Breaking News Emails
Fred Armisen made a brief appearance on this week's "Saturday Night Live" to pay tribute to David Bowie, who died last Sunday after a long, but previously undisclosed, battle with cancer.
"When I was in high school and living in Long Island I stayed up to see David Bowie play on 'Saturday Night Live,'" Armisen reminisced about watching the music legend's visionary performances on the show.
"Watching him was for me a life changing experience," Armisen, an "SNL" cast member from 2002-2013, said.
"David Bowie transformed whatever space he was in, whatever medium he was using and, that night for me, he transformed live television."
Armisen then introduced a clip of the music icon's first "SNL" performance on Dec. 15, 1979.
It was the show's fifth season and Bowie was fresh off the release of "Lodger," his final in a trio of albums that would come to be known as his Berlin trilogy, inspired by the burgeoning German music scene and the soon-to-erupt new wave style.
For his first song of the night, Bowie returned to an earlier favorite with a rendition of “The Man Who Sold the World" off his 1970 album of the same name. In true Bowie fashion, the performance was nothing that had been done before.
During the song, the rocker was joined by German performance artist Klaus Nomi and New York cabaret singer and drag artist Joey Arias who physically carried Bowie — clad in a Bauhaus-inspired costume — to the microphone.
His next two performances that night got even more surreal, with Bowie donning a pencil skirt while Nomi and Arias glided around behind him dragging a bright pink toy poodle while Bowie crooned “TVC 15" from his 1976 album "Station to Station."
Later that night, using green-screen technology for a truly avant garde number, Bowie's head was superimposed over a half-naked puppet body while singing his more recent single, “Boys Keep Swinging." At the end of the song, there is a brief moment of puppet nudity that went uncensored.
All of Bowie's performances that night can be seen in full on NBC's website.
Bowie didn't appear on "SNL" again until 1991 when he performed with the band Tin Machine. He served as solo musical guest again in 1997 and 1999.
Saturday's "SNL" was hosted by "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" star Adam Driver and musical guest Chris Stapleton.