Lost Albums: The Ones That Got Away Expanded Edition

Over the decades, there have been a significant number of album projects that, due to one thing or another, got lost in the sauce and were never released by their respective record labels.  Some projects, such as Brian Wilson's Smile, Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes and The Beatles Get Back, eventually received an official release but there still remain a number of legendary albums that are gathering dust in a vault somewhere out there in the world.

 

Jimi Hendrix - Black Gold

"On a blustery winter day in February 1970, Rolling Stone managing editor John Burks entered a New York apartment on East 37th street...Burks was brought in to provide the centerpiece for a carefully orchestrated public relations campaign: a feature story about the reforming of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. Recently, the rock ‘n’ roll guitar virtuoso had busied himself by befriending other African Americans: Trumpeter Miles Davis, jazz multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and (according to Burks) “living and jamming with an all-purpose crew of musicians — everything from older black gentlemen from the South who played blues guitar, to a band of avant-garde jazz/space musicians.'

Hendrix had moved into his own Greenwich Village apartment to do some writing, and had come up with something new. 'Pieces,' Hendrix said. 'I guess that’s what you call it. Yeah, like pieces behind each other. Like movements, whatever you call it. I been writing some of those.'  Because he could neither read nor write music, Hendrix recorded these new song sketches on cassette tapes, along with other songs he’d already been working on. On one label he wrote, Idea for L.P. Side 1 suite…Black Gold. The tapes were made around the time of Burks’ interview. 

'I remember Jimi telling me about his idea for Black Gold,' Animals lead singer Eric Burdon remembered, 'an autobiographical, multi-song fantasy piece he had been working on. Jimi intended it to accompany an animated feature about a black rock star — himself on the road…forty minutes of fresh new material that clearly demonstrated the direction Jimi was headed in. He talked excitedly about the cartoon character he’d envisioned. I know he did at least some work on the suite before he died.'

The Black Gold Suite was shelved. Hendrix would polish and record some of the songs that appeared on the tapes (Drifting, Astro Man, Stepping Stone), most would not find release. He gave Mitch Mitchell the Black Gold cassettes in a box, tied shut with a headband and labeled BG, to work out studio arrangements. After Hendrix died in September 1970, Mitchell forgot about them, apparently not even realizing the tapes contained unique material.

The Black Gold Suite distinguishes itself from most of this body of work. Central to Black Gold’s creation are issues of identity and empowerment. Featuring a version of Hendrix as a cartoon superhero, it could well have become an animated feature. The songs are complex, not a compilation of throwaway jams that make up most of Hendrix’s posthumous legacy. The Black Gold Suite stands as perhaps the most poignant evidence we have of Hendrix’s ambition to create an intricate conceptual project.

Hendrix had Black Gold in his mind for months. Its characters were fragments of himself. 'Here was this cat come around called Black Gold,' he told an interviewer the previous December, 'and there was this other cat came around called Captain Coconut. Other people came around. I was all these people.'  Other Black Gold characters included Astro Man, Captain Midnite, and Trash Man. 'I am your trashman,' Hendrix sings on the cassette tape.

The only song from Black Gold Suite to see release is the tantalizing “Suddenly November Morning,” the first track of Side 1. It was included in 2010s West Coast Seattle Boy anthology. The song is melodic, lyrical, and introspective.

When Hendrix died a month later...The Black Gold tape box would stay undiscovered in Mitch Mitchell’s possession for another two decades. 

Hendrix’ half-sister Janie now runs his estate, after enduring many legal challenges. Only nine when Hendrix died, she remembers her brother playing guitar and watching cartoons on the television. In 2010, she promised a proper release of the Black Gold Suite will happen before decade’s end.

Black Gold could have been incredible, had Hendrix brought it to fruition. It would have been unprecedented: an animated feature with a matchless soundtrack, portraying a black superhero as conceived by a black man. Hendrix would have combined his lifetime love of music and cartoons in a landmark way. It could not have come to pass because it didn’t: exhaustion, constant touring, intra-band personnel changes, the lack of a trusted producer’s steady hand, and ultimately the young man’s death prevented it." (longreads.com)

 

 


Velvet Underground - VU

The Velvet Underground album VU is the binding agent in a career of releases that differ so dramatically one from another as to be almost artistic reversals. VU has the dark majesty of The Velvet Underground & Nico, the neurotic strut (if not the head-wrecking dissonance) of White Light/White Heat, the tenderness and emotional insight of The Velvet Underground, and the pure pop sensibility of Loaded. In its 10 tracks, it contains refined versions of what the band did well during the four years they lasted. The irony is that VU wasn’t released until more than a dozen years after the Velvet Underground disbanded. 

 

Recorded primarily in 1969, after the ouster of multi-instrumentalist John Cale, and later cannibalized by principal songwriter Lou Reed for his solo career, the recordings that make up VU were shelved for 16 years. They stayed in the MGM vaults, mostly unmixed, until discovered during the process of reissuing the band’s catalog in the early 80s. As a result, VU benefitted from much improved audio technology and was released to a world not only better prepared for the Velvet Underground, but one that had largely absorbed its lessons. The album made a beautiful tombstone for the band’s career, at a time when all the members were alive to see it.

Between May and October 1969, the band recorded an album’s worth of material in the Record Plant in New York. “That was basically pre-production stuff,” Yule once said. 'It was done to studio quality but not with that intent. It was all done in the daytime. Which to me is, like, when you’re working on an album in the studio — you know it gets dark at like five p.m.. This was all done at ten in the morning.' 

It’s not clear that the band had the resources to record releasable “pre-production” material, so I would disagree with Yule on this point. Also, however one believes these recordings fit into the canon, they were definitely intended for release. The proof is that MGM reserved a catalog number: SE-4641, which labels only use for official releases. This is most of the material that makes up VU, considered, rightly, to be the great lost Velvet Underground record. 

"The process stretched over several months of desultory sessions, short enough to only allow the tracking of one song per day. What’s clear from the recordings — and something that could only have happened in Cale’s absence — is the intricate interplay of Reed and Morrison’s guitars. On I Can’t Stand It, they mesh and intertwine and begin to lose individuality in a combination of itchy rhythms and menacing drones, anchored by Yule’s steady bass lines.

Meanwhile, the band’s relationship with MGM was deteriorating. They didn’t believe the label was giving them much support. Conversely, MGM was cleaning house, moving in a direction to get rid of provocative bands as well as acts that weren’t selling. The Velvet Underground satisfied both those requirements, so MGM terminated their deal." (All Music)

The band signed with Atlantic Records almost immediately. Danny Fields, a publicist at Atlantic, has said that the label wanted to do a record right away, and hoped to rescue the MGM material. That was never going to happen, so the Velvet Underground made what became their fourth album, Loaded, in Atlantic’s New York studios, mostly without Tucker, who was at home with her newborn daughter.

“When we went to do Loaded the push was for FM hits and FM jingles which was hot in those days,” Yule remembered. “There was a lot of time spent ‘pep-talking’ Lou about hits and singles and like, three-minute songs, stuff like that. So when we went into to do Loaded there was this pressure on Lou and he started cranking up the heat on the tunes.” 

But the isolation that Reed struggled against had caught up with him. “I gave them an album loaded with hits and it was loaded with hits to the point where the rest of the people showed their colors,” he said in a 1972 interview. “So I left them to their album full of hits that I made.” And so it was that Reed left his own band, one he wrested from Cale. He worked as a typist in his father’s accounting office for the next two years.

Popular music continued to evolve in the coming decades, in interesting and often unpopular ways. Punk appeared a few years after Lou Reed quit his own band, then post-punk, then new wave. The Velvet Underground’s music inspired all of it: in the confrontational material, the amphetamine tempos, the nervous anti-hero vocals, the unadorned queerness, the population of beautiful losers, the fully formed subculture, and the complete absence of blues licks (a band rule), heroic guitar solos, and swing rhythms. They were the architects, the Cassandras. They prophesied the coming world, and no one believed them." (longreads.com)

Sensing the band’s continued and growing relevance, Polydor Records began reissuing the Velvet Underground’s back catalog in the early 1980s. It was then that they discovered boxes of tapes of unissued recordings.

Once the shelved recordings were discovered in 1984, Reed had reservations about their being issued at all. “They got in touch with me to come out and listen to the tapes,” he said in Rob Jovanovic’s Seeing the Light: Inside the Velvet Underground. “It sounded pretty good at first and they said I could be involved in the production of it. Then after listening to the whole thing, I said, ‘I don’t think it should come out.’” He could have felt this way for any number of reasons, but it should be remembered that, by 1985, Reed had recycled most of the songs on VU for his solo career, rerecording “I Can’t Stand It,” “Lisa Says,” “Ocean,” “Andy’s Chest,” a retitled “Stephanie Says,” and “She’s My Best Friend.” The shadow of the Velvet Underground might have loomed a little large. In later interviews, both Morrison and Tucker stated that they made songwriting contributions, but let Reed claim sole authorship to keep the peace. 

Because Reed chose not to be involved, Morrison was called in to help assemble two album’s worth of material, VU and Another View, an album mostly comprised of demos and outtakes. Producer Bill Levenson oversaw the mixing.  In an interview with Billboard magazine, Levinson stated that 'The tapes were in terrible shape; You could only play them backwards, and since they were recorded on 12-track, we had to modify a 24-track machine in order to transfer them up to 24 and get more tracks to work with.'

Once the tracks were cleaned and mixed, Levenson was able to change Lou Reed’s mind about their release. 

 

VU came out to a popular culture ready to receive it. College radio held sway, and what media culture would call indie rock was only a few years off. The idea of being underground was respectable; selling records was not. “I didn’t start singing or playing till I was fifteen and heard the Velvet Underground,” Modern Lovers’ singer Jonathan Richman once said. “They made an atmosphere, and I knew that I could make one too!” Indeed, by the time VU was released in 1985 there were dozens of taste-making bands around who owed their careers to the Velvet Underground, with a dozen more who had yet to even form. The improved sonic quality of VU caused it to hold its own, at a time when most of its peer recordings sounded hopelessly dated, in both artistry and production. The album was marketed to college rock and alternative radio, two avenues of promotion that simply didn’t exist in 1969. 

Benefitting from the advantage of hindsight, Cale makes a return on VU, appearing on two songs cut at New York’s A&R Studios in February 1968. “Stephanie Says” features his legato viola and bell-toned Celeste. “Temptation Inside Your Heart,” recorded the next day, features an unedited vocal take, with Reed, Cale, and Morrison joking and laughing in the background in between their vocals. There is no apparent tension in the track at all, even though this would be Cale’s next-to-last recording session with the group. For a moment, the two bulls appear in the pasture once more. 

VU peaked at number 85 on the Billboard 200 chart, becoming the band’s highest charting release.


The Beach Boys - Adult/Child (1977)

Adult Child s an unreleased studio album by American rock band the Beach Boys, intended to follow the group's 1977 album which was called Love You. Like Love You, Adult Child was virtually a Brian Wilson solo project with other group members serving mainly as additional vocalists. After it was rejected by Reprise Records, the band released the 1978 M.I.U. album in its place with an almost entirely revamped song list. A few projected tracks for Adult Child were eventually released on later albums and compilations. Currently, the album is available only as a bootleg recording. Stylus Magazine tersely summarizes the work: 'Brian’s Sinatra album. Vegas big band arrangements, brassy cover tunes, a few songs written with the hopes that the Chairman himself might sing them. The label heard it and probably rejected it before track 2 began.'

 

Brian Wilson - Still I Dream Of It

"One day in 1976, Brian Wilson sat down at the piano in his Los Angeles home, turned on a tape recorder, and began to play. There’s a density to the introductory chords, like the air of an approaching storm. 'Time for supper now', he sings on the demo recording, the first verse so banal as to be almost exotic.

'Still I dream of it,' Wilson continues, his gutted voice not quite hitting the high note, 'of that happy day when I can say I’ve fallen in love. And it haunts me so, like a dream that’s somehow linked to all the stars above.'

The extraordinary chord progression, intricate melody, and anguished bridge all demonstrate Still I Dream of It to be a song written by a master songsmith, although one in decline. The confident tenor and soaring falsetto of Wilson’s youth are gone, and yet the song is somehow better for the ragged vulnerability.

Still I Dream of It was intended for inclusion on the  Adult/Child Beach Boys album that was immediately shelved upon recording. A bewildering mix of sublime and terrible songs, and a hodgepodge of arrangement approaches from big band to mini Moog, Adult/Child is a bookend to the Beach Boys’ famously postponed 1967 opus, Smile. The Smile album documented a visionary at the height of his musical powers, unmoored by drugs and set adrift by overambition and a general lack of support; the Adult/Child is one of the final blows of that artist’s losing battle with his former self. What is most conspicuous about the period in between is Wilson’s absence.

Shortly after finishing the mixes for The Beach Boys Love You, Wilson began work on what would become Adult/Child.  Wilson called in arranger Dick Reynolds to help with the album. Reynolds originally worked with the Four Freshmen and collaborated with Sinatra in 1964. Though Wilson claimed to want a similar feel as those classic Sinatra albums, the big band arrangements on Adult/Child are peculiarly lifeless.

 

The Beach Boys - Adult/Child

Adult/Child was shelved, by nearly unanimous consent. The band was nearing the end of their record contract with Warner/Reprise — who didn’t think the album had commercial potential anyway — and might have wanted to save some of the material for a major upcoming deal with CBS. Oddly, the only track from Adult/Child to be formally issued was Hey Little Tomboy, on the largely despised M.I.U album." (longreads.com)


Paul McCartney - Cold Cuts (1973)

Following the massive success of McCartney’s Band On The Run album in 1973, McCartney's label kept demanding  a new album for the Christmas season. McCartney realized that he could not deliver an album of new material on such short notice so he devised a plan to release Cold Cuts, a double album which would feature a disc of popular singles that had been released along with a second disc of unreleased McCartney tracks. Due to the continuing chart action of Band On The Run, the record label decided to shelve the project.

"The original concept of Cold Cuts dates back to 1974: During the Wings recording sessions in Nashville, Tennessee, McCartney started working on the album for the first time. His intention for Hot Hitz And Kold Kutz, which was the original title,  was to be released as a low budget album in March 1975, before the release of the Wings album Venus & Mars.

The album was to be partly non-album singles, such as Hi, Hi, Hi, C Moon and Junior's Farm, along with songs that have been left over from recording sessions from earlier albums and have not been released yet. However, a track list was never officially announced.

In an interview, McCartney stated that 'The original idea was based around a title I came up with and quite liked which was Hot Hitz and Cold Cuts. I thought it would be great, you just put all your top hits on it and then some cold cuts but actually when I mentioned it to my record label at the time, they didn't like the idea of the cold cuts, they wanted everything to be hits, hits, hits! So they didn't particularly go for that idea.'

The project disappears into the background, but when Wings takes a break due to the pregnancy of Linda McCartney in 1977/78, Paul decides to breathe new life into the idea. The 1978 version is based on the idea of a double album, with the first album containing the biggest hits and the second being filled with outtakes. But again the record company is obstructive. A compilation album comes out, but without the "cold cuts": Wings Greatest Hits

In the latter days of Wings, the Cold Cuts album is being worked on again...and in January 1981 the band records a number of overdubs with in mind a release planned for mid-1981. But again it is the record company that is blocking the project. Five years later, in 1986, McCartney puts producer / arranger Richard Niles on the project again.

Here's a Track list  from the 1987 bootleg: 


A Love For You  - This song was first recorded during the RAM sessions at the end of 1970. In 1981, Paul added some overdubs with Wings members Laurence Juber and Steve Holly.

My Carnival - Recorded during the Venus and Mars sessions in New Orleans in 1975.

Waterspout - An outtake from the London Town sessions, recorded in 1977 in Scotland. The song was planned to be released on the All The Best compilation in 1987, for which it received some horn overdubs, but was ultimately scrapped.

Momma’s Little Girl - Better known as Mama’s Little Girl. Recorded during the Red Rose Speedway sessions in 1972. Released as the B-side of "Put It There" in 1990, as a bonus track on the 1993 remastered CD edition of Wings' Wild Life album and in 2018 as part of the Red Rose Speedway Archive Collection. 

Night Out - Recorded in 1972, in the Abbey Road Studios, and at one point regarded as a possible opening track for the album Red Rose Speedway.

Robbers Ball - Recorded in Lympne Castle, Kent, in Autumn 1978, during the Back to the Egg sessions. The song was probably meant to be put on Cold Cuts from the start.

Cage - Recorded in Pauls home studio in Campbeltown, Scotland in July 1979. 

Did We Meet Somewhere Before? - Rejected as the main theme for Warren Beatty's film Heaven Can Wait and recorded with Wings in Abbey Road Studios, in Fall 1977.

Tragedy - This cover of a 1961 ballad by the Fleetwoods dates from Red Rose Speedway sessions.

Best Friend - Recorded live in Antwerp, Belgium during the 1972 Wings Over Europe Tour in order to be included on Red Rose Speedway double album. Released in 2018 as part of the Red Rose Speedway Archive Collection.

Same Time Next Year - Recorded in 1978 for the film Same Time, Next Year but not used.

Hey Diddle - Recorded in 1970 during the Ram sessions as a Paul and Linda duet. Later, the track received further overdubs in Nashville, Tennessee in the summer of 1974."  (Macca News blogspot.com)

 

Paul McCartney - Hey Diddle

 


A Hole in the Sock of Dave Davies - Dave Davies (1972)

"A Hole in the Sock of Dave Davies refers to an unreleased album of solo material by Dave Davies, lead guitarist and co-founder of British rock band The Kinks. Apparently the album was, at least for a time, intended to be released under the name Lincoln County, however, numerous names have been applied to it, including The Album That Never Was

Technically work began on the project after the unexpected success of Dave Davies single, Death of a Clown. Initially, proposed material included blues numbers by Lead Belly and Big Bill Broonzy in addition to original material.  Eventually, lack of both original material and interest delayed further work on an LP until the very end of 1968, when four new songs were recorded at Polydor Studios in London. Work was to have completed early in 1969 but was delayed at least partly when Dave Davies fractured a finger. Much of the unissed material seems to have been recorded in June 1969, just after completion of recordings for Arthur. Two titles (This Man He Weeps Tonight and Mindless Child of Motherhood), both released as B-sides of Kinks singles were recorded as part of the Arthur sessions, but eventually not included on that LP's final track selection. 

The Reprise label files imply that the record label had received tapes of this album, under the title Lincoln County, in July 1969 while it was still considered for release by the band. By September of that year, the decision was made not to release the album. Throughout 1970, reports of a reworked version with new material were discussed; the possibility of issuing Dave's LP as the second half of a 2-LP set was raised, but by the close of that year all talk of the LP's release had ceased. Oddly, tapes of this LP were not officially logged into Reprise's official master tape log until 1972, as part of their contractual settlement after The Kinks moved to RCA. Short of the existence of this acetate in their vaults, there is no other indication that Reprise ever seriously considered this LP for release in its entirety. All songs were mixed (in the case of Susannah's Still Alive, remixed) in stereo for this release." (Wikipedia)


Big Star - 3rd

In 1974, the remaining members of the Memphis pop group Big Star (with many musical guests) participated in a series of recording sessions that would result in an album called Third. Regardless of what the people who made it thought at the time, it is as much an album as Pet Sounds or The Dark Side of the Moon. It served as a terrible mirror, reflecting things falling apart — a label, a band, and the principal songwriter’s emotional stability. 

“'Big Star Third — I don’t even remember it as if it were an album project, ’cause we did it in fits and starts,' producer Jim Dickinson remembered. 'We did it in, really I guess three or four short, brief periods of time — ’cause it was painful. … The whole record’s about decomposition and decay. Relationships were falling apart, the band had fallen apart, the record company was going out of business — everything was falling apart around us. That and midtown Memphis are the two themes of the record. There’s a geographic center to that record — well, it’s not really a record, it’s a group of recordings.' 

If nothing else, Third is a blueprint of pop mastery and dismantlement. In its lyrical desolation, sonic dissonance, and emotional vulnerability, it is as prescient a document of the coming trends in musical culture as was possible to achieve at the time of its creation. It is a remarkable album, a collection of snapshots of a fractured family, each taken in a different time and place, but bound together as a collection. In every picture, however pastoral, lurks something dark. What distinguishes this album is that it admits the darkness. 

Recorded for Memphis’s famed Stax label, Third got shelved. A promising distribution deal with Columbia Records imploded. Subsequent test pressings were rejected by major labels. Since 1978, it has been released several times, by different labels, with different names, songs, and track orders. Yet Third has had such an effect on popular music that, in 2016, Omnivore Recordings issued a three-CD box set of every known recording associated with the project. This, then, can be considered the definitive version of Big Star’s Third, if not the official version." (longreads.com) 

 

 


John Fogerty - Hoodoo (1976)

After the John Fogerty solo album, Fogerty wasted no time in recording more material for a new album to be followed with a tour, which would be very low-key, with a small group of musicians. In April 1976, he released a new single, You Got the Magic, backed with Evil Thing, which peaked at number 87 on the Billboard Hot 100 and wasn't that great a hit with the Creedence fans. Fogerty submitted Hoodoo to Asylum Records, which assigned it a catalogue number, 7E-1081. Shortly before shipment, however, Fogerty and Asylum's Joe Smith made a joint decision that the album did not merit release. After several unsuccessful attempts to improve the album's quality, Fogerty began a nine-year estrangement from the music industry. He has confirmed in interviews that he instructed Asylum to destroy the master tapes, but bootleg copies have appeared over the years.

 


Pink Floyd: Household Objects

Pink Floyd's follow up to Dark Side of the Moon was supposed to be an album called Household Objects but it never saw the light of day.

"Listening to a renowned album as cohesive as The Dark Side of the Moon, you would never guess that the follow-up to that historic release was going to be made using everyday items. Household Objects, recorded during several desultory sessions over a two-year time frame, was constructed with rubber bands, wine glasses, spray cans, newspapers, brooms, and other such utilitarian gear. It was shelved. 

Pink Floyd The Hard Way Household Object Project

When people talk about Household Objects — including the members of Pink Floyd themselves — it’s usually described as a wasteful and pointless distraction, a primary example of mid-70s rock star indulgence. This is not the case. Household Objects may not have turned into an album, but it was entirely consistent with the band’s previous use of found sound on The Dark Side of the Moon. What initially appears as a stylistic deviation from its powerhouse predecessor — or worse, full-blown self-sabotage — is, in fact, a return to form. Moreover, the mournful tone of one of its experimental tracks became the emotional center of Wish You Were Here, the highly successful follow-up to Dark Side. Most interesting of all, the work on Household Objects can be seen as the musicians’ affirmative attempt at reconnection to the “non-musical” world, to their past, and ultimately to each other." (longreads.com)

 

The ideas of Household Objects began when Pink Floyd began working on a new song called Work, which involved sawing wood and boiling kettles while on stage. A year later they released Atom Heart Mother, an album that included the track Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast, featuring the sound of roadie Alan Styles frying eggs and bacon before ending with the hypnotic sound of a dripping tap. The band and most probably the band's fans, were surprised when Atom Heart Mother was a UK No.1 hit. 

It would be more than two years before Pink Floyd returned to the Household Objects idea. By then The Dark Side Of The Moon had topped the UK and US charts. But when the members of Pink Floyd began work on a follow-up album in late 1973 they suddenly realized that they were in trouble and seemed to have no concrete ideas once they gathered together in the recording studio.

 

"After making Dark Side of the Moon, the most accessible album of their career, the band’s contrary solution to their writer’s block was to reprise Household Objects. Weeks were spent with engineer Alan Parsons at Abbey Road, creating a percussive rhythm by scraping a witch’s broomstick on the floor or hitting a piece of wood with an axe, and twanging elastic bands stretched between matchsticks. 'I’ve always felt that the differentiation between a sound effect and music is all a load of shit,' bassist/songwriter Roger Waters told Zigzag magazine at the time. 'Whether you make a sound on a guitar or a water tap is irrelevant.' Waters insisted that Floyd’s new music, using 'bottles, knives and felling axes is turning into a really nice piece.'” (loudersound.com)


Buffalo Springfield - Stampede (1967)

Buffalo Springfield's Stampede was a legendary "unreleased" album that actually never existed.  From For What It's Worth: The Story of Buffalo Springfield (John Einarson & Richie Furay): 'Earlier that spring, in an effort to accumulate tracks for a second album Ahmet Ertegun came out to Los Angeles to supervise a number of recording sessions sandwiched between engagements. Shuttling between Gold Star, Columbia, and Sunset Sound Recorders studios, the band managed to record a variety of tracks, but most ended up as either discards, fragments, or demos.  Many of these songs are often cited by Springfield aficionados as proposed tracks for an album supposedly to be called Stampede, which was rumored for release that spring. The Stampede story, much like the Beach Boys’ legendary Smile album, has grown to near mythical proportions over the decades with amateur musicologists poring over song lists and speculating on possible tracks. Although Atco had a follow-up album in mind and assigned a catalog number to the anticipated album, going as far as to print up a sleeve, there was, in fact, no Stampede album ever planned by the group themselves. True, they were recording that spring, albeit sporadically with or without several members, but not with the specific goal in mind of a definite album.

In the 1970s, a well-circulated Stampede bootleg purporting to be the real thing was, in reality, merely composed of several outtakes from the debut album and New York sessions… Nonetheless, Atco went ahead and printed up a sleeve using an existing photo shoot of the group up in the Hollywood Hills posed around a western corral. Given the western motif and the group’s name, Atco chose Stampede as the title, lettering it in stars and stripes. Close to one hundred thousand of these sleeves were printed in anticipation of the album, only to be given away as promotional items later that fall after the official release of their second album, Buffalo Springfield  Again, which was assigned the catalog number originally intended for Stampede, 33-226. Of those various tracks, Down To The Wire has drawn the most attention.

Ultimately released on Neil’s triple album compilation Decade in 1977, the song was cut with Stephen, Bobby West, Jesse Hill, and Mac Rebennack.


Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band - Electric Nebraska (1982)

In 1982, Bruce Springsteen recorded a collection of song demos for an album which would be named Nebraska.  After completing the demo process, he went in the studio to rehearse and record the demo songs with the entire E Street Band for a lengthy period of time after which he decided to release his home demo tapes as the actual album instead of the tracks he and the E Street Band had been working on. 

After the release of Springsteen's solo version of Nebraska, rumors began to surface that there was also another version of the record featuring the entire E Street Band in the studio vaults.  At the time, several members of the E Street Band praised the full-band's work on the Electric Nebraska version of the album.  Over the years, Electric Nebraska has become a rare collector's item among Springsteen fans.  In recent years, Springsteen has authorized various archival releases and it seems a good bet that this lost album will eventually be officially released.


Brain Opera - Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band

The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (aka The Bonzo Dog Band) was brought to life by a group of British art-school students in the 1960s.  Their stylistic mission was to combine elements of music hall, trad jazz and psychedelic pop with surreal humor and avant-garde art.

By 1967 they were contemplating embracing a more contemporary style of rock music, in order to counter claims that they sounded too much like the fictional, studio-concocted New Vaudeville Band. According to Neil Innes, The Bonzos had learned a salutary lesson about the pitfalls of show business.

The situation proved fortuitous, however, as they were able to capitalize on the spirited culture of Swinging London, they began to combine their jazz material with their psychedelic touches. As the Bonzo band's popularity increased, they were asked by Paul McCartney to appear in The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour film at the end of 1967, performing their song, Death Cab For Cutie.  As the band's career trajectory continued to rise in 1968, the band also became a popular live attraction and pursued a busy tour schedule. The band's hard work began to show dividends  when they released a Top Five hit single in October with a Neil Innes song called I'm the Urban Spaceman, which was produced by Paul McCartney and Gus Dudgeon under the collective pseudonym Apollo C. Vermouth.

 

Viv Stanshall

From the Long Reads website: "In 1993, interviewers from the psychedelic music magazine Ptolemaic Terrascope stood on Viv Stanshall’s stoop, wondering if he would answer the doorbell. Stanshall’s friend, who set up the meeting, was just beginning to apologize when she turned and gasped: A frail and obviously drunk Stanshall, according to the article, “staggering down the road clutching a carved stick and a white plastic carrier bag containing a freshly purchased bottle of Mr. Smirnoff’s elixir, lurched toward the house...Stanshall ― artistic polymath and quintessential English eccentric― had just lost another round in his decades long battle with anxiety...Thirty years before, Stanshall established his career by co-founding a seminal musical comedy group, The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. The Bonzos, as they would become affectionately known, started out covering novelty numbers from the 1920s and touring the pub circuit. They went on to have a top-10 hit in Britain and appear in a Beatles film. Hilarious, absurd, vaguely threatening, and anarchic, the Bonzos had an enormous influence on the sketch comedy group Monty Python. They released four albums before initially breaking up in 1970. Another project, an ambitious if nonsensical review called Brain Opera, was shelved...Stanshall was the face of it all. Playing by turns a bumbling compère and crooning frontman, he wrote songs with simple melodies and intricate wordplay. His humor was somehow both dry and camp. He would soliloquize in a posh accent while wearing ping pong ball eyes, or sing a ballad like an addled Elvis before reciting the spoken word lyric in an oversized mask. By the time he collaborated on Brain Opera with fellow English oddball Arthur Brown, Stanshall was at a critical juncture of anxiety and ambition: unable to tour because of stage fright and addicted to drugs and alcohol, he was nevertheless fully invested in the British pop star lifestyle. For their part, the Bonzos were less than a year from dissolving after three years of overwork and underpay. 

The Brain Opera is a case in point that some projects can never be realized. What fragments we have of it are demented and chaotic. The men who conceived it weren’t able to see it through, and even if they had, the group who would have performed it were disintegrating, and even if they weren’t, the managers and label people who would have allowed it out into the world would have never. 

Hilarious, absurd, vaguely threatening, and anarchic, the Bonzos had an enormous influence on the sketch comedy group Monty Python. With rock and psychedelia now part of their repertoire, the Bonzos could satirize the entire British Invasion. In 1966, with the cultural dominance of all musical things English, it would be like shooting fish in a barrel. The group bought electric guitars and concentrated on writing original compositions... 

Having shortened their name to the Bonzo Dog Band, the group toured America twice in 1969. The shows were well-received, if poorly planned. Stanshall’s behavior began to change. 'I think something happened to him between the two tours,' Innes said. 'I don’t know what, but he began to drink more to steady his nerves. I think he lost his nerve a bit, and I don’t know what caused that. …When we went to pick Viv up, to actually go to the airport for the second trip, he answered the door with his hair completely shaved off. And he didn’t look at ease at all...He got locked into Valium, which I didn’t really understand about Valium in those days, Legs” Larry  Smith remembered, 'but he was apparently prescribed lethal doses early on, which made him all the more dependent on the stuff.”'  Touring had become a grind, with little return. In Ireland, the band performed on a football pitch near a slaughterhouse. The only power supply cable was originally for an electric kettle. When it immediately failed, Stanshall chased after his manager across the field, yelling 'Debag the rotter!'

Arthur Brown

These are the unstable conditions in which the Brain Opera was conceived. Most of the work was done by Stanshall and Arthur Brown, of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. Brown had a huge hit with 1968s Fire, and was known for wearing flaming helmets on stage. The fruit of this collaboration was going to be nothing short of fascinating. 'The Crazy World did quite a few gigs here and there with the Bonzos, and were great admirers of their humor and theatricality,” Arthur Brown told me recently. 'That led to Viv and I having meetings up.'  To the extent that it can be understood, Brain Opera is set in an alternate universe, where The Craig Torso Show is an enormous success, and features, according to The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band: Jollity Farm, 'German surgeons vying for cash and prizes and the chance to work in America.' Stanshall wrote a libretto, and Brown composed the music. 

'We gradually started talking about doing things together, and he wanted to do something about a cosmic slug,' Brown told me. 'It kind of developed from there, and the idea was maybe the slug could get a human brain implant or something. My band had been playing a section which went...We want your brains to pay for further education, We want your brains, they belong to the nation...This led Vivian to make the connection that we could bring certain of our ideas together. We started talking about it and working on it.'  Stanshall described Brown as 'an incredible singer and…a freak.'  'I think Viv was capable of being the rudest person I ever met,' Brown told me. 'Somehow he had some second sense of people and he would just say things that would make them either want to hit him ― and sometimes did ― or they’d collapse.'  'Christ, we went down to…I don’t know where,' Stanshall told the Terrascope. 'Arthur was on drugs and I was on booze.'

'We came up with all these strange ideas,' Brown continued. 'There was going to be a silver slug that came across the stage. It was going to be a very surreal and adventurous piece. We discussed, about, the first act.' I said to Vivian, ‘Look, most of my stuff at this time has a sort of mystical content. So it’s going to have a mystical content which would be carried by the surreal element of it.’ And then of course, with it being Vivian, it was also going to be quite funny. But that was about as far as it got, really. He was at the time drifting in and out, and I was doing one of my bands, and we got temporally pulled apart.' 

The project would have involved the Bonzos and Brown, 'and we would have had other people as well,' Brown said. 'Some female parts. Really, we didn’t get around to discussing the sort of technicalities or too many of the actual personnel. It was a very interesting prospect. And the…you know, some of those things just disappear. Not because you decide they’re not good or you’re not going to do them, it’s just things carry you other ways.'  'I don’t know. Whatever happened, happened,' Brown told me about the end of the project. 'I decided I wanted to form a new band, Kingdom Come. Probably because of that I didn’t get in contact with Viv. Sometimes working with him was impossible. In his down phase he was just lie in bed — that was it, full stop.'

 

An excerpt of Brain Opera, performed by the Bonzos and recorded for John Peel’s radio broadcast, has surfaced. 'I’d lost interest in the direction the band was taking by then, so I don’t know,' multi-instrumentalist Roger Ruskin Spear said recently. 'I know Pete Townshend said in the press at the time he was planning a ‘Brain Opera’ which rather inhibited our thoughts on the subject.' (Townshend later called his project Tommy.) In the same interview, Rodney Slater claimed to remember nothing about Brain Opera. Stanshall was given co-writing credit and recorded backing vocals on the recording of “Brains” for Kingdom Come’s 1971 Galactic Zoo Dossier album. 

The Bonzos management rejected Brain Opera out of hand and pressured the band for another single. They broke up instead. The Bonzo Dog Band performed for the last time in March, 1970.  'We weren’t destined to go on year after year like the Stones, no way,' Innes said. 'One of the problems is, I think, we stopped arguing with each other. We became better friends. We were more sympathetic to each other. But before, we used to fight tooth and nail for ideas. The only way to get an idea in was just to do it and not tell anybody. If it got a laugh with the audience, it stayed in.'  'Life was becoming a nightmare with the Bonzos,' Stanshall remembered. 'I had no time to do anything. The phone used to ring so much I’d just leave it off the hook.' 

'They were on the cusp between humor and music,' Paul McCartney told MOJO in 1995. 'In a way I don’t think they ever got it sorted out. They didn’t ever fall fully into music or into comedy, but that was their charm really.' 

Neil Innes went on to have a brilliant career, contributing music for Monty Python and becoming known as their seventh member. The Rutles, his and Eric Idle’s satire of the Beatles, was largely well-received by the Fab Four. Their publishing company, however, sued.  'Did you know there are 14 songs hidden away in the vaults of International Copyright that are credited to ‘Innes, Lennon and McCartney’?' Innes told Dangerous Minds. 'It’s all there in black and white! However, under no circumstances am I to be credited for writing any ‘part’ of these compositions. What’s more, I am forbidden to tell anyone this! Yes! It’s all there in the so-called Settlement Agreement. So, if anyone wants to cover one of the first Rutles songs, remember: it has to be just ‘Lennon/McCartney’ on the cover or the label.' 

Stanshall, also believed to have a stellar solo career ahead of him, kept his strangeness close. In addition to forming sundry musical projects and guest-starring on rock stars’ records, he took an idea germinated during the Bonzo’s career, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, and made it into a serialized radio project in the mid-1970s. 

 

The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - Excerpt From Brain Opera


Jeff Beck - The Motown Album (1970)

Back in 1970, Jeff Beck had just recovered from injuries sustained in a serious car accident and had set his sights on making a record in the legendary Studio A located in Hitsville USA, a building owned by Motown records.  Beck showed up in Detroit with drummer Cozy Powell and producer Mickey Most and began working with the renowned Funk Brothers.  Beck and company apparently recorded a full album's worth of material that has yet to see the light of day.  According to various sources, only 10 tracks were recorded for this album. Beck states that some of the songs were written by the famous Holland-Dozier-Holland Motown songwriting team and that the only evidence of this lost record’s existence is a single cassette copy that he keeps in his private audio archive.


Jeff Buckley - My Sweetheart The Drunk

Excerpts from an article Shelved: Jeff Buckley's Sketches for My Sweetheart The Drunk which was posted on longreads.com by Tom Maxwell. 

"On the evening of May 29, 1997, singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley and his roadie Keith Foti picked their way down the steep, weedy bank to Wolf River Harbor in Memphis, Tennessee. Buckley, wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and heavy Doc Martens boots, waded into the water singing Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” After about 15 minutes, a boat passed. Concerned about their boom box getting wet, Foti moved it out of harm’s way. When he turned back around, Buckley was gone with the undertow. His body wouldn’t be found for days. He was 30 years old.

Sadly, if not surprisingly, Buckley left little in the way of recorded output. He released two albums during his life: 1993’s Live at Sin-é and 1994’s Grace. The record he was working on in Memphis, tentatively called My Sweetheart the Drunk, never saw completion and was shelved because of his death. It would have only been his second studio release.

By 1996, pressure for a second studio album was mounting. Although now committed to performing original material, Buckley was not a prolific writer. 'I wish I had a real reservoir [of songs], but I don’t,' he told an interviewer. 'It just sort of comes. Thoughts lead into each other and gain momentum and then BOOM! Some weird gibberish will come into my mind...'

The new project was threatened by other issues. Buckley’s longtime drummer Matt Johnson left the band in 1996.

There was some new material they worked on while on tour and one or two other demos that Jeff had made, but he seemed about to go into recording his second album with even less material than he had when starting Grace. Jeff had declared that his days of doing cover versions were over; he wanted it to be all original material, so that option wasn’t available. There was one other problem: no Matt Johnson. No songs, no drummer, and a producer without any hits didn’t feel like a great way to start.  His label had seen Jeff pull greatness out of an empty bag before so they were being patient while waiting for the second album.

Buckley bought a used Tascam four-track cassette tape recorder and began demoing new material. He sent tapes of his demos to his bandmates, management, and label team.

To further complicate things, Buckley decided New York underground guitarist Tom Verlaine should produce the new album, tentatively titled My Sweetheart the Drunk. Verlaine’s band Television helped define a smart, tight post-punk sound in the late 1970s, but Columbia A&R man Steve Berkowitz struggled with his artist’s decision. 

Berkowitz stated that “When Jeff mentioned Verlaine, I said, ‘Oh, what a great idea — Tom and all his sounds and ability to play guitar and create sonic structures — he’ll be great on the record,’ and Jeff said, ‘No, I want him to produce it...and I said, ‘Based on what? What Television did is not what you do.’ I had only respect for Tom, but I didn’t understand how he’d be the producer for Jeff.” Sony had, in fact, floated much bigger names for the project: Butch Vig (responsible for Nirvana’s Nevermind) and U2 producer Steve Lillywhite.

Verlaine understood the label’s hesitation. 'I’m not a goldmine for anybody...They probably would have loved it if he wanted to work with Mariah Carey’s producer or something.'

Verlaine was given a tight budget and a flat fee. During the first session, Buckley seemed directionless. The material wasn’t quite finished or rehearsed, and the new drummer wasn’t working out. Four songs were recorded. There was talk, quickly abandoned, of releasing these as an interim EP. 

Buckley decided to relocate to Memphis and take another shot at recording with Verlaine at Easley-McCain Studios. On October 1, 1996, Buckley wrote in his journal that he was 'going to lay off the band.' 

 

Jeff Buckley - Everybody Here Wants You

The February 1997 Memphis session was also uninspiring, with one exception.  Dave Lory wrote in his book From Hallelujah to the Last Goodbye: 'Out of nowhere' Jeff plucked one gem, ‘Everybody Here Wants You,’ which had the potential to groove like a Smokey Robinson song, and which everyone agreed was one of the best things to emerge from these sessions. Verlaine’s instruction to Parker [Kindred, the second replacement drummer] to hit the snare as hard as he could meant it turned out exactly as asked — heavy handed — but Jeff’s vocal was exquisite, emotional without being as refined as the Grace performances, and his harmony embellishments were gorgeous. When I first heard this song, I thought it was a massive hit in the making, but only in the making.'

The album was abandoned, and Verlaine was let go. After the last session, Verlaine told Buckley 'This stuff sounds really good to me. If you feel dissatisfied maybe you want to take it a little easier on yourself, because there’s nothing wrong with this. I know you probably want to change everything.'

Buckley decided to hire Andy Wallace to produce My Sweetheart. Wallace, famous for working with Nirvana, had also produced Grace. 'I didn’t need to be sold on doing another record with him,' Wallace said, 'He could have played me Happy Birthday and I would have made a record with him. I went down and saw Easley studios. It was a funky place — not a dump but down-home and clearly not a corporate environment, and I like that...Jeff was enthusiastic about working there. I don’t believe he got back in touch with me in the hope that we could make Grace 2. He wanted it to be different, to move on.'

In May, Buckley summoned his band to join him in Memphis. Although they were coming to record a new version of the album, Buckley seemed to have another idea in mind as well.  Glen Hansard, a friend of Buckley's said, 'The stories I’d heard was that he was bringing the band to Memphis to burn the tapes of the record he did with Tom Verlaine.  was gathering the band up to have a ceremonial burning of the masters. He was really unhappy with the earlier sessions.'

 

Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk

On the day his band arrived in Memphis, Buckley accidentally drowned in the Mississippi river.  On  May 26, 1998, the Columbia label released Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, a two-CD grab bag of the Verlaine sessions and some Memphis demos.  What was released is a pastiche of studio recordings and demos which is as illustrative of his potential as it is of the Jeff Buckley industry that sprung up after his demise. 

Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk is a difficult listen, and not just because Buckley was unafraid to be challenging or the fact that much of it is more promise than fruition. The album encapsulates unpleasant cultural and legal issues of privacy, ownership, and the wishes of the artist when they run counter to those of his fanbase, record label, or even his estate. Jeff Buckley would not have wanted Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk to come out at all.

Since 1997, Jeff Buckley's mother, Mary Guibert, has overseen a steady stream of posthumous Buckley releases. The Houston Press wrote in an unsentimental 2004 article that '...now you can buy Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, the two-disc set cobbled together from the Grace follow-up sessions Buckley had barely begun...There’s the live record Mystery White Boy, the five-CD Grace EPs boxed set collecting rare/foreign releases, the two-disc-plus-DVD Live at Sin-é collection chronicling his old NYC nightclub crooner days, another pre-Grace odds ’n’ sods compendium titled Songs to No One 1991–1992 and now, the Grace Legacy Edition, which couples the original tunes with a B-sides disc and another DVD...Throw it all in an Amazon cart and you’re out 130 clams.'

Fifteen years later, there are even more CDs and DVDs, comprised of live performances and early studio recordings. In light of this onslaught, it’s jarring to visit Jeff Buckley’s website and see his name and image and know it’s not reflective of his intent, nor most of its content representative of a career he would have designed. If he were to speak in his own voice, it’s doubtful he would say that he always intended to publish his diary. 

 

In life, Buckley was contradictory, mercurial, guided by dreams, and informed by spirituality. He constantly reworked arrangements, improvised new melodies, and abandoned recordings that didn’t meet his standards. In death, he has generated content with clocklike efficiency." (Tom Maxwell, longreads.com)

 

Jeff Buckley - The Sky is a Landfill

Circle around the park, joining hands in silence

We watched the evil black the sky

The storm has ripped the shelter of illusion from our brow

This power is no mystery to us now.

Leave your spirit genocide, the cancer you won't remove.

We cast our funeral rose inside and bury the need to prove.

 


The Who - Life House

After the album Tommy secured the Who's future and made them millionaires overnight, the members of The Who  found themselves changing in many ways; Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle lived comfortably, Pete Townshend, embarrassed by his sudden wealth, felt he was at odds with Meher Baba's ideals, and Keith Moon spent frivolously.

During the latter part of 1970, Townshend plotted a follow up to Tommy called Lifehouse. Lifehouse, which was to be a multi-media project symbolizing the relationship between an artist and his audience. Lifehouse's story was inspired by Pete Townshend's experiences on the Tommy tour: ‘I’ve seen moments in Who gigs where the vibrations were becoming so pure that I thought the whole world was just going to stop, the whole thing was just becoming so unified.’

Townshend believed that the vibrations could become so pure that the audience would ‘dance themselves into oblivion’. Their souls would leave their bodies and they would be in a type of heaven; a permanent state of ecstasy. The only reason this did not happen at Who gigs was because there was a knowledge in the listener's mind that the show would end and everyone would wake up and go to work the next morning. These ideas were directly linked to the writing of philosopher Inayat Khan, a Sufi musician who had written about the connection of vibration and sound with the human spirit.

Another source of inspiration for Townshend was Meher Baba, who claimed to be an Avatar of Brahman. What Townshend was aiming to achieve in Lifehouse was to write music that could be adapted to reflect the personalities of the audience. To do this he wanted to adapt his newly acquired hardware, VCS3 and ARP synthesizers and a quadraphonic PA, to create a machine capable of generating and combining personal music themes written from computerized biographical data. Ultimately, these thematic components would merge to form a universal chord. To help this process, the Who would encourage individuals to emerge from the audience and find a role in the music.

 

"Teenage Wasteland" [from 'Lifehouse']

Pete Townshend (Studio Audio)


"Camille is an unreleased album recorded by Prince in 1986 and intended to be released under the pseudonym Camille, a feminine alter ego whose identity Prince assumed by disguising his vocals in a pitched-up and androgynous style. He planned to release the album without any acknowledgement of his identity. The project was ultimately scrapped several weeks before its planned release, with rare early LP pressings eventually surfacing for auction in 2016. Several tracks originally intended for Camille were instead included on Prince's 1987 double LP Sign o' the Times. 

After abandoning his Dream Factory LP and breaking up his backing band ,The Revolution, in mid 1986, Prince entered the studio with engineer Susan Rogers in late October to begin a new project. He began experimenting with his vocals in an artificially pitched-up style, achieved either by using a pitch shifter or by recording his vocals at a slower tempo and then speeding up the tape to create a higher, androgynous tone. 

Prince began referring to this new pitched-up voice as a feminine alter ego named Camille. The sessions commenced with the recording of the dance track Housequake and within ten days he had completed enough material for an album, which he planned to release pseudonymously under Camille's name as a self-titled debut. He informed Warner Bros. that his image would not appear on the cover and that he would not acknowledge the album as his own work. At some point, his plans for Camille also extended to ideas for a movie.

By November 5, the album had reached the mastering stage and a number of copies were printed, but Prince abandoned it weeks before its intended release. His reasons for doing so are not entirely clear, though it may have been in part due to Warner Bros.' unwillingness to release an album that would not be attributed to Prince's name. It is unknown how many original printed copies of the album exist, or whether prepared cover artwork was ever finalized. After shelving Camille, Prince combined the tracks intended for that album (excepting Feel U Up) with other unreleased recordings from the period into the proposed triple album Crystal Ball

 

Against his wishes, Warner Bros. forced him to trim the track list down to a double album, which became Sign o' the Times (1987). This release included the Camille tracks HousequakeIf I Was Your Girlfriend, and Strange Relationship.  The remaining tracks from Camille would be released through other avenues in subsequent years, with the exception of opening track Rebirth of the Flesh, the original studio version of which has only circulated as a bootleg." (Wikipedia)

 

Camille (aka: Prince) - Rebirth Of The Flesh


Brian Wilson - Sweet Insanity

Sweet Insanity is an unauthorized Brian Wilson studio album that was originally planned for release in 1991. Wilson has stated that the master tapes were stolen, preventing an official release, although the songs have appeared on numerous bootlegs. Five of the songs were rerecorded over a decade later and released on Wilson’s 2004 album, Gettin' In Over My Head; some critics contend that the new versions weren't as good as the originals. Sweet Insanity is one of the most sought-after bootleg albums.  

 

In 2015, in an interview, Wilson said, 'Sweet Insanity was never really released. You’ve got bootlegs, but it was never released. And I thought some of the stuff was pretty good. It wasn’t the best album I ever wrote. We just didn’t think it was good enough. They were just like demos. We recorded about 10-12 songs, and we decided not to put it because we thought that maybe people wouldn’t like it, so we junked it.' 

Initially called Brian, the album was intended to be a follow up to his 1988 solo debut, Brian Wilson. During this stage in Wilson’s life, he was under the care of psychologist Dr. Eugene Landy, who was known for his unconventional 24-hour therapy. Landy was micro-managing Wilson's life, including his creative career, and became Wilson's primary collaborator. The pair had collaborated on Wilson's first solo album as well. Andy Paley remembers that the album's recording was "an unpleasant experience". 

 

Sweet Insanity (1991 unreleased Brian Wilson solo album)

"Sweet Insanity only exists on physical media as a promotional cassette acetate manufactured for Brains & Genius, Wilson's and Landy's production company. (The actual cassette was presumably manufactured by Warner Bros. Records; The cassette tape uses Warners' clear shell and typeface) and carries a 1991 copyright date. The cassette includes two bonus tracks: CD Bonus/ Country Feelin' and Single, B-Side/ Hotter. It's unclear whether this particular cassette contains the first or second iteration of the album." (Wikipedia)


Green Day - Cigarettes & Valentines 

Cigarettes & Valentines was Green Day's follow up to their 2000 album release, Warning.  "In November 2002, the Cigarettes & Valentines album was nearly finished when the master tapes were mysteriously stolen from the band's studio. Instead of re-recording the album, the band decided to start from scratch, leading to the creation of American Idiot (2004). Fortunately, they were able to relocate and recover the material. When the lost recordings returned to the band, they decided to rework some of the original tracks and release them as B-sides to the singles from American Idiot." (Wikipedia) 

"The record was said to be ‘quick-tempoed’ punk in the same vein as their classic albums ‘Kerplunk’ and ‘Insomniac’, and many fans speculated that it was released as ‘Money Money 2020’ by side-project The Network – which frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has repeatedly denied. 'It’s pretty much in the vault right now,' Billy Armstrong told NME. 'There was the one song, ‘Cigarettes and Valentine’ that we brought out live, I don’t know, we’ll see if any of that stuff ends up seeing the light of day.'” (New Musical Express)

 

 


The Doors: The Celebration Of The Lizard

In 1968, The Doors began recording their third album.at TTG Studios in Hollywood, CA and the sessions quickly came to an impasse due to a lack of new songs.  Their first two albums were comprised of material the band had been playing live prior to being discovered and for their third album, the well had simply run dry.  Besides trying to create brand new songs in the studio, they pinned their hopes on recording a surrealistic poem of Jim Morrison’s, called Celebration of the Lizard.  

Celebration of the Lizard was originally slated to take up a whole side of their album but the composition was difficult to capture on tape so eventually it was shortened.  After many attempts at recording the piece, Producer Paul Rothchild convinced the band to abandon The Celebration of the Lizard material along with the conceptual title of their third album.  As the band retrenched and started to record other material for their third album which would be released as Waiting For The Sun, Morrison began showing up to sessions drunk as a skunk.

When Morrison suddenly realized his lyrical masterpiece would not see the light of day, he immediately lost interest in recording a third album with the other members of the Doors.  Of the material the band recorded, only Not To Touch The Earth was salvaged from the ill-fated Celebration of the Lizard sessions. 

 

In 2003, a fully recorded take of the song, Celebration of the Lizard, was officially released on the Doors compilation album, Legacy: The Absolute Best.  Many Doors fans argue that there were other recorded parts that have yet to be released.  The Celebration of the Lizard piece was performed several times at Doors concerts and a live version of the piece was released on the Absolutely Live double album in 1970.

 

 


Traffic - Live Traffic (1971)

From the recordamerica.com site: “The above image is the ultra-rare album cover for the unreleased 1971 album Live Traffic. United Artists Records, Traffic's US label, was planning to release a Traffic live album recorded at the Fillmore East on November 18 and 19, 1970 (featuring the band's new bassist, Blind Faith's Ric Grech.) Evidently United Artists greatly upset Steve Winwood and band manager Chris Blackwell by releasing a 2 LP Winwood career retrospective without their permission, and so this release was pulled at the last minute, amid rumors that the master tape had been LOST. This is a fully fabricated album cover for the album; something we've never seen before. We acquired it from an industry insider, who got it at the time from UA's head of publicity. It is in near mint condition, with barely detectable staple holes in the four corners. As far as we know, there were never albums or test pressings of this release–only a very small number of this album cover.” Note: tracks from this aborted album have trickeled out on some of the Traffic remastered versions of their old albums.” 

From the Traffic fan site www.winwoodfans.com: "For an album that apparently was only days from official release (with advertisements, promo posters and album covers printed) the circumstances surrounding this recording were, and to some extent still are, confused and mysterious. Two shows at New York City's Fillmore East (November 18 and 19, 1970) were recorded with the intent of producing Traffic's first fully live album. Very soon after the concert performance both the British and American press announced the intended release. Melody Maker described the  Fillmore East show as being due in stores by December 11, while Rolling Stone noted that the original venue and location - the Capitol Theater in Port Chester had been changed to the Fillmore, but didn't say why. Each also gave a tentative track listing of: 

SIDE 1 

Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring 

Glad 

SIDE 2 

Pearly Queen 

Forty Thousand Headmen 

Can't Find My Way Home 

 

Also, to be included between tracks were backstage recordings of conversation, greetings to friends, etc. So, with a unique approach to the standard 'live' album, an interesting selection of tracks (note the 'Blind Faith' number and what must have been an extremely long "Glad") and newly added band member Ric Grech supplying sorely needed bass and violin, the album was quickly mixed in New York. Melody Maker announced that the release date had been pushed back a month. Soon after came the news that a "lost tape" had again set back the release date. The story of the lost tape varies, but it was said to have somehow disappeared on the flight back to England. Did this really happen ? One source went so far as to say that the band actually destroyed the tapes. Regardless, it seemed that the problems were only beginning."

Steve Winwood announced in the press his dissatisfaction with the finished product, and indicated that one half of the album might be new material, recorded in his newly built home studio. Now it's going to be only a 'partly live' album, a la Last Exit ? Any of this could be an adequate reason for delay, and prolonged indecision often lead to an abandoned project in the rapidly evolving rock 'n' roll world of the early seventies. But the most compelling reason for the non-release of Live - November 70 may have been something else entirely.


Crosby Stills Nash & Young - Human Highway

In 1973, the members of Crosby Stills Nash & Young embarked on a journey to the Mala Wharf in Maui. All the members of the band brought new songs for a possibility of a new CSNY album. They named their new album  project Human Highway.  

From longreads.com: “'We all went there and hung out for a week or so, learning the songs and trying to figure out the album,' Nash said. They even posed for a photo that was meant to grace the album cover. It showed four brothers, tanned and bearded, arranged together in front of a blue sky, looking less glum than they did on Déjà Vu. 'And then something happened. I’m not even sure what happened now, it was so long ago...those plans were shelved, and we went on with the rest of our lives.' 

The idyllic Maui brainstorming sessions were, unfortunately, a template for how the band would operate for years to come, with so many embers of magic stamped out, in a huff, by one member or another. Nash, in his memoir Wild Tales, recalled that 'some business, some cocaine thing, went down, and suddenly we weren’t talking to each other.'

 

Within a few months, the band was back on good terms, and gathered at Young’s sprawling Broken Arrow Ranch in Redwood City, California, to tackle their new material. 

Human Highway was the work of Young, in full rustic-troubadour mode, and sounded like another potential CSNY classic when they debuted it during an impromptu live performance later in 1973. Stills had See the Changes, an airy song about maturity that was well suited for the band’s lush harmonies. Nash, meanwhile, offered a handful of songs that were several shades darker than what he’d contributed to Déjà Vu: And So It Goes, Wind on the Water, and Prison Song, which railed against criminal justice policies that unfairly punished the poor. Crosby had written Carry Me, a tribute to his recently deceased mother, and the meditative Time After Time. 'We had great songs. It was going to be a great album,” Nash said, 'We had a great title. Human Highway? Are you kidding me? That’s fabulous.'

There is a certain amount of romance and mystery associated with the idea of a lost album, a sense that an artist’s career might have turned out differently if they had completed a passion project that eluded their grasp. But in his book Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: The Wild, Definitive Saga of Rock’s Greatest Supergroup, author David Browne described the rehearsals at Young’s ranch as dysfunctional and uninspired, with Stills sleeping all day while his bandmates were preoccupied by televised footage of the Watergate hearings that would presage the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

In the months and years that followed, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young would take several ill-fated stabs at recording Human Highway. Fans would speculate about the lost project for years, piecing together theoretical track lists from songs that were released sporadically. The story of the album was, in a way, the story of the band — prolific but wholly different talents, drawn to each other’s music, repelled by egos and infighting and drugs, locked in a cycle that would leave them splintered and bitter even now, five decades later, as they approach the sunset of their lives. But in a surprising twist, the member most opposed to reuniting — Neil Young — recently gave the public an intriguing glimpse of what Human Highway could have been, and rekindled his ex-bandmates’ interest in seeing the project find some sort of late-stage redemption.

In 1974, after a quick winter break, CSNY again assembled into the studio in December to finally complete the long-awaited Human Highway album. But after only recording a handful of tracks, including Crosby’s contribution Homeward Through The Haze, the quartet again fractured into chaos. Graham Nash refused to sing a note creating a minor over a major chord in Stephen Stills’ Guardian Angel; although it seemed a minuscule disagreement, it escalated into a heated argument, resulting in Stills literally destroying the master tapes to Nash’s Wind On The Water! Neil had had enough of the bad vibes and inflated egos and simply stopped showing up. Once again, the Human Highway was closed." (David Gambacorta, longreads.com) 

Eventually, after several more tries at bringing the Human Highway album to fruition, all of the band members went on to pursue their own projects.


Prince - The Black Album

The Black Album, sometimes called The Funk Bible, was released on November 22, 1994, by Warner Bros. Records and was originally planned as the follow-up to Sign o' the Times.

Prince insisted on releasing the album in an entirely black sleeve with no title or even a credit to Prince.  Also called The Funk Bible by preceding press releases, along with a hidden message that lay within the album itself.

In various periodicals, there were some statements that Prince had become too pop-oriented. It was later learned that The Black Album was his attempt to regain his African-American audience. 

 

The album features one of the most shockingly unusual Prince songs: Bob George, in which he assumes the identity of a profane man who suspects his girlfriend to have had an affair with a man named Bob. He asks her what the man does for a living and learns that Bob manages Prince, who he dismisses as 'that skinny motherfucker with the high voice.' The name for the track was a combination of Bob Cavallo (former manager), and Nelson George, who was felt to have become very critical of Prince. The song Bob George features a growling monologue that is slowed down to the point of being almost unrecognizable as Prince. 

The 1987 promo-only release had no printed title, artist name, production credits or photography printed; a simple black sleeve accompanied the disc. On promotional copies, only a song listing and catalog number—25677—were printed on the disc itself. The commercial version was to only have the catalog number—printed in pink—on the spine. The original compact disc pressing was made by Sony DADC rather than WEA Manufacturing. After Prince became convinced that the album was evil, he ordered it to be withdrawn a week before its release date. It was replaced with the album Lovesexy, a brighter pop-oriented album with elements of religious affirmation.

"The Black Album became the most bootlegged album ever. This writer got his copy on cassette. The last of five sealed copies of The Black Album was recently discovered in the collection of a former Warner Bros. Records executive. Before that only three copies of the U.S. pressing were around. The auctioned copy includes a letter of authenticity from Jeff Gold, the owner of Recordmecca and a former executive vice president/general manager of Warner Bros. Records, who worked closely with Prince during the 1990s." (denofgeek.com)


Johnny Pierre - Rock & Roll is a State of Mind

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