Back in the early days of album rock, which would be the mid to late Sixties, fans never had to wait long for their favorite bands to bring out new records. Look at how little time passed between the finest albums by The Beatles, starting with Rubber Soul in 1965 to Revolver in 1966 to Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967 and the White Album in 1968.
Nowadays fans have to be content with several years between releases, as followers of Beck well understand. Many years passed between Modern Guilt in 2008 and its follow up Morning Phase, which was honored with the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2014.
He surprised everyone when he released a new single the next fall, announcing an album to follow in early 2016. Instead, another new single appeared in early 2017, but still no album.
Earlier this month, it was announced that the album would finally come out in October. The complex songs turned out to be quite an undertaking, according to what Beck told Luke Morgan Britton in an August 11 article on nme.com.
Beck is of course not the first artist to delay the release of a record, nor is his the longest postponement in music history. Some well-known bands have experienced delays for a myriad of different reasons, including several members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The famed British band U2’s Songs of Experience LP was rumored to be finished in early 2017, but the group in January announced that it has delayed work on it because of the election of Donald Trump. No official release date has been announced for the much anticipated follow up to 2014’s Songs of Innocence.
Prepared in 1982 for a release that same year, Biograph by Bob Dylan was
delayed until 1985. Some of the master recordings had been mislabeled, and in the interim the original liner notes by music critic Dave Marsh were replaced with an intro by Cameron Crowe. His writings were combined with a song by song explanation by Dylan himself in a thirty six page booklet.
Shinedown delayed its 2015 album due to an illness that affected Brent Smith, the band’s lead singer. Threat To Survival finally emerged in September, six months after its first single “Cut the Cord.”
Music From Another Dimension by rock legends Aerosmith was supposed to be released on August 28 of 2012, but the date was pushed back to November 6 of that year. Front man Steven Tyler admitted that the postponement was primarily due to the fact that too many other artists were releasing new records in the late summer, so Aerosmith decided that a fall issue would be better for all concerned.
Richard Barone and his British quartet known as the Bongos experienced quite a delay for the release of Phantom Train. It was recorded in early 1986, as soon as the group finished its tour of the Numbers With Wings EP.
A few weeks before its release date in the summer, the four members had split up. As a result, the record remained shelved long past its original release date.
In fact, Phantom Train did not emerge until 2013, when Barone turned the tracks over to a new record company. It was a long wait for fans no doubt but, believe it or not, that one fifth of a century delay was not the longest interim.
The Headboys, who had scored an international hit with “The Shape of Things To Come” in 1979, were scheduled to release the follow up to their self-titled debut in spring of 1980. After all ten tracks were recorded, some management problems at their record company caused the album to be delayed.
Remarkably, the record did not come out until 2012, a delay of over three decades. The surviving members of the band appropriately changed the title to The Lost Album, and it was released on CD on December 1, 2012.
Occasionally the reverse is true, serving as a special surprise to fans. In a complete shift, Rap icon Jay-Z actually released an album a week before its scheduled date, primarily because of the desire to avoid bootlegging of the disc. As a result The Blueprint came out on September 11, 2001, a date that would soon become tragically memorable for Americans.