Legendary talk show host David Letterman has a date set for his retirement, but while that date hasn’t come, he apparently can do anything he wants on his show. Letterman spent almost five minutes of his show on Friday night debating on whether he can play songs by The Eagles or not. The band is reportedly notorious for being reluctant about licensing their music, and Letterman wasn’t happy about it.
Excited about the upcoming concert of The Eagles at Madison Square Garden on September 20, Letterman bantered with an audience member about going and asked his band leader and sidekick, Paul Shaffer, to play some songs by them. Panicking, a producer of The Late Show informed them that they weren’t allowed to play songs by The Eagles because the band didn’t license their music to TV shows.
Letterman toyed with the idea of paying for the track, but the producer replied that there was no way it could happen. “They won’t give us a number, they just said no. The licensing people just said no,” said the producer.
Apparently miffed that he was being told what he couldn’t do on his own show, Letterman didn’t back down from the issue, consulting with director Jerry Foley on air. Foley suggested that they play a few lines in order to circumvent licensing issues, which prompted Letterman and Shaffer to discuss which song would do the show justice.
“Paul, aren’t you just now really dying to play an Eagles song?” Letterman teased at one point, looking as if he was ready to push through with hearing a song by The Eagles on his show. However, just as it seemed as if they had made a decision, Letterman ended the discussion abruptly.
“You know what, I’m not that interested anymore,” he said. The dismissal came off as an effective jab at The Eagles for the band’s licensing policy.
It was in April earlier this year when Letterman announced that he would be retiring in 2015.