Portlandia star Fred Armisen may have left SNL, but he returned last night to the show (hosted by Adam Driver) to talk about the profound effect watching David Bowie on the show had on him as a child. Seeing as Armisen certainly turned out a little odd, it's believable. The performance of 'The Man Who Sold The World' was influential for more than just Fred, however—it also helped launch the career of Klaus Nomi (the backup singer in black), the wonderfully bizarre pop opera singer who sadly became one of the first AIDS deaths in the country, before the disease was even named. Bowie's iconic suit in the performance was directly based on Nomi's style, which has also influenced Lady Gaga and others. Here's Armisen introducing an abridged version of the 1979 performance, with the full video below:
Here's the original clip of Bowie's performance from 1979, complete with introduction by a young Martin Sheen:
If you recognize the song but didn't know it was performed by Bowie, that's because it was performed in Nirvana's famous MTV Unplugged concert:
For better or worse, that's all the clips currently available of beloved performers who have left us singing this song. Well, there are probably more but you've suffered enough.