Johnny said, “Horatio Gutierrez [a classical pianist] couldn’t come tonight because he accidentally shut his hand in a car door and didn’t want to chance playing the Tonight Show. Can anybody here play the piano?”

It just so happened that David Tolley was in the audience that night. He volunteered to perform and play the song “Memory” from the musical “Cats.” He gave a brilliant performance and one that helped to launch his career as a musician and composer.

It might have been “fate” that intervened that evening, but David had been unknowingly preparing for that moment since his childhood. He began playing the piano at age five and eventually earned multiple degrees in music and competition. After his “Tonight Show” appearance, he began a successful entertainment music career and though his journey has had ups and downs, music has always been his life.

In the video below, watch the fateful “Tonight Show” performance that people are still talking about today!