This book informed me about these two unreleased Pink Floyd songs (there’s a Wikipedia site that lists some fifty more !). While the were unreleased in 1974 (from the abandoned Household Objects album), they were eventually released in 2011 on expanded versions of albums.
“The Hard Way” features some “percussion” that sounds like someone taking steps. There’s a bass riff which I gather is from rubber bands (but very well tuned). There’s clocks ticking and chiming and tape being unspooled. It’s a neat idea and while it is absurd to think you could make a whole album with this kind of stuff (in 1974), it’s a surprisingly good sounding track.
“Wine Glasses” was apparently made with wine glasses. It is all of 2 minutes long. It was designed to be a full song but was eventually used in the introduction to “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” I never really considered that there were wine glasses making the sounds (and clearly there are synths added on top), but yeah, so that ‘s kinda neat.
[READ: November 25, 2014] The Greatest Albums You’ll Never Hear
I found this book at work and knew I had to read it. I was actually surprised at how long it took me to read (there’s a lot of entries).
The title and subtitle pretty much say everything you need to know about this book (and if you need to read it or not). This book collects a series of writers who give a brief history of some of the more famous (and some not so famous) albums that were never released. It explains (as best they can) why the albums weren’t released and even gives a percentage chance of likelihood of the album ever seeing the light of day (interestingly, most seem to be a 3/10–they may have been able to use a 5 point scale).
I knew some of the records they talked about (The Beach Boys’ Smile, Neil Young’s Chrome Dreams), but was ignorant of quite a lot of them. And while big fans of the artists may know all of the details about their favorite lost album already (these are sketches, not exhaustive research), there will certainly be some new information. For instance, I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan but had no idea about the two shelved works mentioned here.
I liked the way the book was done chronologically and grouped by decade. It was also interesting to see how the “reasons” for the non-release morphed over the decades from “the record label didn’t like it” to “it was leaked online.”
The one major gripe I have with the book is that it is chock full of “imagined” album covers. This in itself is okay, but it is not made explicitly clear that they are all imagined (credits are given at the bottom of each image, but it took me a few entries to realize these were just people’s ideas of what the covers could look like). And most of them are gawdawful. Just really lame and dull (as if they had 20 minutes to come up with an idea). They mar an otherwise cool collection,especially since some of the unreleased records actually do have proposed covers (even if they were never released). I see that there is in fact a paragraph about the covers in the front pages of the book, but it is almost hidden away.
In addition to the albums I’ve listed below, I learned some fascinating things. That Bruce Springsteen has hundreds of songs that he wrote but never released for various reasons. That Pink Floyd did try to make an album out of household objects (with no instruments). That the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks was almost simultaneously released illicitly as Spunk. And that Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album was recently remastered.
The end of the book includes two small sections: other favorites that were never released. Not sure why they earned only a small column instead of a full entry, but that’s okay. The second was albums that we eventually did see, like My Bloody Valentine’s MBV and Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy.
So if you ever wondered what happened to that long lost album, this may be the book for you.
A sampling of the unreleased records include:
- The Beach Boys-Smile
- Buffalo Springfield-Stampede
- The Kinks-Four Respected Gentlemen
- The Beatles-Get Back
- Jeff Beck-The Motown Album
- Jimi Hendrix-Black Gold
- The Who-Lifehouse
- Wicked Lester
- Rolling Stones-American Tour ’72
- CSN&Y-Human Highway
- Pink Floyd-Household Objects (1974), Spare Brick 1982
- Dusty Springfield-Longing
- David Bowie-The Gouster (1975), Toy (2001)
- Sex Pistols-Spunk
- Neil Young -Homegrown (1975), Chrome Dreams (1976)
- Frank Zappa-Läther
- Beastie Boys-Country Mike’s Greatest Hits
- Weezer-Songs from the Black Hole
- Jeff Buckley-My Sweeetheart the Drunk
- Van Halen-IV
- Foo Fighters-The Million Dollar Demos
- Green Day-Cigarettes and Valentines (the author doesn’t believe it was actually stolen)
- Tapeworm (Trent Reznor and Maynard James Keenan among others)
- U2-Songs of Ascent
- Beck-The Song Reader