40 Songs That Aren’t on the Albums They Were Named After


Here are 40 songs that aren’t on the albums they were named after.

Back before artists began taking albums more seriously than as mere collections of their latest singles plus some record-filling cover songs, their LP titles didn’t overthink the process. Typically titled after a big single (Please Please Me) or with the artist’s name prominently on display (With the Beatles), it wasn’t until the album format became an art form that LP titles got more creative, whether to reflect the contents or to place the record within a conceptual framework.

But as the below list of 40 Songs That Aren’t on the Albums They Were Named After shows, sometimes a great title or title track doesn’t make the final cut.

Of course, not all LP titles have a companion song; we’re still waiting for Fiona Apple’s “When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King/What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight/And He’ll Win the Whole Thing ‘Fore He Enters the Ring/There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might/So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand/And Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights/And if You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land/And if You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right” to surface.

Never ones to leave a great title or title track unheard, though, artists over the decades have resurrected shelved songs – cut for one reason or another, whether for space or because it didn’t fit an LP’s theme – for later projects: B-sides, next albums, later albums or even bonus tracks on reissues or expanded editions of the albums they were omitted from in the first place.

AC/DC, “High Voltage”

When AC/DC’s debut album, High Voltage, was released in their native Australia in 1975, the title track wasn’t among the eight songs included. But a year later, when their first international LP, also called High Voltage, came out, the track listing looked different. The 1976 edition contained nine songs: a condensation of their first two Australian records, including “High Voltage,” first released on the Aussie-only T.N.T.

 

AC/DC, “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”

A small grammatical alteration distinguishes AC/DC’s 1979 Highway to Hell song “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” from the same-named live album (no parentheses) from the year before. The concert set helped establish the band outside of Australia, but their sixth studio album was the record that broke them, especially in the States, where they cracked the Top 20 for the first time. Singer Bon Scott died seven months later.

 

Beck, “One Foot in the Grave”

Three months after his major-label debut Mellow Gold and the single “Loser” pushed 23-year-old Beck into public consciousness, an indie label issued an album recorded before his breakthrough LP. One Foot in the Grave is comparatively scaled back from Mellow Gold‘s bag of studio tricks, its 16 songs a cut from the 25 on Stereopathetic SoulmanureGold’s predecessor that includes the song “One Foot in the Grave.”

 

Bee Gees, “Cucumber Castle”

In mid-1969, Robin Gibb left his brothers Barry and Maurice to work on their seventh Bee Gees album without him. Down a singer and songwriter, the two remaining Gibbs constructed Cucumber Castle for a TV special that aired in 1970. By then, Robin had returned, but the album was, at the time, their lowest charting in the U.S. and U.K. Curiously, the song “Cucumber Castle” surfaced years before on their first LP.

 

Big Country, “The Crossing”

Scottish band Big Country struck gold in 1983 with their debut album The Crossing, which benefited from radio support and MTV airplay of “In a Big Country.” Bandleader Stuart Adamson, guitarist Bruce Watson and producer Steve Lillywhite tweaked effects pedals to mimic bagpipes, a key element to their sound. The epic title track, running seven minutes, was reserved for the Wonderland EP released in 1984.

 

Blind Melon, “Soup”

Blind Melon’s 1992 debut became a surprise hit thanks to the success of “No Rain,” a folk/psychedelic/alt-rock hybrid remembered for its “Bee Girl” video. Their second LP, Soup, released three years later, had no such luck. Singer Shannon Hoon’s drug-related death two months later stalled the band’s momentum. In 1996 they gathered leftovers for the Nico compilation, which included “Soup,” left off their second album.

 

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, “Safe as Milk”

Safe as Milk, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band’s 1967 debut, didn’t stray far from the blues-based garage rock that defined their cover of Bo Diddley’s “Diddy Wah Diddy.” But traces of the psychedelia and avant-garde experimentalism of their later work were already creeping inward. Safe as Milk‘s title song was slated for an abandoned double LP, It Comes to You in a Plain Brown Wrapper, later streamlined as Strictly Personal.

 

Julian Cope, “World Shut Your Mouth”

The Teardrop Explodes frontman Julian Cope announced his solo career in 1984 with the World Shut Your Mouth album, a continuation of the psych-pop he played with his former band. It would take two more years before he recorded a song with that title for his third LP, Saint Julian. It was worth the wait: “World Shut Your Mouth” was Cope’s biggest hit, making the Top 20 in his native U.K. and gracing the U.S. charts.

 

Elvis Costello, “Imperial Bedroom”

One year before “Imperial Bedroom” the song was left off Imperial Bedroom the album, Elvis Costello performed a similar trick with Almost Blue. But “Imperial Bedroom” wasn’t an outtake from the 1982 art-rock LP; it’s not even credited to Costello and the Attractions. Instead, the song – originally found on the B-side of the Imperial Bedroom single “Man Out of Time” – is attributed to Napoleon Dynamite & the Royal Guard.

 

READ MORE: The 50 Best Title Tracks From Classic Albums

 

Elvis Costello & the Attractions, “Almost Blue”

Elvis Costello entered the ’80s with a new determination to not repeat himself. 1980’s R&B throwback Get Happy!! was followed a year later with the country tribute Almost Blue, consisting of songs from the ’50s through the ’70s. There was no song named “Almost Blue” on there, but the following year’s baroque pop masterpiece Imperial Bedroom includes a song by that name, a Chet Baker-influenced jazz mood piece.

 

Counting Crows, “August and Everything After”

Counting Crows came out of nowhere in 1993 with their intriguingly named debut album August and Everything After. The lyrics for a song with that name are scrawled on the LP’s front cover, but it isn’t among the 11 tracks contained inside. It’s not included in a 2007 reissue either. The band debuted “August and Everything After” onstage in the mid-’00s; in 2019, the nearly 10-minute song finally surfaced on streaming services.

 

Culture Club, “Colour by Numbers”

Culture Club wasted little time delivering new music to their fans. After “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” hit No. 1 in the U.K. in 1982, several singles (with non-LP flips) and two albums were released by the end of the following year. Colour by Numbers topped the chart in their home country and reached No. 2 in the States, thanks to five hit singles. The album’s title track, MIA on the LP, surfaced as the B-side to “Victims.”

 

Def Leppard, “On Through the Night”

Def Leppard’s debut album – 1980’s On Through the Night – rode in with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal before they turned into one of the decade’s biggest bands after streamlining their music. The 1981 follow-up LP, High ‘n’ Dry, is more of the same, with new producer Robert John “Mutt” Lang inching them toward pop chart success. “On Through the Night,” named after their first album, retains the earlier LP’s rock muscle.

 

Dokken, “Back for the Attack”

This one gets a bit confusing. In 1985 Dokken recorded a song called “Back for the Attack” during the sessions for their third album, Under Lock and Key. The track was shelved but resurfaced two years later as part of the “Dream Warriors” single, from the A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors soundtrack. The next year, the Los Angeles metal band released their fourth album called – ready? – Back for the Attack.

 

The Doors, “Waiting for the Sun”

An early example of an artist holding back the title song of one of their albums for later work, the Doors’ third album, and their only No. 1, 1968’s Waiting for the Sun, didn’t include a track with that name among its 11 offerings. Two years later, “Waiting for the Sun,” the song, appeared on the band’s fifth album, the back-to-basics Morrison Hotel, released seven months after the experimental soft-rock of The Soft Parade.

 

Emerson, Lake & Palmer, “Brain Salad Surgery”

1973’s Brain Salad Surgery is generally regarded as one of Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s greatest albums, but fans had to wait four years to hear the unreleased title song that was recorded during the LP’s sessions. It first showed up as the B-side to the trio’s prog update of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” single; later in 1977 it appeared on ELP’s group-album-but-not-really collection Works Volume 2.

 

Foo Fighters, “The Colour and the Shape”

Recording with a band for the first time – Foo Fighters’ self-titled debut was a Dave Grohl solo record – the former Nirvana drummer had a stockpile of leftover songs for his group’s second album. Even at 13 songs deep, The Colour and the Shape left off the title track, which first surfaced as a bonus track on the “Monkey Wrench” single. The track also appeared on the 10th-anniversary edition of the album that shares its name.

 

READ MORE: 40 Artists Who Challenged Fans With Unconventional Records

 

Gentle Giant, “The Power and the Glory”

Like many prog albums of the period, Gentle Giant’s sixth, 1974’s The Power and the Glory, is a loose concept record. Even so, its eight tracks are relatively lean, averaging less than five minutes each. Still, its lasting influence can be traced to rapper Travis Scott’s No. 1 2023 LP Utopia, which samples Power‘s opening “Proclamation.” The LP’s title song, however, was released as a stand-alone single around the same time.

 

Guided by Voices, “Bee Thousand”

DIY revolving-door indie band Guided by Voices released a nine-minute EP in 1993 called The Grand Hour. Among its six songs are “Bee Thousand” and “Alien Lanes,” both of which were granted second lives as the titles of two of the prolific band’s best albums, from 1994 and 1995, respectively. Even with 20 tracks, the career-best Bee Thousand skipped over the song that gave the album its title.

 

Daryl Hall & John Oates, “Bigger Than Both of Us”

1976’s Bigger Than Both of Us gave Daryl Hall and John Oates their first No. 1 with “Rich Girl.” Seven months after the release of the LP they returned with their sixth album, Beauty on a Back Street, which failed to yield a Top 40 hit. (The album hit the Top 30, though.) But it did include the song “Bigger Than Both of Us,” a soulful slice of precision pop that would have effortlessly fit onto any of the duo’s ’70s albums.

 

PJ Harvey, “Dry”

PJ Harvey’s 1992 debut Dry arrived almost fully formed, the interplay among bassist Steve Vaughan, drummer Rob Ellis and the guitar-wielding singer and songwriter calling the shots zeroing in on a post-rock, alternative blues. Tracks such as “Dress” and “Sheela-Na-Gig” sparked an electric new voice, but it wasn’t until the follow-up LP in 1993, the more abrasive Rid of Me, that the song “Dry” found a place in her canon.

 

Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians, “Queen Elvis”

Years, and six albums, as a left-of-center cult artist finally paid off for Robyn Hitchcock in 1989, who had a Modern Rock radio hit with “Madonna of the Wasps.” Much of the rest of Queen Elvis is nearly as accessible, finding crossover appeal in alt-rock’s growing influence. The title track, however, didn’t appear until 1990’s Eye, a solo acoustic record made without his backing band the Egyptians.

 

Iron Butterfly, “Scorching Beauty”

Four years after they broke up, drummer Ron Bushy reunited with guitarist Erik Brann (who left after Iron Butterfly’s third album) for the group’s fifth LP in 1975. Scorching Beauty stalled at No. 138, but that didn’t stop them from releasing another record nine months later. Sun and Steel failed to chart altogether and turned out to be Iron Butterfly’s last album. Included: “Scorching Beauty,” a song left off the previous LP.

 

The Jayhawks, “Tomorrow the Green Grass”

Minneapolis-based alt-country group the Jayhawks finally cracked the charts with their third LP, 1992’s Hollywood Town Hall. Their next album, 1995’s Tomorrow the Green Grass, gave them their highest-charting record to date. It was also the last album to include singer, songwriter and cofounder Mark Olson. The guitar-heavy sing-along title song was left off the album but showed up as a track on the “Blue” single.

 

The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Psychocandy”

The Jesus and Mary Chain’s 1985 debut, Psychocandy, immediately found an audience with its distorted noise rock tethered to classic ’60s melodies. The album helped spur a movement in 1980s U.K. indie rock, eventually setting the template for shoegaze over the next decade. The LP’s title track – slightly altered to “Psycho Candy” – first appeared on the Some Talking EP and later on the B-sides collection Barbed Wire Kisses.

 

Led Zeppelin, “Houses of the Holy”

The king of missing title tracks, “Houses of the Holy” was first the name of Led Zeppelin’s fifth album, but the song, recorded for the LP but left off, didn’t appear until the next record, Physical Graffiti. Like “The Rover” and “Black Country Woman” – other outcasts from Houses of the Holy – the song joined with other Zeppelin outtakes and some newly recorded songs for the band’s 1975 double-album chart-topper.

 

The Mars Volta, “Frances the Mute”

The Mars Volta’s second LP is filled with typically complex and time-stretching songs by the new-school prog rockers. Even though Frances the Mute includes only five tracks, they clock in at more than 75 minutes, with not much room left for any outcasts worked on during the sessions. The epic title song, which runs nearly 15 minutes, was one of the left-off casualties. It later appeared as a bonus cut on the LP’s Japanese edition.

 

The Mothers of Invention, “Absolutely Free”

The Mothers of Invention’s first three albums – Freak Out!, Absolutely Free and We’re Only in It for the Money – almost link together as a single piece, unified in their defiant spirit and takedowns of Summer of Love emptiness. Frank Zappa’s avant-garde music pushes against the conventions of psychedelia – “Absolutely Free” is a prime example: We’re Only In It for the Money highlight shares its name with the band’s previous album.

 

Alan Parsons, “The Secret”

In 2019, Alan Parsons released his fifth solo album (after years of fronting the Alan Parsons Project) with help from original Foreigner singer Lou Gramm, former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and ’00s singer-songwriter Jason Mraz. What The Secret didn’t have was the title song – new-century prog-rock with a lean toward pop – which was held over for Parsons’ next record, 2022’s From the New World.

 

Primal Scream, “Screamadelica”

Primal Scream’s Screamadelica is a landmark record in early ’90s acid-house-influenced alternative rock. But good luck finding its title song on the 1991 release. Instead, look for it on the Dixie-Narco EP released a year later to promote the album track “Movin’ On Up.” (The later record also includes a cover of the Beach Boys’ “Carry Me Home.”) The nearly 11-minute “Screamadelica” sounds like a piece with the LP.

 

Public Image Ltd., “Happy”

Public Image Ltd.’s sixth album, 1987’s Happy?, coyly references leader John Lydon’s plastered-on sneer and misery, ever-present traits dating to his Sex Pistols days. Its opening song “Seattle” was a dance club favorite later that year. When the band returned two years later with 9 (confusingly, their seventh studio LP), the lead track shared a title with PiL’s previous album – sans question mark, though.

 

READ MORE: 25 Songs That Almost Ruined Classic Albums

 

Queen, “Sheer Heart Attack”

Queen was starting to develop their signature sound more sharply on their third album, 1974’s Sheer Heart Attack. “Killer Queen” and “Now I’m Here” are a launchpad for the global success of their next album, A Night at the Opera. But fans would have to wait another three years for the song “Sheer Heart Attack” to appear on News of the World, rerecorded by the band after it was shelved from the 1974 sessions.

 

The Smashing Pumpkins, “Siamese Dream”

At 62 minutes, the Smashing Pumpkins’ breakthrough 1993 album, Siamese Dream, could have made time for the title song, but instead, the track – like several others recorded for the LP – ended up as a single B-side. A 7″ single for “Disarm” released in early 1994 was the first to include “Siamese Dream,” which later appeared on some Smashing Pumpkins compilations and the album’s 2011 three-disc reissue.

 

Elliott Smith: “Figure 8”

Singer-songwriter Elliott Smith’s fifth album dived further into the chamber pop mapped out on predecessor XO in 1998. The minute-and-a-half-long “Figure 8” – written by Bob Dorough for the Schoolhouse Rock series – was left off the 2000 LP of the same name, perhaps because of its minimalist instrumentation and hazy vocals that recall a demo still in the sketch stage. Find it in the deluxe edition of the album.

 

The Smithereens, “Especially for You”

New Jersey power-pop purveyors the Smithereens arrived as college rock was making inroads into the mainstream during the mid-’80s. Their 1986 debut album, Especially for You, includes radio staples “Blood and Roses,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep” and “In a Lonely Place.” What it doesn’t have is “Especially for You,” which ended up on their next LP, 1988’s Green Thoughts, as the Side One closer.

 

Talk Talk / Mark Hollis, “The Colour of Spring”

Talk Talk traded their synth-pop success for something more progressive and less chart-friendly on their third album, The Colour of Spring, a spiritual ancestor to Radiohead’s mid-’90s makeover from 1986. After two more LPs, frontman Mark Hollis broke up the group and started a solo career, which resulted in just one album before his 2019 death: an eponymous 1998 LP. The opening cut? The career-linking “The Colour of Spring.”

 

Television, “Adventure”

Television made two albums before taking a 14-year hiatus broken by their third and final self-titled LP in 1992. While 1977’s debut Marquee Moon is the band’s undisputed masterpiece, the next year’s Adventure comes from a similar place carved from classic rock and new wave. The album’s title track, a five-and-a-half-minute shuffle featuring a climaxing guitar solo, sat unreleased on the shelf before a 2003 reissue resurrected it.

 

They Might Be Giants, “They Might Be Giants”

Brooklyn geek-rock duo They Might Be Giants named their 1986 debut album They Might Be Giants. Nineteen songs long, the LP included their first college radio hit “Don’t Let’s Start” and fan favorites “Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head” and “(She Was a) Hotel Detective.” What it didn’t include was a song called “They Might Be Giants.” That would have to wait for their third album and major-label debut, Flood.

 

Tom Waits, “Frank’s Wild Years”

After seven albums as a scat-talking, beat-influenced boho, Tom Waits turned his attention to more abstract work with 1983’s Swordfishtrombones. The brief, not-even-two-minute “Frank’s Wild Years” feels like a carryover from his past – a spoken-word narrative atop a hip jazzy rhythm. Four years later, Frank reappeared (without apostrophe this time) as a concept album inspired by the earlier song.

 

Neil Young, “Journey Through the Past”

Nine months after Neil Young lodged his only No. 1, Harvest, in 1972, a double LP named Journey Through the Past – a soundtrack to a little-seen film – arrived with live songs, TV performances and outtakes from 1966 through 1971. Among the recordings are Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young songs. But the title track, a Harvest outtake, sat on the shelf until the Archives almost four decades later.

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Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner





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