In 2017, the King of All Media once again proved to be the King of All Interviewers as Howard hosted several handfuls of epic sit-downs with some of the biggest names across a variety of industries, from acting and comedy to sports and rock and roll. As another epic chapter in Stern Show history comes to a close, let's look back at all the first-time guests who helped make 2017 such a memorable year:
The one and only Robert Plant made his Stern Show debut in October to promote his latest solo album “Carry Fire,” and his conversation with Howard was one for the ages. The rock and roll legend and longtime Led Zeppelin lead singer shared scores of scintillating stories about he and his band’s formative years in the music business, including a chance meeting with Elvis Presley and the prank Zeppelin played on the Who.
Robert also discussed the loss of drum luminary John Bonham. “He was my brother,” Plant told Stern. “He was a loose cannon but he was a spectacular guy.”
Listen to an excerpt from the conversation (below) and get more on the incredible interview here.
Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron joined the Stern Show for the first time in July, ahead of the release of her action-packed spy flick “Atomic Blonde.” The South African superstar spoke to Howard at length about a litany of subjects, including working with director Patty Jenkins on “Monster,” getting fired from the cinematic adaptation of “Chicago,” and the training regimen she endured while preparing for her stunt-heavy role in “Atomic Blonde.”
Charlize also opened up about her love life, telling Howard she’s attracted to the type of men who appear in outdoor documentaries. “I want to be with somebody like that who can climb a fucking mountain,” Charlize said.
Listen to her share a story about a recent date (below) and get more from Howard’s sit-down with Charlize here.
Music mogul Jimmy Iovine may be on top of the world now, but during his Stern Show debut in June he revealed getting there required a great deal more work and commitment than many realize. The talented producer joined the show ahead of his HBO documentary series “The Defiant Ones” and told Howard his recording studio successes are directly related to his willingness to "be of service" to the many, many stars he's worked with — acts like John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Dr. Dre, Elton John, and Gwen Stefani (to name just a few).
"I always knew which side of the glass was more important," he explained.
Listen to Jimmy’s story about hiding Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks from Tom Petty (above) and get more from Mr. Iovine's Stern Show debut here.
There was a lot Howard had to cover when Miley Cyrus made her Stern Show debut in October. From her days as a Disney Channel star to her successes as a pop singer, Cyrus has accomplished quite a bit, all before turning 25. But in terms of what she's most proud of, Miley told Howard there's nothing better than being complimented by one of your idols. Such was the case after Cyrus performed live at Madison Square Garden with Billy Joel.
“He said, ‘Cyrus got pipes’ and that made me feel really good,” Miley told Howard.
“As much as fame is a part of this … I don’t really care,” she continued. “I care that Billy Joel fucking said that I did a great job. That’s what I live for. Those are the accomplishments.”
Miley also sang a few of her hits during her Stern Show debut. Listen to her in-studio rendition of "Wrecking Ball" (below) and hear her full interview with Howard here.
A-list “Avengers” actress Scarlett Johansson sat down with Howard for the first time in March, ahead of her turn as a superhero of a different kind in the live-action adaptation of “Ghost in the Shell.” In addition to discussing her craft, she spoke about everything from crushing on celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay to reading cue cards as the host of "Saturday Night Live.” Scarlett also opened up about starring opposite Bill Murray in Sofia Coppola's critically acclaimed indie drama "Lost in Translation."
"It was hard to relate to one another, but I think what worked is that when the cameras were rolling and [it] actually came time to do the work, we worked really well together," she told Howard.
Listen to a clip from the interview (below) and get more on her visit here.
U2's Bono and the Edge
U2’s Bono and the Edge made their Stern Show debuts earlier this month and the rock legends had plenty to chat about with Howard, including everything from the origins of their incredible career to their band’s new album “Songs of Experience.” As the frontman and guitarist for one of the best-selling bands ever, they had quite a few star-studded stories to share, too, including the time they received advice from Frank Sinatra and their memories of hanging out with other members of rock’s royal family, like Bruce Springsteen and Sir Paul McCartney.
The dynamic duo also shared a story about the one and only time they nearly came to blows with each other. While they didn’t reveal who won the fight, Bono offered salient advice about avoiding melees with guitarists. “I can tell you never pick a fight with a man whose hand-to-eye coordination is his living,” he joked to Howard.
Listen to more of the conversation (below) and check out the full interview here.
When Ice-T made his Stern Show debut in June, he told Howard all about rising to the top in quite a few industries, including rap, TV, film, and heavy metal. The hustler-turned-entertainer also explained how he got his start dealing weed in a rough part of the greater Los Angeles area. Life on the streets may not have always been ideal, but he said one of the upsides is that it taught him be fearless.
"I'm not afraid of anything," Ice-T told Howard. "I'm not afraid of Godzilla, the boogey-monsters, gorillas — nothing. Anything I can fight, I've never been afraid. When you came from where I came from and you went through that so early, you get a thick skin."
Listen to Ice-T reveal how his former gangster mentality helped inform his acting in a clip (above) and get more from the interview here.
Not every guest who made their Stern Show debuts in 2017 found fame as an entertainer. Just ask former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill. The real-life American hero sat down with Howard for the first time in July and walked Stern Show listeners through every detail of what happened the night he shot and killed Osama bin Laden.
“I’ve seen some bad stuff, but I’m also a believer that, you know, we were warriors sent to do a warrior’s job,” O’Neill told Howard.
Listen to him recount the fateful night in the clip (above) and get more of his interview with Howard here.
Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher had a great deal to say during his very first visit to the Stern Show back in July. For one, the musician revealed buying cigarettes in New York is harder than it looks—despite being 44, he had difficulty scoring a pack without showing I.D.
The British rocker, who was there ahead of the release of his debut solo album “As You Were,” also said he was open to getting Oasis back together. Of course, Liam realized that would first mean reconciling with his brother Noel Gallagher.
“When we start liking each other, inevitably, I think the next step would be to take the band out for a little spin around the block,” Liam told Howard. “I love Oasis. It’s the best thing ever.”
Listen to him discuss Oasis (above), check out his in-studio solo rendition of “Wonderwall” (below), and get more from Liam’s first trip to the Stern Show here.
Kelly Clarkson, the apple of the late Wack Packer Eric the Actor’s eye, has been a longtime topic of discussion on the Stern Show, and in November she finally made her debut.
In addition to sitting down with Howard for a wide-ranging conversation covering everything from her “American Idol” days to past celebrity romances, Kelly (along with a full backing band) performed a mini-concert in the Stern Show studio, dazzling listeners with several of her greatest hits as well as a performance of the first single from her new album “Meaning of Life.”
Listen to her in-studio rendition of “Since U Been Gone” (below) and check out Kelly’s full interview with Howard here.
In May, rising country star Chris Stapleton joined the Stern Show for the first time. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter spoke to Howard all about the early days of his career, including penning hits for country artists like Kenny Chesney, Darius Rucker, and Luke Bryan, as well as the success he found when he finally started performing as a solo artist. He also shared a story about performing at Justin Timberlake’s birthday party after getting an unexpected phone call from the entertainer’s wife, actress Jessica Biel.
Watch Chris discuss the making of his album “From A Room: Volume 1” (above), see his powerful in-studio performance of his hit song “Broken Halos” (below), and check out more from his sit-down with Howard here.
Few of this year's guests had backstories more fascinating than “Walking Dead” star turned Marvel superhero Jon Bernthal, who made his Stern Show debut in November ahead of the release of Netflix's "The Punisher." Despite growing up with every advantage, Jon told Howard he did everything he could to jeopardize his future when he was an aimless young man, including having multiple run-ins with the law.
“I was such an asshole,” he told Howard.
Jon said he had to find acting before he could get his act together and he shared with Howard the long journey from his first drama class to his latest gig, in which he portrays one of comics' most infamous vigilantes. Listen to Jon discuss getting into character as “The Punisher” (below) and check out more of his interview with Howard here.
Emmy-winning "Simpsons" legend Hank Azaria made his debut appearance on the Stern Show in April ahead of the premiere of his IFC comedy series "Brockmire." In addition to describing how his new show evolved from a Funny or Die sketch in 2010 to its own series in 2017, Hank spoke to Howard about his long and storied career as a voice artist which he said began with a love for television as a child and a preternatural ability to mimic the onscreen performers.
"I didn't realize it was an ability," Hank told Howard. "I just assumed everybody could do it."
Watch him explain the origins of several of his most beloved “Simpsons” characters (above) and check out Hank's full interview with Howard here.
New Kids on the Block
While actor, musician, and object of High Pitch Erik’s affection Donnie Wahlberg has been a guest on the Stern Show several times over the years, 2017 saw the first appearance of his band New Kids on the Block.
All five members of the trailblazing boy band joined the show in June for a song performance as well as a career-spanning interview. At one point, Donnie explained his little brother—actor Mark Wahlberg—was actually an early member of NKOTB but said his tenure was short-lived for several reasons. "Mark would rather steal cars, at the time, so he dropped out," Donnie told Howard. "And he couldn't sing."
Watch New Kids on the Block perform "You Got It (The Right Stuff)” (above) and get more on the interview here.
World-renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong made his Stern Show debut in March and spoke candidly about his career-ending doping scandal as well as his decision to take performance-enhancing drugs in the first place. He also opened up about how he’s dealing with the fallout from the ordeal and revealed what he might say to a disappointed fan who approached him.
"If somebody were to come up to me … I'd shake their hand, I'd say 'I totally understand and I'm sorry,'" Armstrong revealed.
Watch him share the story with Howard (above) and get more on the Lance interview here.
Robert Pattinson may have become a household name while playing a vampire in the uber-successful “Twilight” franchise, but there’s much about his upbringing and early career that many fans probably didn’t know until his revealing sit-down with Howard in July, ahead of his new film "Good Time."
For starters, Rob once got expelled from school for stealing X-rated magazines. Additionally, the actor says he was nearly fired from "Twilight" because he had originally wanted his character to be more brooding than the filmmakers envisioned. After a conversation with the producers, however, he said he returned to set with a smile on his face.
“I was probably going a little bit too miserable so there was some kind of compromise made,” Rob explained to Howard.
Watch him tell the "Twilight" story (above) and get more from the actor’s interview here.
Seven-time Grammy winner Kendrick Lamar joined the Stern Show for the very first time in December to sit and chat with Howard about his new album “DAMN.” In doing so, he also shared much of his life story with Stern Show listeners, revealing how he went from a Compton kid to a hip-hop icon who many now consider the greatest rapper alive.
Kendrick told Howard he had been churning out mixtapes and demos for years before catching his big break, which surprisingly came in the form of a call from music mogul Dr. Dre. But when the phone rang, Kendrick told Howard he thought it was a joke and hung up.
“We was eating at Chili’s, I’ll never forget it … We got a call, like, ‘Yo, Dr. Dre likes your music.’ And we were like, ‘Who the fuck is this?’” he told Howard with a laugh.
Listen to Kendrick tell the story (below) and check out his full interview with Howard here.
Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, better known as the electronic music duo the Chainsmokers, made their Stern Show debut in June and shared several stories ranging from how they came to accept a Grammy Award on behalf of late music legend David Bowie to the time when one of them was forced to drive an old Svedka vodka promo car.
The Chainsmokers also revealed the origin stories behind some of their most recent chart-topping collaborations, including one with past Stern Show guest Chris Martin.
Watch them tell Howard the Bowie story (above) and get more from their debut interview here.
Actor Jeremy Renner made his Stern Show debut in August, ahead of the premiere of his acclaimed film “Wind River.” The two-time Oscar nominee enjoyed a wide-ranging conversation with Howard in which he explained why he does his own stunts, why he got ready for the Academy Awards in a Starbucks bathroom, and why Ben Affleck once made him hang with some tough Boston locals.
In the latter story, Renner revealed Ben put him in touch with the rough crowd in Boston so it would better inform his character in “The Town,” which ultimately earned Jeremy his second Oscar nomination. “He knew more than I knew so he put me out into bars and hooked me up with thugs and ex-cons,” Jeremy told Howard. “They gave me the authenticity.”
Watch a clip from Jeremy’s visit (above) and check out more from the interview here.
Tommy Wiseau made his Stern Show debut 14 years after the release of his cult-classic film “The Room,” a movie which he wrote, starred in, and directed. He joined the show this December along with frequent guest James Franco, whose new film “The Disaster Artist” actually chronicles the real-life story behind Wiseau’s infamous movie.
There are many mysteries surrounding Wiseau, including how he could have financed “The Room’s” $6 million budget, but he played it pretty close to the chest during his conversation with Howard. He was also reticent to discuss his true age, even trying to use a fake I.D. to gain security clearance at SiriusXM.
Franco took getting into character as Wiseau quite seriously and when the two of them joined the Stern Show, the actor was able to mimic Wiseau’s unique accent quite well.
Listen to a clip from the sit-down (below) and hear the full interview here.
Reality TV personality Nick Viall made his Stern Show debut back in February. Though the season 21 star of "The Bachelor" only sat down for a brief interview with Howard, the two had much to discuss. In 10 minutes, they managed to cover vocal fry, what it's like going out on all those wild dates for the show, and even whether or not contestants have time to masturbate.
Nick, who had given his first impression rose to African-American contestant Rachel Lindsay, also shared his thoughts on the importance of diversity on the series. "I don't really care about the color of their skin," he told Howard. "I think diversity is great."
See a clip from Nick Viall's sit-down (above) and get more on the interview here.
While it was hardly her first time on the Stern Show, this year marked Robin Quivers' first time ever as an official guest. The occasion came during a special live Thursday broadcast, with Howard's longtime cohost sitting down on the couch for an in-depth interview all about her singing.
Robin also debuted eight new tracks she'd recorded as part of her "Divas Project." The album features cover songs of some of the biggest names in pop music, including Katy Perry, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, and Miley Cyrus. But according to Robin, the instant hit off her new offering is without a doubt her cover of Sia's "Chandelier."
Take a listen to that performance (below) and check out Howard's full interview with Ms. Quivers here.