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Video: Broken Bells Go Big on 'Conan,' Joanna Newsom Confounds Letterman

Letterman says stuffed birds on Newsom's stage make it 'look like Sarah Palin's den'

December 15, 2010 11:55 AM ET

Tuesday night on Conan, Broken Bells expanded its usual two-man lineup of Danger Mouse and singer/guitarist James Mercer to seven, with the addition of performers on guitars, bass, keyboards, trumpet and percussion. Meanwhile, Joanna Newsom brought some cruel humor out of David Letterman on the Late Show — and was accompanied onstage only by a pair of stuffed peacocks.

Broken Bells (watch above) performed the Grammy-nominated album's "Ghost Inside" flawlessly. But Newsom didn't fare as well; Letterman cracked that the stage "looks like Sarah Palin's den" and asked if Newsom did her own taxidermy. Nonetheless, the singer managed to pull off a lovely version of "On a Good Day" from her latest, Have One on Me (see the clip from the show below).

Watch: Broken Bells take "The Ghost Inside" to Conan [Consequence of Sound]

Joanna Newsom — "On a Good Day" 12/14 Letterman [The Audio Perv via Prefix]

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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