13 Songs That Were Better As Demo Recordings

Of course The-Dream’s demo is better than Beyoncé’s version. And other blasphemies.

1. The Replacements, “Can’t Hardly Wait (Tim Version)”

Sire Records / Via paulwesterberg.net

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A watered-down, horn-heavy version of this song appears on Pleased to Meet Me, but the demo is THE version. It’s a perfectly messy, essential recording.

(Official version)

2. The-Dream, “1+1”

John Lamparski / WireImage / Getty Images

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Bey’s version is pretty great too, but The-Dream’s original demo is a little less melodramatic. There’s a rough-sounding percussiveness that makes this version hit harder. Oh, and the vocal harmonies on the chorus — so good!

(Official version)

3. The Beatles, “Sexy Sadie (Anthology 3 Version)”

Apple Records / Via taringa.net

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This version is less jaunty than the White Album version and more, well, sexy.

(Official version)

4. Prince, “Manic Monday”

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We’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: This is so, so good.

(Official version)

5. Drake, “Fall for Your Type (Original Version)”

George Pimentel / WireImage / Getty Images

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One-hundred percent less Jamie Foxx Auto-Tune warble.

(Official version)

6. Tom Waits, “There’s Only Alice (Demo)”

Hulton Archive/Stringer / Getty Images

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The official Alice version is nice too, but it’s really refreshing to hear Tom Waits be a little less campy and more unadorned.

(Official version)

7. Kanye West, “Home”

Christopher Polk/Staff / Getty Images

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This turned into Graduation’s “Homecoming.” The demo is more successful at being celebratory without seeming pompous or faux uplifting.

(Official version)

8. Feist, “Mushaboom (Red Demos Version)”

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Recorded on an eight-track in a bedroom, this version is achingly intimate where the studio version is cloyingly cutesy.

(Official version)

9. Fleetwood Mac, “Sara (Cleaning Lady Version)”

Warner Bros. Records / Via fanart.tv

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Charmingly off-the-cuff and breezy. Stevie sounds so wonderfully natural.

(Official version)

10. The Jesus & Mary Chain, “On the Wall (Demo)”

Warner Bros. Records / Via thequietus.com

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Strips away some of the dark nihilism JAMC sometimes indulged in and replaces it with a beautiful, chiming pop song.

(Official version)

11. Ghostface Killah, “Flowers (Original Mix)”

Epic Records / Via upnorthtrips.com

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The original version of Bulletproof Wallets was notoriously ravaged by sampling payment issues. No remake was hit harder than “Flowers” — the final album version feels chintzy and dated in comparison.

(Official version)

12. Neil Young, “Too Far Gone”

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“Too Far Gone” is a gem from Chrome Dreams, an unreleased batch of demos that Young recorded in the ’70s. It didn’t appear again until it was re-recorded — slicker, more canned-sounding — for 1989’s Freedom.

(Official version)

13. Guided by Voices, “Teenage FBI (Demo)”

TVT Records / Via 7digital.com

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The demo version of this song is one of GBV’s best songs — raw, rollicking, impossibly catchy. The Do the Collapse version, produced by Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, is an almost embarrassing wobbly new-wave mess.

(Official version)

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