Overlooked, but great songs by popular bands

Someone mentioned on the do-the-Beatles-suck thread that most of the Beatles better songs never get played on the radio.

That made me wonder how many popular groups had “sleeper” songs in their respective catalogs–songs that never hit it big on the charts, but were arguably superior to that group’s big well-known hits.

I’ll lead off with five personal examples:


Most famous for:Roxanne, Don’t Stand So Close To Me, Every Breath You Take

Best song IMO: Fortress Around Your Heart (title?)

Most famous for:Aqualung

Best song IMO: Teacher

Most famous for:Eye in the Sky

Best song IMO: I, Robot

Most famous for:Open Arms, Separate Ways

Best song IMO: Feelin’ That Way

Most famous for:Hungry Like the Wolf, Rio, The Reflex

Best song IMO: Girls on Film

What are some of your fave sleeper songs?


NIRVANA-best known for “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Better songs…“love Buzz”,“Son of a Gun”,“Drain You” and “Been A Son”.

Fleetwood Mac

Famous: “Don’t Stop”
Best overlooked: “Homeward Bound”. Christine McVie kicks ass on this one.

J. Geils Band

Famous: “Centerfold”
Best Overlooked: The entire Love Stinks LP. I mean it folks, BUY THIS AND LISTEN.

Famous: “Heart of Glass”
Best Overlooked: 1977’s Plastic Letters. See above comment.
Electric Light Orchestra

Famous: Out of the Blue
Best Overlooked: Time. Came out in 1981. Listen to it and think Bladerunner

I think that was a Sting solo song.

You, er, mean Journey.

Some of my favorites in general, some are one hit wonders, others, less popular but good.

Alan Parsons Project - Don’t answer me.
Bad English - Ghost in your heart, and the whole Backlash CD
Queensryche - Hand on Heart
Great White - Save all your love
Michael Peterson - Drink, Swear, Steal, and Lie

Fiona Apple:
popular: Limp; Fast As You Can
great: Paper Bag

popular: Lightening Crashes; The Dolphin’s Cry
great: Freaks; Where Fishes Go

Smashing Pumpkins:
popular: Zero; Bullet With Butterfly Wings
great: Thru the Eyes of Ruby; Stumbline

There are soo many more…but its late. :slight_smile:

Jimi Hendrix
Popular: Little Wing [sub][sup](and deservedly so)[/sup][/sub]
Great: One Rainy Wish

Popular: Sour Times
Great: It’s a Fire

The B-52’s
Popular: Love Shack
Great: Dance This Mess Around

Popular: Eternal Flame
Great: Following

Crowded House
Popular: Weather With You
Great: Distant Sun

Popular: Wonderwall
Great: Talk Tonight

Popular: Where the Streets Have No Name [sub][sup](and again, most deservedly so)[/sup][/sub]
Great: Everlasting Love
ghandi5569, I completely agree on Fiona Apple - I adore “Paper Bag”.

Ooh, ooh, I got one. “Snow Queen” by Elton John. It was the B-side of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and also features Ki Ki Dee. I can’t handle anything by Elton John beyond the Blue Moves record. This old song is a true gem, a beautiful ballad, sadly unheard.

Bob Dylan:
Popular: Subterranean Homesick Blues, Like a Rolling Stone, Rainy Day Women, stuff off of Highway 61 Revisited album.
Great: Gosh, where do I begin… Give "Blind Willie McTell or “Every Grain of Sand” a listen and ye shall be changed :wink:

Stevie Wonder had a song called “Never Had A Dream Come True” that is incredible, but isn’t as popular as it should be.

I agree on the Alan Parsons Project. With Queensryche, I would have picked “Promised Land”

Here are a few:

Counting Crows…famous for “Mr. Jones” and “A Long December” Best overlooked: “High Life” I Wish I Was a Girl" “St. Robinson & His Cadillac Dream”

Billy Joel…famous for “Piano Man” and “Only the Good Die Young,” among others Best overlooked: Anything that wasn’t released on the radio.

Snoooopy, thanks for the corrections. I must remember “PREVIEW is my friend”.

Yeah, Dream of the Blue Turtles was a Police album … shea-right! Ugh … well, they say the memory’s the second-to-last thing to go.

Hey, haven’t you heard the Journey tribute album Jethro Tull put out? No? Didn’t think so :wink:

Known, if at all, for “I Got A Line On You,” but did many better songs, like “Animal Zoo,” “Mr. Skin,” “Darling If,” or “Morning Must Come.”

J. Geils – Nothing tops “Whammer Jammer” – especially the live version.

Beatles – “Hey Bulldog” – Great Lennon Rock 'n Roll song hidden on the “Yellow Submarine” album.

The Who – “A Quick One While He’s Away” – their forgotten rock miniopera. Parts were recycled into “Tommy.” Other good choices are “Music Must Change” and “Guitar and Pen.”

Pink Floyd – “Atom Heart Mother” – their best work, oddly forgotten. For a more obscure choice, there’s always “Free Four.” For even more obscure, there’s “Come in Number 51, Your Time Is Up.”

Led Zeppelin – “When the Levee Breaks” – back to their roots with first-class blues.

Procol Harum – “She Wandered Through the Garden Fence” Lyrics as weird as “Whiter Shade of Pale” with a great melody. “Homburg” is also pretty good.

Jefferson Airplane – “Wooden Ships” – The same song that Crosby Stills and Nash sang, but with an edge to it. CSN are sad that civilization was destroyed; Grace Slick is angry.

Allman Brothers Band – “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” – great instrumental by Dicky Betts, but gets no airplay due to its length. Instead, they play the abysmal “Jessica.” Feh.

Moody Blues – “So Deep Within You”

Emerson Lake and Palmer – “Are you Ready, Eddie?” – Old time rock 'n roll throwaway.

Cream – “Mother’s Lament” – Nutty and wierd, like they were drunk in the studio.

Randy Newman – “Just One Smile” – He’s best known for his film music, but this is one of the greatest breakup songs ever.

Blood Sweat and Tears – “Just One Smile” – While not as good as Newman’s version, this is by far the best song they recorded. It was done by the original, Al Kooper lineup – i.e., no David Clayton Thomas.

Frank Zappa and the Mothers – “Penis Dimension” from “200 Motels” (“Do you worry? Do you worry and moan?”). Actually, most of his work was better than his hits (“Dancing Fool” and “Valley Girl”), though neither is bad.

  1. Cream songs like “White Room” and “Strange Brew” and “Sunshine of Your Love” are played around the clock on classic rock stations. But you never hear “Dance the Night Away,” which is better than any of the aforementioned songs.

  2. The Beatles aren’t exactly underappreciated or underplayed… but I’d love to hear songs like “I’m Looking Through You,” “For No One,” and “Hey Bulldog.”

  3. You can’t escape from the Kinks’ “Lola” or “You REally Got Me.” Good songs, but why don’t radio stations EVER play anything from “The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society,” their best album ever?

  4. The Byrd’s masterpiece was their “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” album, but all anybody seems to know about are"Turn Turn Turn," “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and (maybe) “8 Miles High.”

  5. I’m not a huge Dylan fan, but I LOVED “Desire.” That’s definitely his best album, and among the least appreciated recordings he ever made.

  6. Almost all of Led Zeppelin’s songs get heavy play on classic rock radio. Among the few that don’t are “Out on the Tiles” and “Bron-yr-aur Stomp,” two great tracks from their third album.

Led Zep–Black Country Woman and Boogie With Stu
David Bowie–Star, Song for Andy Warhol, and the entire Lodger album
Iggy Pop–Some Weird Sin

Third Eye Blind
Popular: Semi-Charmed Life
Better: Tattoo of the Sun (B side to the Semi-Charmed Life single) and New Girl (from the ‘American Pie’ soundtrack)

Popular (in the US): One Week, It’s All Been Done, Pinch Me
Better: Alcohol, In the Car, the entire Gordon CD.

Robbie Williams
Popular: Millennium, Angel, Rock DJ
Better: If It’s Hurting You

Matchbox Twenty
Popular: If You’re Gone
Better: Long Day (I really hope they release it as a single.)

Queen: White Queen (As it Began)
Beatles: Only a Northern Song

Lynyrd Skynyrd-
Known For: “Sweet Home Alabama”, “Free Bird”, “That Smell”

Best: “Ballad of Curtis Lowe”

Frank Zappa - ‘the Torture Never Sops’
Genesis - ‘The Return of the Giant Hogweed’
Queen - ‘The Prophet’s Song’
The Alan Parson’s Project - Day After Day (The Show Must Go On)
The Moody Blues - ‘Painted Smile’


Popular: It’s the End of the World as We Know It
Better: Nightswimming, Find the River, Electrolite

Foo Fighters

Popular: Monkey Wrench
Better: Aurora

Led Zeppelin

Popular: Stairway to Heaven (highly overrated IMHO)
Better: That’s the Way


Popular: Invisible Touch
Better: The Battle of Epping Forest, Supper’s Ready, Cinema Show, Firth of Fifth, oh hell ANYTHING from before 1976


Popular: Owner of a Lonely Heart
Better: Starship Trooper

Peter Gabriel

Popular: In your Eyes
Better: That Voice Again (on the same album)


Popular: Dear Mr. Fantasy
Better: Roll Right Stones

Derek and the Dominoes

Popular: Layla
Better: Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad

**U2 **

Popular: With or Without You
Better: One Tree Hill, In God’s Country (on same album)