Recording a song in the studio can take hours of perfecting. It’s not often that an artist can get onstage and capture something more spectacular in a single try. The A.V. Club has compiled a list of 20 live recordings that trump their studio counterparts. Topping the list at #1 is Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” off 1968’s At Folsom Prison.
Accompanied by a heap of jailhouse hollering and Cash’s stoic “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” introduction, the live track is pure catharsis. Cash gives the rambling song everything he’s got, an apt tribute to his audience, and the prisoners give that energy right back, having inspired both the track and Cash’s previous jailhouse performances.
Check out the full list at A.V. Club. Here is the live performance, followed by the studio version: