Def Leppard - “See the Lights” (First Strike, 1979)
An “album” of demos from back when Def Leppard was a bonafide NWOBHM band. The “album” was later unofficially released without the band’s consent. “See the Lights” is not the best song on the collection—that designation would have to go to “Wasted” or “Sorrow Is a Woman,” both of which were released on On Through the Night—but it’s not bad, either.
Black Sabbath - “Never Say Die” (Symptom of the Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970-1978, 2002)
Ozzy had already quit and rejoined Sabbath by the time Never Say Die was recorded, and he pulls no punches when expressing his dissatisfaction with Sabbath at that point in his career, calling it “the worst piece of work that I’ve ever had anything to do with. I’m ashamed of that album. I think it’s disgusting.” With the exception of the cheesy ending, “Never Say Die” is a great, fun tune—should any Sabbath song be “fun”?!—although it sounds like it would fit better on Blizzard of Ozz.
Smashing Pumpkins - “Today” ("Unplugged" 100% Pure Acoustic Performances, 1993)
I never really cared much for the original, so a bootleg recording of an acoustic rendition of it is probably not going to rate very high for me. The performance is uninspiring and limp, with no musical embellishments until the very end when Iha adds an arpeggiated section, and Corgan struggles to hit some of the higher notes as he whines his way throughout the song. Sounds like they don’t even like it very much.
Galactic Cowboys - "Through" (At the End of the Day, 1998)
I thought you were in love, what a fool’s mistake
I don’t care about love now
And unfortunately Galactic Cowboys’ career was almost through at this point as well. ATEOTD is one of my favorite GC albums, containing the excellent “The Machine Fish Suite,” but I’m ashamed to admit I usually skip this one. Not that there’s anything much wrong with it. I just don’t usually turn to Galactic Cowboys when I want to hear a ballad.
Rush - "Cinderella Man" (Different Stages, 1998)
Not sure why, but this version always sounds really sloppy to me, and Geddy seems to really be straining to hit some of the notes. Odd for a band that is usually so tight.