Poor gap-toothed late-night CBS desk jockey David Letterman. The guy just can't catch a break. First, he loses the coveted "Tonight Show" gig to lantern-headed Jay Leno, then Leno starts kicking his ass in the ratings as "Politically Incorrect" is sucking viewers off the other side. Now, his bright idea to release an album of musical performances from his show has been one-upped by the heir to his late-night slot on NBC, Conan O'Brien. Granted, Letterman and Reprise Records announced plans for their multi-artists collection, Live Music!: Late Show with David Letterman, before upstart O'Brien, but now the carrot-topped talker has turned the tables by slating the release of his for Oct. 7, more than a month before Letterman's Nov. 18 street date.
Both albums, however, are packed with one-of-a-kind performances. Letterman's collection, whose line-up is still changing, is slated to contain: Sheryl Crow ("Strong Enough"), Lou Reed ("Sweet Jane"), Dave Matthews Band ("Too Much"), Aretha Franklin ("Think"), Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach ("God Give Me Strength"), Lyle Lovett & Al Green ("Funny How Time Slips Away"), Van Morrison & Sinead O'Connor with the Chieftains ("Have I Told You Lately That I Love You"), Jewel with Flea ("You Were Meant For Me"), Rod Stewart ("Reason to Believe"), R.E.M. ("Crush with Eyeliner"), Lenny Kravitz ("Are You Gonna Go My Way"), Jerry Garcia & David Grisman ("Friend of the Devil") and Patti Smith ("Who Do You Love"). The O'Brien collection, entitled Live From 6A: Musical Performances from Late Night with Conan O'Brien, will feature an equally varied roster of performers, several of whom are indicative of O'Brien's slightly less-mainstream taste in music. Scheduled for inclusion are: Ani DiFranco ("Shameless"), David Bowie ("Dead Man Walking"), Matthew Sweet ("Do Ya"), Jamiroquai ("When You Gonna Learn"), Bjork ("Human Behavior"), Elvis Costello ("All This Useless Beauty"), Cake ("The Distance"), Jonathan Richman ("Let Her Go Into Darkness"), Edwyn Collins ("A Girl Like You"), 311 ("Down"), Soul Coughing ("Soundtrack to Mary") and Squirrel Nut Zippers ("Lover's Lane"). -- ATN staff report [Mon., Sept. 8, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]