Ever wonder some of the stories that went into your favorite albums? Not all albums are just written and recorded. If it were only that simple.
Aerosmith - Rocks Aerosmith's fourth studio album Rocks, could have been entirely different had Steven Tyler not lost the lyrics to it in a cab. Slash, Kurt Cobain, James Hetfield, and Nikki Sixx are just some of the artists that affirm Rocks was one of the albums that pushed them to play music. According to Steven Tyler:
Yes, can you imagine. Out of that we got songs like Back in the Saddle, Last Child, Nobody's Fault and Lick and a Promise. Now we have computers of course, but remember back in the 70's it was pad, paper, and lots of tape on the reels.
Paul McCartney and Wings - Band on the Run was recorded, albeit begrudgingly, in Africa. The crew endured the numerous shots needed for travel, band members quitting, poor conditions, tensions with the locals and poor recording sessions. Miraculously, after getting back into the studio in London, it would endure to become one of McCartney's best works. Band on the Run, Jet, Let Me Roll It, and one of my favorites, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five graced this third album by Wings. John Lennon had this to say to Rolling Stone Magazine on the album's release in 1973:
Doors Morrison Hotel It's not so much the album but the album cover. 1246 South Hope Street was the location of the Morrison Hotel - and the band snuck in to take the infamous cover shot after the owners declined permission. Roadhouse Blues, Waiting for the Sun, Peace Frog, Blue Sunday, Ship of Fools, Land Ho!, Indian Summer, and Maggie Magill are just some of the gems on this penultimate Doors album recorded with Jim Morrison.
Otis Redding - Dock of the Bay Some artists never get to see the completion of the album. Otis Redding was working on his album Dock of the Bay in 1967. Three days before Redding died in a plane crash, he recorded (Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay. The whistling at the end of the song was a placeholder for lyrics yet to be written. The producer left it in the recoding that was the first posthumously released song to reach #1 in the US. This version is without the embarrassing overdubs of seagulls.
George Michael - Faith Michael's first solo foray was only a success because of the amount of time he spent
perfecting ...every ...single...word. In a time where digital recording was not at the forefront, this was still painful. Songs were written at the microphone because if there was a word that was not seamlessly introduced to the song, it was removed and replaced. And if that replacement meant re-writing a sentence and re-recoding, then so be it.
Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog This is such an important album in the history of grunge. The band was created in Tribute for Mother Love Bone singer, Andrew Wood, who had died of a drug overdose. The band, and his roommate, Chris Cornell, were all moving on but they wanted to do something. The result was a band and album named after a song lyric from the song Man of Golden Words. The band was an amalgam of Soundgarden and what would become Pearl Jam, including singer Eddie Vedder. While Hunger Strike would be the song that most remember, it was Say Hello 2 Heaven that is most poignant.
And finally - this is an apple amongst oranges, but here is the story behind a song. Written, performed, and recorded only mere days before Janis Joplin would die from an overdose, the song was inspired by a beat poet and written in Port Chester, NY and sung not even a day after it was penned at the now re-opened Capitol Theatre.
So the four of us walked to a bar about three minutes away called Vahsen’s [at 30 Broad St.]. At the table, Janis and Geraldine bonded, and all of us were getting into it. At some point, Janis sang out, “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz.” Earlier, in San Francisco, Janis had heard Michael McClure’s song and it stuck with her. But she couldn’t remember the rest of it.Wall Street Journal: The Story Behind Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz. Marc Myers
You never know what history may show up at your show.