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The Traveling Wilburys Volume 1 was released to both commercial and critical acclaim in 1988, despite the supergroup coming about somewhat accidentally.
Within 6 months the album had sold 2 million copies – more than any Bob Dylan record had sold at the time.
The Traveling Wilburys released multiple successful singles and received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group in 1989.
And yet despite its breakout success, CDJ readers voted Volume 1 the #1 most underrated album in classic rock.
When Led Zeppelin recorded In Through the Out Door, the band was in a state of turmoil. The album received poor critical reviews upon its release in 1979, but in 1990 Robert Plant defended it saying, “In Through The Out Door wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, but at least we were trying to vary what we were doing, for our own integrity’s sake.”
Despite its early reception, the album has since been certified 6x Platinum.
The Who By Numbers was released in 1975, eventually peaking at #7 on the UK album chart and #8 on the Billboard 200 (US). While “Squeeze Box” was a top 10 hit in the UK and Top 20 in the US, its follow-up, “Slip Kid” did not chart.
Nonetheless, a Rolling Stone review at the time stated, “They may have made their greatest album in the face of [their personal problems]. But only time will tell.”
The Who By Numbers was eventually certified Platinum (1M sales) in the US in 1993.
When Pink Floyd recorded Meddle in 1971, the band started without a clear direction for the album. They tried a series of experiments in the studio in order to spur the creative process but went weeks without having a finished song to show for it. The band had touring commitments at the time and so the recording of the album was spread out.
The album reached #3 in the UK but didn’t sell well in the U.S. (generally blamed on lack of publicity on the part of the record label). NME called it “an exceptionally good album” upon its release CDJ readers are calling it the #4 most underrated album in classic rock.
Of Procol Harum‘s debut album, lyricist Keith Reid said in 1972, “I suppose the first album was the album I was the happiest with. It was fantastic, you know; I thought all the songs were great. It was the worst recorded album, but I really like it.”
The album was included on Classic Rock magazine’s list “50 Albums That Built Prog Rock”. CDJ readers voted it the #5 most underrated album in classic rock.
Procol Harum’s massively successful debut single, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was not featured on the UK album release but was the first track on the US version.
When The Kinks released their 15th studio album, Sleepwalker, it spawned a bit of a commercial comeback for the band in the U.S. and signaled a shift away from concept albums to more of a rock flavor. Many of the leftover songs from those sessions were used on their subsequent release, Misfits. But after the recording of Sleepwalker, bassist John Dalton quit the band and both his successor and pianist John Gosling left the band during the sessions for Misfits, leaving the band somewhat disjointed.
Misfits peaked at #40 in the U.S. and didn’t chart in the UK. It spawned one minor hit, “A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy”.
The Moody Blues‘ Every Good Boy Deserves Favour may have reached #1 on the UK Albums Chart and #2 on the Billboard 200 Chart in the U.S., but CDJ readers voted it the #7 most underrated album in classic rock.
The album’s only single, “The Story In Your Eyes” peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.
Tusk is Fleetwood Mac’s 12th album and is widely known for having cost over $1M to record in 1979 – the most expensive rock album made to that point. The album went on to sell a mere 4 million copies – compared to the band’s 1977 album Rumours, which sold 10 million copies.
Despite reaching #4 on the American charts and #1 in the UK and producing two top ten singles, the album was considered a commercial failure due to the relatively low sales.
In his book, My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood blames lack of sales on the RKO radio chain. The album was played on air in its entirety prior to its release, allowing mass home recording.
Released in 1972, Seventh Sojourn is the eighth album from The Moody Blues. Although the album reached #1 on the American charts and stayed there for 5 weeks, its two hit singles – “Isn’t Life Strainge” and “I’m Just a singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)” – only reached #29 and #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, respectively.
Rolling Stone printed a generally favorable review of the album in January of 1973 but criticized its lack of theme, saying “Now that the Moody Blues are successful singles artists, their new album is a collection of individual tunes with little to link them but the group’s collective philosophy. ”