As The Late Show with David Letterman comes to an end Wednesday night, band leader Paul Shaffer talks about his 3 decades on the show. He discusses his favorite guests, what he’s going to miss most, Letterman’s lasting legacy and more. Shaffer will continue to host Paul Shaffer’s Day in Rock, a 60-second daily feature that illustrates rock history, syndicated by Envision Networks®. In addition to his daily radio show, Shaffer is developing additional content to be used for radio on-air and online.
For Shaffer, the people he worked with are part of what he’ll miss most.
“[I will miss] the people in my band, with whom I get to make funky music every single day. I will miss the crew, of course, and all the people that I see on a daily basis,” Shaffer said. “And of course, [I will miss] getting to improvise on television and talk extemporaneously to the quickest, fastest, funniest guy on television – Dave Letterman. No one could ask for more.”
With 33 years of musical guests to reflect on, Shaffer found that some of the earliest were also the most memorable. While James Brown stood out above the rest, a few others came to mind as well. “I always will go back to the first people that started doing the show and playing with my band
because those were the most thrilling times for me. When Sly from Sly and the Family Stone came out of nowhere to request being on the show, that was huge for me. Eric Clapton, you know when he sat in with me all night, after he did it everyone wanted to do it. So that was significant,” Shaffer said.
Though the show is just wrapping up, Shaffer believes Letterman’s legacy is already evident.
“I think that we can look around us now to see Dave’s legacy in all the other people that are doing talk shows now on the air – From James Corden to Jimmy’s Fallon and Kimmel to even Chelsea Handler, who’s not exactly on the air, but still. You can see that they all gladly and irreverently give it up to Dave Letterman for being so influential and you can see it in their programs. I think that’s his legacy right there,” Shaffer said.
You can catch Paul Shaffer on the final episode of The Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday, May 20 at 11:35 p.m. EST on CBS. Listen to audio from the interview online at http://bit.ly/1Ajn7uK.
Paul Shaffer’s Day in Rock is available on a barter basis and illustrates the history of rock according to Paul Shaffer. The 60-second daily program draws on Shaffer’s vast musical knowledge and ability to comment on the history of rock with his unique perspective and sense of humor. Paul Shaffer’s Day in Rock is a perfect benchmark feature that can be programmed throughout the day and offers key sponsorship opportunities for radio stations that are looking to add infotainment to their lineup. Visit paulshaffersdayinrock.com or contact Amber Wade at 216-831-3761 or AmberW@envisionradio.com for more information.
Paul Shaffer has been David Letterman’s musical director and sidekick for 33 years. Shaffer spent five years with the original “Saturday Night Live,” during which he played keyboards, composed special musical material, served as musical director for The Blues Brothers, and was a featured performer (which included his unforgettable Don Kirshner impression). Shaffer composed the LATE SHOW theme song and co-wrote the timeless classic “It’s Raining Men,” and has recorded with such diverse artists as Diana Ross, Yoko Ono and Robert Plant’s Honeydrippers, in addition to his own albums, “Coast to Coast” (1989) and “The World’s Most Dangerous Party” (1993.) He has appeared in numerous feature films, including portraying prototypical promo man Artie Fufkin in the seminal mockumentary “This Is Spinal Tap.” His first book, We’ll Be Here For The Rest of Our Lives – A Swingin’ Showbiz Saga, was released in 2009.
Grammy-winner Shaffer has served as musical producer for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria since its inception in 1986, and led the band for the “We Are the World” finale of “Live Aid.” Shaffer hosted CBS’s 1994 New Year’s Eve special from New York’s Times Square and was musical director of the closing concert at the 1996 Olympic Games. He appeared with the Blues Brothers at the 1996 Super Bowl halftime show and was musical director of the 1999 “Concert of the Century” at the White House, featuring Eric Clapton, B. B. King, Gloria Estefan, and ‘N Sync. He was the musical director of Paul McCartney’s “Concert for New York” and appeared with Faith Hill on the “America: A Tribute to Heroes” telethon, both of which honored and raised money for victims of 9/11.
Paul Shaffer holds two honorary doctorate degrees, was inducted into the National Black Sports and Entertainment Hall of Fame, and was recently awarded a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. He is currently the National Spokesperson for Epilepsy Canada. He lives in the New York area with his wife and two children.
About Envision Networks®:
Envision Networks® provides content and services to more than 1,500 radio stations and reaches millions of listeners each week. Envision Radio Networks, Inc. is the largest independently owned affiliate relations company in the country and supplies all types of programming and services to radio including morning show content, short-form vignettes, virtual weather-news-traffic broadcasts, live syndicated morning shows, long-form weekend programming, 24/7 formats, comedy services, event programming, off-air tools, web content, album releases and artist specials. Envision Networks® is based in Cleveland, Ohio, with offices in New York City and Nashville.