The mysterious appeal of outtakes

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by DK Pete, Sep 23, 2022.

  1. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Levittown. NY
    A brief discussion I had with @JosepZ made me give some thought to something we all pretty much just take for granted. It’s more than a little obvious that these days we’re obsessed with that mysterious thing so named, “ an outtake”.
    I’ll never forget the first time I put in my initially acquired Ultra Rare Trax CD and heard the alternate take of I Saw Her Standing There or even far crazier, that of Can’t Buy Me Love in a higher key and with (unfitting)background vocals. Talk about exciting!
    Okay, so we can’t get enough of these alternates and working versions…but my question is, why?? The guys that made this music have been quoted as asking, why on earth would anyone be interested in these rough versions. To them, such outtakes are scraping the bottom of the barrel. To us they’re the selling point of a given box set.
  2. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic

    Britain, Europe
    For me, it's for the insight into how the track came into being - the decisions that were made, the things that were added, the things that were removed. This may not make outtakes of abiding interest but it does make them worth hearing at least once.
  3. ky658

    ky658 Senior Member

    Ft Myers, Florida
    I think it has something to do with hearing an alternative version of something that was very popular or something that was omitted and the reasons behind that decision.
  4. srsch

    srsch Senior Member

    NJ USA
    Great question and thread subject. I felt the same way upon hearing those illegal Beatles outtakes at the time. It was such forbidden fruit back then which added to the excitement. My simple guess is that many here just enjoy listening to how a song got to where it finally ended up.
  5. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Levittown. NY
    But this leaves me asking, how can the actual creators of these great records not understand that?
  6. Tails

    Tails Forum Resident

    Queens, New York
    It’s hearing the music naked, or being able to hear different parts of the music that may have been buried in the official mix; or hearing interesting parts that didn’t ultimately make the cut.
  7. Various reasons — not always the same either.

    In the case of music that is deeply beloved by hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom have heard the ‘standard’ versions of the material perhaps hundreds of times over one or two decades even — it can be a thrill to hear something so familiar, and yet slightly different. Not necessarily ‘better’ — but it’s both deeply familiar and strangely unfamiliar, all at the same time!!

    And in other cases, sometimes the alternates — particularly if they’re closer to demos, or quite early alternates — the differences can be a lot more striking.

    I’m reminded of the completely alternate album(!!) of Miles Davis’ Miles Ahead, that was assembled from dozens of partial takes, painstakingly edited so all the partial takes flowed together just about as seamlessly as the way the actual album was assembled (out of many, many partial takes). This full-length alternate version of Miles Ahead can only be found (in full) on the Complete Miles & Gil Evans 6cd box, immediately following the main (original) album, on the very same CD. And it’s quite glorious to hear — not just an alternate take of one tune — but the entire album presented in QUITE different (sometimes radically different!) takes, solo after solo after solo. Mind blowing, in fact.
  8. Tristero

    Tristero Touching from a distance

    It depends a lot on the band, I think. In the case of The Beatles, an outtake might give you a fresh angle of approach to a well-worn classic, but George Martin and the band did such a good job of editing their albums, these outtakes rarely, if ever, surpass the released versions we know. It's interesting to hear these little variations, but the novelty wears off after a while. It's a whole different story with a band like The Beach Boys where the outtakes often surpass some of the stuff that made in on to the official albums, so their archival releases are a lot more interesting to me.
  9. Sgt. Abbey Road

    Sgt. Abbey Road Forum Resident

    Graz, Austria
    I love outtakes because it’s interesting to hear the development from an unfinished idea to a million seller:agree:
  10. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Levittown. NY
    There’s one other thing these initial
    Outtake boots did for me…and that was to put me in the studio “alongside” the band. Great as the outtakes themselves were, the idea that I was now, in a strange way kind of “there” as they were working the songs out was in its way just as magical. No doubt a precursor to what we were given in highly expanded form in Jackson’s Get Back.
    Cledwyn, mattright, pscreed and 3 others like this.
  11. sonofjim

    sonofjim Forum Resident

    I think they can be more enjoyable than the finished product many times. Rough around the edges and often blemished. It’s a look at a band coming up with what may have ended up being iconic. It all just feels more organic and human. In their place, I really like outtakes.
  12. Rockerbox

    Rockerbox Forum Resident

    London, Kentucky
    I think it's largely due to romanticism of something being 'unearthed'......especially if it involves something to do with a recently discovered 'thought lost' master tape.
    jeffd7030, srsch and DK Pete like this.
  13. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic

    Britain, Europe

    They're creators, not fans. They might prefer us to believe the finished take arrived fully-formed and perfect. Outtaks reveal their feet of clay, the messy route they took to get to the place that mattered. :)
    The macerator, JosepZ and DK Pete like this.
  14. Sgt. Abbey Road

    Sgt. Abbey Road Forum Resident

    Graz, Austria
    That’s a prime example of an incredible outtake in my opinion!
  15. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan on Sabbatical

    Central PA
    The lure of the outtake is to hear another interpretation of something you already know by heart...only it's not by some other artist who is re-interpreting somebody's work, it's the artist himself. Like an extended fade, or a remix. "More song" that you love.
    Cledwyn, kevywevy, Cachiva and 11 others like this.
  16. wellhamsrus

    wellhamsrus Surrender to the sound

    I have very little interest in outtakes. Life is too short to listen to half-baked noodling.
  17. Vinyl Socks

    Vinyl Socks The Buzz Driver

    DuBois, PA
    Some outtakes far outshine the released versions.
    Fullbug, supermd, No Bull and 6 others like this.
  18. Onkster515

    Onkster515 Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA
    Yeah, The Beach Boys. How could they let so much great stuff go unreleased? And then put out so much questionable stuff? The mind boggles!
    Lewisboogie, Fullbug, lord K and 4 others like this.
  19. edenofflowers

    edenofflowers A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular!

    It's the moment when you first hear an out-take that you love as much as the released material. From then on you're always searching for that high. Unfortunately most out-takes are out-takes for a reason but you know for every 10 duds there might be a nugget of gold so you keep hunting. It's a fun, and sometimes exciting, pursuit for completists.
    crlong, MikeManaic61, ashiya and 5 others like this.
  20. Evethingandnothing

    Evethingandnothing Forum Resident

    I'm with the musicians on this. I generally don't wanna hear 'em. There may be a few exceptions though. However, I tend to think of outtakes as unreleased tracks rather than different takes or versions of a released track. I'm happy to hear previously unreleased tracks, if they are any good.
    HotblackDesiato likes this.
  21. Noise Annoys

    Noise Annoys Forum Resident

    I don't care so much for out-takes. There's generally a good reason why they are not on the album. Listen once, file away.
  22. shaboo

    shaboo Forum Resident

    Bonn, Germany
    Outtakes appeal to collectors. But then, what does not appeal to collectors? Not much of a mystery here.
  23. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Levittown. NY
    Bad outtakes.
    ARK, dee and edenofflowers like this.
  24. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader

    ontario canada
    This is true of The Beatles. Dylan on the other hand...
  25. JosepZ

    JosepZ Digital knight of the analog masters

    Barcelona, Spain
    Maybe they do actually understand, but feel uncomfortable about it. It implies showing us a part of their private lives in the form of an unfinished and substandard (for them) work. Those outtakes were recorded onto tape, but not intended for a release once the actual art work, the finished songs and albums, were out. Those are their statement to the world. The rest is not music, but their own lives and all other aspects of fame that go beyond the music.
    We should be happy we are getting all this material. And they are surely happy to get extra money for it. I just don't expect them to value this stuff like we fans do.
    Cledwyn, TheAbsentMind and DK Pete like this.

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