Monday, May 9, 2011

Ten Albums Whose Title Tracks Aren't On Them

When an artist releases an album, they can of course give it pretty much any name they want. Many an artist goes the 'self-titled' route (some, like Elvis Presley and Duran Duran do that more than once), some give their albums abstract titles with no real connection to, well, to anything. Some (say Fiona Apple for example) give their albums ludicrous names that make them laughing-stocks or some (say Led Zepplein) give them glyphs as names and are seen as eternally cool as a result.

By far the most common way to name an album is to give it the same name as one of your songs: in most cases, that song itself is released as a single, and the resultant 'synergy' (I hate that word) helps the success of both the single and the album. The average punter, interest piqued by a hit song on the radio, knows exactly which album to buy in the store. Er, well, most of these albums go back to the 70s, 80s and 90s. You know, when that's how people consumed music.

When an artist names an album after a song, you presume (quite rightly) that the song will actually be on its namesake album. That's not always the case, though, and here are ten artists going against the grain. In each case, there is a song. And there is a namesake album. But the namesake album is not, for whatever reason, where you find the song. Just to confuse people, I guess.

1.COLOUR BY NUMBERS BY CULTURE CLUB: With decades of hindsight to dismiss Boy George and Culture Club as 80s pap at its worst, it's a pleasant surprise to actually listen to this album again and hear with your own ears how excellent it actually is. You won't find the title track there, though: for that you'll have to look on the b-side of album track 'Miss Me Blind', which incidentally includes 'kissing to be clever' in its lyrics: making it a kind of title track for the previous album, which had no proper title track.Colour by Numbers

2.SCREAMADELICA BY PRIMAL SCREAM: Primal Scream's 'great leap forward' smiley-face classic managed two different versions of the same song ('Higher Than the Sun') but somehow didn't find place for the ten-minute would-be title track. The dance track was sung by Denise Johnson, not normally a member of the band but the lead singer of one track that did make the album, 'Don't Fight It, Feel It'. The song 'Screamadelica' got release a few months after the album on what is titled the Dixie-Narco EP but is effectively the single of album track 'Movin' on Up'.Screamadelica

3.HOUSES OF THE HOLY BY LED ZEPPELIN: Led Zeppelin composed this song, one of their better songs, as the title track of their then-current album Houses of the Holy. The story goes, however, that they felt the song didn't fit in with the other material on the album, and decided to shelve the song instead, leaving the album, Led Zeppelin's first to have a conventional title at all, with no title track. When the sessions for the next album, Physical Graffiti, produced more music than could fit on a single vinyl record, the decision was made to release it as a two-record set, padded out with outtakes from the previous albums. Thus was this track dusted off and finally released. In the end, no Led Zeppelin studio album would ever be released with a title track on it.Houses of the Holy

4.ALMOST BLUE BY ELVIS COSTELLO: Confounding Elvis Costello's audience at the time, Almost Blue, the album, was a collection of cover versions of Country & Western songs. 'Almost Blue', the song, was an attempt at a self-composed jazz standard. So obviously, the latter didn't fit on the former, coming out instead on the follow-up album Imperial Bedroom. Interestingly, Elvis Costello also wrote a song called 'Imperial Bedroom', which - you guessed it - didn't appear on that album. It's since been included as a bonus track on reissues.Almost Blue

5.WAITING FOR THE SUN BY THE DOORS: Waiting for the Sun was the Doors' third album, but it was the first one not made up of songs the band had composed before even getting a record contract. As such, 'composing on the spot' was new to them, and they found themselves unable to finish what should have been the title track. It was cast aside half-finished, only to be revived two albums later on 1970's Morrison Hotel.Waiting for the Sun

6.FRANKS WILD YEARS BY TOM WAITS: Swordfishtrombones, from 1982, was Tom Waits's first album for Island Records and his first album to ditch lounge-band arrangements for what is frequently described as 'avant garde'. 'Frank's Wild Years', from that album, is a beat-poetry telling of a suburbanite's midlife crisis. A few years later, Tom Waits took the title and adapted it into a play, which he then adapted into an album - one that did not feature the track in question. Note that this is a rare case on this list where the song's release predates the album's release. Note also that for want of an apostrophe, the song and the album don't have the exact same title.Franks Wild Years

7.SHEER HEART ATTACK BY QUEEN: This particular would-be title track, like 'Waiting for the Sun' started but unfinished during sessions for the album it shares its name with, sat on the shelf for fully three albums until it was finished for 1977's News of the World. In this particular case, the delay was perhaps fortuitous, as by then punk had exploded onto the musical scene, and Queen was able to rewrite the lyrics to transform the song into a criticism of the genre Queen were not fond of.Sheer Heart Attack

8.BRAIN SALAD SURGERY BY EMERSON, LAKE AND PALMER: At a mere three minutes, this stupidly-titled song might have seemed like a strange choice for the stupidly-titled album that is primarily given over to renditions of Blake's 'Jerusalem' and thirty-minute songs. It was recorded during the sessions for that album, but came out as a b-side and later was tacked onto the floor-sweepings album Works, Volume IIBrain Salad Surgery

9.FRANCES THE MUTE BY THE MARS VOLTA: Frances the Mute, from 2005, was the second album from the incredibly prolific Mars Volta. The album contained only five extended suite-like songs, but lacked the fourteen-minute title track, which was released on the 'The Widow' single (as the first track, before the a-side). Fans apparently consider this a part of the album proper, playing it as the first track, preceding the album in its released form. Apparently, doing this allows for a very natural-sounding segue.Frances the Mute

10.DRY BY PJ HARVEY: PJ Harvey's critically-acclaimed début album did not feature its title track, which instead showed up as a b-sde to her début single 'Dress' (for whatever reason, it also showed up on sophomore album release Rid of Me). This particular gambit seems to have been quite popular in 1990s 'alternative' music since, in addition to the examples above, it also applies to Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream, Pulp's His 'n Hers and Beck's Midnite Vultures among others.Dry

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