Since launching three years ago, “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” has exhibited a flair for booking tremendously diverse music acts. But during the past year, specifically, “Late Night” has become must-see TV for music fans, and, more importantly, the premier destination for even the biggest superstars.
Credit goes to music-lover Fallon, but also to music booker Jonathan Cohen, 36, who snagged both Frank Ocean and Carly Rae Jepsen recently for their first late-night appearances and also routinely lands iconic artists who rarely perform on TV, such as Radiohead and Tom Waits.
Cohen, a former Billboard editor, says a turning point came last summer when Beyoncé “personally reached out and said she not only wanted to perform on the show, but also wanted to use the Roots as her backing band.” That led to a nonstop cavalcade of top acts, as well as innovative week-long salutes to Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen.
Cohen, who also found time to compile the coffee-table book “Pearl Jam Twenty” this year, credits “Conan” music booker Jim Pitt with guiding him through uncharted waters. “He went out of his way to help me navigate the steep learning curve,” says Cohen, adding Pitt counseled him to “weigh all the options before committing to a booking, in the interest of putting together the best possible show.”