The BEST episodes of MTV Unplugged

Every episode of MTV Unplugged ever, ranked from best to worst by thousands of votes from fans of the show. The best episodes of MTV Unplugged!

MTV's acclaimed music series showcases today's top artists and rising stars in the industry performing acoustic versions of their songs.

Last Updated: 6/26/2024Network: MTVStatus: Continuing
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10.00
1 votes

#1 - Illya Kuryaki & The Valderrama

Season 7 - Episode 2 - Aired 5/21/1996

star
10.00
1 votes

#2 - Aterciopelados

Season 8 - Episode 8 - Aired 11/10/1997

The Colombian band Aterciopelados perform their Unplugged in Miami. The famous "Latin explosion" while evident on the dance scene, has yet to cross over to America's rock and pop fans Recorded 9/7/1997 in Miami. Set List: 1. Pipa de la Paz 2. Ya Yo No 3. Menos Mal 4. El Album 5. A eme O 6. Amortiguador

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10.00
1 votes

#3 - A Hip Hop 50th Celebration of Jersey's Finest

Season 2023 - Episode 1 - Aired 12/14/2023

MTV Unplugged toasts 50 years of hip hop with an unforgettable night of performances from Queen Latifah, Wyclef Jean, Redman, The Sugarhill Gang and more greats of the Garden State.

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10.00
1 votes

#4 - Don Henley

Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired 4/22/1990

This special edition of ""MTV Unplugged"" takes an intimate look at Henley as he performs songs that span his career with the Eagles through his recent solo career. Joining him is a string quartet which was brought in to perform songs in arrangements that have never been heard before. Song selections include ""End Of The Innocence,"" ""Heart Of The Matter,"" ""Best Of My Love,"" ""Come Rain Or Come Shine,"" and ""Desperado."" An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book...""The day before rehearsals, we strolled into the L.A. studio only to see Glen Frey playing keyboards with Henley. Our collective mind spiralled. Eagles Reunion: Unplugged. No such luck. 'Don't get excited,' said Frey. 'I'm leaving for New York tomorrow.'"" Set List: End of the Innocence Heart of the Matter (written by Henley, J.D. Souther, and Mike Cambell) The Best of My Love (written by Henley, Glen Frey, and J.D. Souther) Come Rain or Come Shine (written by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arien) Desperado Featuring: Don Henl

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9.50
2 votes

#5 - 10,000 Maniacs with Michael Penn

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 2/4/1990

Natalie Merchant, lyricist/singer of the acclaimed New York folk-rock band 10,000 Maniacs, performs ""What's The Matter Here?"" and ""Dustbowl."" Solo artist Michael Penn performs ""No Myth"" and the upbeat ""Brave New World"" off his new release March. Merchant and Penn join together for a rendition of ""City Of Angels,"" from the Maniacs' 1987 platinum release In My Tribe. An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book...""This program ushered in what was to be an ongoing Unplugged battle. Butting heads in this drama were the keyboard and the precise definition of what Unplugged means. In this discussion, Michael Penn's partner, Patrick Warren, wanted to play a mellotron, an antiquated instrument that, despite needing to be plugged in, runs on analogue tapes. Instead, he acquiesced and played the piano and xylophone."" Set List: What's the Matter Here? [Maniacs] Dust Bowl [Merchant/Gustafson/Buck] No Myth [Michael Penn] Brave New World [Michael Penn] Gun Shy [Maniacs] City of Angels [Ma

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9.50
2 votes

#6 - R.E.M. (1)

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired 4/24/1991

R.E.M., the band touted by Rolling Stone Magazine as ""America's Best Rock and Roll Band,"" spent several hours in New York's Chelsea Studios on April 10, 1991 to tape a one hour acoustic performance for ""MTV Unplugged."" Original bands members Michael Stipe (vocals), Peter Buck (guitar/keyboards), Mike Mills (bass) and Bill Berry (drums), along with Peter Holsapple (guitar/accordion), perform a memorable acoustic medley of hits past and present. Song selections include ""Fall On Me"" (which Stipe tells the studio audience is his personal favorite), ""The End Of The World As We Know It,"" ""Losing My Religion"" and many more. An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book... ""'This may well be my favorite song in the R.E.M. catalogue.' With those words from Michael Stipe, the band offered up a heart-wrenching version of 'Fall on Me' that produced one of Unplugged's most transcendent moments. As he delivered the lines 'Buy the sky/and sell the sky/and bleed the sky/and tell the sky/don't fall on me,' St

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9.50
2 votes

#7 - 10,000 Maniacs

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired 6/1/1993

""MTV Unplugged"" presents the ethereal folk-rock sound of 10,000 Maniacs. The band began performing around upstate New York in the early '80s, incorporating English rock and island rhythm influences with elements of country, bluegrass and folk. In 1985, 10,000 Maniacs released The Wishing Chair, one of the year's most critically-lauded releases with special acclaim going to lyricist/singer Natalie Merchant. This was followed by the 1987 platinum release In My Tribe, which brought the group an international mass audience, and the 1989 album Blind Man's Zoo. 10,000 Maniacs is comprised of Natalie Merchant (lead vocals), Jerome Augustyniak (drums), Robert Buck (guitar), Dennis Drew (Keyboards) and Steven Gustafson (bass). Their ""Unplugged"" selections include ""These Are Days,"" ""Candy Everybody Wants,"" ""Dallas"" (with David Byrne), ""Like The Weather,"" and ""What's The Matter Here."" An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book...""Natalie actually cut her hair for the show. At rehearsals she had long

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star
9.00
1 votes

#8 - Elton John

Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired 8/5/1990

Legendary rock veteran Elton John performs a memorable medley of hits past and present in a special one hour version of ""MTV Unplugged."" Viewers get the chance to see one of rock's most flamboyant showman performing live in an intimate studio setting. Song selections include ""Sad Songs,"" ""Sacrifice,"" ""Tiny Dancer,"" ""Daniel,"" ""Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me,"" ""Benny and the Jets,"" and ""Candle in the Wind."" An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book....""Somewhere near the end of 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me,' it became obvious that Elton John was enjoying himself. There can be no other explanation for the fact that the song's ending actually times out longer than the tune itself. Elton's voice vacillated from falsetto to baritone and then drifted into gospel tones. It was a startling, awe-inspiring moment that demonstrated that careers like his don't happen by accident. Elton then asked if he could stay and do some more songs, giving us our first hour long show."" Set List: Sad Songs

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star
9.00
12 votes

#9 - Duran Duran

Season 4 - Episode 13 - Aired 11/13/1993

Duran Duran Recorded 11/17/93 at Sony Music Studios - New York City Duran, Duran, the premiere band of the video generation, make an appearance on ""MTV Unplugged."" Taped in New York City in November of 1993, band memers Simon Le Bon (lead vocals), Nick Rhodes (keyboards), John Taylor (bass) and Warren Cuccurullo (guitar) perform selections off their ninth album, simply titled Duran Duran. An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book...""The band was extremely excited about the details of this show. If anyone doubts this, consider the orange set and the gold angels. The group had asked for the two heavenly creatures, but the request turned out to be almost impossible to fulfill. Finally, after we had all but given up on the concept, a studio worker announced that he'd just been across the street to a new space, designed as a party venue. 'They've got a couple of angels over there,' he said, 'but they're pretty nice. I don't think they'd rent them. Besides, they're white.' Minutes later we we

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star
9.00
28 votes

#10 - Die Fantastischen Vier II

Season 19 - Episode 10 - Aired 10/18/2012

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star
9.00
1 votes

#11 - Mizuki Nana

Season 21 - Episode 6 - Aired 10/23/2016

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8.80
5 votes

#12 - Mariah Carey

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired 5/20/1992

Singer/songwriter Mariah Carey, known for her phenomenal vocal range, burst onto the music scene in 1990 with her debut album Mariah Carey, and went on to win two Grammy awards in 1991 for best new artist and best female pop vocal performance. Carey performs ""Vision Of Love,"" ""Someday,"" ""Emotions,"" ""Make It Happen,"" ""If It's Over,"" and the Jackson 5 song ""I'll Be There."" An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book...""To accompany Mariah's incredibly powerful vocals, she recruited the Saturday Night Live horn section, the late David Cole (of C & C Music Factory) on keyboards as well as a full gospel choir. It was a night that helped us mature-spreading successfully into more and more vocal genres without sacrificing the intimacy that is the cornerstone of the program."" Set List: Emotions If It's Over (written by Carey and Carole King) Someday Vision of Love Make It Happen I'll Be There (written by Bobby West, Hal Davis, Willie Hutch, Berry Gordon, Jr.) Can't Let Go Featur

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star
8.67
3 votes

#13 - Spoken Word I

Season 4 - Episode 12 - Aired 7/28/1993

MTV presents the first ever ""Spoken Word"" edition of ""MTV Unplugged."" The program showcased the work of some of the hottest spoken word artists who performed their own work in an intimate coffee house setting. Also featured in this program was a performance by the master of the spoken word himself: Henry Rollins: Following was the artist line-up: 99 (""Burns""), Maggie Estep (""The Stupid Jerk I'm Obsessed With""), Barry Yourgrau (""Helium""), Reg E. Gaines (""Please Don't Take My Air Jordans""), Reg E. Gaines/Maggie Estep duet (""Using Me For Sex""), Bob Holman (""Welcome To The United State Of Poetry""), Edwin Torres (""Peesacho""), and Henry Rollins (""Ode To MTV Unplugged""). An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book... ""This was one of our proudest moments. The spoken word show, the brainchild of co-creator Robert Small, was, at its purest, the embodiment of what we had always wanted to accomplish with Unplugged. It spoke to the audience on the most basic level. It was also a challenge in terms of p

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star
8.50
2 votes

#14 - Björk

Season 5 - Episode 10 - Aired 11/7/1994

The extrovert singer and songwriter from Iceland performs at MTV Unplugged in 1994. This session is peformed in NYC. Set list: 01. Human Behaviour 02. One Day 03. Come To Me 04. Big Time Sensuality 05. Aeroplane 06. Like Someone In Love 07. Crying 08. The Anchor Song 09. Violently Happy

star
8.50
2 votes

#15 - R.E.M.

Season 10 - Episode 2 - Aired 5/21/2001

After 10 years since first hitting the Unplugged stage, rock icons R.E.M. return for another acoustic session. Taped in the MTV Times Square studio, the band rolls out new versions of songs off their latest album, Reveal, plus new acoustic arrangements of songs off their previous 11 albums.

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star
8.00
1 votes

#16 - Joe Walsh and Dr. John

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired 2/18/1990

""MTV Unplugged"" presents former James Gang member Joe Walsh accompanied by R&B great Dr. John. Recorded at the National Video Center in New York City, Walsh performs such hits as ""Desperado"" and ""Rosewood Bitters."" All involved come together for renditions of ""Cinnamon Girl"" and ""Let The Good Times Roll."" An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book...""This show was originally billed as 'Joe Walsh and Friends,' but Walsh arrived at the studio with only a bass player named Rick Rosas. We explained that 'Friends' is actually a plural word and that, notwithstanding Rick's musical proficiency, we had been expecting the 'Friends' to be somewhat recognizable to our television audience. Then we discovered that Dr. John was taping a television show in the same building, So we cornered the good doctor in the men's bathroom, and 'Joe Walsh and Friends' became 'Joe Walsh and Dr. John.'"" Set List: Desperado [Walsh] Rosewood Bitters [Walsh and Rosas] Repetition, Repetition, Repetition [Shear] (wr

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Eric Clapton
star
8.00
1 votes

#17 - Eric Clapton

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired 3/11/1992

Taped at the Bray Studios in Windsor, England in January of 1992, Clapton is accompanied by Nathan East (bass), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Ray Cooper (percussion), Steve Ferrone (drums), Chuck Leavell (keyboards) and Katie Kissoon and Tessa Niles on backing vocals. Song selections include ""Tears In Heaven"" (from the motion picture release ""Rush""), ""Running On Faith,"" ""Before You Accuse Me,"" a song by early musical inspiration Bo Diddley, and a new version of ""Layla."" Clapton also performs some new never-before-recorded material, including ""Lonely Stranger,"" a song which he wrote in Los Angeles in 1991 during the recording of the soundtrack for ""Rush"" and after the death of his son Conor, and ""The Circus Left Town,"" which is about the last night Clapton spent with Conor at the circus. ""MTV Unplugged"" with Eric Clapton introduces a new element into the series where artists will talk about the songs they perform. Throughout the special, MTV airs liner note style interview clips in

Directors: Milton Lage
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Pearl Jam
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8.00
1 votes

#18 - Pearl Jam

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired 5/13/1992

One of the hottest new bands to emerge out of music hot bed Seattle at the time of this taping, Pearl Jam was currently riding high on the success of their debut album Ten, which spawned the smash hit single ""Alive."" Taped at midnight at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in March of 1992, Pearl Jam band members Mike McCready (guitar), Stone Gossard (guitar), Jeff Ament (bass), Eddie Vedder (vocals) and Dave Krusen (drums) perform ""Alive,"" ""State Of Love And Trust,"" ""Black,"" ""Jeremy,"" ""Even Flow"" and ""Porch."" An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book...""While it's impossible to catalogue all the memorable moments of the actual performance, there are four that must be mentioned. During 'Porch,' Eddie began scribbling on his arm in Black Marker. While this has now become a common sight for Pearl Jam fans, it was certainly a first for Unplugged. At one point, Eddie decided to return to his San Diego surf days by mounting a stool and surfing it, Superman-style, before the entire pyramid came crashin

Directors: Joel Gallen
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star
8.00
1 votes

#19 - Soul Asylum

Season 4 - Episode 9 - Aired 6/2/1993

One of the hottest rock 'n' roll bands on today's music scene, Minneapolis natives Soul Asylum make their memorable debut on ""MTV Unplugged"" in June. The band, who began writing and performing together in the early '80s, entered the studio for the first time in 1983 to record their debut EP, Say What You Will. In 1986, they went on to release their critically acclaimed full-length debut album, Made To Be Broken. Non-stop touring over the years has brought them national attention, and prompted the Village Voice to call them the ""Best Live Band In America."" The band's latest album, Grave Dancers Union, has brought Soul Asylum out on the road again for a U.S. club tour and a trip to Europe. Their ""Unplugged"" song selections include ""Runaway Train,"" ""Black Gold,"" ""Somebody To Shove,"" ""Without A Trace,"" and ""Get On Out."" One of the program highlights is the band's performance of ""To Sir With Love"" accompanied by British pop star Lulu. An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book... ""Still, despit

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star
8.00
1 votes

#20 - Tori Amos

Season 7 - Episode 6 - Aired 6/25/1996

"MTV Unplugged". the acclaimed acoustic music series, will present a one-hour acoustic performance with one of today's most talented solo artists - Tori Amos. Taped at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music in New York in April of 1996, Tori performs material off her latest release Boys For Pele, as well as work from previous albums. Song selections include: "Blood Roses", "Silent All These Years", "Cornflake Girl", "Caught A Light Sneeze", "Icicle", "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", "Hey Jupiter" and "Voodoo." Amos, who plays harpsichord and piano, is accompanied on several numbers by guitarist, Steve Caton. Set List: Blood Roses Cornflake Girl Silent All These Years Icicle Caught A Light Sneeze Somewhere Over the Rainbow Hey Jupiter Voodoo Featuring: Tori Amos - vocals, piano, harpsichord Steve Caton - guitar Recorded April 11, 1996 at Brooklyn Academy of Music - Brooklyn, NY

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star
8.00
28 votes

#21 - Korn

Season 13 - Episode 5 - Aired 12/9/2006

On December 9, 2006, a band whose name is inextricably linked to growling, horror-flick-caliber rage, stood before a live orchestra and introduced a lucky crowd of 50 to something completely different. To drive their new sound home, Korn invited some special guests to accompany their orchestra (which consisted of cellos, upright bass, cimbassos, trombones, a singing saw, a glass harmonica, choir bells and a set of Japanese conga drums called taiko). Amy Lee from Evanescence joins Korn for "Freak On A Leash" and The Cure guest on a mash-up of "Make Me Mad" and "In Between Days." Nowhere else is the transformative power of 'MTV Unplugged' more apparent. Watch as California hard rockers Korn strip down and give their angry anthems a new flamenco flair, in this classic episode of 'MTV Unplugged.'

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star
8.00
1 votes

#22 - The Wallflowers

Season 8 - Episode 2 - Aired 7/1/1997

This session was filmed in Brooklyn Studios in New York City in May 1997. Recorded: New York City, May 1997, USA Set List: 01. Three Marlenas 02. One Headlight 03. Bleeders 04. Angel on my Bike 05. 6th Avenue Heartache

21 Pilots
star
8.00
1 votes

#23 - 21 Pilots

Season 2022 - Episode 1 - Aired 6/10/2022

`Stressed Out' duo Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun take to the stage to perform stripped-back and reimagined versions of some of their biggest and most beloved songs.

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Stone Temple Pilots
star
7.50
2 votes

#24 - Stone Temple Pilots

Season 5 - Episode 1 - Aired 2/2/1994

Stone Temple Pilots, the hard rock sensation based south of Los Angeles, taped a performance for MTV Unplugged in New York City in November of 1993. Band members Weiland (vocals), Robert DeLeo (bass), Dean DeLeo (guitars) and Eric Kretz (drums) perform a rockin' acoustic set featuring tracks off their debut album Core. An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book...'Easily our most surreal set....'They had these stools, which is such a typical thing,' says Weiland. 'Everyone always brings out stools to do their acoustic thing. I said, 'Man, I ain't gonna sit on a stool. It's not my gig. It's stupid. Bring us some chairs to sit in. How about a rocking chair?' Set List: Crackerman Creep Andy Warhol (written by David Bowie) Plush Big Empty Sin Wicked Garden Sex Type Thing

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Alice in Chains
star
7.50
2 votes

#25 - Alice in Chains

Season 7 - Episode 3 - Aired 5/28/1996

Full Setlist: Nutshell Brother No Excuses Sludge Factory Down In A Hole Angry Chair (Unaired) Rooster Got Me Wrong Heaven Beside You Would? Frogs (Unaired) Over Now The Killer Is Me (Unaired)

Directors: Joe Perota
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