Not every song an artist writes sees the light of day, not officially at any rate. For one reason or another, a host of tunes by very talented individuals either don't make it onto albums or remain stubbornly available only in live formats while fans clamor for a studio track.
Today we celebrate the best that we know about, with hopes of nudging those artists into maybe making their place on this list a lie.
10. Richard O'Brien, "Moon Drenched Shores of Transylvania"
Fox wanted Richard O'Brien to write a musical follow-up to The Rocky Horror Picture Show very, very badly. The result was Revenge of the Old Queen, which you've never heard of because they never made it. It survives only in scripts available online, and this amazing demo track that the team at Rocky Radio managed to snag to play once (hence the call sign in the middle). It's almost certainly O'Brien himself singing it, and damn if it isn't catchy as all getout.
9. Taylor Swift, "I'd Lie"
I haven't been able to find any solid information why this tune, obviously recorded around the time of Swift's first album, has never been released. It's a phenomenal tune about unrequited love that's ruined only slightly by the fact it is probably about a freakin' Jonas brother. That's why I like this video tribute to the Doctor and Martha using it to balance that fact out.
8. Dead Man's Bones, "Never Grow Old"
Movie-star bands are very hit or miss, but Ryan Gosling's act is extremely clever. They've only released one album, 2009's self-titled LP, and it didn't have this clever little dark ditty featuring a children's chorus on it. It's only been seen live. Here's hoping we'll get another album featuring it in the future.
7. Blood Dolls Original Soundtrack, "Pain"
If you haven't seen Charles Band's film Blood Dolls, you are missing out. It's one of the most messed-up horror films by one of the most messed-up horror directors ever. The movie features a psychotic business man who keeps a girl band in a cage in his bedroom, using them as a jukebox whenever he shocks them. Despite their music being a big part of the movie, a soundtrack was never officially released.
6. The Cure, "All I Want to Do Is Kill Her"
Otherwise known as "All Mine," this song comes from the Pornography era but a studio version has never been released. When a remastered version of Pornography was released in 2005, a live version of "All Mine" was included. However, the best version of the song is the one known as "All I Want to Do is Kill Her," with different (and much better) lyrics. A Russian bootleg of live recordings in the early '80s is what we have to thank for getting to hear this beautiful, rare gem.
5. Sisters of Mercy, "We Are the Same, Susanne"
What list of unreleased music would be complete without Andrew Eldritch, whose catalog of live-only songs has its own entry on Wikipedia? Eldritch is famous for refusing to record another studio album, but regularly plays new material live. Of all the ones I've heard, "Susanne" is my favorite because it sounds like a lost ballad from Floodlands. Only one artist can top Eldritch in unreleased material territory.
4. Prince, "Others Here With Us"
Sorry, but there is no way for us to make it so you can hear this song without us getting a letter from The Lawyers Formerly Known as Prince's. Recorded around the time of Parade, "Others Here With Us" is a really, really creepy track of ambient-synth screams while Prince sings about ghosts. It sounds like his Royal Badness is guest-spotting on a Creatures track, and is proof positive that the reportedly very deep well of unreleased Prince material is full of treasures. If you can't manage to track down an MP3 of "Others here With Us" then look for "Witness 4 the Prosecution" or "Dance With the Devil," a track cut from Batman for being too creepy.
3. Peter Murphy & Trent Reznor, "Dead Souls"
The album every goth wants is for Reznor and Murphy to sit down in the studio and hammer out some original tunes together. The two of them have been jamming together a lot over the last several years, and even sat down to record some covers of their own songs for a radio session in 2006. As you can hear, they work like a perfect machine, but so far the only thing we have from this fruitful union of gothic heavyweights is YouTube videos of the 2006 session.
2. Radiohead, "True Love Waits"
Thom Yorke has been playing this song at concerts for more than fifteen years. It is one of their most requested live performance pieces, and yet, only this solo acoustic live version has ever been put out on CD. C'mon guys, it's time that we finally got a studio version.
1. Queen, "We Will Rock You (Maida Vale Studio Version)"
Queen's best-known tune has two versions; well, two-and-a-half. The first is the radio version you've all heard. The second is the fast version that they would use to open their shows in the late '70s and early '80s. Between those two versions is one grand superversion from an Italian bootleg that combines the studio recordings of both on either side of readings from Siddhartha. It originated from a BBC Radio documentary.