ROck ‘n’ roll musicians have a habit of thinking of themselves as worldly gods, but the truth is, they’re not infallible. No matter how successful a band has been in the past or not, there’s no guarantee that their next record will reach the heights they’ve reached before. Sometimes everything that went well once goes wrong.
Of course, there are often extenuating circumstances. Band members can drop out due to death, drugs, or just plain old “musical differences,” or an ambitious realignment turns out to be more like dodging into oncoming traffic.
Whatever the reason, the fact remains that just because an album has a classic band name on the cover, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the album itself will be a classic.
Featuring the likes of The Doors, The Clash and Duran Duran, here are the 15 worst albums ever made by an otherwise great band:
15. Guns N’ Roses – Chinese democracy (2008)
Recorded in 15 different studios over 10 years at a cost of over $13 million Chinese democracy is the most expensive rock album of all time, which just goes to show that money can’t buy quality. Early Guns N’ Roses guitarist Tracii Guns called Axl Rose’s labor of love “excessive, sterile and not that exciting”.
14. Queen + Paul Rodgers – The Cosmos Rocks (2008)
More than a decade after the death of frontman Freddie Mercury in 1991, Queen announced they would be reuniting for a tour with former Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers. The collaboration eventually resulted in a new record, but it’s clunky and forgetful The Cosmos Rocks did not come close to reaching the heights of their classic period.
13. Aerosmith – Draw the line (1977)
Aerosmith were catapulted to rock superstardom in the 1975s toys in the attic and 1976s rock, but by the next year the band had fallen apart. Frontman Steven Tyler alternated between huge lines of cocaine and handfuls of tranquilizers. Guitarist Joe Perry later told band biographer Stephen Davis that this was during the recording of the disjointed draw the line “We were more drug addicts dealing with music than musicians dealing with drugs.”
12. The Doors – Other voices (1971)
When their legendary frontman Jim Morrison died in Paris in July 1971, the remaining three members of The Doors faced the difficult decision of whether to continue without him. Just three months later, they released the album the trio had been working on in his absence: The Glosslust Other voices. “We probably shouldn’t have released it so soon after Jim’s death,” admitted guitarist Robby Krieger in a recent interview.
11. Van Halen – Van Halen III (1998)
Van Halen has only released one album with Extreme singer Gary Cherone, and you only have to listen to it to find out why. It was so bad that they didn’t release another record for 14 years. The most scathing criticism came from the band’s original vocalist, David Lee Roth, who opined that Eddie Van Halen’s “How Many Say I” sounded like “hot water being poured on a cat”.
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10. Motley Crue – generation pig (1997)
generation pig was heavily hyped prior to its release due to Vince Neil returning to Mötley Crüe after a five-year absence. Their original singer may have been back in the fold, but their early magic didn’t resurface. Speaking to the Cleveland newspaper in 2008 The simple traderNeil said: “It was a terrible record because there was too much experimentation.”
9. The Who – It is difficult (1982)
The Who are one of the greatest British rock bands of all time, but they quickly ran out of steam in 1982. Legendary drummer Keith Moon had died four years earlier, and the remaining members were unsure if they even wanted to make albums anymore. After the release of the largely insipid It is difficult, They would not record another record for 24 years.
8. Black Sabbath – Forbidden (1995)
When someone at Sabbath’s record label guitarist Tony Iommi suggested the band team up with rapper Ice-T, Iommi’s response was, “Who the hell is he?” Ice-T didn’t just keep performing Forbidden, but his Body Count bandmate Ernie C was brought in to produce the record. His style never suited the band, and Iommi has since called the album they made together “really sucks.”
7. Kiss – Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions (1997)
In the mid 90’s Kiss decided that if they couldn’t beat the grunge sound of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains they could join them. They ridiculously attempted to reinvent themselves as flannel-wearing alternative rockers, but initially scrapped the idea before releasing an album. Then, after pirated copies circulated, they got going Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions anyway. It would have been okay if they hadn’t.
6. Led Zeppelin – Present (1976)
The end of 1975 was a tough time for Led Zep. Singer Robert Plant was still recovering after being badly injured in a car accident, so their tour was canceled and studio time was booked instead. Present was put together in just a few weeks, with guitarist/producer Jimmy Page working 20 hours a day to complete it and Plant singing through the pain. In hindsight, bed rest might have been a better option.
5. Emergence – Call all stations (1997)
When drummer/vocalist Phil Collins left Genesis in 1996, they were down to just two original members: keyboardist Tony Banks and guitarist Mike Rutherford. The pair brought in Scottish singer Ray Wilson to replace Collins, but they shouldn’t have bothered. The album was widely panned, with the ChicagoTribune He calls it “a shapeless blob of synthesizer sounds”.
4. The Clash – Cut the crap (1985)
Punk heroes The Clash’s final album is now largely forgotten, banned from box sets and compilations, and rightly so. After drummer Topper Headon and guitarist Mick Jones were fired, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon decided to continue with this uninspired record. The band finally disbanded shortly after their release, and Strummer later disowned them, perhaps wishing he had heeded his own titular advice.
3. Metallica – St Wrath (2003)
Sometimes a band tinkering with the formula that made their name is just what they need to scale new heights. At other times, it doesn’t work quite so well. Metallica is bloated St Wrath suffered from an overuse of a tinny snare drum sound, a total lack of Kirk Hammett’s guitar solos and, worst of all, a succession of bland, overly long songs.
2. Chris Cornell – Scream (2009)
The cover of Chris Cornell’s third solo album features the former frontman of grunge titans Soundgarden symbolically smashing a guitar. On the record itself, he abandoned his guitar-led rock sound in favor of electronic pop beats produced by Timbaland and “backed” by Justin Timberlake. The result was certainly a hoot, but not in a fun way.
1. Duran Duran – Thanks (1995)
It must have been a good idea back then: A hugely successful band paying tribute to their favorite artists and songs. The result was an album that has been called the worst of all time Q Magazine in 2006. The covers of Bob Dylan and Sly and the Family Stone were bad enough, but the ghastly low point was Simon Le Bon rapping through Public Enemy’s haunting protest anthem “911 is a Joke.”
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https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/worst-albums-classic-bands-music-b2108131.html The 15 worst albums by classic bands, from Duran Duran to Queen