So, having been pointed towards the "Audacity" audio editing software on Audioholics' AVRant Podcast, I've been having some fun.
Here are the waveforms for:
1. Leonard Bernstein conducting Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue - nice wide dynamic range - it's an orchestral arrangement, after all.
2. Miles Davie, "So What" from Kind of Blue. Small group jazz, so much less natural dynamic range in the source. Lots of breathing room in this mastering of the recording (well, Coltrane's solo in the bottom channel is pushing it a little, perhaps, although there's no clipping visible when you zoom in on the wave peaks).
3. Fleetwood Mac, "Go Your Own Way".
The highest peaks correspond to the drum beats, and the song is mastered to just allow for the loudest peaks at the climax of the song.
4. Dixie Chicks, "Lubock or Leave It".
Dynamic compression Hell. When you zoom in on the peaks there is clipping out the wazoo, right there in the source material where there's nothing you can do about it.