The unluckiest albums of all time

29 August 2023, 13:31

Iggy Pop performs live in New York, 1977
Iggy Pop performs live in New York, 1977. Picture: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns/Getty Images

Let's take a look at some of the most unfortunate, badly timed and badly received albums ever...

  1. Iggy Pop - Lust For Life

    Iggy Pop - Lust For Life album cover
    Iggy Pop - Lust For Life album cover. Picture: Press

    James Osterberg's two 1977 albums - The Idiot and Lust For Life - saw the former Stooges frontman clean up, get organised and hang out in Berlin with David Bowie. They were the two best albums of his solo career, but Lust For Life was unfortunately scheduled to be released on RCA in August of '77... which is the same month his labelmate Elvis Presley died. The RCA factories were dedicated to pressing more product by The King due to demand, while Iggy's album didn't get the audience it deserved.

  2. Guns N'Roses - Chinese Democracy

    Guns N'Roses - Chinese Democracy
    Guns N'Roses - Chinese Democracy. Picture: Press

    Axl Rose took 15 years to make GN'R's sixth album, which - according to the New York Times - had cost around $13 million to make. Axl refuted this claim, but was annoyed when pop manufacturers Dr Pepper offered a free can of their beverage if the album arrived before the end of 2008. When the record turned up unexpectedly in November, lawsuits flew when Rose's lawyers claimed that Dr Pepper hadn't managed the redemption campaign properly. Despite all this kerfuffle, Chinese Democracy only sold 261,000 copies in the US in its first week.

  3. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

    My Bloody Valentine – Loveless album cover
    My Bloody Valentine – Loveless album cover. Picture: Press

    It's one of the most acclaimed albums of the past 25 years, but MBV's second album took over two years to record, cost £250,000 to make and almost bankrupted the Creation label. It put a severe strain on label boss Alan McGee, only made Number 24 in the UK and didn't chart at all in the US. The band would take 22 years to craft the follow-up, mbv. Still, who can put a price on art?

  4. Roger Waters - Radio K.A.O.S.

    Roger Waters - Radio K.A.O.S. album cover
    Roger Waters - Radio K.A.O.S. album cover. Picture: Press

    As far as Roger Waters was concerned, Pink Floyd was his band and had released their last album - The Final Cut - in 1983. But guitarist David Gilmour had other ideas and with the remaining members released an album as the Floyd, titled A Momentary Lapse Of Reason. The LP overshadowed Waters' own solo work and he found himself in the unenviable position of playing in the same town as the reformed Floyd - to much smaller audiences.

  5. Ride - Tarantula

    Ride - Tarantula album cover
    Ride - Tarantula album cover. Picture: Press

    Oxford's Ride were indie royalty at the start of the 90s. Their second album, Going Blank Again, went Top 5 in 1992 in an era when indie was still a minority pursuit. But when label Creation signed a little-known Manchester group called Oasis, Ride were no longer the golden boys. Their fourth album, Tarantula, was released on 11 March 1996 and deleted from the Creation catalogue one week later. Andy Bell later sought solace by joining Oasis. If you can't beat 'em...

  6. U2 - Pop

    U2 - Pop album cover
    U2 - Pop album cover. Picture: Press

    After their huge reinvention with 1991's Achtung Baby and the subsequent Zoo TV tour, there was no stopping U2 in the 90s. Well, there was really - in the shape of 1997's Pop. They were a man down as drummer Larry Mullen had a back injury and found the composing process hard. The record was one of the lowest-selling in their back catalogue, nobody really liked it much (particularly the band) but the follow-up, All That You Can't Leave Behind, saw the '2 return to their stripped-back roots.

  7. Mother Love Bone - Apple

    Mother Love Bone - Apple album cover
    Mother Love Bone - Apple album cover. Picture: Press

    Days before this acclaimed Seattle grunge band released their debut album, frontman Andrew Wood overdosed on heroin and died shortly afterwards. With Mother Love Bone over before it really began, members Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard would go on to work with Chris Cornell on Temple Of The Dog, before going on to form Pearl Jam.