Tell me of other cool 'collector' versions of songs.

Just heard this ‘bootleg’ version of Elvis singing Are You Lonesome Tonight in which he changes a lyric to “do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair”? Followed by his cracking up. He tries to do the spoken word part but can’t stop breaking up. Meanwhile, the backup singer continues her "Oooooh Ahhhhh"ing without missing a beat. Elvis tells her to, “Sing it, baby!”

This cracked me up to no end.

This apparently is well-known even though it’s the first time I’ve heard it. What are other well-known bootleg versions of songs that I know nothing about?


I’ve heard another concert recording of the same song in which Elvis improvises the line “Now the stage is bare and Im standing there”
“Now the stage is bare, and Im standing there, with no air.”

I seem to remember hearing a live version of John Fogerty singing “Bad Moon Rising”, where in the last chorus he sings the mondegreen version, “there’s a bathroom on the right”

I just stumbled across this last night -

Husker Du covering Love is All Round in London 1985.

Husker Du was a punk/alternative band from Minneapolis and Love is All Around is the theme song to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

I’d heard it live 20+ years ago but had never seen a video before.

R.E.M. used to have a lot of cool B-sides, but then those all broke into the mainstream when they were collected on Dead Letter Office.

My favorite was “Voice of Harold”, on which Michael Stipe sings the liner notes of a gospel album to the tune (and backing tracks) of “Seven Chinese Brothers.”

“Heartless” by Heart has two versions. The “unauthorized” version is much better.

There’s a handful of Dopers who’ll appreciate this one (Stagger Lee, Dire Wolf, et al), if they don’t already have it.

One of the last waves of the Dead had a song called So Many Roads. One of those songs that made Corrina and Liberty jealous (though at this point I’d give my right arm for just one more Liberty closer). Anyway, it was an amazingly emotional tune, heavy on import and promise. The chorus/climax of the tune was “so many roads to ease my soul.” On a good night Jerry would hit it square on and plunge you into sonic euphoria.

Boston Garden, 10/1/94… “so many roads to heal my soul”

That is super cool.

Didn’t The Donnas do a cover version of that song also?

Ella Fitzgerald singing “Mack the Knife,” making up the lyrics because she doesn’t know them.

Just heard another good one (WCBS is doing a ‘little known track’ day). Sam Cooke with an extended version of Another Saturday Night with more verses on how he can’t get a girl. One verse was about his friend who had a sister but she looked like Frankenstein.

The DJ said it was on a CBS Greatest Hits release but was pulled when it was reprinted.

He does that pretty consistently to the point where it’s an in-joke with his audiences. I’ve heard him do that on his “Premonition” album, on “Live by Request,” and on “Austin City Limits.” He actually points to the right as he’s singing that.

The Beatles have several gems. Probably the most famous is a very early workout of the song that would become “Get Back.” The day of the rehearsal (Jan 9/69), the newspapers featured stories of the comments of Enoch Powell, an official of the British Government, making disparaging comments about the number of immigrants from Pakistan. Paul had an undeveloped tune in mind, and after he showed the group the chord changes, they launched into a rough version of it. Paul improvised the lyrics, based on the news accounts.

“Don’t dig no Pakistanis taking all the peoples’ jobs…Get Back! Get Back! Get back to where you once belonged…”

It goes on for about five minutes, working itself into a frenzy with Paul repeatedly screaming “Get back!” into the microphone.

Many people, hearing this outtake for the first time, take umbrage at what they perceive to be racism on the part of Paul (and by extension, the group). I’ve provided the context so you don’t get the same idea. For the record, he says he has no memory of it. But it’s there, and thousands of us have a copy of it sitting on our shelves.

That’s called “scat” singing, and Ella got down. :slight_smile:

If you haven’t heard Pete Townsend’s live acoustic version of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” from The Secret Policeman’s Ball, you haven’t heard the best version of that song, and that’s all there is to it.

There’s also a somewhat rare album of Chuck Berry alternates called “Rock 'n Roll Rarities” that has my favorite version of “Johnny B. Goode” on it (other than Jimi Hendrix’s). I think it’s the same version we all know, but it includes the first 2 takes from that session. In the first take, Chuck’s guitar sound is distorted badly, and he only gets about a bar into the opening riff before stopping to fix it; in the second take, they get well into the intro, but you start to hear Chuck shouting out “Hold it! Hold it!” he then fusses that the piano player was “making ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ … stop that.” But the best part comes just afterward, when if you have it turned up enough, you can hear someone (and in my mind’s eye, it’s the piano player) in the background say “Who he talkin’ to?”

The Beatles Anthology albums contain many gems. An original George Harrison acoustic performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (with slightly difference lyrics). A more rocking version of “And I Love Her” (with out the middle section). “Eleanor Rigby” and “Within and Without You”, both without the vocals laid down. The two original “Strawberry Fields” before they were merge into the final form. Etc.

My favourite is the Killerwhaletank version of New Orleans is Sinking by The Tragically Hip. It contains a monologue by Gord Downie about working at an aquarium cleaning the killer whale tank and having his arm ripped off by one of the whales.

The Rhino rereleases of Elvis Costello’s back catalogue contain alternate versions of almost every song on the second disc. While they’re generally somewhat interesting listens, I find the versions of “Watch Your Step” (sped up) and “From A Whisper To A Scream” (sung solo by Elvis) off Trust to be several times better than the original album versions. The alternate version of “From A Whisper To A Scream” may, in fact, be my favorite Elvis Costello song, or at least in the top five.