Sausage and Legislation

8 Jun

As they say about sausage and legislation, “you don’t want to see how it’s made.” Many musicians feel the same way about their songs. Early demos of songs, somehow leaked from the studio were always traded among rock aficionados. The advent of CDs, with about 15 to 20 minutes longer playtime than LPs encouraged record labels to tack on early demos onto reissues to encourage listeners to buy more CDs. It almost goes without saying that the internet made early demos almost as accessible as the albums they eventually became part of. But, should you really listen to the discarded remains of a song? What can you learn from what was left on the cutting floor? I’ll leave that up to you to decided. Following are five songs and their earlier versions.

The first is a live version of “Wings for Wheels” which if you now Bruce Springsteen’s music, you’ll recognize as a line from “Thunder Road.” It’s actually an early version of the song with with different, more automobile-focused lyrics. Completely changes the song. Next is an acoustic demo of Radiohead’s “Good Morning Mr. Magpie.” Again, when stripped of the complex studio work, it shows the essence of the song and lyrics. Pink Floyd recently released a huge flood of demos with their “Experience” versions of “The Wall,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “Dark Side of the Moon.” I particularly like “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” stripped of its disco beat. I also include the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” without the horns and with a bit of tomfoolery between bandmates as well as the “honky tonk” demo of Elvis Costello’s “Blame it on Cain” which might show the value of The Attractions.

Thunder Road (Wings for Wheels live) – Bruce Springsteen

Good Morning Mr. Magpie (solo acoustic) – Radiohead

Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 (non-disco demo) – Pink Floyd

Got to Get You Into My Life (demo no. 2) – Beatles

Blame it On Cain (honky tonk solo demo) – Elvis Costello


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