Paul Shaffer
Canadian musician
Paul Shaffer
Paul Allen Wood Shaffer, CM is a Canadian-American musician, actor, voice actor, author, comedian, and composer who has been David Letterman's sidekick since 1982.
Paul Shaffer's personal information overview.
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Bernie Worrell Of The Parliament-Funkadelic Dead At 72
Huffington Post - 8 months
Bernie Worrell has died after a battle with stage-four lung cancer, the Associated Press reported on Friday, Jun. 24. He was 72.  Worrell's wife, Judie Worrell, confirmed to the AP that the keyboardist died at his home in Everson, Washington. Famous for his music with Parliament-Funkadelic and the Talking Heads, fans cherished "The Wizard of Woo" for his revolutionary sound and blend of funk and soul.  An announcement on Worrell's Facebook page said that the keyboardist "transitioned Home to The Great Spirit" at 11:45 a.m.  At a star-studded tribute concert for the funk pioneer in April, many of Worrell's celebrity friends attended to help raise money for the keyboardist.   "He’s just a wonderful spirit. I don’t think you can play like that without having that love in your soul,” longtime "Late Show with David Letterman" band member Paul Shaffer told The Huffington Post. "Anybody that likes soul music and funk music knows about him and studies him." As ne ...
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Huffington Post article
David Letterman Jokes He's Mistaken For Walt Whitman With His Beard
Huffington Post - 10 months
David Letterman's beard has grown large enough to overshadow the talk show host himself.  Letterman, who's been modeling a "Santa chic" look since he retired, poked fun at his famous facial hair while celebrating the USO’s 75th birthday party on Thursday in Maryland.  "A fellow came up to me before the show and he said, ‘We love what you do, we love your writing, we love what you mean to the country, we love your poetry," Letterman said, in front of an audience that included President Obama, the First Lady, Vice President Biden and Jon Stewart.  "And I said, ‘Who do you think I am?" Letterman asked while the audience roared with laughter. "And he said 'Walt Whitman.'"  From the sidelines, President Obama quipped, "I can see that, Dave."  Letterman's longtime friend and former bandleader, Paul Shaffer, told The Huffington Post in a previous interview that the beard was "a long time in the making."  "The more people that try to talk him into shavi ...
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Huffington Post article
The Top Ten Reasons You Should Work for Free -- Unless You Are Wil Wheaton
Huffington Post - over 1 year
I recently ran across a blog written by Wil Wheaton titled, "You can't pay your rent with "the unique platform and reach our site provides." In it and on his Twitter account he took shots at the Huffington Post for having an editor reach out to him for permission to repost another blog he had written, "Seven things I did to reboot my life." He was indignant that they weren't going to offer him compensation for the piece and was quite vocal about it. As a blogger for the Huffington Post myself, I was torn. On one hand, I absolutely believe passionately that artists should be compensated for their work. However, there was something about his post that bothered me. For starters, this was a blog; not a published journalism piece. It was a blog that he felt passionately enough about to post for free on his own site and then, by his own admission, submitted to Medium; again with no anticipation of compensation. And while I didn't research it myself, I'm guessing he also posted it to h ...
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Huffington Post article
Mourning the Death of Late Night Talk Shows
Huffington Post - over 1 year
It didn't seem that long ago that I used to look forward to tuning into late night talks shows, even when the grand master of the late night circuit, Johnny Carson, retired and gracefully rode off into the sunset, never to be heard from again. David Letterman, Johnny Carson's protégé, for many years held my interest-starting with his elevator races, stupid pet tricks, Top 10 list and taking his cameras into the streets of New York when you'd never know who he would find. One time, I recall, his roving cameras caught a middle-aged woman looking disheveled and completely lost in the hustle, bustle and mayhem of Manhattan. It turned out (if memory serves); the woman was in the Big Apple for a funeral. Dave being Dave, then invited the woman into the studio, invited her to sit down and proceeded to interview her as if she was a booked guest. His sidekick Paul Shaffer, even improvised and made up a snappy little ditty which he sang in dedication to this woman. An ...
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Huffington Post article
Eleven Bass Players Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Huffington Post - over 1 year
We serve the singer, the song, the soloist, and ultimately the listener. Though we do not possess the harmonic nor sonic range of a guitar, keyboards, voice, horns, wind instruments, nor the dynamics of drums and percussion-the bass player determines how a musical chord actually sounds - which, in essence -often determines whether or not you'll like the track. Do the math! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees have been announced and I congratulate all the artists: The Cars, Chic, Chicago, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Janet Jackson, The J.B.'s, Chaka Khan, Los Lobos, Steve Miller, Nine Inch Nails, N.W.A., The Smiths, The Spinners, and Yes. Since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation began in 1983 there has been much controversy over who belongs and who does not. It's no different than sports Halls of Fame. Controversy, dispute, and rock 'n' roll are siblings, and I accept that. However I must stand up for my woefully neglected bass brethren, some of whom no longer lay down ...
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Huffington Post article
As Letterman winds down, sidekick Paul Shaffer readies to disband the CBS Orchestra
Fox News - almost 2 years
Hidden in the attention being paid to David Letterman leading to his May 20 retirement is the knowledge that it will also mean the end of a regular television role for America's bandleader, Paul Shaffer.
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Fox News article
David Letterman Reflects on 33 Years in Late-Night Television
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
In a single bound, David Letterman seemed to leap the full length of the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater, racing from backstage as if he’d been thrust forward by the fanfare played by his longtime bandleader, Paul Shaffer, and his CBS Orchestra, and by the rumble of his announcer, Alan Kalter, bellowing his name — “Daaaaay-vid Leh-terrrr-maaaaaaaan!” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Huffington Post article
Future Islands Returning to Perform on Letterman’s “Late Show”
Headline Planet - almost 2 years
While many are musically stellar, few late night talk show performances reach a point of being memorable. Future Islands’ spring 2014 appearance on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” rocketed past that point. Not simply memorable, it resonated as an instant classic. Highlighted by lead singer Samuel T. Herring’s erratic dance moves and fierce vocal intensity, the band’s mesmerizing rendition of “Seasons (Waiting on You)” amounted to far more than a promo spot. It created an audio and visual experience that countless music fans would come to recognize. While some parody emerged alongside the reverence, there was no denying the impact of the performance. And when the song appeared at the top of many highly-regarded “best of 2014″ lists a half-year later, the performance video made an impact again. On April 28, Future Islands will receive the chance to create another classic “Letterman” moment. CBS confirms that the band will appear as that evening’s musical guest. Actor ...
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Headline Planet article
Conversations with Peter Asher, Denny Laine, Big Star's Jody Stephens and Red's Michael Barnes, Plus Rachael Sage & Judy Collins and Goodnight, Texas Exclusives
Huffington Post - about 2 years
RACHAEL SAGE & JUDY COLLINS' "HELPLESS" EXCLUSIVE photo credit: Nick Clark According to Rachael Sage... "I don't do many cover songs--because I've been writing my own compositions since I was a little kid, it's just not really my thing generally, and I can count the ones I've recorded on less than one hand. But there was something about this song, after I was invited to perform it at a Neil Young tribute at NYC's Highline Ballroom, that just slayed me. It's so essential, and has so much space built into the song itself which must be why so many artists love to reinterpret it; it breathes in such an effortless way, and sounds as expansive as what it's describing. It was such a thrill to record this track with Judy Collins, who has not only been a generous and inspirational mentor to me through the years, but who is also such a great master at making the songs of others her very own. We had so much fun singing 'Helpless' together as a duet in the studio, and it was also an ...
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Huffington Post article
Paul Shaffer On Piano Jazz
NPR - about 2 years
On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1988, David Letterman's bandleader plays the standard "All The Things You Are" and teams up with host Marian McPartland for "Isn't She Lovely." » E-Mail This
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NPR article
Beatles Week On 'David Letterman' Features Lauryn Hill, Sting, The Flaming Lips And More
Huffington Post - about 3 years
Lauryn Hill took to "The Late Show with David Letterman" on Friday to conclude a week of all-star Beatles covers. From The Flaming Lips' psychedelia to Hill's reggae stylings, each night's musical guest performed a different song to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' arrival in America. Letterman, who currently occupies the Ed Sullivan Theater where The Beatles performed in 1964, also interviewed Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr for a special airing Sunday at 8 p.m. EST on CBS. In the meantime, enjoy all five "Late Show" performances below. Broken Bells -- "And I Love Her" Sting and Ivy Levan -- "Drive My Car" The Flaming Lips and Sean Lennon -- "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" Lenny Kravitz (with Paul Shaffer) -- "Get Back" Lauryn Hill -- "Something"
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Huffington Post article
Lenny Kravitz, Paul Shaffer 'Get Back' on 'Late Show' Beatles Week
Rolling Stone - about 3 years
Lenny Kravitz used his slot on The Late Show With David Letterman's Beatles Week to sing "Get Back" the Fab Four's stories of a stoned Arizona hermit named Jojo and "another man" named Sweet Loretta Martin Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer joined Kravitz on the 1969 rooftop classic playing jazzy funky...
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Rolling Stone article
Those Dutch painters were ahead of their times
San Francisco Chronicle - about 3 years
The Awards Dinner of the Global Philanthropy Forum of the World Affairs Council honored Twitter CEO Dick Costolo on Thursday night "for leveraging private enterprise to achieve positive social change." Costolo, whose corporate efforts were pretty well honored with heaps of dough when the company went public a few weeks ago, proved - in conversation with World Affairs Council President Jane Wales - to be quick-witted and jolly. Costolo also rather hilariously described taking the subway from Wall Street uptown to Twitter's Manhattan offices on the day of the IPO, when he was recognized by an amazed commuter looking at his picture while reading the news on his iPhone. Vivienne, moved by the plight of enslaved child workers, had set up a lemonade stand to raise funds to fight child slavery, and then tweeted about it. The Chronicle hosted a party Thursday night in the gallery at Modernism West/Foreign Cinema for its Click City serial writer Heather Stallings. The San Francisco Symphon ...
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San Francisco Chronicle article
Darlene Love Honored as "Big Man of the Year" by Little Kids Rock
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Darlene Love's incredible musical talents and stage presence were honored last week at a star-studded Manhattan benefit showcasing music education in schools by the non-profit organization Little Kids Rock. Love was the fifth annual recipient of the Big Man of the Year Award, so named for beloved E Street Band sax player Clarence Clemons in 2009. Darlene Love receives Big Man of the Year Award, photo by Mark Jaworski, Used with Permission Little Kids Rock, founded in 2002 by elementary school teacher David Wish, transforms children's lives by restoring and revitalizing music education in public schools. The organization is currently the leading provider of free music lessons and instruments to underprivileged children in U.S. public schools and has at this writing served nearly 250,000 students at over 1,700 schools in 25 cities. The event, which took place at Cipriani Wall Street, raised over $850,000 in donations, which will help to fund music education for 15,000 additional ...
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Huffington Post article
George Harrison's Musical Legacy Will Be Celebrated at Beacon Theatre by The Fab Faux
Huffington Post - over 3 years
George Harrison's extraordinary musical career will be feted this coming Saturday at New York City's Beacon Theatre by the Fab Faux, dubbed "the greatest Beatles cover band" by Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke. Legendary rock critic and Sirius XM radio host Dave Marsh enthused, "Amazingly, they're so good at it you learn new things about the originals." The Fab Faux (Used With Permission) L to R: Rich Pagano, Frank Agnello, Will Lee, Jimmy Vivino, Jack Petruzzelli The band, a labor of love born in 1998 when neighbors Jimmy Vivino (bandleader/guitarist for Conan O'Brien) and Will Lee (bassist for Paul Shaffer's CBS Orchestra on the Late Show with David Letterman) came up with the idea during a communal elevator ride in their apartment building. Jimmy and Will are joined by lead-singing drummer/producer Rich Pagano (Rosanne Cash, Patti Smith, sugarCane cups), guitarist Frank Agnello (Marshall Crenshaw, Phoebe Snow), and keyboardist/guitarist Jack Petruzzelli (Joan Osborne Ba ...
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Huffington Post article
Conversations With Graham Nash, Allen Toussaint and Colin Gilmore, Plus Coney Hatch and Dom La Nena Exclusives
Huffington Post - over 3 years
A Conversation with Graham Nash Mike Ragogna: Hi Graham, how are you? Graham Nash: I'm doing good. I think we've spoken before. MR: Yes, and thank you very much again for that interview. GN: You're very welcome. MR: Your new book Wild Tales, to me is like the who's who and the what's what of the music business. You're like Kevin Bacon. We can play Six Degrees of Graham Nash now. GN: Yes indeed, oh boy. I think that's one of the things that publishers really like. They like that it's my voice, that it feels like I'm sitting in your kitchen talking to you and I was as honest as I could be. MR: Absolutely. Graham, you're in the heart of at least a half-dozen important music or otherwise "scenes" including Liverpool at the time of your group The Hollies and The Beatles, Laurel Canyon in LA when that became a happening, the anti-nuclear assembly of artists... So even if you think it's cosmic, what is your explanation? How do you rationalize all this? GN: I think that the universe ...
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Huffington Post article
Questlove: Michele Bachmann almost got me fired from Jimmy Fallon show - over 3 years
One of the best things about the Jimmy Fallon show — maybe the best thing — is that it's a test of ingenuity every single day. It sent me back to the days of working with Dave Chappelle. But that show was brilliant guerrilla comedy; it happened on the fly and then some. The Fallon show is a day job in the best sense. We're in by noon and gone by seven, and in between we make a show. It's highly structured, and as a result, the opportunities we have for creativity are really distilled: not reduced at all, but disciplined, forced into existing forms and packages. "Freestylin' with the Roots" is one of the highlights for us. One of the others is the walkover. The walkover, or walk-on, for those who don't speak backstage, is the song that the band plays as a guest comes out from behind the curtain and walks over to the host's desk. Once upon a time, maybe, it was straightforward, a little musical cue or song associated with the artist. But then came Paul Shaffer's work on "Letterman," and ...
Article Link: article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Paul Shaffer
  • 2015
    Age 65
    Shaffer was the musical director for A Very Murray Christmas, a 2015 Netflix variety special starring Bill Murray in which Shaffer also appears and performs extensively.
    More Details Hide Details Shaffer has been married to Cathy Vasapoli since 1990, with whom he has two children – Victoria (born 1993) and Will (born 1999).
    In May 2015, the Ride of Fame honored Paul Shaffer with a double decker sightseeing bus in New York City to commemorate his long run as the leader of the CBS Orchestra for the Late Show with David Letterman.
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    In February 2015 Shaffer appeared on the 40th anniversary special of Saturday Night Live, playing music to Bill Murray's lounge singer character, a love song from the movie Jaws.
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  • 2013
    Age 63
    In February 2013, he appeared in an episode of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother titled "P.S. I Love You", in which it is revealed that the character of Robin (Cobie Smulders) used to be obsessed with him.
    More Details Hide Details The letters "P.S." in the episode title refer to Paul Shaffer.
  • 2012
    Age 62
    Later in 2012, Shaffer appeared in a skit of SNL Christmas, which aired on Saturday, December 15, 2012.
    More Details Hide Details He appeared playing the piano and singing for the host Martin Short.
    In 2012, Shaffer appeared in 12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief, where Shaffer accompanied Adam Sandler.
    More Details Hide Details The concert raised money for the people who were affected by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
  • 2010
    Age 60
    In 2010, Shaffer appeared with Bachman & Turner at the Roseland Ballroom in New York.
    More Details Hide Details His appearance was included on the live album recorded on that date.
  • 2009
    Age 59
    Shaffer's memoir, We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin' Show-biz Saga (co-authored by David Ritz) was published on October 6, 2009.
    More Details Hide Details The same day, he made an appearance as a guest on The Late Show. Shaffer never returned the call which offered him the role of George Costanza in Seinfeld. Shaffer claims he never auditioned for the role, Seinfeld simply called to offer him the job.
  • 2008
    Age 58
    In 2008, Shaffer made a cameo appearance at the beginning of the Law & Order: Criminal Intent season 7 episode "Vanishing Act".
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  • 2005
    Age 55
    In 2005, along with Steve Van Zandt, he organized a benefit for Mike Smith (formerly of The Dave Clark Five), who had suffered a paralyzing fall at his home in Spain. Shaffer cites Mike Smith as an early influence. Shaffer hosts the 60-second radio vignettes called "Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock". These audio shorts were first produced for Envision Radio Networks and debuted in 2007 on New York station WAXQ-FM.
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    On September 29, 2005, Shaffer made a major contribution to Lakehead University to dedicate the fifth floor ATAC boardroom to his father Bernard Shaffer, inaugural member of the Board of Governors.
    More Details Hide Details In June 2006, he received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.
  • 2002
    Age 52
    In 2002, a street which surrounds the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium in his hometown was renamed Paul Shaffer Drive.
    More Details Hide Details Shaffer has also received two honorary doctorates, including one from Lakehead University. Since 2002, he has been the national spokesperson for Epilepsy Canada.
  • 2001
    Age 51
    Shaffer served as musical director for 2001's The Concert for New York City, and accompanied Adam Sandler's Opera Man sketch and the Backstreet Boys' "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)".
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    In 2001, Shaffer hosted the VH1 game show Cover Wars with DJ/model Sky Nellor.
    More Details Hide Details The show featured cover bands competing for the ultimate series win. Each week, Shaffer would sign off with, "Just because you're in a cover band, it doesn't mean you're not a star." The show lasted 13 episodes and featured celebrity judges including Kevin Bacon, Nile Rodgers, Cyndi Lauper and Ace Frehley.
  • 1998
    Age 48
    Around 1998 he was on Hollywood Squares.
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  • 1994
    Age 44
    He hosted Happy New Year, America in 1994 on CBS Network.
    More Details Hide Details The following year, he appeared in Blues Traveler's video for the song "Hook".
  • 1992
    Age 42
    Shaffer and The World's Most Dangerous Band performed the Chuck Berry song "Roll over Beethoven" for the 1992 film Beethoven.
    More Details Hide Details Shaffer has appeared in a number of motion pictures over the years, including a small role (Artie Fufkin of Polymer Records) in Rob Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap, Blues Brothers 2000, a scene with Miles Davis in the Bill Murray film Scrooged and as a passenger in John Travolta's taxicab in Look Who's Talking Too. In addition, Shaffer lent his voice to Disney's animated feature and television series Hercules, as the character Hermes. In 1977, Shaffer left SNL for a few months to co-star with Greg Evigan in A Year at the Top, a short-lived CBS sitcom in which Shaffer and Evigan play two musicians from Idaho who relocate to Hollywood where they are regularly tempted by a famous promoter (who is actually the devil's son), played by Gabriel Dell, to sell their souls in exchange for a year of stardom. Though the series only lasted a few episodes, a soundtrack album was released.
  • 1989
    Age 39
    He has released two solo albums, 1989's Grammy-nominated Coast to Coast, and 1993's The World's Most Dangerous Party, produced by rock musician Todd Rundgren.
    More Details Hide Details Shaffer has also recorded with a wide range of artists, including Donald Fagen, Ronnie Wood, Grand Funk Railroad, Diana Ross, B.B. King, Asleep at the Wheel, Cyndi Lauper, Carl Perkins, Yoko Ono, Blues Traveler, Jeff Healey, Cher, Chicago, Luba, Robert Burns, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Nina Hagen, Robert Plant, Peter Criss, Scandal, Brian Wilson, Late Show regular Warren Zevon, jazz trumpeter Lew Soloff, jazz saxophonist Lou Marini and bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs. In 1982, he co-wrote "It's Raining Men," with Paul Jabara. It was #1 on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts, a #2 hit in the UK for The Weather Girls in 1984 and a UK #1 remake for Geri Halliwell in 2001.
  • 1984
    Age 34
    In 1984, Shaffer played keyboards for The Honeydrippers, a group formed in 1981 by former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, on their only studio album, The Honeydrippers: Volume One.
    More Details Hide Details The album included the hit single "Sea of Love" which reached #1 on Billboards adult contemporary chart in 1984 and #3 on its Hot 100 chart in 1985. Shaffer has served as musical director and producer for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony since its inception in 1986 and filled the same role for the 1996 Olympic Games closing ceremonies from Atlanta, Georgia. Shaffer also served as musical director for Fats Domino and Friends, a Cinemax special that included Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis and Ron Wood.
  • 1982
    Age 32
    Shaffer recorded the famous synthesizer solo in the 1982 hit "Goodbye to You" by the band Scandal.
    More Details Hide Details He used his trusty Oberheim OB-Xa to emulate a 1960s organ sound.
    Beginning in 1982, Shaffer served as musical director for David Letterman's late night talk shows: as leader of "The World's Most Dangerous Band" for Late Night with David Letterman (1982–1993) on NBC, for which he also composed the theme song, and as leader of the CBS Orchestra for the Late Show with David Letterman (1993–2015) on CBS.
    More Details Hide Details Letterman consistently maintained that the show's switch to CBS was because NBC "fired Paul for stealing pens" or some other facetious reason. Shaffer guest-hosted the show twice when Letterman was unavailable, including during Letterman's January 2000 medical leave for quintuple heart bypass surgery, and during the birth of Letterman's son Harry in November 2003.
  • 1980
    Age 30
    Shaffer was to appear in the duo's 1980 film, but, as he revealed in October 2009 on CBS Sunday Morning, Belushi dropped him from the project.
    More Details Hide Details In a memo to fellow SNL colleagues, Belushi said that he was unhappy that Shaffer was spending so much time on a studio record for Radner. Belushi said that he had tried to talk Shaffer out of working on the album in the first place in order to avoid sharing Shaffer's talents with another SNL-related project. Shaffer later reported that he was in (unrequited) love with Gilda Radner. He would go on to appear in 1998's Blues Brothers 2000.
  • 1974
    Age 24
    He went on to play piano for the Schwartz Broadway show The Magic Show in 1974, then became a member of the house band on NBC's popular Saturday Night Live (SNL) television program from 1975 to 1980 (except for a brief departure in 1977).
    More Details Hide Details Though Shaffer was at the piano and appeared to be directing the band's actions, Howard Shore was credited as SNLs musical director, eventually turning the actual conducting of the band to sax player Howard Johnson. Shaffer also regularly appeared in the show's sketches, notably as the pianist for Bill Murray's Nick the Lounge Singer character, and as Don Kirshner. Shaffer occasionally teamed up with the Not Ready for Prime-Time Players off the show as well, including work on Gilda Radner's highly successful Broadway show and as the musical director for John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd whenever they recorded or performed as The Blues Brothers.
  • 1972
    Age 22
    Shaffer began his music career in 1972 when Stephen Schwartz invited him to be the musical director for the Toronto production of Godspell, starring Victor Garber, Gilda Radner, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas and Andrea Martin.
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  • 1971
    Age 21
    Later he performed with the "Flash Landing Band" at different venues around Edmonton and the Interior of B.C. Educated at the University of Toronto, he began playing with jazz guitarist Tisziji Muñoz, performing in bands around the bars there, where he found an interest in musicals, and completed his studies, with a B.A. degree in Sociology in 1971.
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  • 1949
    Born on November 28, 1949.
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