Take Two: Ten Perfectly Imperfect Musical Outtakes

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Recording an album can be a tedious process, and musicians in the studio are well accustomed to hearing "take two” from a producer. But sometimes, when the tapes are left rolling, they pick up a little something extra from within the studio—a sneeze here, a bit of conversation there. Whether it’s the authenticity of the recording, the secret peek it offers into the artist’s process, or sheer amusement, the imperfections caught on tape during recording sessions are often what makes a song so great—and sometimes these bloopers are compelling enough to make it onto the actual album, not just a B-side or outtakes reel. Here are 10 of the best errors that made it to the final cut:

1. Bob Dylan, "Bob Dylan's 115th Dream," Bringing It All Back Home
The band forgets to come in, leaving Dylan’s familiar whine to stand alone before he erupts into giggles at the end of the first line. But it is producer Tom Wilson’s eerie, maniacal laugh, caught somewhere between a banshee and a Teddy Ruxpin, that makes this worth hearing. Dylan liked it so much, he kept it on the final cut of the album

2. Eminem, “Cleanin’ Out My Closet,” The Eminem Show

The intro to this 2002 hit wouldn’t be the same without Eminem announcing, “Where’s my snare? I have no snare in my headphones,” before launching into the first verse.

3. Bright Eyes, “False Advertising,” Lifted or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Midway through the song, Conor Oberst sums up the spirit of outtakes when he sings, “Now all that anyone’s listening for are the mistakes.” The music immediately stops, a voice yells “I’m sorry!” Oberst replies, “No, it’s ok, it’s ok,” and the drums pick up again. The lyrics all point to a premeditated error, but an untrained ear might take this as an honest gaffe.

4. Joe Purdy, “Can’t Get It Right Today,” You Can Tell Georgia

The band lets us in on a quick planning session where they discuss the song’s structure before they actually start playing, giving the track name an ironic twist.

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