show from 2019, recorded at Hull's City Hall for the release of his second album Why Me? Wy Not.

  8. Florence + The Machine, 2011

    An amazing session recorded at Angel Orensanz Center, complete with a ten-piece choir. The show coincided with the release of Florence's second album, Ceremonials.


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