Sometimes the stories heard about making iconic albums seem like they need to be applied to that famous Las Vegas phrase: what happens in the studio, stays in the studio. But for better or for worse, we hear about the fateful recording of albums like the Beatles. So be it, for example, or that of Kendrick Lamar Good kid, MAAd City. These stories range from inspiring to entertaining to disturbing, but all of them have the essence behind the music fans thrive on.
Stacker has compiled a list of 25 classic albums ranging from folk rock to hip hop, along with stories from the studios that produced those albums. For this, sources like Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Genius have been exploited. The resulting albums are instant classics representing the best, or sometimes the worst, of these iconic bands and artists.
Recording in the studio is a pressure cooker, with enthusiasts trying to combine their sometimes disparate ideas about what their band should do next. For artists like Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, and Led Zeppelin, the impending breakups have helped bring some of their most iconic music to life, drawing artistic passion from actual fights and separations. For others, like The Who or Bob Dylan, trying to shake things up has led to true artistic genius.
Was it the passion, the right timing or something else that made these albums iconic? There is only one way to find out.
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1966: “Blonde on blonde” by Bob Dylan
While recording “Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35”, the first track on this album, Bob Dylan was not happy with the way things were going. So he made all the staff go very high and changed instruments; the result became one of Dylan’s most commercially successful songs.
1967: âSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band ‘by The Beatles
The Beatles have hired an orchestra of 40 musicians to record “A Day in the Life”, on Sgt. Petter. But when the musicians arrived, the Beatles didn’t like the sultry evening gown they wore. To lighten things up, the band members gave the band members party hats and clown noses to wear.
[Pictured: Paul McCartney conducts a 41-piece orchestra during recording sessions for the Beatlesâ forthcoming album, Sgt. Pepperâs Lonely Hearts Club Band.]
1967: “Velvet Underground & Nico” by the Velvet Underground and Nico
German singer Nico had a hoarse, hoarse voice. During the recording of “I’ll Be Your Mirror” the band wanted a more delicate sound and Nico became so frustrated that he started to cry. Crying changed the quality of his voice just enough to be fair, and the band was able to do the recording.
1969: “Tommy” from the Who
The iconic Who album Tommy started out as a Hail Mary pass after the band missed a few singles in a row. Inspired by an Indian spiritual master, Pete Townsend began writing an album about a pinball master who was deaf and blind.
1970: “Let It Be” by The Beatles
As they were recording So be it in 1970, members of the Beatles were almost constantly at their throats. Rumors include that George Harrison left the group even before the upcoming breakup and that he got into a fight with John Lennon.
1971: “Tapestry” by Carole King
that of Carole King Tapestry gave the singer an unusual opportunity to re-record a host of songs she had written for other artists, sort of bigger hits from her own non-existent catalog. It sounds like a well-deserved victory for King, who has co-written or written 100 hit songs for other artists.
1972: “Exile on Main Street” by the Rolling Stones
Progress on Exile on Main St. was embarrassed by Keith Richards, who was spending most of his time struggling with a serious drug addiction problem. Today the album is considered one of the best albums of all time. As for Richards? He is clean and always in great shape.
1972: “Transformer” by Lou Reed
Lou Reed’s album Transformer includes the iconic song “Walk on the Wild Side”, which was produced by Mick Ronson. âHe had a strong Hull accent and he had to repeat things five times,â Reed said of Ronson. “But he was a really nice guy and a great guitarist.”
1973: “Burnin” by Bob Marley and the Wailers
Island Records producer Phil Brown accepted a large joint from one of the Wailers to place it on the only existing copy of “I Shot the Sheriff”. Fortunately, the recording suffered, as Monty Python would say, “just a wound to the flesh”.
1973: “Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd
Guitarist and singer David Gilmour managed to have a creative dry spell for iconic Pink Floyd album The dark side of the moon. He said Rolling stone, âI was not as creative as I could have been. I think I did my best in the studio in terms of producing, playing, arranging and all that stuff, but when we started rehearsing something was wrong.
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1977: “Rumors” of Fleetwood Mac
Rumors was recorded following double breakups: first Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, then Christine McVie and John McVie. All the participants contributed to the tense and dramatic atmosphere of Rumors, which is the band’s most iconic album.
1977: “Hero” by David Bowie
Singer David Bowie struggled to find the right words for his song “Heroes” while rehearsing at the Hansa Studios in Berlin. At the right time, he looked out and saw a couple kissing against the Berlin Wall. He was inspired and finished the song on the spot.
1977: “News from the World” by Queen
One of the most famous stories in rock history happened when Queen met the Sex Pistols in the studio. Bassist Sid Vicious faced off against Freddie Mercury as they both recorded albums at the same establishment. âI called him Simon Ferocious or something, and he didn’t like it at all,â Mercury said in an interview.
1979: “The Lo ng Run” by the Eagles
The Eagles barely played their part for their 1979 album The long term. According to band member Don Felder, âThere was a lot of argument and dissent and contentiousness about the songs and the times. It was definitely not going in the right direction. “
1979: “London Calling” by The Clash
When The Clash needed a place to rehearse for their iconic album London call, road manager Johnny Green has found the perfect spot. It was a local garage known for its illegal and illegal spray paint jobs. The group embraced their DIY ethic and signed up to rehearse in the garage.
1979: “Entrance through the exterior door” by Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin was collapsing as band members recorded Inside by the outer door. Drummer John Bonham was a heavy drinker and guitarist Jimmy Page struggled with a multitude of substances, leading to instability and a growing lack of confidence within the band. John Paul Jones said they were split into two camps, with Jones and singer Robert Plant soberly against the rest of the group.
1994: “Seal II” by Seal
âKiss From a Roseâ became one of Seal’s biggest hits in part because of its inclusion in a hit Batman film. But Seal himself was unhappy after writing the song, finding it embarrassing and throwing it into a corner. His producer Trevor Horn finally heard it. “He turned that tape from my corner into 8 million more records and my name just became a household name,” Seal said later.
1997: “OK Computer” by Radiohead
Radiohead was not happy with the situation in the studio where he recorded OK Computer. Singer Thom Yorke said the recording “almost killed me”, while others lamented the slow progress and lack of studio amenities.
200l: ‘Origin of symmetry’ by Muse
Muse lead singer Matt Bellamy said the band recorded Origin of symmetry next to a field of chockablock with psychedelic mushrooms. The group mysteriously found themselves naked in the hot tub or fell asleep in the on-site sauna.
2004: “American Idiot” by Green Day
Green Day’s political album was born out of a studio disaster when the master recordings of many finished songs were stolen. The band decided to start over and started writing songs for american idiot.
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2004: âMm Foodâ by MF Doom
Prolific rapper Daniel Dumile is best known by one of his many nicknames and project names, “MF Doom”. For his second album under the name MF Doom, Dumile maintained his extraordinary pun. âSo I take it back to the old one, bragging about how nice you are with words,â he told NPR in 2003.
2005: âIllinoisâ by Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens’ concept album Illinois follows his research on phenomena from across the Midwestern state, including some that weren’t successful. âI wrote a nervous number for Champaign’s supercomputer, but ended up cutting it,â he said.
2006: “Back to black” by Amy Winehouse
Producer Mark Ronson worked on Back to black with singer Amy Winehouse. âAmy would just say ‘No I don’t like that,’â he said. “This is really useful because you can waste time taking an idea that you initially didn’t like and making it vaguely better.”
2012: âGood Kid, MAAD Cityâ by Kendrick Lamar
What is meant to be a classic album, each track is a slice of the storyteller’s day on the streets. “[Getting in the studio with Pharrell] was crazy, âLamar said of the title song. âWe made about five records together. He hits so fast it’s amazing. So we were just breaking records. When he played that beat, I knew right away that it was the one I wanted for the title track.
2015: “Anthems for Doomed Youth” by the Libertines
Les Libertins recorded Hymns for the doomed youth in Thailand in a studio bordering a huge snake pit. Singer Pete Doherty asks a Thai man what to do if someone gets bitten: where’s the antidote? She was told there was no treatment available and anyone bitten would likely die.