Wednesday, July 18, 2007

There's no success like failure

When Mike Nesmith left the Monkees he made a number of country rock records for RCA. They were all very good. None of them sold shit. Thus when in 1972 he put out a strange record of highly introspective songs recorded with his collaborator O.J. "Red" Rhodes he called it "And The Hits Just Keep On Comin'".
This embracing of defeat is a bit of a strand in rock and roll. NRBQ put out a record called "NRBQ at Yankee Stadium" which was nothing of the kind. The only connection was that they had their pictures taken in the empty venue as a birthday treat for one of their members. In 1969 Man called their LP "2 ozs of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle", thereby guaranteeing it could never go platinum. Monty Python were contractually obliged to release an album and so they put out "Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album".
Of course even these titles aren't quite such an admission of defeat as calling your record "Untitled", which is the plan for the new one by Korn (can't wait, can you?). The Byrds double of the same name from 1969 wound up being called "(Untitled)" because they were still working on a name when the producer had to fill in a form for the record company. His placeholder wound up being the title. The group never quite recovered their mystique after that.


  1. Another good one was the Motors' best-of collection, marvellously entitled "Greatest Hit".

  2. I get almost as irritated with those bands who name an album... after themselves! Normally with some quotes along the line of "It's because it's our most coherent statement as a band/it's the record we always wanted to make", rather than "we've been too busy with the drugs and hos to give it any thought".

    The Beatles are sort of exempt, because the name they wanted to use for "The Beatles" had just been used by someone else. But even then - isn't it like naming children? Don't you have a second and third choice waiting in the wings?