I was just listening to an anniversary re-release of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell album. What I had forgotten was that the album originally only had seven songs (this re-release also contained some bonus live songs). Can anyone think of some other examples of well-known albums that had as few or fewer songs?
Jethro Tull’s Thick As A Brick was, in theory, one long song.
Pink Floyd’s Animals
Deep Purple - Fireball
It is not as mainstream as your example though, and it also has 7 songs. There must be a better example.
Of course any album with a single cut split over two sides wins, but the original version of the Yes album Close to the Edge had three: the title cut, “And You and I”, and “Siberian Khatru”.
If this one counts, it only does so on a technicality, but I’ll mention it anyway:
Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life was a double+ album which, as a whole, had lots of songs. But its second LP only had 7 songs on it. (And, as a Grammy award winner, it certainly counts as “mainstream.”)
Get Ready by Rare Earth and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly each had 6 songs
Also, Wish You Were Here, which has five tracks, two of which are really the same song.
I think we have a winner here. It’s 43 minutes long, really is one long song (a quite impressive one, IMHO) and is split into two tracks on the CD (two sides on the original album). And it definitely qualifies as mainstream, since the five-minute edit still gets frequent airplay on classic rock stations.
I pissed off an entire bar once by paying $1.00 to play the two tracks that make up this CD. At least I got my money’s worth.
I don’t know if it would count as “well-known,” but certainly early Genesis fans would know Foxtrot. Six (saintly shrouded? ) songs: four on one side of the LP and two on the other.
The two songs on the one side are interesting; one (“Horizon”) is the album’s shortest piece of music, clocking in at 1:38. The other (“Supper’s Ready”) is the longest, at 22:58. Given the amount of time available on one side of the LP though, putting these two back-two-back was probably more a logistical decision than anything else.
Jethro Tull also did A Passion Play – on track on two sides – but it didn’t have the success at Thick as a Brick.
Pink Floyd again: Atom Heart Mother had only five songs. The title track was broken into subsections, but this was just a ploy to get it played by the BBC; it’s one piece of music.
In jazz, Miles Davis’s classic Kind of Blue originally had only five songs on it. A second take has been added to the CD. His Bitches Brew originally had six songs – but it was a double album.
Going to the more obscure, Soft Machine’s Third had four songs for a double album – one on each side.
Yes - Close to the Edge - 3 songs
thats the same with animals too tho
Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells album is one song, with part one on the first side and part two on the other. For that matter, so were his next couole of albums.
Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde beats out Stevie Wonder, with eight songs on the first album and only six on the second.
Forgot about Yes’s Tales from Topographic Oceans, which is a double album with one song spread over all four sides, although each side is given a separate name.
That killed off progressive rock, so there probably aren’t any mainstream triple albums that beat it!
The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat only has 6 songs, but that may be stretching the definition of “mainstream.” “Sister Ray” isn’t famous for its extensive radio play…
David Lee Roth
Crazy From the Heat
IIRC, his rationale was that most decent albums only have 4 good songs anyway.