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Timeline : Unplugged

November 26, 1989

MTV's acoustic showcase Unplugged premieres with an episode featuring Squeeze. Jules Shear hosts the first season.More

July 2, 1990

Tesla records their album Five Man Acoustical Jam live at the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia. Their cover of "Signs" becomes a surprise hit and catalyzes an acoustic rock trend, with MTV's Unplugged series delving into more rock acts soon after.

January 25, 1991

Paul McCartney appears on the second season of MTV's Unplugged, including some Beatles songs in his set. In June, he becomes the first artist to release his performance as an album.

May 20, 1991

The first album from an MTV Unplugged performance is released when Paul McCartney issues Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) in the UK. It is released in America in June.

May 1, 1991

For the first time, MTV Unplugged features rap acts, with De La Soul, MC Lyte, A Tribe Called Quest and LL Cool J performing. LL steals the show with a shirtless rendition of "Mama Said Knock You Out."More

January 16, 1992

Eric Clapton records Eric Clapton Unplugged for MTV. The album wins six Grammy Awards, including Record Of The Year.

September 22, 1992

Bruce Springsteen records a concert for MTV Unplugged, but plugs in after the first song and does the rest of the set electric. When the episode airs on November 11, it's billed as "MTV Plugged."

April 13, 1993

Bruce Springsteen releases his second live album, In Concert / MTV Unplugged.

June 1, 1993

10,000 Maniacs become the first act to appear twice on MTV Unplugged. The network has a policy against return engagements, but when they learn that Natalie Merchant will be leaving the band, they book them.More

November 18, 1993

Nirvana records an MTV Unplugged concert in New York. The show is shot in one take - imperfections and all - and is aired one month later.More

December 16, 1993

Nirvana's Unplugged concert airs on MTV. A rare look at the band in an acoustic setting, it is one of Kurt Cobain's last performances, as he is found dead less than four months later.

April 25, 1994

Eagles play the first of two identical shows at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California for their appearance on MTV Unplugged, which will promote their upcoming reunion tour and album Hell Freezes Over.

November 17, 1994

Bob Dylan begins taping his episode of MTV's Unplugged at New York's Sony Studios.

November 1, 1994

Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York album, taken from a performance a year earlier, is finally released. The album tops the charts in many countries, including the US, UK and Australia.

March 1, 1995

Tony Bennett wins the Album Of The Year Grammy award for MTV Unplugged, taken from his acoustic performance on the network.

August 9, 1995

The original members of Kiss play together for the first time since 1980 when Peter Criss and Ace Frehley join the current band to record their MTV Unplugged special, which is later released as the album Kiss Unplugged. Not counting Ace Frehley's 1976 wedding, it also marks the only time the original members have performed without makeup. The appearance goes over so well that Criss and Frehley rejoin the band in 1996, replacing Bruce Kulick and Eric Singer. The subsequent outing becomes the top-grossing tour that year.

October 5, 1999

The Corrs perform live on MTV's Unplugged at Ardmore Studios in Wicklow, Ireland. The resulting CD and DVD have sold well over 2 million copies.

July 21, 2001

Lauryn Hill tapes her MTV Unplugged special, playing new songs in a very emotional performance. It's clear that she's not going for mainstream appeal, and is not about to follow up her The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill album with another big seller.

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