Showstopping moments from Series 50 of Later… with Jools Holland

Back in October 1992, a new music show crept on to the schedules. In contrast to the hectic, yoof-oriented pop TV of the day, its emphasis was on stripped-back performances that let the music do the talking. Twenty-five years and 50 series on, Later… with Jools Holland is still going strong and providing a much-needed fix of live music on TV.

There was some nice continuity in the seventh episode of the current run, which featured the return of Malian singer Oumou Sangaré – a guest on the first ever series. Naturally, Jools also welcomed back a number of old favourites, including Paul Weller and Goldfrapp. And there was also room for a host of exciting artists making their Later debuts, including three on our list of standout performances from the anniversary series.

1. Ed Sheeran – Shape of You

With Shape of You still riding high at the top of the singles charts, Ed Sheeranappeared on the second episode of the series and unveiled the song’s stripped-back live version. Using his famous loop pedal to create all the parts himself, the song’s remarkable simplicity is laid bare – but like a good magic trick, it doesn’t lose any of its wonder just because you know how it’s done.

2. Beth Ditto – Fire

It’s been a while since we heard from former Gossip singer Beth Ditto, so this was a very welcome return from one of the most arresting voices – and presences – in music. Having swapped minimalist disco-punk for a bigger, swampier rock ‘n’ soul sound, Beth roared the gospel clad in a shimmering gold robe.

3. Blondie – Call Me

Blondie’s new album Pollinator is a smart update of their classic pop-punk sound, written in cahoots with many of the artists they’ve influenced (including Sia, Charli XCX and Nick Valensi of The Strokes). For their third Later appearance, Debbie Harry & Co. thrilled the studio audience by pulling out this 1980 No.1, still sounding as fresh as the day it was born.

4. Dave – Picture Me

Nice touch, this – 18-year-old South London rapper Dave begins his song Picture Me, which is about where he sees himself in five years’ time, at the piano before grabbing the mic, walking away from the piano, then returning to it at the end of the track. The BBC Sound of 2017 nominee was making his Jools debut and the response to his performance was huge.

5. Lorde – Green Light

Ahead of performing at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Hull, New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde made her second appearance on Later…, playing comeback single Green Light, a track she’s described as “different, and kinda unexpected. Complex and funny and sad and joyous and it’ll make you DANCE.” It’s all those things and, oh boy, she nailed it – this is mesmerising.

6. Royal Blood – Lights Out

Also making a comeback in 2017 are noisy Brighton two-piece Royal Blood, who played Lights Out, the first single from their second album How Did We Get So Dark? It’s a big song that they’ll no doubt be making a centrepiece of their many festival appearances this summer, including on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.