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We're all familiar with the DVD 'gag reel', where we get to see film actors fluffing their lines in an amusing way.

Has any musical artist been brave enough to issue their musical gag reel? We're so used to perfect production, it would be really refreshing to hear our favourite performers making mistakes.

This is in no way intended to mock those artists - it's to try and humanize them - we hear a mistake and think "they make mistakes too, just like the rest of us".

  • Syd did not release them, but check out Syd Barrett outtakes. They are actually pretty good and makes you like Syd--a troubled genius--even more. – Yorik Sep 21 '17 at 19:11
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Ian Gillan included a second album with the early releases of 'Glory Road' which contained what could be considered a 'gag reel' or 'outtakes'

Glory Road came as a limited edition double LP, and contained the free LP For Gillan Fans Only. When Glory Road was eventually released on CD, most of the For Gillan Fans Only material was included as bonus tracks. However, "Higher and Higher", "Egg Timer" (a spoof of Samson's "Vice Versa" from the Head On album) and "Harry Lime Theme" failed to make it to CD until the 2CD 2007 Edsel remaster, which contains both the album and the whole of 'For Gillan Fans Only'. This latter release also has retrospective comments by Ian Gillan and the original artwork, plus pictures of various single picture-sleeves..

Link to IMDB article

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Nirvana released theirs - Live on MTV Unplugged, Man Who Sold the World... complete with awful bum note in the solo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fregObNcHC8

Unless it was live & recorded for posterity, it's gone forever.
Mistakes aren't 'funny' they're just mistakes.

  • I had to downvote just because I'm not convinced that the dissonance in the solo can actually be called a mistake --unintentional perhaps, but not out of line with their general aesthetic. – Chris Sunami Sep 18 '17 at 14:12
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    @ChrisSunami - as the rest of it is note for note [give or take, except they couldn't manage the half-bar sections], & that bum note has hurt from the first to the last day I heard it, I'm gonna stick with my theory ;) I do like their version - heck I can even listen to Lulu's version at a push - but I have a sneaky feeling had it been done these days, Melodyne would have erased that moment forever ;) – Tetsujin Sep 18 '17 at 17:24
  • Maybe you're right, but I kind of like this version. Plus, so much of the core of the Nirvana sound was about rejecting the overly polished, shiny perfect pop sound of the immediately preceding era. If would be different if --say --Roxette hit a dissonance on a live solo. – Chris Sunami Sep 18 '17 at 18:58
  • ... no-one would ever hear it ;-) – Tetsujin Sep 18 '17 at 19:02
  • OK, don't laugh, but I didn't realize this was originally a Bowie song (when I first read your comment, my first thought was "why on earth would Lulu cover Nirvana?"). Given that there IS a canonical version by another artist that they're recreating, I can give some more weight to your argument. Unfortunately it's too late for me to undo my downvote, but consider it spiritually rescinded :) – Chris Sunami Sep 18 '17 at 19:02
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The closest you are going to get is gongshow and cheese playlists. Dr. Demento's radio show has been partly this (and otherwise more delightful radio show that plays straight up comedy.) The Gong Show on TV has historically played this sort of material.

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The Beatles included bits of studio chatter and noodling around as interstitial material, or even as sound effects within songs on albums such as Let it Be and Abbey Road. Since then, many other artists have done the same. For example, Ben Folds does a few bars of an alternate rendition of his and Nick Hornby's song "Belinda" as a hidden track on the Lonely Avenue album.

Other artists, such as Andy Partridge and Grace Jones, have released their rough demo versions of songs, mistakes and all. The Bang Masters album was basically unreleased material from an an early recording session that was released (against Van Morrison's wishes) by the producer to capitalize on Morrison's later success --the majority of it is not release-ready and includes mistakes and alternate versions of material that would be substantially reworked before release (including, an allegedly revealing version of "Madam George"). The Bootleg Series was a similar release of Bob Dylan's material, although sanctioned by the original artist. Lots of Beatles' alternate takes and original demos are also available.

Some hip-hop recordings deliberately leave in spoken instructions to the producer ("turn up my headphones!") as a stylistic element. Conversely, hip-hop producer Wyclef Jean's spoken instructions to the artists are a signature of his productions. This is similar to James Brown, who actually made his instructions to the band part of many of his best known songs, such as "Sex Machine". There are also some well-known songs that include the spoken count-in (the Beatles again, "Taxman"), or even a false start to the song. The released version of the antifolk song "Wee Ma Moo" by Dufus actually includes the artist saying "we forgot to write an ending," as the musicians trail off awkwardly. Janet Jackson's hit "Runaway" includes the artist light-heartedly chastising herself for an off note near the end ("didn't quite hit that note"). Back to the Beatles one more time: Ringo Starr's imperfect vocals are famously immortalized in the opening lyrics of "With a Little Help From My Friends."

  • A propos the Beatles, the new edition of Sgt Pepper's (produced by Giles Martin) does include a number of takes to the final chord of A Day in the Life. – José David Sep 17 '17 at 21:06

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