It has been a wild and crazy 40 years of big laughs, biting satire — and, of course, unforgettable music. Saturday Night Live celebrates its 40th anniversary on Feb. 15 with a three-hour special and Saturday Night Live: The Book (Taschen), featuring photos of onstage and behind-the-scenes action. The show has launched numerous actors and comedians, but has also hosted legendary musicians. Edie Baskin and Mary Ellen Matthews, the photographers of the program’s commercial-break bumper portraits, captured them all (Baskin until 1999, and Matthews ever since). The pictures — shot in 30 minutes or less on the Thursday before the show — appear for seconds, but they’re a lasting testament to music’s impact on SNL, and vice versa.
Click below as the pair dishes on their favorite shots through the years of music stars including Kanye West, Paul Simon, Nirvana and more.