Last week Neil Young finally released his thought-to-be long-lost album Homegrown.
Recorded 45 years ago as the follow-up to his critically acclaimed On The Beach, Young thought the record too personal, shelved it and dropped the grief-fuelled Tonight’s The Night. Many believed Homegrown lost forever, but having spent the past few years going through his archives and mastering old tapes, Young stumbled across the album and decided it was the right time for people to finally hear it (side note: it’s fucking incredible and on par with anything he did in the 70s.). But Young isn’t the only artist to record an album and bin it. Over the years, some of the biggest artists have left albums unreleased, or worse, lost entire albums accidentally. In recognition of Young’s release and those we will never hear, here are 5 legendary albums lost forever.
Jimi Hendrix – Black Gold
In 1970, Jimi Hendrix was inspired to craft a collection of songs that weren’t your typical rock and roll fare. He recorded 16 acoustic tracks onto cassettes labeled Black Gold, and passed them on to drummer Mitch Mitchell to flesh out. Unfortunately, Hendrix passed away not long after and the tapes went missing… Until Mitchell found them in his home in 1992. Since then a handful of the tracks have been completed and released on various posthumous albums, but nine still remain in the Hendrix vault. Legal issues have put a stop to the songs being released, but Hendrix’s estate has promised Black Gold will see the light of day eventually.
Inspectah Deck – Uncontrolled Substance
The most under-appreciated member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Inspectah Deck, is a lyrical genius whose long-awaited debut was lost in the basement of RZA’s studio during a flood. All the beats RZA made (over 300) for Deck’s first album (Uncontrolled Substance) were stored on floppy disks and nothing could be done to extract them after the waterlogging. Deck had to come to terms with the loss of his entire first album. It would be two years before Deck released Uncontrolled Substance, with this version of the album containing new beats produced primarily by Deck and featuring completely different lyrics.
David Bowie – The Gouster
Unlike most of the albums featured here, you can actually listen to The Gouster in its entirety on Spotify. Recorded during David Bowie’s ‘plastic soul’ era in the mid-70s, the album finds the Thin White Duke experimenting with funk and soul music. The Gouster was good to go, but Bowie had a change of heart after heading into the studio with John Lennon to recording a number of new songs, including ‘Fame.’ Bowie began altering The Gouster tracklist and messing around with new arrangements before finally scrapping The Gouster altogether. In its place he released Young Americans, an album containing reworked version of many tracks originally meant for The Gouster, including an alternative version of ‘John, I’m Only Dancing (Again).’ The Gouster was finally released in 2016 as part of box set Who Can I Be Now? (1974 – 1976), a 13 LP set of previously unreleased and reworked tracks from Bowie’s career. Fun fact: This isn’t the only Bowie lost album: Toy, recorded in 2000, was abandoned. The majority of songs from the record have since been released on various Bowie compilations.
Prince – Camille
Prince always walked to the beat of his own drum, and when he decided to record an album featuring his vocals sped up so they resembled a female, nobody batted an eyelid. Taking on the persona of Camille, the Artists Formerly Known As recorded eight tracks before abandoning the project and using a number of the completed songs (‘Housequake,’ ‘If I Was Your Girlfriend’ and ‘Strange Relationship) for future release Sign O’ The Times. The other five tracks eventually ended up on various prince albums. A rare one-off pressing of the entire album found its way onto the Internet in 2016 and sold for a tidy sum at auction.
Pink Floyd – Household Objects
When it comes to bat-shit crazy ideas, Pink Floyd turned it up to 11 with the decision to record an album using average household objects. Looking to follow smash hit Dark Side Of The Moon with something just as creative, the band went to work writing an album without traditional instruments. Pink Floyd used hammers, beer bottles, light bulbs, kettles and all manner of household appliances to create the melodies that would form the backbone of the record. Dissatisfied with the results, the band swapped the objects for instruments before eventually ditching the songs and moving on to record a little album called Wish You Were Here.