Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bonus tracks or bogus tracks

I used to have a tape and one song was listed as bonus track and another track said bogus track. This was back in the late 80's and I cannot remember who the artist was, but I thought that part was funny at least. Back in the 80's bonus tracks were extra tracks that were on the cassette and/or cd version, but not on the vinyl version. Sometimes the term bonus track was also used to refer to import versions that contained extra tracks that were not on the American pressing of an album. The first album I can think of where I became aware of the existence of a bonus track was the Son of Alerik instrumental on Deep Purple's Perfect Strangers. It was on the cd and tape I believe but not the lp. It was a good instrumental so it was a bonus. Twisted Sister had a bonus track on Come out and play in 1985. The cd and tape had King of the fools and I think it even showed up on the flip side of one of the singles off of that album, but it was not on the lp version. The lucky lp owners got a pop-up Dee Snider instead of the song. I thought it was a decent song, but the pop-up thingy may have actually been cooler. Small time independent metal label New Renaissance stuck bonus tracks on a number of their cassettes back in the mid-1980's. They also put stickers with the bands logos in the albums and cassettes as well on occasion. I recently bought TNT's Knights of the new thunder on cd even though I already have it on lp. I knew that I had seen somewhere before that it was supposed to have a bonus track, but I never looked to see what the bonus track was. As soon as I bought it, I stuck it in my car's player without looking at the cd listing. I was surprised when the bonus track turned out to be in the middle instead of at the end as most bonus tracks seem to be tacked on the end. My version of King Kobra's Thrill of a lifetime was listed as having a bonus track, but it turned out the bonus track was a song by Jon Butcher Axis and not King Kobra. The "logic" of this move was due to the fact the Jon Butcher Axis song was originally on the Iron Eagle soundtrack and so was one of the King Kobra songs so some genius tacked the song on this album. That one certainly goes into the bogus track category.
That's how bonus tracks operated in the 80's, now there are plenty of re-releases and re-issues and sometimes these get bonus or extra tracks as they are sometimes listed. All of WASP's early albums were re-released a few years and they all had bonus tracks. Headless Children had like six or seven bonus tracks so that was a huge bonus. Some bonus tracks are great and then sometimes the bonus tracks are demo tracks or remixes that don't very different from the original version. Ultimately the whole idea of bonus tracks is a marketing technique that focuses on the greed of the consumer because we love to think we are getting something for nothing, don't we? It all boils down to how good the bonus tracks are because no one wants a bogus track.


Blogger David Amulet said...

What got to me was the Motley Crue re-masters, all of which had almost as many bonus tracks as "true" album tracks!

And, to be honest, most of the additional cuts were crap; it's not as if the Crue were such artists in the studio that we really need to see how the proverbial sausage was made ...

-- david

5:07 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Paul Stanley was once asked if there were any unreleased Kiss songs sitting around on a shelf. His answer was something like "No, we used everything we thought was good and we scrapped anything we didn't think was good enough for our albums". I know this is Kiss and their musical integrity has never been of the highest priority, but I still admire the attitude behind the statement.

5:55 PM  

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