Who was the most obscure featured musical guest ever to appear on NBC's Saturday Night, or its successor Saturday Night Live? It's almost certainly Richard Baskin, who was on the show when Sissy Spacek hosted, on March 12, 1977. It's not just that Baskin never had a hit song or a hit album; he never even recorded an album. And most obscurely of all, Richard Baskin is so little-known that he does not have a page on Wikipedia.
So who was Richard Baskin? He was a songwriter, session pianist and producer, at that time best known for his work on the soundtrack to Robert Altman's brilliant Nashville. He co-wrote Henry Gibson's "Keep a-Goin'" and "200 Years," and wrote several other songs all on his lonesome, including Gibson and Ronee Blakley's duet "One, I Love You," which he eventually did on Saturday Night. Sissy Spacek harmonized very sweetly with him on the final chorus.
But what was he doing on national TV, two years after Nashville had come out? That's a good question. He had written "Yes, I Do" with Lily Tomlin, a song she sang in Nashville, and of course, Lily was a good friend of the show in its early years. Richard's sister, Edie Baskin, was the production designer of the show, which certainly wouldn't be enough to get him a guest slot but didn't hurt, either. Maybe Sissy asked for him; she certainly seemed to enjoy singing with him.
And he wasn't half bad. He was certainly better than Kinky Friedman was, and better than the bizarre turn the week before by the Kinks, who came on and, in a stupefyingly bad decision, played an awkward medley of their greatest hits. It was as if they were afraid no one would know who they were. (In their second number, they did a scorching "Sleepwalker," showing that the band was in fine fettle that night.) But anyway, yeah, Richard Baskin. Go figure.