#3. Led Zeppelin IV by. Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin redefined what the blues could be, mostly by playing it louder than any of their contemporaries. Despite a fast-growing base of dedicated fans, critics responded coolly to Zeppelin's first album, a fact that every shit band since the 1970s has used to explain why that 1.5 star review doesn't matter. But instead of crying about the critics, the band responded by churning out their second album less than a year later. And another album about a year after that. Sure enough, the critics hated both of those albums also.
Too busy rocking your face off to give a shit.
By the time Zep was ready to head in to a studio for the fourth time, they were the biggest rock group, and also the most critically reviled. Since it clearly couldn't be their taste in music that was lacking, critics agreed that the only reason the band sold so many records was the words "Led" and "Zeppelin" were printed on the cover.
To combat this, the band, whose very name is allegedly also a fuck you, decided to release an album with no words on the outside, thereby allowing them to release it "anonymously." Instead of the more conventional method of writing the name of the band on the cover, the album was emblazoned with four mysterious symbols, to prove that the music could sell itself. They then took the logical fallacies present in this argument and buried them in mountains of cash, booze and groupie vag.
The end result: a record on shelves with no indication of where it came from, which nonetheless sold 37 million copies and finally convinced critics that they were wrong about the whole Led Zeppelin sucking thing.
#2. Here, My Dear by. Marvin Gaye
In 1962, Marvin Gaye apparently decided that what his relationship with his boss, Motown Records President Barry Gordy, needed was a palpable sense of tension and awkwardness. To rectify the problem, Gaye married Gordy's sister Anna, who just happened to be 17-years older than him. Despite the age difference and the veritable mountain of poontang that was most certainly hurled in Marvin's direction on a daily basis, the marriage lasted 13 years, just under a century in rock marriage years.
By the time they divorced, Marvin Gaye was a music legend and Anna Gordy was 95-years old, or at least she must have seemed it compared to Marvin's new lady, Janis Hunter, who was just 18-years old. In addition to being a legend by this point, Gaye he was also damn near broke and strung out on cocaine. Having no money to pay his estranged wife in alimony, Gaye's lawyer came up with a deal: Rather than pay any money upfront, Gordy would receive a hefty portion of the profits from Gaye's next album.
A deliberately shitty song has sprung to mind.
Of course, making money to pay your ex-wife's alimony ranks just below having your balls smashed with a claw hammer on the list of things that inspire a person to scale the very heights of artistic greatness. With that in mind, Marvin Gaye entered the studio fully intending to fill a vinyl record with 35 minutes of dogshit and call it a day. Fortunately, that plan was foiled by Gaye's unbridled awesomeness and what the world got instead was classic double album that was such an intimate overview of the demise of he and Gordy's relationship, she actually considered suing him for invasion of privacy. He didn't totally veer off course: The music critics of the day did what music critics do best and panned the album for being too "weird" and "not commercial enough." In other words, it was fucking killer and these days is rightly considered as such.
#1. Best of The Beatles
The title alone is pretty self explanatory, right? The Beatles were a few guys from England who had a couple of hits in the 60s, and the word "Best" in this context could only mean one thing... right?
Yeah, there's a reason we didn't include an artist name with this entry. Because we love suspense! The "Best" in the title of this album doesn't refer to every Beatles song that isn't "Wild Honey Pie." Instead, it refers to Pete Best, the drummer who was kicked out of the group in favor of the much handsomer Ringo Starr.
For some reason, Pete was a little bitter about being jettisoned from the biggest rock group of all time and came up with what has to be one of the most elaborate rock and roll revenge plots of all time. Instead of banging one of his ex-bandmates wives or going on tour as "Pete Best and The New Beatalls" or something, he decided that confusing the shit out of record buyers would be pretty damn hilarious alternative. So, he recorded an album and called it Best of The Beatles. And he was right, that shit was hilarious!
At least it was hilarious to anyone who didn't waste their money on it. However, seeing as how the album was foisted onto an unsuspecting world at Christmastime, 1965--right in the balls-center of Beatlemania--more than a few shoppers picked up what appeared to be the most kickass stocking stuffer imaginable. Provided your stocking was large enough to accommodate a vinyl LP, of course. But when people unwrapped their new purchase and tossed it on the ol' hi-fi and didn't hear "Love Me Do," the shit hit the fan. So much so that, at one point, the album was brought up at a New York State Bureau of Consumer Fraud hearing. But really, there wasn't much they could do about it. The album was exactly what it claimed to be: a record by Pete Best (formerly) of The Beatles.
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For more tales of awesome vengeance, check out 6 Historic Acts of Revenge That Put Kill Bill to Shame. Or check out some movies that secretly take issue with their target audience, in 7 Chick Flicks That Secretly Hate Women.