5 Best Musical Performances on 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon'
5 Best Musical Performances on 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon'

Since March of 2009, Jimmy Fallon -- and arguably the best house band on TV, the Roots -- has rocked the late-night spot with his own distinct flavor. Indie buzz bands and living musical legends appear on his NBC show, "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," in equal and frequent measure, and let's not forget about pop stars and rappers, too. Of course, it wouldn't be Fallon's "Late Night" without musical contributions from the host himself, whose penchant for musical parodies dates back to his "SNL" tenure and his 2002 album, "Bathroom Wall."

How 'Jimmy Fallon' Whips Its Late-Night Music Competition

Here, the five best musical performances on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon":

1. Bruce Springsteen, Songs from "The Promise" and "Whip My Hair"

Video: Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon, "Whip My Hair"

Celebrating his just-released package, "The Promise," which features outtakes and extras from 1978's "Darkness on the Edge of Town" sessions, Bruce Springsteen took over the entirety of "Late Night" on Nov. 16, 2010 with a two-part interview and three performances. Renditions of "Because the Night" and "Save My Love" were breathtaking, but Fallon and Springsteen's version of Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" was one of the best music-on-TV clips of 2010. Fallon as Neil Young? Springsteen in old-school threads and wig? Priceless.

2. Paul McCartney, Early Version of "Yesterday" and a Tribute to John Lennon

Video: Paul McCartney, "Yesterday"

Video: Paul McCartney, "Here Today"

The story behind of one of the biggest ballads of all time -- the Beatles' "Yesterday" -- is no secret to Fab Four lovers: when first penning the song, Paul McCartney substituted the phrase "scrambled eggs" for "yesterday" in the track's chorus, among other word changes. But rarely -- if ever -- had McCartney played the original incarnation -- until Jimmy Fallon's Dec. 10, 2010 broadcast. The host joined the Beatle for a food-themed musical jaunt, followed by "Here Today," a touching tribute to John Lennon 30 years after his death.

3. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon, "A History of Rap"

Justin Timberlake's return to music (whenever that may be) is highly anticipated, but for the time being, his one-off performances and musical hi-jinks are all we get. Timberlake visited Fallon on Sept. 29, 2010 to promote his role of Napster co-founder Sean Parker in "The Social Network" when the host and J.Timbs segued into "A History of Rap" medley. Starting with Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight," the duo rounded through all the classics, including the Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere," and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's "Nuthin' But a G Thang." New school favorites followed, and needless to say, we were tickled.

4. Jawbox Reunite for "Savory" Performance

Nineties alt-rock pioneers Jawbox didn't simply "make the rounds" on "Fallon" on Dec. 8, 2009 -- the D.C. act reunited exclusively for the "Late Night" performance. Celebrating the re-release of their 1994 cult-classic album "For Your Own Special Sweetheart," the members of Jawbox teased fans with their first performance in 12 years and cemented Fallon's stage a trusted spot for rock acts on TV.

5. R. Kelly, "Ignition (Remix)" and "Step In the Name of Love"


When R. Kelly comes back, he comes back hard -- as in, a two-night stint on "Late Night" on Dec. 6-7, 2010. Naturally, he performed his latest single, "When A Woman Loves," off his latest album, "Love Letter," alongside the Roots and his whole crew. But his mash-up of "Ignition (Remix)" and "Step In the Name of Love" -- two of his best songs, ever -- was what impressed us the most.