Andre Gardner

Sitting in tape vaults around the world are songs, and in some cases entire albums, made by some of our favorite Classic Rockers, that have been finished and mixed, yet have never been released. This can happen for a number of reasons. Maybe the record company rejected it, or perhaps the artist had a change of heart, or cold feet, and decided against putting it out, or maybe they just got bored with the whole thing. Sometimes, in the cases of Neil Young‘s Homegrown or Smile by The Beach Boys, enough time and distance has come between artist and work that the album gets released after all.

Still, there are some fine albums sitting in a reel-to-reel tape box on a shelf somewhere that are begging to be heard.

Here are at least 5 examples I remembered instantly of Classic Rock albums that have never been released:

  • Household Objects - Pink Floyd

    Members of Pink Floyd standing on stage at Live 8.

    LONDON – JULY 02: (L to R) Musicians David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright from the band Pink Floyd are seen on stage at “Live 8 London” in Hyde Park on July 2, 2005 in London, England. The free concert is one of ten simultaneous international gigs including Philadelphia, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Barrie, Tokyo, Cornwall, Moscow and Johannesburg. The concerts precede the G8 summit (July 6-8) to raising awareness for MAKEpovertyHISTORY. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)

    As a followup to their masterwork The Dark Side of The Moon, the band came upon the idea of creating songs with everyday things you’d find at your house: drills, pencils and rubber bands, egg slicers and aerosol cans, just to name a few. This could be done very quickly nowadays with the advent of computer technology but, back in the fall of 1973 when the band first embarked on this experiment, it was extremely difficult. Only two “songs” were completed, and one, “Wine Glasses” ended up on the Wish You Were Here Immersion Box set in 2011.

  • "Electric Nebraska" - Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band

    Nils Lofgren, Bruce Springsteen and Little Steven onstage

    LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 15: (L-R) Musicians Nils Lofgren, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Van Zandt perform with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on March 15, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

    Bruce’s classic solo acoustic album Nebraska started out like any other Bruce album; he’d record demos privately and take them to the band to arrange and embellish.  However, upon hearing the demos for what would become Nebraska, Springsteen’s manager somehow convinced Bruce to release the cassette demos instead.  He did, but not before 17 full band recordings of these songs were done.  8 of them ended up on Born In The USA, including the title track, but 9 songs remain unreleased to this day.  Fans have begged Bruce to put the electric version out, and maybe one day he will.

  • Hot Hits/Cold Cuts - Paul McCartney

    Paul McCartney standing against a mixing console at Abbey road Studios.

    English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Paul McCartney in a recording studio following the release of his album with the Wings ‘Back to the Egg’, UK, 12th June 1979. (Photo by Frank Tewkesbury/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

    Being the prolific bloke he is, like Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney has written and recorded so many songs that dozens and dozens of them remain unreleased in the McCartney vaults. Several times over the course of his career he has compiled an album of these outtakes and, in 1978, almost put it out as Hot Hits And Cold Cuts, and each time he gets cold feet and withdraws it. Paul has said that the reason he’s held back is because if a song wasn’t good enough to make it onto an album, why is it good enough to put out now? I see his point, but C’MON PAUL! We’re DYING to add this stuff to our collections! Thankfully, Paul has released a few of the songs as b-sides, and over the years bootleggers have put out their own versions of Cold Cuts, so we will have to live with those until Paul changes his mind.

  • Rock Is Dead, Long Live Rock - The Who

    The rock group The Who pose for a picture.

    14th February 1969: British rock group The Who, from left to right; Pete Townshend, John Entwistle (1944 – 2002), Keith Moon (1947 – 1978) and Roger Daltrey, shortly before going on stage at the London Coliseum. (Photo by Steve Wood/Express/Getty Images)

    In an attempt to follow up the hugely successful Who’s Next album, Pete Townshend came up with another concept idea. This time it would be based on the Who’s career, and it would be called Rock Is Dead, Long Live Rock. At least 10 songs were recorded until Townshend got bored with the idea and put two of the songs out as standalone singles in 1972 (“Join Together” and “The Relay”). The title track, “Long Live Rock,” ended up on the Who’s 1974 outtake album, Odds And Sods, and “Love Reign O’er Me” became the basis for their next concept album, Quadrophenia.

  • Return To Pepperland - Paul McCartney

    Paul McCartney performs onstage

    LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 12: Paul McCartney performs onstage at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

    Yes, Paul McCartney has two items on this list! Paul got together with legendary producer Phil Ramone (known for his work with Billy Joel) in 1985 and spent quite a lot of time working on album with him.  In all, over a dozen tracks were recorded with Ramone, but the album never came out.  Paul did once again put out some of the songs as b-sides, but the title track, written as a 20th Anniversary homage to The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, remains unreleased.

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