5 Really Bad Albums

No way you listened to these.  They may not be the worst albums of all time, which I think must be a disco album of some kind, but just try to get through them.

Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music—The story went that Reed owed his record company two disks to complete his contract and he had complete artistic control, and he hated the company, so he set up a bunch f guitars and amp and cranked up the volume and walked away, allowing the equipment to feedback.

It was reviewed in Rolling Stone magazine as sounding like “the tubular groaning of a galactic refrigerator” and as displeasing to experience as “a night in a bus terminal”. In 1979 Billy Altman said it was “a two-disc set consisting of nothing more than ear-wrecking electronic sludge, guaranteed to clear any room of humans in record time.”

I have  known three people who have listened to the whole thing, one was in a dark room late at night, and I suspect all three were aided by  certain mind-expanding substances.

The thing sold 100,000 copies.  I held this one in my hit little hand and wish I had bought a few copies.

Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica is supposed to be brilliant, and I tried over and over to get into it, but just never could.  This probably proves that as a music critic, my taste is all in my mouth,  Many of the freaks, weirdos  and other strange friends who found their way into Madcats swore by it.  The same bunch turned me on to Zappa, and I like a lot of Zappa.  Since Zappa was involved in this project, and since it is listed on several best-of lists, I guess my dislike of it is an indictment of me.  I do like the cover.

William Shatner began his musical “career” 1968 with the The Transformed Man on which he compared and contrasted contemporary pop songs of the period with Shakespeare by providing dramatic readings of Shakespeare interspersed with dramatic readings of the lyrics of songs such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Mr. Tambourine Man“. At the end of “Mr. Tambourine Man,” Shatner shouts the song’s title in a tortured voice.

George Clooney chose this as one of the Desert Island Discs he would bring along if marooned – as an incentive to leave the island. He said, “If you listen to [this song], you will hollow out your own leg and make a canoe out of it to get off this island.”

But, it is just Shatner paying his best character: Shatner. I never made it through it and know of no one ever admitting to doing so.




Laverne and Shirley Sing—well, they did and the shouldn’t have.  There were so many TV people singing in the ’70s, it was hard to keep track of.  Some, like The Partridge Family, actually could make somewhat pleasing, if forgettable  sounds (and I think I love you is actually not too bad).  Others, like Leonard Nimoy, the aforementioned Shatner, Telly Savalas, and too many to try to remember ruined many a piece of good vinyl.

Shirley, played by Cindy Williams, can occasionally carry a tune. Penny Marshall’s voice of Laverne makes one long for the vocal stylings of Yoko Ono.





Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Original Soundtrack) This one was a good idea, but just did not work.  The Bee Gees—a Beatle wanna be band anyway—starred in the movie of the same name and the album had all of the Sgt. Pepper and most of Abbey Road songs on it, plus some other biggies, sung by various artists, including Peter Frampton, Steve Martin (?), Aerosmith (who did a good job) and Alice Cooper.

This one is personal to me. I ordered a ton of them on a special-price pre-release deal,  It debuted at #5 and sold multiple millions, but it never sold out the original shipments. It came out in July, 1978 and when I left Madcats a year later to go to school, we still had unopened boxes in the back room.  We literally could not give it away.

So, maybe this is not as bad as I remember from a musical standpoint, but I just cannot stand to think about it.

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