Sometimes, whole albums can be scrapped forever with nary a peep to be heard. Here are 25 LPs still waiting to see the light of day, beginning with The Beach Boys’ ‘Smile’ , which was intended to follow ‘Pet Sounds’ but has only ever been released in approximated form on 2011’s ‘Smile Sessions’.
Green Day – ‘Cigarettes and Valentines’
Plans for ‘Cigarettes and Valentines’ were thwarted when the master tapes were stolen from the studio, however the band decided not to re-record the album, instead starting work on what would become ‘American Idiot’. We’d bet that, in hindsight, the band are almost chuffed they got robbed and released their politicised 2004 classic instead.
Bruce Springsteen – Electric Nebraska
Though a full-band recording of the incredible ‘Nebraska’ definitely exists, speculation on whether the album will ever be released is still rife today. In a 2010 interview with Rolling Stone, E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg praised the recording of the album as “killing”, but no release date has been stated. The wait goes on for us all.
The Who – Lifehouse
‘Lifehouse’ was a science fiction rock opera slated to follow 1969’s ‘Tommy’. However, the band decided to abandon the project as a whole, instead placing some of the songs into 1971’s ‘Who’s Next’. Pete Townshend appears to be very fond of the project, including certain tracks in his solo work and releasing different variations on ‘Lifehouse’.
Ghostface Killah and MF Doom – Swift & Changeable
With two of hip-hop’s most abstract, but entertaining lyricists joining forces for an album, the hype machine began stirring. Unfortunately, the duo couldn’t quite work it out. In an interview with MuchMusic, Ghostface said that DOOM was holding up the process. “I’m still waiting for him to send me more songs,” he said.
Mick Jagger – The Red Devils Collaborations
Following a recommendation from Rick Rubin, Jagger joined The Red Devils onstage in 1992 and proceeded to invite them to collaborate. Recording 13 tracks in one 13-hour stint, only one song from the session, ‘Checkin’ Up on My Baby’, however has been released, appearing on ‘The Very Best of Mick Jagger’ in 2007.
Jay-Z and The Notorious B.I.G. – The Commission
The Notorious B.I.G. had formed a hip-hop supergroup called The Commission in 1996, with the likes of Jay-Z, Lil’ Cease, Combs and Charli Baltimore filling out the ranks. Tragically, Biggie’s life was taken and the group never finished the album, parting ways shortly after.
Jimi Hendrix – ‘Black Gold’
‘Black Gold’ is myth manifest, with tapes of the recording abandoned following Hendrix’s death. In 2010, however, Janie Hendrix stated that ‘Black Gold’ would be released “this decade”, yet the only song to be released to date – ‘Suddenly November Morning’ – can now be heard on ‘West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology’.
Prince – Dream Factory
Throughout 1986, Prince and The Revolution compiled a completed 18-track double album. However, when band members Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman told Prince that they wanted to leave, the album was abandoned. Despite this, most of the tracks were eventually released, with a lot of them making an appearance on Prince’s ninth album ‘Sign O’ The Times’ in 1987.
Brian Eno – My Squelchy Life
With a release date set for September 1991, Brian Eno took to the studio to record ‘My Squelchy Life’. But when record officials pushed the release back to February, Eno felt that the new music he’d record would be vastly different in direction to the pop-orientated album he’d already begun. Eno went on to record ‘Nerve Net’ instead.
Pink Floyd – Household Objects
Deciding to return to their experimental beginnings with ‘Household Objects’, the group literally made instruments out of wine glasses, old hand mixers and rubber bands stretched between two tables. The project was soon shelved. However, ‘The Hard Way’ and ‘Wine Glasses’ can be heard on two different 2011 reissues.
Amy Winehouse – Unreleased Tracks
We reported back in 2011 that Island Records had decided to keep 12 unreleased Amy Winehouse tracks locked up in their vault, at the late singer’s wishes. Despite label boss Ted Cockle saying that if we ever heard the tracks, “you have my permission to come in and fire me”, the track ‘Procrastinate’ made it onto the internet.
Neil Young – Homegrown
So close was ‘Homegrown’ to being released that even the cover art had been created. Young decided to drop the LP and release 1975’s ‘Tonight’s the Night’ instead, however, because ‘Homegrown’ “was just a very down album.” In 2010 it was reported that the album was being “rebuilt” for the second volume of his Archives project in the future.
Paul McCartney – Cold Cuts
An unreleased album of outtakes, ‘Cold Cuts’ was comprised of non-album singles and previously unheard tracks. The project was revisited by McCartney over 1971-1987, but was never released as Columbia records was not interested in releasing an album of outtakes. McCartney has now abandoned the project. Sad face.
The Strokes – Post-First Impressions of Earth Recordings
During the five-year wait for new Strokes material between 2006-11, the band made nearly an album’s worth of tracks with producer Joe Chiccarellie. They eventually decided, however, to scrap it and start anew, this time producing themselves. This led to 2011’s ‘Angles’, which we gave 7/10, our lowest score yet for a Strokes LP.
Klaxons – Untitled Folk Album
Klaxons discarded a year’s worth of folk material, it was revealed in 2010, because, as they explained, “it just wasn’t us”. The group claimed that it sounded “fairly similar to the MGMT record [‘Congratulations’]”. We’re not sure if that is really too much of a bad thing. But guess we’ll never know, eh?
Weezer – Songs From The Black Hole
A space themed rock-opera, ‘SFTBH’ was recorded over 1994-1995 to follow up ‘The Blue Album’, but the project was eventually scrapped. Songwriter Rivers Cuomo said of the album, “[it was] supposed to be a whole album of songs transed together”. The band instead released ‘Pinkerton’, which wasn’t exactly the worst second prize.
David Bowie – Toy
Originally slated for release in 2001, Bowie had begun recording ‘Toy’ with the intention of featuring new versions of some of his earliest pieces as well as three new songs. However, the sessions led him to 2002’s ‘Heathen’ and ‘Toy’ was never officially released, despite the tracklisting finally leaking in 2011.
Duran Duran – ‘Reportage’
Initially producing 2006’s ‘Reportage’, which the group felt “represented them as a live band”, the Duran Duran boys were instructed by their label to go and make something with a “big pop producer”. The group resultantly teamed up with Timbaland, fell out with guitarist Andy Taylor who left the band and made mediocre dud ‘Red Carpet Massacre’.
Sigur Ros – Scrapped Album
Everyone’s favourite Icelandic ethereal crooners turned gnashing post-rockers (circa 2013 with ‘Kveikur’) once scrapped an entire album in 2009. Frontman Jonsi came out with the slightly oblique explanation of “we started to record something, but then we chucked it all away. So I think we are going to have to start it all again”.
Charlie XCX – 14
An unreleased debut album, ‘14’ was only available through limited promotional copies. Made at the tender age of – you guessed it – 14, the tracks were released on MySpace and eventually caught the attention of Atlantic Records. Charlie, meanwhile, has frequently referred to the record as “gimmicky dance tracks” and “fucking terrible MySpace music”. Oh.
Zach de la Rocha – Solo Album
Following an aborted solo album, Rage Against the Machine’s Zach de la Rocha began work on a new collaboration with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, in which around 20 tracks were produced. But that album too stayed on the cutting room floor as De La Rocha “was not ready to release an album at that time.”
Scissor Sisters – Scrapped Album
Back in 2010, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears told us that the group had scrapped an album they’d been working on for 18 months. Of the binned album, Shears said, “In my heart I knew it wasn’t right, I didn’t really know what it was trying to say. It left me a little bit cold.” Scissor Sisters went on to release ‘Night Work’, which we gave a solid 7/10.
Ting Tings – Scrapped Second Album
The Ting Tings scrapped the planned follow-up to their massively successful debut ‘We Started Nothing’ in 2010 because it was full of “shit Euro pop”. The duo then went on to release 2012’s ‘Sounds from Nowheresville’, which we described as “a lukewarm hotpotch of an album”. Third time lucky then, maybe…
Lana Del Rey – Lizzie Grant Album
After signing a $10,000 record contract in 2006, Del Rey moved into a trailer park outside of New York and recorded a full album under her real name, Lizzie Grant. The album would never make it out, however Del Rey went on to upload a few tracks – including ‘Video Games’ – to YouTube and the rest is history.