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Paul Shaffer

Behind his lovable nebbish persona, keyboardist and musical chameleon Paul Shaffer rose to fame as late-night star David Letterman's sidekick and bandleader/musical director. Shaffer's late-night band, known from 1982 to 1993 as the World's Most Dangerous Band on NBC, later assumed the moniker of the CBS Orchestra and featured guitarists Sid McGinnis and Felicia Collins, ex-Parliament-Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell, bassist Will Lee, and drummer Anton Fig. In addition to accompanying the wide array of musical guests on Letterman's show, Shaffer has released occasional albums under his own name and contributed his expertise to various other projects. Paul Allan Shaffer was born on November 28, 1949 and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He studied classical piano as a child and in his teenage years joined a rock band after discovering the Beatles and Neil Young. Shaffer originally planned to earn a law degree and join his father's firm, but while majoring in psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto, he found himself unable to bear giving up music. After graduation, Shaffer landed a job as musical director of a Toronto production of Godspell in 1972, where he befriended Martin Short and Gilda Radner. When Shaffer traveled to New York to record Godspell's movie album, he got a gig playing piano in the Broadway production of The Magic Show. He quickly branched out into radio work, including National Lampoon's Radio Hour, and played on other artists' recording sessions, commercial jingles, and demos. Shaffer had previously befriended many of the comedians at the new comedy program Saturday Night Live, as well as producer Lorne Michaels, and he joined the program in 1975, writing special musical material. During his first tenure with the show, he also supported Gilda Radner on her Broadway show Gilda Live and collaborated with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi on their Blues Brothers project, playing on their 1978 Briefcase Full of Blues album. In 1979, he briefly left SNL to star in a Norman Lear/Don Kirshner-produced sitcom, A Year at the Top, which was canceled after only six weeks. Shaffer continued his occasional acting gambits after returning to SNL, impersonating Kirshner in skits and taking a sniveling turn as record promo man Artie Fufkin in Rob Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap. Shaffer's big break, of course, came in 1982, when he was tapped to become the musical director of Late Night with David Letterman and the leader of the World's Most Dangerous Band. The program ran on NBC through the fall of 1993, and Shaffer became an instantly recognizable celebrity. In 1991, Shaffer recorded his first album, a guest-laden affair (Dion, Ben E. King, Bobby Womack, Wilson Pickett, etc.) titled Coast to Coast, which paid tribute to the rock and soul classics Shaffer fell in love with in his younger days. In 1993, Letterman and Shaffer moved to CBS, and legal difficulties forced Shaffer to rename his band the CBS Orchestra. That year, the band recorded an album entitled The World's Most Dangerous Party, with the band billed as the Party Boys of Rock 'n' Roll. Shaffer seems poised to continue on in his current role indefinitely. ~ Steve Huey
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Stations Featuring
Paul Shaffer

    TV Tunes

    TV Tunes
    1 song

Albums by
Paul Shaffer

Top Songs by
Paul Shaffer

  1.   Song
  2.   Late Night Theme
  3.   You Shook Me All Night Long
  4.   Bad Influence
  5.   Burning Down the House
  6.   Metal Beach
  7.   Tear It on Down
  8.   Doing It to Death
  9.   Wang Dang Doodle
  10.   Inner City Blues
  11.   Don't Dream It's Over
  12.   Coast to Coast
  13.   Middle of the Road
  14.   What Is Soul
  15.   Louie Louie
  16.   Room With a View
  17.   1999
  18.   Something About You
  19.   Could You Be Loved
  20.   Black Dog
  21.   Mysterious Ways
  22.   I Can't Make You Love Me
  23.   Jamp
  24.   When the Radio Is On
  25.   Dance to the Music
  26.   Not Just Knee Deep
  27.   I Was Made to Love Her
  28.   One Cup of Coffee
  29.   Don't Bring Me Down
  30.   Chest Fever
  31.   Beds Are Burning
  32.   Fantasy
  33.   Medley: Time Is Tight/Hiphugger/Green Onions/Dance to the Music
  34.   Late Night
  35.   Inner City Blues
  36.   Black Dog
  37.   Doing It to Death
  38.   1999
  39.   Don't Bring Me Down
  40.   I Can't Make You Love Me
  41.   Medley
  42.   Medley: Time is Tight/Hiphugger/Green Onions
  43.   Intro by Tisziji Muñoz
  44.   Spirit Path by Tisziji Muñoz
  45.   Goodbye Dear Sweet Mother, Pt. I by Tisziji Muñoz
  46.   Fatherhood by Tisziji Muñoz
  47.   Motherhood by Tisziji Muñoz
  48.   No Self, No Thought, No Mind by Tisziji Muñoz
  49.   Only if You Love by Tisziji Muñoz
  50.   Impermanence by Tisziji Muñoz
  51.   Gratitude by Tisziji Muñoz
  52.   It's Done by Tisziji Muñoz

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