Whether it was an early break up, messy management or an unfortunate death, here are 12 musicians who have secured their place in music history despite only ever releasing one album.
12. Derek and the Dominos – Layla and other Assorted Love Songs, 1970
Despite Layla and other Assorted Love Songs being recognised as a blues rock classic, Eric Clapton‘s debut release while in a band was initially a massive flop. The album’s failure, coupled with the various personal and band tragedies caused Derek and the Dominos to disband after only a year. We’re forever grateful for timeless classic ‘Layla’ and also this forgotten beauty…
11. Mother Love Bone – Apple, 1990
Mother Love Bone was something of a grandfather to grunge before Nirvana became its poster-child. After releasing highly-influential Apple, the band’s front-man Andrew Wood, died of an overdose and the remaining band members went on to form a little alternative rock band called Pearl Jam.
10. American Football – American Football, 1999
Before My Chemical Romance became the poster-child of emo music, there was American Football and their self-titled debut album. Rather than wrapping emo music in a sea of weepy lyrics, weird hairdos, and black hoodies, American Football tackled emo as the next logical step of hardcore punk music and helped shuffle the genre forward.
9. Minor Threat – Out of Step, 1983
Despite lasting only three years, Minor Threat and their only album, Out of Step, was a massive influence on the hardcore punk genre. So much so that their track ‘Straight Edge’ became the eventual basis of the straight-edge movement.
8. The Monks – Black Monk Time, 1966
The Monks are the perfect example of a ‘band before their time’. If they came out 15 years later they probably would’ve been worldly big. Yet their raw sound and subversive attitude resulted in only one album, Black Monk Time. The release has become a somewhat forgotten classic but is considered an important landmark in the development of punk rock as we know it. This footage sums all that up…
7. The Notorious B.I.G – Ready to Die, 1994
In a short career spanning a mere five years, Biggie only managed to release one album before his tragic and untimely death. Ready To Die immediately became one of the most important hip-hop albums ever while Biggie is now revered as one of the greatest rappers of all time.
6. The La’s – The La’s, 1990
Everybody now! “There she goes, there she goes again”. With inter-band conflicts, conflicts with producers, conflicts with their record label, and creative conflicts to top it all off, it was a miracle that The La’s managed to get anything done. But all that trouble paid off as their one and only album, The La’s, turned out to be a seminal piece of British indie rock.
5. The Avalanches – Since I Left You, 2000
There have been rumours regarding The Avalanches second album for 16 years now, so we’re not going to hesitate whacking them on this list. We pray they prove us wrong, but we don’t like the odds. By the way, this right here would have to be one of the best music videos ever.
4. The Postal Service – Give Up, 2003
Despite being something of a side-project for Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, The Postal Service’s one and only album is as good or arguably better than any of the eight records Death Cab have put out.
3. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, 1998
She may have disappeared from the public eye amidst a series of personal and legal troubles in the last few years, but Lauryn Hill’s only album (so far) remains a seminal piece of work in all of R&B.
2. Jeff Buckley – Grace, 1994
In a tragic case of what could’ve been, Jeff Buckley left the world with only one album to his name. Despite the posthumous release of his incomplete second album and countless reissues of Buckley’s tiny discography, the ten songs that make up Grace is better than what most artists do in an entire career.
1. The Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols, 1977
When you think of punk, the image that immediately comes to mind is Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols. They may have only released one album, but Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols was an album that defined an era and the Sex Pistol’s legacy transcended their small output. Before viewing this video, note one tremendous YouTube comment, “History’s not always pretty…”
I may never win a Grammy, solving the piracy issue is way out of my skillset, and I'll probably die of joy if left alone in a room with The Strokes. All I can do properly is write words about music stuff, and hope that people will read it. If you want to debate why 'Is This It' is the best album ever, or you're just bored one day, hit me up on Twitter @alexandervpanView all posts by Alexander Pan