After working in New York studios on recordings by Joan Armatrading, Nina Hagen, Yoko Ono, Diana Ross, and others, he returned to TV in 1982 as the bandleader on NBC's Late Night, again also taking a comic role, this time as the cool, unflappable foil to host David Letterman. Shaffer moved with Letterman to CBS for his new late-night talk show and has led the CBS Orchestra for the Late Show with David Letterman since 1993. In 1989 he made his record debut as a leader (and singer) with Coast to Coast (Cap C-48288), an album made in eight different US cities in order to pay tribute to the respective pop music traditions associated with each. A second album, The World's Most Dangerous Party (0777 7 89530 2 9 SBK Records), followed in 1993. An earlier single co-written with Paul Jabara, "It's Raining Men," was recorded by the Weather Girls and later by Geri Halliwell; both versions became popular, the latter reaching number one position in the UK.
In 1991 Paul Shaffer served as host for the CBC telecast of the Juno Award ceremonies. As an actor, he appeared in several feature films (including Look Who's Talking Too) and television shows. He served as music director for the film Blues Brothers 2000, for several Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, and for the 1996 Olympics closing ceremonies. Shaffer hosted the television pop music series Cover Wars in 2001. He was the recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and a Creative Coalition 2000 Spotlight Award, and a street in Thunder Bay was named for him. He is a member of the Order of Canada. Shaffer received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in 2006.
Shaffer published his memoirs in a book he co-wrote with David Ritz titled We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin' Showbiz Saga.
The World's Most Dangerous Party. 1993. SBK 0777 7 89530 2 9
Author Betty Nygaard King, Steve Mclean
Doerschuk, Bob. "Paul Shaffer: midnight rocker with The David Letterman Show," Keyboard, Sep 1983
- "What stays up never comes down," Keyboard, Mar 1987
Black, Larry. "The apostle of hip from Thunder Bay," Maclean's, 16 Mar 1987
Reguly, Eric. "Why the hippest man in America comes from Thunder Bay," The Financial Post Moneywise Magazine, Jun 1988
Kaplan, James. "Profiles: stay up late," The New Yorker, 16 Jan 1989
Houpt, Simon. "King of music on TV's late night: Paul Shaffer feted with Jubilee medal in high style," Toronto Globe and Mail, 6 Feb 2003
"Late Night Live Wire," International Musician, Jan 2003
Links to Other Sites
Q TV: Paul Shaffer on Q TV
In this CBC interview, musician and television personality Paul Shaffer riffs on his career and the state of the music business. From YouTube.
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