By Mark Kemp
Though “Unplugged” never officially went away, MTV Networks for years has not regularly aired its popular show featuring live acoustic performances by acts ranging from Nirvana to L.L. Cool J. The most recent episode, featuring Miley Cyrus, appeared in 2014.
That’s about to change. “Unplugged” soon will be coming back for regular airings, as MTV recently announced a reboot of the popular show, with episodes produced at least quarterly.
On Monday morning, VH1 Classic was relaunched as MTV Classic, a network that will bring viewers some of the network’s most popular programming of the last three decades, from “Beavis & Butt-head” to music videos to “Laguna Beach.” But “MTV Classic” isn’t the only nostalgic initiative at the Viacom (VIA)-owned network.
During its upfront presentation to advertisers in April, MTV pushed a new and yet familiar programming strategy: putting “the M back in MTV.” The network said it planned to do this with a new weekly live music performance series, “Wonderland,” and a return to an old favorite, “MTV Unplugged.”
“The revitalized ‘Unplugged’ will restore key elements that made the franchise so groundbreaking in the first place, while resetting the show in the multi-platform video world of today,” CNN reported in April, quoting an MTV statement.
Check out these 5 legendary “Unplugged” performances from MTV’s past:
Before Shakira went global, she performed an “Unplugged” for Spanish-language MTV in 1999:
Nirvana covered David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” in its 1993 “Unplugged”:
Eric Clapton performed an acoustic “Layla” in 1992:
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A Tribe Called Quest brought acoustic guitars to “Can I Kick It?” in 1991:
Stevie Ray Vaughan jammed a bit before performing a scorching “Pride and Joy” in 1990: