6 Musicians Who Made Entire Albums Just To Say F#@k You
For most people, being angry with your boss or coworkers results nothing more than broken office supplies and/or passive-aggressive emails. For musicians, the same thing can result in fame and fortune. That's because their petty squabbles have a tendency to live forever in album form, for better or worse:
Metallica Tells Fans Not To Overpay For Their Hastily-Made Bullshit
Nowadays, youngsters know Metallica predominantly for their Simpsons cameos and being those greedy old dudes who sued some grandmas for downloading MP3s. However, as much as we like mocking these guys, we have to set things straight: Not only did Metallica never sue their fans for money (just Napster), but at one point, they actually came up with a subtle ploy to make sure people didn't pay too much for their albums. Here it is:
Yes, it was Lars Ulrich's face.
Ironically, it all came down to Metallica's disgust toward opportunistic music industry suits. After the tragic death of bassist Cliff Burton in 1986, the band decided to take it slow for a while. However, due to the success of their previous album, the group was receiving a lot of pressure from their handlers not to kill the momentum. In order to appease their capitalist overlords and break in their new bass player, they figured they could remove two bat heads with one bite by recording a five-track "practice" EP.
The end result had a garage band feel ... because it was literally rehearsed in a garage, then quickly recorded in a studio in six days. Also, it was all cover songs.
Metallica's management did not object, knowing that at the time they could release an album of James Hetfield farting into the microphone and still make tons of money out of their rabid fanbase. Hell, they could probably squeeze 10 bucks a pop out of this cheaply-made crap! Metallica's reaction? Titling the collection The $5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revisited, explicitly referencing its small budget and small workload when compared to the albums they gave a crap about.
"Honestly, we put more effort into our handwriting than the songs."
The warning was clear: Try to overprice this modest offering and feel the wrath of a million Aragorn lookalikes. The original vinyl edition even had a useful sticker on it stating "DO NOT PAY MORE!!!" as a declaration of war to anyone trying to rip off Metallica's fans. Only they (and Lou Reed) get to do that.
Fleetwood Mac's Rumours Was Fueled By Illicit Sex And Revenge (And Cocaine)
Rumours by Fleetwood Mac was the best-selling album of 1977 -- a more innocent time, when "butts" wasn't the most common theme in pop music. Take for example "You Make Loving Fun," in which Fleetwood's Christine McVie sings about believing in miracles, the magic of love, and how fun it is to get screwed by the band's lighting director. OK, that last part wasn't so innocent -- especially to bassist John McVie, Christine's husband, who had to play this song every night, even after he realized it wasn't really about his wife's dog like she originally claimed.
You make being a very good boy fun, yes you do.
It wasn't only the McVies, though: At this point, everyone in Fleetwood Mac was banging everyone except the ones they were supposed to. Lindsay "I'm a guy" Buckingham and Stevie "I'm not a guy" Nicks had recently broken up; by the time the band started recording the album, Nicks was having an affair with drummer Mick Fleetwood and Buckingham was medallion-deep in groupies. To complete the set, Fleetwood had just found out that his wife was cheating on him with a former band member / best friend. Rumours, therefore, is the perfect '70s rock album, in that it was a completely drug-fueled explosion of grievances.
Pictured: a solid wall of cocaine.
Almost every song in Rumours is about how tattered everything was, but the most audacious examples of pure musical hate are found in the dueling banjos of Buckingham's "Go Your Own Way" and Nicks' "Dreams." Both songs not only spend an inordinate amount of lines explaining how the other party will die alone in a house filled with cats, but also feature the target themselves filling in as backup singers. So it is Nicks who has to reluctantly sing that she can "go your own way" (i.e. "fuck off") and Buckingham who has to harmonize about "what you had and what you lost."
"On that second line, I need you to hit that F# when singing about what a cheating bitch you are."
That Rumours consistently winds up in "Best Album of All Time" top tens is made all the more impressive if you know that while performing, the songwriter was cheating on the guitarist with the drummer and the lead singer was making sexy eyes at the spotlight while her husband was leading her in -- with all of them on a strict diet of cocaine and vengeance.
Related: 15 Witchy Facts About Stevie Nicks
Payin' Dues Is Nothing But Van Morrison Not Giving A Shit For 35 Minutes
In 1967, young Van Morrison was so excited to start his solo career away from Them (his previous band) that he forgot about the single most important part of show business: reading your damned contracts. Long story short, every time you hear "Brown Eyed Girl" in the background of some margarine commercial, someone who is not Van Morrison is getting paid. That his fans still relentlessly command him to sing it explains why his face now resembles that of a Koi carp who has forgotten to refill his Xanax prescription.
"Oh, I've got a brown eye for you right here."
Warner Bros. stepped in and offered Morrison a better deal, but there was one little problem -- or rather, 31 little problems. Before he could move to less dickish pastures, Morrison was contractually obligated to record over 30 new songs for his then-current label, Bang Records. Just imagine: If he made songs at the same pace the Rolling Stones do today, he would have been stuck at Bang for the next 20 years.
However, there was no clause saying the songs had to be good, or even have lyrics that made sense. So Morrison grabbed an acoustic guitar, jumped in the recording booth, and, in a single afternoon, improvised 31 unforgettable classics. Like "Ring Worm" (about having to break the news to someone that they have ringworm):
"Want a Danish?" (about wanting a danish):
And "The Big Royalty Check" (Morrison thinking out loud about his finances):
"Some days, I can barely afford a danish."
That's the longest of the 31 songs, clocking in at one minute, 35 seconds. Morrison began the session by half-assedly satirizing Bang Records' catalog, but eventually he let his mind wander and started singing about topics such as blowing your nose, nosing your blow and some dumb guy named George (there are four tracks about him). In the song "Freaky If You Got This Far," Morrison marvels at the fact that anyone listened to the tapes for this long. Bang Records' owner felt similarly and deemed the songs unusable, but of course they still surfaced 30 years later under the appropriately-named Payin' Dues album.
The '90s: When the music industry realized decades-old barrel scraps sell better than new albums.
Frank Sinatra Releases His Own Competing Albums To Screw With Capitol Records
In the early '60s, Frank Sinatra decided he knew enough about music to not have anyone tell him what to do anymore. He proposed that his label, Capitol Records, open a micro label for him under their umbrella, which would have been beneficial for all involved. He'd have more artistic freedom and they'd get to continue basking in his awesomeness. When Capitol said no, Sinatra went ahead anyway and started his own independent label, named Reprise Records.
It's safe to assume that it included blackjack, hookers, or possibly both.
The problem was that he still had a couple of years left on his contract with Capitol, so a spiteful Sinatra found himself in a sales battle with his own albums, and he intended to fight dirty. Over the following years, Ol' Blue Eyes would coincidentally double-release his own competing albums, clearly in order to cheat Capitol out of revenue. On the same month that Capitol released Sinatra's Come Swing With Me, Reprise released Sinatra's Swing Along with Me -- renamed Sinatra Swings when Capitol went "Really?" and sued. The Reprise version still beat Capitol in the charts.
Possibly because only one version looks like a sexual invitation.
The same thing happened when Reprise's Sinatra and Strings nearly coincided with his last Capitol album, Point Of No Return. There were no title shenanigans this time, but only because Sinatra was beyond the point of giving a shit -- he crapped out the Capitol album in about two hours. As a result, it's littered with imperfect arrangements, hurried endings, and several audio splices -- like the noticeably severe one in the last chorus of "These Foolish Things," which might not even be Sinatra singing it. By the time someone in the studio had mustered up the courage to tell the Chairman of the Board he had screwed up a line, Sinatra had already ripped up the music sheet, making it very clear to everyone involved that, except for his career, there were no such things as second chances.
"No no no, don't stop recording."
Point Of No Return became the lowest-selling and lowest-charting Sinatra album to date ... at number 19. We are talking about Frank Sinatra here; him going half-speed is still enough to make every '50s housewife ring-a-ding-ding without the aid of a faulty washing machine.
The Sisters Of Mercy Pay Someone Else To Make Them A Half-Assed Album
The Sisters of Mercy are one of the most influential goth rock bands ever (they're the ones Simon Pegg won't shut up about in The World's End), but this entry isn't about them. No, this is about SSV-NSMABAAOTWMODAACOTIATW, the shit-covered phoenix that reluctantly rose from the Sisters' postmortem defecation for no other reason than to fulfill a legal requirement.
The world will actually end before anybody obsesses over them.
By the mid-'90s, the Sisters had completely disintegrated, but frontman Andrew Eldritch was still on the hook for more albums at their record company, EastWest Records. After a slew of legal struggles, Eldritch decided to make good on his contract ... or, more accurately, pay someone else to do it for him.
Eldritch realized two things: 1) It was only his own name on the deal, and 2) EastWest had agreed to accept the album sight unseen (or hearing unheard, we suppose). So instead of embarking on an epic quest to get the old gang back together for one last album, Eldritch hired two crappy German DJs and started a new band called SSV ... etc., whose name allegedly (definitely) stands for "Screw Shareholder Value - Not So Much A Band As Another Opportunity To Waste Money On Drugs And Ammunition, Courtesy Of The Idiots At Time Warner." Their first and only record was called Go Figure, and the cover looked like this:
You can't tell, but this is an extreme close up of his anus.
But the cover art is freaking Sgt. Pepper compared to the songs, a horribly under-produced collection of techno samples that was not only devoid of a basic drum line, but even of Eldritch himself. He provided just enough vocals for his name to be included in the liner notes, though "vocals" is putting it generously -- they were unintelligible and/or offensive short phrases that the DJs sampled over and over, like in this track called "Shut The Fuck Up":
It's a love song.
The album was never released (Eldritch's contract didn't allow for enough studio remixing to save this tripe), but EastWest did leak it onto the Internet and to the press, perhaps in the most misguided attempt ever to embarrass a goth-rocker.
That's not the face or the posture of a man capable of giving a shit.
The KLF Are Ordered To Destroy Their Albums, And Do It In The Most Insane Way Possible
The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (JAMs), later/better known as the KLF, were one of the key founders of the British acid house movement, which in turn brought rave culture into the mainstream, which in turn provided Hollywood with background music for every movie hacking scene throughout the entire '90s. But while their music might have been acid, the JAMs themselves were 100-percent punk rock. To demonstrate, let's play you some ABBA:
Actually, that's a track from the JAMs' debut album 1987 (What The Fuck Is Going On?), which featured samples from ABBA's "Dancing Queen" -- and by "featured samples" we mean "took pretty much the entire song and gave it rap breaks." Since they had absolutely zero permission to use ABBA's music, this led to a particularly aggressive lawsuit from the Swedish pop legends, which resulted in the JAMs being ordered by the courts to destroy all the remaining albums.
However, the judge forgot a very important part of his sentencing: telling them not be dicks about it.
"They look like reasonable young chaps. It'll be OK."
Naturally, the JAMs grabbed a (we're guessing very frightened) reporter from NME Magazine, took a boat to Sweden, and immediately headed to the ABBA headquarters to beg for forgiveness. There, they reportedly played the offending album in front the building Say Anything-style, hoping Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Anni-Frid would storm out and they would all start making out in the rain. When no one at the offices responded, the duo went out into the streets of Stockholm, found a tall blonde prostitute who they pretended was Agnetha Faltskog, and proceeded to gift her both a fake golden record and a fake apology -- which, seeing as they were in Sweden, is the kind of racism that would probably hold up in court.
Then, in their ultimate act of penance, they drove out to the countryside to cleanse their offending idols with fire. The resulting funeral pyre was photographed and used as the cover for their next album, Who Killed The JAMs?.
Probably so they could write off the trip as a business expense.
The 1987 album was eventually re-released minus the offending samples, but with instructions in the liner notes on how cassette owners could add ABBA back into the mix. After that, the JAMs/KLF sort of mellowed out and took it easy. Just kidding. In 1992, they fired machine gun blanks at the Brit Awards audience, dropped a dead sheep outside the aftershow party, and then quit the music industry.
For more bizarre actions by musicians, check out The 6 Most (Certifiably) Insane Tales of Rock Star Behavior and The 7 Most Impossible Rock Stars to Deal With .
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