Alternative/Live Versions of Songs that are Better than the Originals


Jan 16, 2011
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What are some alternative or live versions of your favorite songs that you feel surpass the studio versions in terms of quality/depth/passion, etc. Here are a few off the top of my head:

Alice in Chains - Over Now (MTV Unplugged). This one is not only about 100 times better than the studio album version, but I would say it ranks up there as the best Unplugged song of all time (with apologies to Nirvana fans). The studio version sounds a tad to ugly with the mix of electric and acoustic guitar, and while ugliness is part of what makes so many AIC songs magical, this is one that truly sounded better when you could hear every pretty note ring out clearly. This song cuts into my soul when I hear it.

Smashing Pumpkins - Ava Adore and Tear (Live). Adore was a bold move on the part of SP; it was certainly a polarizing album and Corgan probably should be commended for taking such a risk. Nevertheless, after I heard the live, hard rock versions of these two songs, the mellow, synth-dominated versions on the album were never quite the same. If you haven't heard these versions, I believe you can still find them over at (for free) along with a ton of other awesome rarities.

Oasis - Live Forever (UnLiamed). Another one of my favorite MTV Unplugged shows, and a controversial one because Noel Gallagher sang all of the songs since Liam (supposedly) had laryngitis. While I usually prefer Liam's vocals to Noel's, this song is a different story.

Tool - Push it (Salival). The original version of this song is great (as almost all Tool songs are) but this slowed down live version just taps into a whole other area. The verses of the song in the original version are barely audible at times and here we get to hear the melody crystal clear... and it's glorious. One of my favorite songs of all time.

How about you?
One of the best guitar rock songs of all time, even better is this live version:

The drumwork and guitar solos (that's right, plural) in this track are sick, sick, sick. Mark Knopfler is god.
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Cool thread.

MJ's live Human Nature in This Is It kills the original recording. As he got older his voice was less polished and in a way much better IMO.

Foster the People's Call It What You Want is much better live because of the break down. Their acoustic version of their song Waste KILLS the original.

Florence + The Machine's You've Got the Love is better live.

Ellie Goulding's version of Rihanna's Only Girl in the World makes the song sound sexy instead of trashy.

Most of fun.'s new songs sound better live than on the album.

Weezer's live version of Pumped Up Kicks is better than the original in some ways.

Quadron's cover of MJ's Baby Be Mine is more real than the original.

Neon Tree's cover of Baby doesn't change the lyrical quality, but does make a much better song with a nice twist.

The rock cover of Katy Perry's ET by Adam Lee (YouTube artist) kicks the butt of the original and takes it to new heights.
Iron Maiden's live version of "The Evil That Men Do" from "A Real Live Dead One" is pretty stellar.

Most Pearl Jam live albums are brilliant.
Butch Walker's Live Versions of Cigarette Lighter Love Song and Best Thing You Never Had are so amazing, way more awesome than the studio versions imo
Nirvana unpluggeds cover of David Bowies "Man who sold the world" and the live acoustic version of Radioheads "Creep" is better than the original even though that seems almost impossible

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