1978 Steve Martin – King Tut
Steve Martin’s second album, A Wild and Crazy Guy, ended with a song that Steve thought would be perfect for a performance on Saturday Night Live: King Tut. Steve did not expect how completely SNL would embrace his performance. Lorne Michaels pulled out all the stops: dancers, singers, the members of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band provided backup music, huge involved sets, etc. etc. etc.
The performance became an immediate hit, and the single went on to sell over a million copies. The record peaked at only #17 on the Hot 100, and it sees little love now, but at the time it fit in perfectly with the national response to the travelling artifact show making the rounds of local museums.
The album was deemed, “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” by the Library of Congress and selected for inclusion in the National Recording Registry. Not everybody proved as enthusiastic about the album: students in a humanities class at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, protested the inclusion of the Saturday Night Live performance in their coursework in 2017, calling it an example of cultural appropriation. Sigh.
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