Albums that were extremely successful due to hit track

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Mickey2, Nov 20, 2023.

  1. Mickey2

    Mickey2 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bronx, NY, USA
    I was thinking about this the other day when reading a review of The Stones' Sticky Fingers (my favorite album of all-time). While the review was a positive one, I got wondering in all honesty whether the album would have been as popular as it was if not for the strength of its leading track - Brown Sugar (and possibly Wild Horses), even though personally I love it all.

    I am guessing that album sales at the time were often driven by the strength of a leading single on the album. Whereas in the 60s, singles were viewed as separate entities, I think, especially in the UK where they were not included on albums, things changed in the late 60s when albums became more popular as complete works in their own right. However, I suspect that some people would purchase an album just to get the main song they were interested in.

    So, the next thought I had was.. what other albums were there that were largely successful due to the strength of the big single on it?

    Here's some that come to mind...

    Edgar Winter Group - They Only Come Out At Night -- Frankenstein
    Deep Purple - Machine Head/Made In Japan -- Smoke On The Water
    Don McLean - American Pie -- American Pie
    The Police - Synchronicity -- Every Breath You Take
  2. davebush

    davebush New Test Leper

    Fonthill, ON
    America - Horse With No Name

    There must be hundreds of examples.
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  3. Say It Right

    Say It Right Not for the Hearing Impaired

    Niagara Falls

    A little confused by some of your selections.

    OK, can see "American Pie," as "Vincent" was only a minor hit. By contrast, "Free Ride" sure helped They Only Come Out at Night and Synchronicity had multiple hit songs, even with "Every Breath You Take" being by far the biggest.
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  4. Monosterio

    Monosterio Forum Resident

    South Florida
    Neil Young: Harvest ("Heart of Gold")
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  5. finslaw

    finslaw muzak to my ears

    In the Garden of Eden

    It sold more than eight million copies within its first year of release, outselling every record in the history of recorded music to that time. And yet I doubt the A side got much play.
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  6. Wildest cat from montana

    Wildest cat from montana Humble Reader

    ontario canada
    While 'Brown Sugar' was a Billboard Number One hit ' Wild Horses' only got as high as #28 and even that position is suprising for this turgid dull song.
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  7. Mickey2

    Mickey2 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bronx, NY, USA
    Yes, understood, even as I mentioned Wild Horses on Sticky Fingers as a secondary hit. But I think the others were the primary blockbuster hits that really pushed into super hit territory. While Free Ride was a nice little song, I don't think people were lining up for a copy of that as much as Frankenstein, which was a Frankenstein hit (sorry). The same with Every Breath. That song was everywhere.
  8. CD Addict

    CD Addict Bonus tracks? Yes, please.

    Naperthrill, IL.
    Iron Butterfly
    Song: "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"
    Album: "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"
    Year: 1968
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  9. Country Rocker

    Country Rocker Forum Resident

    'Horse With No Name' wasn't originally on the debut album. It was added at a later date.
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  10. Sammy Waslow

    Sammy Waslow Just watching the show

    Crash Test Dummies: God Shuffled His Feet

    Eight million copies sold worldwide, primarily on the back of Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.
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  11. thematinggame

    thematinggame Forum Resident

    and the artist is ??
  12. Uncle Miles

    Uncle Miles Wafting in and out of Forum

    Phoenix, AZ USA
    Zeppelin IV: That "Stairway" song

    Was never a single, but that song drove a lot of the album sales
  13. Monosterio

    Monosterio Forum Resident

    South Florida
    He means "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly. I guess some people aren't aware of the alternative "Garden of Eden" title, since that example was posted again later.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2023
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  14. bRETT

    bRETT Senior Member

    Boston MA
    That one did pretty well as an album. It had a second hit along with quite a few tracks that FM radio grabbed onto. You could even say it broke America as an album band.
  15. kevinsponge

    kevinsponge Forum Resident

    Portland, OR USA
    I think the Tommy soundtrack having Elton John's 'Pinball Wizard' would apply here. It wasn't really available anywhere else after the single ran it's course.
  16. Kingsley Fats

    Kingsley Fats Forum Resident

  17. DooDee

    DooDee Forum Resident

    Do you have any evidence for this? When I was young, albeit in Australia, as an avid radio listener, I never once heard Stairway To Heaven on the radio, or on TV music shows, ever, from 1972 to 1980. However, I always heard Rock N Roll and Black Dog on the radio (plus Whole Lotta Love). I first heard Stairway To Heaven in 1980, when I acquired the double vinyl The Song Remains The Same. I recall in 1981, playing Stairway To Heaven in massive school dormitory holding 60 people on a school camp and not one person commented on the song.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2023
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  18. thematinggame

    thematinggame Forum Resident

    I would agree- in Germany the single was Black dog /Rock'n roll, too , but I think by the time of LZ IV the band had already been established as an album band .
    It might be true that some years later people bought the album for Stairway to Heaven , but not upon its release.
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  19. Ted Sallis

    Ted Sallis Music Collector Extraordinaire

    Metallica/ST/aka The Black Album - hit track: Enter Sandman
    Screaming For Vengeance: Judas Priest - hit track: You've Got Another Thing Coming

  20. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Senior Member

    Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt.

    Thanks, Don’t Speak.
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  21. DooDee

    DooDee Forum Resident

    I would guess Led Zeppelin II. Whole Lotta Love was a smash hit all around the world. While it was/is a cover song (which would have been generally unknown at the time), it is by far the best song on the otherwise mediocre album. I cannot imagine another track on the album that would be hugely popular as a single for radio play.

    Other songs & albums that come to mind are:

    * Sultans Of Swing in respect to Dire Straits debut album. Sultans Of Swing was already popular on radio & actually gained Dire Straits their first album contract.

    * Bohemian Rhapsody
    for Queen's A Night At The Opera. Bohemian Rhapsody was a smash hit all around the world. A Night At The Opera had some good commercial radio friendly songs, such as You're My Best Friend, Love Of My Love and I'm In Love With My Car, but also has lots of dumb songs. Bohemian Rhapsody is the obvious standout on the album and would have seriously driven the sale of the album.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2023
  22. Mickey2

    Mickey2 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bronx, NY, USA
    Yes, Zeppelin were known for not wanting to be a "singles" band (although there were a few), but an album band.
  23. hi_watt

    hi_watt The Road Warrior

    San Diego, CA
    KISS Destroyer: "Beth"
  24. Eric_Generic

    Eric_Generic Enigma

    Tracy Chapman, S/T.

    All down to Fast Car.

    Even now, catalogue sales are all down to Fast Car.

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  25. Mickey2

    Mickey2 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bronx, NY, USA
    I think a lot of people would argue against that opinion. While only the B side, I have a vivid memory of my introduction to the band as a fan upon hearing "Living Loving Maid" played on a jukebox at a Catskill's resort in my early teens. That could have stood on its own as an A side. Another possible candidate would be Heartbreaker. While there are other popular songs on that album, many of them suffer (if I can use that word) from dynamic shifting in the song that might not bode well for radio-friendly singles (e.g. What Is and What Should Never Be, Ramble On, etc.). Maybe that's what you mean.

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