The Rejected Titles of Famous Rock Records

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.

  1. 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”.




  1. 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.




  1. 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.





  1. 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.




  1. 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.



  1. 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.





  1. 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.







  1. 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.




  1. 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.





  1. 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.






  1. 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.



  1. 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.





  1. 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.





  1. 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.



  1. 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.


They’re Bad They’re Nationwide: Big headlines that nearly ruined rock stars careers

  1. The Beatles Have a God Complex

For John Lennon, he would always be the most outspoken of the fab four. Creating controversy and sharing his political views with the press whenever he felt it was necessary to do so. One such famous incident involved him telling the press that he felt the Beatles popularity made them “more popular than Jesus.’ Talk about having a God Complex.

As a result of this claim, the Christian community went into a meltdown. Radio stations in the Bible Belt section of the United States stopped playing their music. Christians bought their records in droves, only to burn them and even the Ku Klux Klan protested one of their shows. John Lennon sure did love to be the one to push the buttons with his press conferences.


  1. Pam and Tommy get Intimate

You have all seen the show, some of you may have lived through the events as they happened in real time. For Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson, their lives were turned upside down when their private lives were made public for the whole world to see.

Part home video, part intimate look into the raunchy lives of celebrities, Pam and Tommy’s tape spread like wildfire in 1998 after a disgruntled employee of Tommy Lee’s leaked it onto the internet. The media accused them of leaking it for publicity, a claim both Lee and Anderson denied. They would wind up suing the company that put the tape on the internet. As a result of it leaking, Pam and Tommy’s marriage could not sustain the pressure and stress brought on by the tape and ultimately divorce nearly three years later.




  1. Milli Vanilli Fake it Until They Make It

Long before Ashlee Simpson made headlines for her performance on SNL, there was Milli Vanilli. The duo was comprised of Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan. Their debut album heralded at least five top hits on the top ten charts. However, Rob and fab weren’t the ones who performed on those tracks.

As a result of the revelation, the duo’s Grammy award was taken back, and several lawsuits were filed. The group tried to reunite and record music properly with the original duo on vocals, however, Rob Pilatus died in April of 1998 and the album never saw the light of day.



  1. Marvin Gaye’s Father Brought Him Into The World….

In one of the most shocking moments in Rock and Roll History, Marvin Gaye was killed by his own father in Las Angeles in 1984. Gaye was involved in a physical altercation between him and his father one day before Gaye’s 45th birthday. The result was that his father shot in Marvin Gaye a fit of rage.

The music world reacted to Marvin Gayes death with a variety of tribute albums. Duran Duran, Public Enemy, Diana Ross, and the Temptations all released a cover song in Marvin Gaye’s honor. In 2018, the United States Postal service released a stamp featuring Marvin Gaye on it.





  1. Michael Jackson Wants To Be Starting Something

Long before the allegations came out against Michael Jackson, there was Jackson’s weird form of corporal punishment. This consisted of dangling his youngest son Prince out of a fifth story hotel balcony in Berlin. Jackson claimed that he was trying to connect with his fans who were waiting outside the hotel. He wrapped only one arm around the baby while he greeted the crowd.

While the scandal was relatively minimal in the media, it managed to drive away some of his loyal fans. This was only the start of Michaels headlines when it came to dealing with children over the next few years.






  1. Madonna’s Like a Prayer Does Not Go Over Like One

Much like with the Beatles and John Lennon’s claims about the group, Madonna had also managed to anger the Christian community. Madonna’s song is about a woman having an affair with God, which obviously didn’t sit well with much of America. The music video was even more controversial as it features an unlawful arrest of a black man who was framed for a crime committed by a white mob.

The song and music were loved by critics but hated by conservatives across the United States. The Vatican told fans to boycott Pepsi after they used the song in one of their commercials. However, despite some backlash, the song became a number one hit and only further cemented Madonna’s status on the pop charts.


  1. Meanwhile Rick James…

For Rick James, the success of his career gave way into a decline and a pair of shocking choices. The first choice involved Rick James and his very committed girlfriend kidnapping and tortured a 24-year-old hostage over the course of six days. Though for James, he attempted to kidnap again, almost as soon as he was released from jail for the first attempt. This time he held a music executive hostage for 20 hours. These kidnappings were fueled by James’s usage of cocaine.Rick James is more widely known now for these kidnappings than the string of hits he released in the 80’





  1. George Michael’s Freedom!

For George Michael, he was known predominantly as a ladies’ man. For Having been a big star in the 1980’s with Wham! He a large following of eager female fans who wanted to be with the singer. However, an undercover cop caught him with another man in the 90s. The music and entertainment world at the time were shocked by this revelation.

As a result of the discovery, George Michael went public about his sexuality. The magazines and news shows were obsessed with the revelation.









  1. Phil Spector, Lady Killer

One of the most prominent producers of the 1960s, known for his “Wall of Sound” producing style was found guilty of killing actress Lana Clarkson. She was found in his home in 2003 and Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in 2009.

Phil Spector had a dark side to him in his personal life. He was known for being angry, volatile and at times violent. The media acted with surprise, though those that knew Phil Spector thought that Lana’s death could have been avoided.



  1. Ashlee Simpson Brings Lip Syncing to the Mainstream

For Ashlee Simpson, she always grew up in the shadow of her younger sister Jessica. The youngest Simpsons sister finally got her break when she would perform on Saturday Night Live. “Perform” is a term used loosely here as what she did was anything but put on a live show. During her concert she played through the first track without a problem. The second song began, however, a vocal recording of the first track began to play over the band. She apologized to the audience during the closing segment.


The moment was damaging in the media and featured on late night talk shows at the time. It was however, a was a defining moment in her otherwise nonexistent career as a performer.


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