There are literally thousands of albums that fell thru the cracks, when the compact disc began replacing vinyl as the preferred medium of choice, over a quarter of a century ago. Many of them are entangled in legal messes preventing their release; some have eventually seen the light of day in lovingly-reissued packages; quite a few never sold much the first time around--or belong to a style or subgenre that hasn't aged well and has yet to be championed/rediscovered--and thus never made the transition; and there is also a significant amount of titles that remain inexplicably unavailable.
Here are five that deserve a new lease on life (in alphabetical order by artist):
Live at the Hollywood Bowl
Probably the only under-represented aspect of the most celebrated popular music group of the 20th century is its recorded live output. We have all heard--and in a few instances, seen--how dynamic and incredible the Fabs were as a live unit during the first half of their career but there is scarcely any proper--and legal--documentation available, relatively speaking.
Jumping on the first big wave of nostalgic Beatlemania in the late '70s, the band's label had producer George Martin clean up tapes of the group's '64 and '65 performances at the legendary Hollywood Bowl. Sonically iffy, despite Martin's best efforts (which many assume is the main reason it has yet to be re-released) Live at the Hollywood Bowl is, if nothing less, the actual sound of Beatlemania and a piece of history, to boot.
Trivia: Capitol wanted to originally record the band's February 1964 Carnegie Hall concert but couldn't get the necessary music union permits. Instead, they went with these shows which were put on by a young promoter named Bob Eubanks. (Yes, the same guy from The Newlywed Game.)
[Cover courtesy of Wikipedia]
A rowdy live act from Atlanta, GA that never got the break it deserved, The Brains are best-known for "Money Changes Everything", which became a Top 40 hit for Cyndi Lauper four years after the release of the band's Steve Lillywhite-produced debut album. But there's more than "Money" to recommend from this self-titled record, which is considered a sadly overlooked gem.
With a few of the songs herein making an appearance later on in Fleetwood Mac's repertoire, this record is highly recommended for fans of both the Mac's blockbuster commercial phase and devotees of '70s Southern California singer/songwriter fare. The long lost album is the only joint release by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, and turned out to be their ticket into the band that brought them fame and fortune.
[Cover courtesy of audiography.com]
Its commercial failure and critical drubbing presumably a catalyst for the band's decade-long break-up, the third album by the much-maligned Los Angeles power pop quartet has been the recipient of positive re-evaluation in the years since its release, and is ranked as their best in quite a few circles these days. (The albums that preceded it, Get The Knack and ...But The Little Girls Understand [both Capitol-1979] are pretty cool, too.)
What goes around comes around, then. Guess the album's title inadvertently figured that one out, huh?
[Cover courtesy of ILoveThe80s.com]
The Concerts for the People of Kampuchea
We'll wrap up this tiny list with another Beatles-related live album. This time, it's a 2 LP set documenting a series of concerts put together in late 1979, to benefit disaster-torn Kampuchea (formerly Cambodia) by Paul McCartney.
Featuring performances by many of his famous friends--among them, Elvis Costello, The Who, and The Specials--highlights include Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant backed by Rockpile performing the Elvis Presley classic "Little Sister"; The Clash's cover of Willie Williams' "Armagideon Time"; and Queen's "Now I'm Here".
But the main reason to seek this one out is The Pretenders' blistering set, which is represented here by kick-ass versions of "The Wait", "Precious" and "Tattooed Love Boys", all from their legendary debut album.
[Cover courtesy of Wikipedia]