For us here at Popradio77, we like to talk about what could have been in pop music just as much as what had occurred. Over the years there have been many ideas, songs and collaborations that have been lost over time causing us to wonder what could have been.
This week’s blog explores alternative titles to popular albums and why they were dropped in favor of the more well-known title.
- The Smiths Declare That The Queen is Dead
For The Smiths Morrissey, he is as openly political as they come. For the groups record The Queen is Dead, Morrissey originally wanted the record to be called “Margaret and The Guillotine”, named after his staunch distaste for Margarete Thatcher, whom he once called “barbaric”. The record even had a song of the same name that was dropped for the record so it would be less divisive amongst fans. The song that replaced it instead was “Viva Hate”.
- The Beatles Fire Blanks With Revolver
For the Beatles, they were struggling to come up with the title to the follow up record to Rubber Soul. The rejected titles were suggested by members of the band. John Lennon had the preposterous title of “Four Sides of the Eternal Triangle”. It doesn’t have the catchiness to it that Revolver did. Ringo Starr suggested “After Geography” a play on the Rolling Stone Aftermath record. “Abracadabra” was also suggested as a title, but the real magic came when the title Revolver came to the group. It was a play on how LP records revolve at 33 and a third revolutions per minute.
- The Doctor Almost Wasn’t In On Doolittle
For the Pixies, the record Doolittle was almost named “whore” after lyrics from a song called “Hey”. The group decided to change the name to Doolittle to give the record a more radio friendly title. Despite the raunchy lyrics, “Hey’ ended up as one of the more popular songs off that record.
- Never Mind the Bollocks Of Choosing Album Titles
For the Sex Pistols, they are blessed with a perfect album title. However, Never Mind the Bollocks was almost never meant to be. The record was originally going to be called “God Save The Sex Pistols” after their song “God Save The Queen”. The album’s title was changed in the middle of 1977 based on a phrase from guitar player Steve Jones. The title stuck and the rest they say is history.
- The Rumours about Fleetwood Mac
For the members of Fleetwood Mac, the recording process of Rumours was a tumultuous nightmare. The members Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks had broken up, and other relationships were on the outs. Christine and Jon McVies relationship was looking over as well. The original title for the record was going to be “Yesterdays Gone” after a lyric from their song “Don’t Stop”. Though in the end the group settled on Rumours as it accurately described the drama and turmoil each member faced when making the record.
- The Automatic Changer That Inspired Let It Bleed
For the Rolling Stones, they were originally going to call their 10th LP, Automatic Changer, after the album cover. The cover featured a cake made with a tire, a clock face, a film canister, and a pizza covered in frosting. The cake was made by Delia Smith who was hired by the albums cover designer Robert Brownjohn. To Delia, the cake was just another job to do and thought nothing of it at the time. The album title changed later to Let It Bleed but Keith Richards liked the cake so much that it was kept on the cover.
- The Return of the Thin White Duke Was Cut Short
For David Bowie, he liked either “Golden Years” or “The Return of the Thin White Duke” as the title to the follow up to “Young Americans”. David Bowie instead went with Station to Station after one of the tracks on the record as the title.
- The Talking Heads Remain In Light
For David Byrne and the Talking Heads, the group was set on the title “Melody Attack” for their fourth album. It wasn’t until the group sat around during downtime and watched a Japanese game show, where the title Remain in Light came from.
- Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues
For Bob Dylan, Bring It All Back Home was originally going to be title “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. This was after the classic track of the same name. However, the alternate title still stuck when Dylan’s record company released the record in the Netherlands.
- Green Day Are Immature
For Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dint, and Tre Cool, the members of Green Day had an even more gross title for their hit record Dookie. The record was originally Liquid Dookie, though their label, Warner Brothers deemed it to be “too gross” a title.
- Pink Floyd Eclipses Medicine Head
For Roger Waters, David Gilmour, and the rest of the band, they were set on calling The Dark Side of the Moon, “Eclipse”. The reason for this was that an American band named Medicine Head released an album called Dark Side of the Moon a year prior. However, Medicine Heads record went nowhere in America. The members Pink Floyd figured no one would even remember the record and decided to go with their original title, The Dark Side of the Moon. The rest they say is history.
- Michael Jackson’s Thriller Shines Just as Bright as “Starlight”
For the King of Pop, Michael Jacksons best-selling LP was originally going to be titled Starlight. It was the working title he used when recording the record. However, Rod Temperton, Jacksons song writer changed the title to Thriller. He did this because he thought the record had marketing potential. Temperton was right as the record became the biggest selling LP of all time with over 49.2 million sales as of today.
- U2’s Tale of Two Americas
For Bono and company, despite recording the record in Joshua Tree, the group had alternative titles in mind. The group originally had “The Two America’s” and “The Desert Songs” as alternatives. The initial album art featured imagery depicting where the desert met civilization. The groups photographer, Anton Corbjin told them of the Joshua trees. Bono liked how the trees were named after the prophet Joshua from the Old Testament. With this information, Bono decided that the record would be named Joshua Tree.
- Led Zeppelin’s Thanksgiving
Despite being one of Led Zeppelins least famous albums, the records Prescence was almost never felt. The record was made during a trying time for the band. Robert Plant was involved in a car accident the year before amongst other internal problems amongst members. Jimmy Page had suggested the title of “Thanksgiving” for the record due to it being completed before Thanksgiving. The record was named Presence after the black object the family looks at on the album cover.
- Deaf Dumb and Blind Boy Doesn’t Make for a Good Album Name
For the Who, their rock opera Tommy was originally going to be called “Deaf Dumb and Blind Boy”. The record had this title because of the characteristics the rock operas lead character Tommy. Instead, the record was simply named Tommy.