Today we’re taking a look at some of those albums that were initially slated by critics and ignored by fans, but went on to see great success. First off is Wu-Tang Clan – ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’ (1993). Many critics claimed that this album would disappoint people and wouldn’t even reach the Billboard charts. Today, it is now one of the most highly-regarded albums in hip hop.
Sex Pistols – ‘Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols’ (1977) The album was initially met with a great deal of controversy, largely due to the “obscene” title and lyrics, and what people believed to be a direct personal attack on Queen Elizabeth II and her fading empire. It was ranked the 13th greatest album of all time in NME in 1985, moving up to 3rd greatest in 1993.
Led Zeppelin – ‘Led Zeppelin’ (1968) The album did well commercially, but it generally received poor reviews from critics. John Paul Jones later said: “We had appalling press at the time. Nobody seemed to want to know us for one reason or another…We couldn’t understand why or what we’d done to them. After that we were very wary of the press.”
Spice Girls – ‘Spice’ (1996) The album received mixed reviews. Rolling Stone called them “another bubblegum pop group” that “offer a watered-down mix of hip-hop and cheesy pop balladry.” The magazine also said: “the girls don’t get bogged down by anything deeper than mugging for promo shots and giving out tips on getting boys in bed.”
Radiohead – ‘Pablo Honey’ (1993) Radiohead’s debut album didn’t receive particularly negative reviews, but it didn’t attract that much attention when it was first released. However, ‘Creep’, one of the band’s most successful tracks, was on this album. ‘Pablo Honey’ continues to sell steadily and has achieved platinum status.
No Doubt – ‘No Doubt’ (1992) No Doubt’s ska sound contrasted with the grunge music that was popular in the US at the time. The band’s debut album was a commercial failure, only selling 30,000 copies. The program director for US radio station KROQ said: “It would take an act of God for this band to get on the radio.”
Frank Zappa – ‘Freak Out!’ (1966) Frank Zappa’s debut album is now considered to be one of rock’s first concept albums. Upon its release, it only reached No. 130 on the Billboard charts, and many people thought the title referred to an LSD-trip. However, this album inspired a cult following and has been cited as an inspiration for the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album by The Beatles.