So the Disney+ release of the movie of the stage hit Hamilton on July 3 sent you spiraling down the rabbit hole of Hamilfandom. By now you’ve picked your most resonant songs and picked apart your favorite rhymes. But there’s one last obsession where you’re still throwing away your shot: All those Hamilton songs Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote that never made it into the Broadway version.
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This is no easy task, as Miranda is prolific as hell. There are nearly 20 deleted Hamilton tunes and demos scattered across the internet. Some were on the Hamilton Mixtape, an album of tunes related to the show; others were recorded by early attendees to the off-Broadway production. And just when you think you’ve caught ’em all, Miranda keeps putting more on SoundCloud. The latest dropped at the beginning of the pandemic in the U.S., in March 2020.
Until now, finding them and figuring out where they fit in the show was a Sherlock Holmes-level detective job. Most are in the second act, where Miranda messed with the timeline between versions, which doesn’t help. One YouTube video claiming to be a definitive collection in order is incomplete, and even the cut-song obsessives on Reddit haven’t catalogued them all.
What we Hamilfans really need is a definitive list of deleted tracks, and when we need to stop the soundtrack album to hear them in context. So that’s what follows — along with a quick review of each tune, because as any fan of deleted scenes and songs knows, often the cut is for the best. Some of these songs are for completists only.
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Case in point: Our first former track. To start: Cue up the soundtrack album and listen from “Alexander Hamilton” all the way through “A Winter’s Ball.” (Or if you really want to get in the weeds, stop in the middle of “My Shot” and add this Hercules Mulligan rap). Then, only if you must, you can bring in the first demo Miranda made for Eliza’s meeting with Hamilton:
1. This One’s Mine
Yeah, it’s not the choice I would have gone with. Luckily, Miranda’s wife told him it wasn’t as great a love song as he thought, and in a fit of pique he went back to his room to write the insta-classic “Helpless.”
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Go back to the soundtrack and listen from “Helpless” through “Wait For It.” Pause to collect your head after it’s blown away by Leslie Odom Jr.’s delivery, then switch to another Miranda demo that adds some detail to the desperation of America’s revolutionary army in its lean years.
2. Valley Forge
As you’ll notice, “Valley Forge” contains verses that were reused for the next song on the soundtrack, “Stay Alive.” So you can either pick up from the start of that song, or pick up at the line “raise a glass” one minute in. Either way, listen through “Meet Me Inside,” where Washington sends Hamilton home.
3. Mulligan’s Goodbye
On his way out the door, Hamilton meets Hercules Mulligan, who is (apparently!) quitting the army to go back to his tailor’s apprenticeship. His cover story: He’s broke, and the army is broken. Mulligan’s return to New York was later dropped into “Stay Alive” instead.
Pick up with “That Would Be Enough.” Pause before “Nonstop” if you care for the clunky first draft, which focuses a lot more on Aaron Burr than the final product. Proceed to Act 2 as normal with “What’d I Miss,” then wait for this:
4. No John Trumbull
Delivered by Aaron Burr in the off-Broadway version, this version for the Mixtape was a cover by the Roots. The original was most notable for its ominous backing track (later reused in “The Reynolds Pamphlet”). It’s a simple little rap telling us that the real Founding Fathers were nothing like the passive, benign versions we see in John Trumbull paintings from the Revolutionary era.
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Pick up the story with “Cabinet Battle #1” and “Take a Break.” Pause if you wish to listen to the slightly altered off-Broadway version of “Say No To This,” which wears inspiration on its sleeve by stealing the opening lines from LL Cool J’s “I Need Love.” Continue with “The Room Where It Happens,” and then we arrive at a nice meaty block of deleted goodness.
5. Schuyler Defeated (original)
Here is the strongest candidate so far for a song that should have made it to the final edit. The “Schuyler Defeated” we know is over in the blink of an eye: Eliza, Philip, and then Alexander are blindsided by the news that Aaron Burr has defeated Eliza’s dad in a Senate election. In the original, they find out that Burr is running for the seat, which makes them look distinctly less clueless about politics.
And that’s just the beginning. Burr gets to test his “talk less, smile more” slogan with the public for the first time. Hamilton tracks him down and gets furious with him, which seems more in keeping with his character. Eliza and Philip follow and intercede, and in a super-awkward moment discover that Burr’s wife Theodosia is sick. This is, of course, foreshadowing for another deleted moment.
6. Let it Go
No, it’s not the Frozen version. In this neat little Off-Broadway follow-up to “Schuyler Defeated,” Eliza and president Washington both attempt to get Hamilton to calm the hell down and pick his battles. Which was in fact the historical Hamilton’s response to Burr running for Senate. There was just too much else going on in the wider war between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans.
Case in point: “Cabinet Battle #2,” which is where you should pick up the soundtrack. Then pause again for more deleted political warfare:
7. Cabinet Battle #3
Miranda was eager to get a clearer example of Hamilton’s opposition to slavery into the show. That’s why he labored for years over a third Cabinet rap battle between Jefferson and Hamilton, this time over how to treat Benjamin Franklin’s anti-slavery petition of 1789. This time, Jefferson wins.
The timeline gets pretty fuzzy here, since the ending suggests Hamilton and Jefferson both have the goods on each others’ sex scandals. But Hamilton won’t discover that Jefferson knows about Maria Reynolds until “We Know,” which comes after Washington’s retirement — and yet Washington’s still the president here. Plot confusion was one reason why Miranda had to kill his darling here before the show even hit previews.
Pick up the soundtrack with “Washington on Your Side,” then pause again for a plot-packed alternative to Washington’s retirement.
8. One Last Ride
In the “One Last Time” we know and love, Hamilton and Washington chill out with a drink and craft the outgoing president’s farewell address. But the original was distinctly more action-packed. Here, Washington and Hamilton do what they did in real life: Suit up and beat down the Whiskey Rebellion.
This absolutely real incident, where a tax collector was shot in the liquor-producing backwoods of Pennsylvania, was foreshadowed by Jefferson back in “Cabinet Battle #1”: “Imagine what gon’ happen when you try to tax our whiskey.” It’s one of the most bizarre incidents of Hamilton’s life, where he acted like the Secretary of War despite being the Secretary of the Treasury.
This version may not have the poignancy of “One Last Time,” but it does come with a priceless comedy moment: Miranda as Hamilton screaming “pay your fucking taxes!”
9. The Adams Administration (full version)
In the Hamilton we know, our protagonist merely yells at the new president to “sit down, John” — a deep cut for anyone who knows the musical 1776. Of course, Miranda had prepared a full dis song for John Adams, slamming him for spending so much time back home in Massachusetts with his wife Abigail rather than the brand new swamp-infested capital of Washington, D.C.
Above, Miranda and the original cast perform the deleted rap live on stage early in the Broadway run. Alas, the video misses the first line, but it simply starts with “an open letter to President John Adams,” as you can see in the lyric video version.
Pick up the soundtrack with “We Know,” then pause again for the latest addition to the deleted song canon.
10. I Have This Friend
Here’s where the timeline gets really screwy. Miranda says “I Have This Friend” would have replaced “Hurricane” in the show, had it lived long enough to see previews. But it features Hamilton obliquely seeking advice over the Reynolds blackmail situation from Washington, who is supposed to have retired at this point.
So for the purposes of our reconstructed version, let’s assume Hamilton has gone to see the ex-president at Mount Vernon. Then pick up with the “Hurricane” we know — or if you prefer, there’s a workshop version of the song with a key extra line. “The friend who would tell me not to [release the Reynolds pamphlet] is in the ground,” says our hero — a clear reference to John Laurens. It’s historically accurate to say that Hamilton never opened up to anyone the way he opened up to his old war pal and possible lover.
Was Hamilton this aware of his own self-destructive grief? It’s a chilling question to consider.
After picking up with “The Reynolds Pamphlet,” your next question is whether you want to listen to a brief demo of a discarded rap for Jefferson, which came immediately after. Either way, it’s worth pausing for Angelica’s full and furious response to the pamphlet.
Angelica’s song was slashed way down, one verse inserted at the end of “Reynolds Pamphlet,” because audiences were keen to get straight to Eliza’s reaction. It was revived for the Hamilton Mixtape album, where it was performed by indie rapper Dessa. You can listen to original Angelica, Renée Goldsberry, sing the off-Broadway version here.
12. First Burn
As you might guess, this is the somewhat different first draft of Eliza’s searing solo “Burn.” Here it’s performed by five actors who play Eliza in various productions of Hamilton, all of whom knock it out of the park. It will never replace Phillipa Soo’s devastating take from the Broadway show, but “First Burn” is worth it just for the mention of the Hamiltons’ children, plural.
In real life, the couple had seven kids besides Philip. One of whom, Angelica Hamilton, had an even more tragic story. She was 17 when Philip was killed in his duel, and never recovered — spending the rest of her life with a mental illness that Ron Chernow, who wrote the biography on which this show is based, likened to “eternal childhood.” That was the main reason why the Hamiltons moved to the quiet of uptown Harlem.
13. Dear Theodosia (reprise)
The Hamiltons were not the only family struck by grief around this time. Here Burr explains to his daughter that her mother, also named Theodosia, died after a long illness in 1794.
You can choose Leslie Odom Jr.’s off-Broadway version if you wish. But the longer, sadder Hamilton Mixtape version by Sara Bareilles, above, just blows us all away.
14. George Washington’s Death
Just to pile on the grief, Miranda’s original plan was to squeeze an explicit reference to the death of Washington between the death of Theodosia and the death of Philip. (In the final show, Washington simply goes home and isn’t mentioned again until the ghostly ending.) It’s a brief interlude — but in it we hear the first mention of “wailing in the streets,” a line which will appear in the show after Hamilton’s own death.
Watch the animatic version if you prefer, then go back to the soundtrack to be devastated again by “Blow Us All Away,” “It’s Quiet Uptown” and “The Election of 1800.” Then pause again for our final stop on the deleted songs express.
15. Your obedient servant (original)
Hamilton and Burr had a voluminous exchange that led to their duel, and Miranda went to read the original letters as part of his research. So it’s no surprise that he took a while to hone in on the comedic version that ended up in the show.
Here’s his original demo, above, and here’s his off-Broadway take. Both come a little closer to representing the actual letters (the “itemized list of 30 years of disagreements,” a Parks and Rec homage, came later). Hamilton had indeed declared a “despicable opinion” about his arch-nemesis at a political dinner in 1804.
What that opinion was is never made clear in the letters, but some historians (including Chernow) suggest Hamilton aired a rumor that Burr had committed incest by sleeping with his daughter Theodosia. If that is true, it’s no wonder Burr felt he had to duel.
16. Ten Things, One Thing
And so we arrive at the end of Hamilton’s life as Miranda originally envisioned it. “Ten Things, One Thing,” which replaces most of “The World Is Wide Enough,” has one more surprise in store: It gives us way more insight into Hamilton’s thinking during the duel.
As in the final version, Burr gives us his perspective to the tune of “Ten Duel Commandments.” But then we rewind time, “Satisfied”-style, and Hamilton explains his side of the story. Why was he wearing his glasses? Why was he methodically fiddling with the trigger? No spoilers, but “Ten Things, One Thing” explains all.
For the complete experience, pick up “The World Was Wide Enough” with the gunshot at 1:40, then find yourself in floods of tears again with the finale, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.”
Hamilton is a story we’ll never stop telling, it seems — and now, with all these deleted song options, it’s a Choose Your Own Adventure.
Hamilton is now streaming on Disney+.