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‘SNL’ tunes get D’Works discs

Musical perfs receive 1st-ever release on 25th anni.

Live from DreamWorks: It’s Saturday Night!

DreamWorks Records will bow a two-disc set of musical performances from “Saturday Night Live,” the first time a CD of the show’s perfs will be released.

The discs, “Saturday Night Live: The Musical Performances,” will boast perfs by Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Sting, Nirvana, Hole and the Beastie Boys, among others. The first two volumes will bow Sept. 21.

The discs come as the latenight show commences its 25th season, which will be recognized with an NBC special Sept. 26.

“SNL” creator Lorne Michaels was honored last week with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Label execs said the discs will be marketed through direct response and TV ads, with an eye on positioning it as a brand, like a Time-Life or the “Jock Jams” series. VH1 is creating programs to herald the anni, the role the show has played in the music industry and to promote the discs. NBC also is expected to help tout them.

Future volumes are expected to be released if the first set finds favor among fans. Later discs may boast more obscure perfs, once the brand becomes established.

“We felt, with the anniversary and the special programming surrounding it, the timing for the album was perfect,” DreamWorks Records co-captain Michael Ostin told Daily Variety. Ostin, along with SNL talent exec Ryan Shiraki, exec produced the discs.

Ostin said the label had “been developing the project for some time. We’ve been speaking with Lorne about this for years.” The label worked closely with Michaels and the people at ‘Saturday Night Live,’ as well as with NBC, to cull memorable perfs.

Nearly 1,000 “SNL” performances, among them career-making perfs by Billy Joel (“Only the Good Die Young,” 1978), R.E.M. (“Losing My Religion,” 1991), Counting Crows (“Round Here,” 1994), Dave Matthews Band (“What Would You Say,” 1995), and Jewel (“Who Will Save Your Soul,” 1997), have been featured on the show.

“Saturday Night Live” is the longest-running show on TV featuring musical performances.

“SNL” has long challenged its viewers, presenting artists who often proved to be far ahead of their times and providing talked-about events like Elvis Costello’s abrupt 1977 segue from the record company-sanctioned “Less Than Zero” to the music-industry indictment “Radio, Radio.”

And despite its rise from scrappy upstart to TV institution, the program has regularly presented artists on the cutting edge, some of them virtual unknowns and many who have gone on to become titans of popular music.

The show also quickly established itself as one that significantly helps boost record sales after an act’s appearance.

The “SNL” disc follows the 1997 release of “Live on Letterman: Music from the Late Show” and “Live From 6A: Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” both showcasing live performances from the two latenight programs.

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