Here's a list, in roughly chronological order, of 30 of the most interesting tracks covered in the  book The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film, selected with an eye to representing all eras of the group, and also all of the kinds of recordings (studio outtakes, rehearsals, BBC sessions, home tapes, concerts, demos) documented in the volume:

1. Love of the Loved: From their January 1, 1962 audition for Decca Records. Paul takes lead vocals on a Lennon-McCartney song that the Beatles never released, though it was covered by their friend Cilla Black on her debut single in 1963.

2. I Saw Her Standing There: From a private rehearsal in the Cavern Club in Liverpool, late 1962. Paul and John still aren't certain of all the words, and John's playing harmonica, an idea that was dropped from the final arrangement.

3. Beautiful Dreamer: From BBC session, January 22, 1963. Paul takes lead vocals on this heavily rocked-up reinvention of the Stephen Foster standard, one of five covers the Beatles did on the BBC that have still not been officially released in any form by the group.

4. Bad to Me: Demo acetate from mid-1963. Drum-less demo of a Lennon-McCartney song the Beatles never released, though it was covered for a hit single by their friend Billy J. Kramer.

5. Roll Over Beethoven: From BBC session, June 24, 1963. A much hotter version than the one chosen for official release on Live at the BBC, with a guitar solo twice as long as the one on the Beatles' studio recording of the song, and bass that's better recorded than it often was on their official EMI tracks. An illustration of how even songs the Beatles did numerous times live on the BBC and in concert could vary in different performances.

6. Lucille: From BBC session, September 3, 1963. A different version of this Little Richard classic than the one chosen for Live at the BBC, with a better, tremolo-laden George Harrison guitar solo.

7. Sure to Fall (In Love With You): From BBC session, March 31, 1964. Another take superior to the one chosen for Live at the BBC, this arrangement of a Carl Perkins song unexpectedly goes into double-time for the bridge, unlike the one available on official release.

8. If I Fell: A John Lennon composing tape from early 1964, with only his voice and acoustic guitar. He's singing the song too high for his range, but puts in a wavering vocal line very close to the one linking some of the verses of "Imagine" seven years later.

9. A Hard Day's Night: Take 4 from their April 16, 1964 EMI session, introduced by an oceanic crash of a reverbed guitar chord, and with some of the most abominable George Harrison guitar soloing ever caught on tape.

10. I'm Happy Just to Dance with You: From BBC session, July 17, 1964. The only non-EMI version of this song to have circulated, with a most amusing lyric slip-up where George sings  "if somebody tries to take your place, let's pretend we just can't see his face."

11. If I Fell: Live at Convention Hall, Philadelphia, September 2, 1964. A good example both of how the Beatles had trouble hearing themselves on stage at the height of Beatlemania, and how they didn't get ruffled by it, having fun with their goofs and making the energy work for rather than against them.

12. What You're Doing: Take 11, September 30, 1964. Considerably different from the official version, with noticeably more electric 12-string guitar and a jump to a higher key for the instrumental break.

13. I'm a Loser: From BBC session, May 26, 1965. Their final BBC session, with John twisting a key lyric into "beneath this wig, I am wearing a tie."

14. That Means a Lot: Take 24 and "test" take, March 30, 1965. Entirely different from the take chosen for Anthology 2 of this Help! outtake, with a much faster pop-rock arrangement, comically breaking down as the Beatles give up on trying to get a releasable version.

15. Norwegian Wood: Take 2, October 21, 1965. Different than the alternate take chosen for Anthology 2; much closer to the final version, but still with a far heavier waltzing beat and different sitar licks.

16. We Can Work It Out: Paul McCartney composing tape, just his voice and acoustic guitar, from circa fall 1965, unfortunately cutting off after 45 seconds.

17. She Said, She Said: John Lennon composing tape, early 1966, just his voice and acoustic guitar. Different lyrics at this point, including "I said, who put all that crap in your head...and you're making me feel like my trousers are torn!"

18. Long Tall Sally: The very last song the Beatles played at their final official concert, Candlestick Park, San Francisco, August 29, 1966. Unfortunately it cuts off after less than a minute as the cassette being used by Beatles publicist Tony Barrow to record the show as a private souvenir for Paul McCartney ran out.

19. Strawberry Fields Forever: One of several acoustic-guitar-and-voice home demo versions John did of this classic in fall 1966, before entering the studio to record it with the Beatles.

20. Flying: An alternate mix of this Magical Mystery Tour instrumental, from September 8, 1967, that not only has high-pitched slide whistles not heard on the official release, but glides into an entirely different cabaret-ish Dixieland jazz ending.

21. Back in the U.S.S.R.: From the demos recorded shortly before The White Album at George's house, late May 1968. Like all of those tracks, this has a much more informal, acoustic feel than the studio version, with some small differences in the lyrics.

22. I'm Just a Child of Nature: From the demos recorded shortly before The White Album at George's house, late May 1968. The Beatles never released a version of this song, though John reworked the lyrics and used it as the basis for "Jealous Guy" on his 1971 Imagine album.

23. Revolution: From the demos recorded shortly before The White Album at George's house, late May 1968. This has a much more acoustic, happier singalong feel than either of the studio versions the Beatles recorded of this song.

24. I'm So Tired: From the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, January 3, 1969. Recorded after the official White Album version, this features Paul as the lead singer instead of John.

25. Get Back: From the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, January 10, 1969. One of several early versions that features John as the lead singer instead of Paul.

26. Besame Mucho: From the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, January 29, 1969. The Beatles clowning around on a song that they'd played at both their Decca and EMI auditions in 1962, with exaggerated Ricky Ricardo-like lead vocals from Paul.

27. Let It Be: From the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, January 26, 1969. An alternate version with a more pronounced gospel-like organ than the famous hit single, included on the first acetate of Get Back mixes, which in turn formed the basis of the first widely bootlegged Beatles album in late 1969.

28. Something: Take 37, July 11, 1969. No violins on this version, which has a strange ominous two-and-a-half-minute instrumental coda—described in the book as "the soundtrack for [the Beatles'] slow, inevitable march to their own funeral"—that got lopped off the Abbey Road arrangement.

29. Oh Yoko: Recorded in John and Yoko's hotel room between May 26 and June 2, 1969, during their Bed-In for Peace in Montreal. John's on lead vocal, Yoko on background harmonies, and there's no instrumentation but acoustic guitar on this early, spirited version of one of the highlights of Lennon's 1971 Imagine album.

30. Nowhere to Go: From George Harrison's demos for All Things Must Pass, circa late May 1970. George accompanies himself with nothing but his own voice and electric guitar on this melancholy song, never released on an official album in any form.

contents copyright Richie Unterberger , 2000-2010
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