MTV’s latest reinvention scheme involved getting back to their roots, which means recreating their iconic Times Square studio for a revival of Total Request Live. It also means they’re bringing back Unplugged. For those not around in the Nineties, that’s the show where big musical acts played acoustic renditions of their songs. It gave a new lease on life to veteran artists like Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart and offered newer groups like Pearl Jam and Nirvana a chance to strip their music back down to its essence and offer their fans some fun surprises.
The new edition of the show kicked off September 2017 with Shawn Mendes; to celebrate, here’s a chronological look at the 15 best Unplugged episodes of years past. Before commenters go insane, we are excluding performances by the groups like the Eagles and Page & Plant that merely used the Unplugged name, or variations of it, for their concert specials. Also, even Bruce Springsteen’s most die-hard fans probably feel that Plugged wasn’t exactly his finest moment.
[Editor note: a version of this list was originally published in September 2017]