In the latest special issue of NME, we explore 501 lost songs that everyone should hear. Pick up a copy of the magazine for the full list, and listen to a selection of the tunes in this Spotify playlist. But if you’d like a preview, take a glance through this gallery for a few choice tracks.
Arctic Monkeys – ‘Curtains Close’
Arctic Monkeys – ‘Curtains Close’: This rollicker was from the band’s ‘Beneath The Boadrwalk’ demos, the bootleg collection that first got the music world frothing about the band. Never officially released, this would have fitted snugly on their debut.
Credit: Dean Chalkley
Radiohead – ‘Nobody Does It Better’
Radiohead – ‘Nobody Does It Better’: While much has been made of ‘Lotus Flower”s swooning intent, sweeping romanticism is even more evident in this cover of Carly Simon’s theme song to The Spy Who Loved Me. In some parallel world Radiohead is the perfect music for a first date.
Morrissey – ‘Let Me Kiss You’ (Nancy Sinatra)
Morrissey – ‘Let Me Kiss You’ (Nancy Sinatra): Moz reprises his role as an ethereal, choirboy-like backing vocalist around the two-minute mark, just before guitarist Alain Whyte turns in the most Johnny Marr-esque jangle of his career.
Credit: Ellis Parrinder/NME
The Libertines – ‘Smashing’
The Libertines – ‘Smashing’: This is perhaps the greatest unreleased song of Pete and Carl’s. This version dates from the period they were demoing ‘Up The Bracket’ at Nomis Studios for Rough Trade. This Beatles-eque ballad is the definitive version.
Credit: Roger Sargent/NME
The Vaccines – ‘Good Guys Don’t Wear White’
The Vaccines – ‘Good Guys Don’t Wear White’: Justin Young may be no Ian MacKaye, but this cover sounds together, tauter and more nuanced than anything else in their arsenal. Listen to the Spotify playlist.
Credit: Tom Martin/NME
The White Stripes – ‘Candy Cane Children’
The White Stripes – ‘Candy Cane Children’: AKA the best Christmas single ever, Jack sings about how Christmas day merely means “three hundred and sixty four tears, girl.” Happy holidays! Listen to the Spotify playlist.
Credit: Andy Willsher/NME
Tangerine Dream – ‘Birth Of Liquid Plejades’
Tangerine Dream – ‘Birth Of Liquid Plejades’: A churning mood piece that stretches to nearly 20 minutes, this track opened the band’s third album ‘Seit’ with no discernable rhythm or melodies. Moving through a discordantly droning cello quartet to stately organ, and finally into a swirling synth section, this is uncompromosing and essential.
Lou Bond – ‘To The Establishment’
Lou Bond – ‘To The Establishment’: The 11-minute song is a genuine epic, complete with strings from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and later sampled by OutKast, Mary J Blige and The Prodigy. Listen to the Spotify playlist.
Suzi Quatro – ’48 Crash’
Suzi Quatro – ’48 Crash’: “’48 Crash’ is so so great,” says Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie. “All of Primal Scream, we love [Gary] Glitter we love [Marc] Bolan, we love [Roxy] Music – and we love Suzi Quatro. What The Beatles were for people in the ’60s is what glam rock was for us. Basically, we love glam.”
Ultravox!, ‘Young Savage’
Ultravox!, ‘Young Savage’: This is the song which invited the most gobbing – ironic, given it was a critique of the kids in the punk scene. Listen to the Spotify playlist.
Neil Young – ‘Crime In The City (Sixty To Zero Part 1)’
Neil Young – ‘Crime In The City (Sixty To Zero Part 1)’: There’s a version of this on the 1989 album ‘Freedom’, but if you can track it doen, the full live version is the one you’re after. The arrangement, which was played live with The Bluenotes only a handful of times, nearly doubles the length of this brilliant song and gives it space to grow into something else entirely.