30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Photo: Retna

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

The Smiths – ‘Devil’s Charm’ One of many Smiths bootlegs, but one of the most beloved, it’s cribbed from recordings of shows at Derby Assembly Rooms and London Electric Ballroom in 1983.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

The Velvet Underground – ‘Live At The Gymnasium’ Now revered as one of the great Velvets’ live bootlegs, versions of this only started to be passed between fans 41 years after its 1967 release.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Oasis - ‘250,000 Oasis Fans Can’t Be Wrong’ A bumper compendium of peak-period Oasis taking in their finest hour at Knebworth in 1996 and tracks from a Berkley California show in 1995.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

The White Stripes – ‘Life On The Flipsides’ An essential acquisition for Stripes fans of any level, it comprises both sides of all the early seven inches, all the B-sides from ‘White Blood Cells’, and some very special rarities.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Super Furry Animals – ‘The Man Don’t Give A Fuzz’ The seminal live recording from the Welsh indie heroes’ early ‘Fuzzy Logic Era’ is cribbed from shows in London, Glasgow, and some John Peel Sessions.

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Photo: Andy Willsher/NME

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

The Libertines – ‘Horrorshow In London Town’ This seminal Libs show was recorded at the London Calling festival, which actually takes place in Amsterdam. The volume is made up of demos and rare recordings.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Crystal Castles – ‘Thrash Thrash Thrash’ To be fair, anybody who saw Crystal Castles during their explosive early period would agree that’s the only suitable title for this 2008 collection.

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Photo: Colin Lane/NME

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Ryan Adams – ’48 Hours’ The best of Adams’ treasure trove of lost and abandoned recordings, this was recorded shortly after the ‘Gold’ sessions in Los Angeles with longtime producer Ethan Johns.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

The Rolling Stones – ‘The Brussels Affair’ One of the great mysteries to Rolling Stones fans remains, why was this 1973 show from the ‘Goat’s Head Soup’ era never released officially?

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Photo: Ellis Parrinder/NME

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Spiritualized – ‘Acoustic Mainline’ Punning on the band’s original title of Spiritualized Electric Mainline, this unplugged recording was made at London’s Union Chapel in 2008.

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Photo: PA

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Pink Floyd – ‘Scream Thy Last Scream’ / ‘Vegetable Man’ The A and B sides for what was intended to be the Floyd’s fourth single, following on from ‘Apples And Oranges’. That they have never had an official release is just one mystery of early Floyd.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Nirvana: ‘Outcesticide’ This epic bootleg series spans four volumes across the band’s entire career: ‘In Memory Of Kurt Cobain’, ‘The Needle And The Damage Done’, ‘The Final Solution’, and ‘Rape Of The Vaults’.

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Photo: Dean Chalkley

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Arctic Monkeys – ‘Beneath The Boardwalk’ As Arctic Monkeys seeped toward hugeness in 2003, it was this collection of 17 demos, shared between fans that spread the gospel. The title is a misnomer, coming from the place that first sender received the songs.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Led Zeppelin – ‘When We Were Kings’ The title says it all: Led Zep captured at the peak of their powers at Earls Court in 1975. It culminates with an explosive three-way of ‘Whole Lotta Love’, ‘Black Dog’ and ‘Heartbreaker’.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

The Kinks – ‘The Great Lost Kinks Album’ A controversial 1973 collection of previously-unreleased material released by Reprise Records after the band moved to RCA.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Elvis Presley – ‘Houston 1955’ The King at his rarest, rawest and earliest. This show from March 1955 at the Eagles Hall Theatre captures the lightning in a bottle of a man in the middle of exploding.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Television – ‘Live At The Old Waldorf’ This San Francisco gig was the band’s final US date until their 1992 reunion. The radio broadcast was a popular bootleg for years up until its legal release in 2003.

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Photo: Kevin Westenberg/NME

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Manic Street Preachers – ‘If You Want Blood’ This bootleg volume is a cut’n’shut from two of the Manics’ most explosive early shows; London Astoria in 1993 and Reading Festival in 1994.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Bob Dylan – ‘Genuine Live 66’ This epic 8-disc collection gathers together material from all throughout Dylan’s seminal 1966 world tour – his first since coming out as an electric musician.

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Photo: Danny North/NME

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Blur – ‘Glastonbury 2009’ Anyone who was there will remember this venerable return as one of the most spectacular Glasto sets of all time. The recorded version just about manages to capture the euphoria of being there.

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Photo: Retna

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

The La’s – ‘The Kitchen Session’:As the title suggests, it’s The La’s, in a kitchen. Recorded in Devon in 1989, it captures the classic songs before they were recorded properly or released professionally.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Various – ‘The Dirty Mac Sessions’ One-night-only English supergroup formed of John Lennon, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Mitch Mitchell, put together in 1968 for Stones TV special ‘The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus’.

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Photo: PA

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

The Beach Boys – ‘Smile’ One of the great lost recordings of all time, the intended follow-up ‘Pet Sounds’ never came out but still became a cult favourite. A completed and updated version was finally released in 2004.

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Photo: Retna

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Pixies – ‘The Fallout Shelter’ This 1986 live show for WJUL University Of Lowell Radio contains incendiary versions of fan favourites ‘Caribou’, ‘Nimrod’s Son’ and ‘Down To The Well’.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Jonathan Richman - ‘Live At The Longbranch Saloon’ Although only a bootleg, this extended version of two live albums from the 90s, dating back to shows from the early 70s, is considered the definitive version.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Bruce Springsteen – ‘Winterland Night 1978’ Classic show from the glory days of The Boss at his most butch and heroic, with a setlist containing songs like ‘Badlands’ and ‘Streets Of Fire’.

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Photo: PA

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

David Bowie – ‘Santa Monica 1972’ A seminal show from the Ziggy Stardust tour, this leaked from a radio broadcast, and according to author David Buckley, owning a copy was the test of a proper Bowie fan. All that changed in 1984 when it was released officially.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

The Beatles – ‘The White Sessions’ Out-take collections are usually only the preserve of the superfan. But this is out-takes from ‘The White Album’, making it essential listening for all.

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30 bootleg albums you need to hear

The Clash – ‘Give ‘Em Enough Dope’ Renowned as a king of Clash bootlegs, this collection was variously recorded at Sun Plaza Hall in Tokyo in 1982, then throughout their US tour of 1984. As the title suggests, it took place as excess got the better of them.

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Photo: PA

30 bootleg albums you need to hear

Chuck Berry – BBC Theatre London The rock’n’roll veteran performs at the BBC’s famous radio theatre on Portland Place, Mayfair, in 1972.

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