Albums similar to Prince's Sign O the Times and...Elvis Costello's Spike!?!

OK, a bit of explanation:

Prince’s albums Sign O the Times was a collection of songs recorded with a couple different groups (as well as some by himself), as a result of a few different projects being combined. A similar thing happened with Elvis Costello’s Spike album, where he recorded in four different studios around the world, with different personnel in each studio, and he ended up in his words combining about 4 different albums of ideas into the one.

This is what I am looking for. Although I don’t want to rule anything out, I am more interested in different groups of people playing along to each track (rather than one band playing multiple different styles, for example), and hopefully different groups of instruments being involved.

Anyone have any ideas?

Costello’s followup to Spike, Mighty Like a Rose, takes much the same approach.

It’s not the best example of what you’re looking for, but Todd Rundgren’s Something/Anything? is a little bit like this: three sides are all Todd, but the songs on the fourth side were recorded in other places with studio musicians.

Paul Simon’s Graceland might qualify. Most of the tracks were recorded with a range of South African performers (many of whom only appear on a track or two), though “That Was Your Mother” was done with a Louisiana zydeco band, and “All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints” was recorded with Los Lobos.

I’m still anxiously awaiting another collaboration between Paul Simon & Los Lobos.

Let the healing begin!!!

Good luck with that. :wink:

I actually heard about that Todd Rundgren album yesterday while trying to look this kind of thing up. I was looking up double albums because I figured those would have a high probability of being what I was looking for. I will check it out.

I will check that out, it sounds like it could be on the right track!

I wonder if a lot of “Duets” albums would be like this. Toots (as in “and the Maytals”) did a sort of updated Greatest Hits album with each song featuring a modern musician: Anastasio, Clapton, Stefani, Raitt, Ryan Adams… (and Willie!). Recorded at different studios, but not quite a Sign O’ The Times deal.

Actually I had considered mentioning the Tom Jones album Reload from 1999 for this. In that he does duets with modern musicians like you mentioned, but every track was by the band he was working with and produced by their producer, so that there was no overall producer or anything (as far as I know). I figured most of those duets albums were the other way around, everyone coming to one main studio and working with one producer though.

If there are others like that though I might try to check that route out more tho, thanks for the suggestion. Still, all the songs are made with the one concept in mind so maybe it is not exactly what I am looking for.

Other albums I can think of that used different producers (and to some extent different musicians) on different tracks include some of Paul McCartney’s (e.g. New, and Flowers In the Dirt (also part of the Costello/McCartney collaboration seen on Spike)), and Tim Finn’s Before & After.

The Tim Finn one especially I will check out, I have not heard of that one.

And speaking of Paul McCartney, I keep wanting to mention The Beatles album Revolver in this, since it has a string quartet in one song, a brass band in one song, Indian music, whatever that last song is…, but I guess it is mostly just the Beatles right?

I think Slash put out an album with most of the songs all done with different vocalist and musicians. Don’t know if that’s your sort of thing.

A few Wilco albums are Jeff Tweedy and whoever he could drag into a studio who was available. Band seemed to have a pretty high turnover rate.

Michelle Shocked’s Arkansas Traveler was exactly this: she went around with a mobile recording studio and recorded with a bunch of different bands (including Uncle Tupelo, speaking of Jeff Tweedy).

There are at least a couple live albums from shows where Willie Nelson sang with a whole bunch of different people. Not exactly the OP, but maybe in the spirit of it.