Here's that aforementioned Nirvana video. Though the footage lacks the original sound, its cutting-edge special effects around the 1:50 mark make up for it. Watch, and you'll understand where I'm coming from:
In 1983, this version of the Beasties Boys (playing some sort of low-grade TV show) were a punk band with an incredibly bored drummer and a skinny, whiny frontman named Ad-Rock singing about his wannabe girlfriend:
Of course Green Day played in a SoCal high school courtyard in 1990, and of course they sounded and acted pretty much exactly as they do 23 years later. There's a particularly on-point smashing of the drum set at the end. Practice makes perfect, I suppose.
Ever wonder what The Strokes would look like in sensibly baggy jeans? Here they are at LES-haunt Arlene's Grocery in 2000:
Perhaps the band "most likely to succeed" based solely on this batch of archives, The Who played a shoddy London hotel bar in 1964. Roger Daltrey wore sunglasses indoors, practicing to become the coolest guy ever, while lots of girls in skirts looked on in approval of the new band they just discovered.
And here we have an 11-year-old Beyonce and her friends in Destiny's Child practicing their moves (and pre-show banter!) in 1992. Notice the diva-in-training move of using their hands as microphones:
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