One-Album-Wonders

Four groups with only one album

Illustrator: Taylor Daniels

Illustrator: Taylor Daniels

While many successful artists and bands go on to make several platinum albums and perform on endless tours, there are also ones that only have one studio album to their name. Drugs, other commitments, and even untimely deaths all contribute to these short-lived groups. Here are four of the best.

The Postal Service, “Give Up” (2003)

The Postal Service is considered a “side project” from Death Cab For Cutie singer Ben Gibbard, and electronic musician DJ Jimmy Tamborello. Singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis also joined the group on backing vocals to create “Give Up,” a well-received indietronica album with throwbacks to ‘80s new wave.

While “Give Up” has its flaws, some of its weakest lyrics are offset by flashes of brilliance, where Tamborello’s synth pair perfectly with Gibbard’s vocals, particularly evident on the omnipresent “Such Great Heights” and “We Will Become Silhouettes.”

In 2013, the band reunited for a tour, and re-released “Give Up” with a few covers and added songs. However, hopes for another album are no more, as Gibbard announced that the band would permanently disband after the last show of their reunion tour.

Them Crooked Vultures, “Them Crooked Vultures” (2009)

This rock supergroup consisted of Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin). Their pairing had been in the works since 2005, and the group finally got together in 2009 to release their album and go on a worldwide tour. Them Crooked Vultures’ abstract lyrics, combined with the superb musicianship each artist had to offer blended together to create a solid, fun album.

Their band’s first single, “New Fang,” won a Grammy award in 2011. While many described the album as being a spin-off of sorts to the music produced by Queens of the Stone Age, Grohl and Jones brought enough of their own styles to the band to differentiate it.

Unlike the rest of these bands, there’s a possibility that the band could get back together and release another album. In 2012, Grohl said, “I know that someday we’ll get back together and do stuff, because we love playing with each other.”

Jeff Buckley, “Grace” (1994)

You may know Jeff Buckley as the alternative/folk rock artist whose cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has experienced a revival in the past few years, so much so that it has been featured on just about every television drama imaginable, from “House” to “The O.C.”

“Grace” is an especially haunting album full of emotion and twisted romance. Buckley’s voice has been described by many publications as being one of the best of all time. David Bowie listed “Grace” as the one album he would take with him to a desert island.

In the midst of recording his second studio album, Buckley died in 1997 in an accidental drowning accident. Many consider “Sketches for My Sweetheart, the Drunk” as a full length album, but it was unfinished when he died. He’s had several live albums released posthumously, and even had a new compilation album released in February.

The Sex Pistols, “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” (1977)

Rebellious, rude, and raunchy, at the time of “Never Mind the Bollocks” release, the band was already extremely controversial. They had sworn on live TV (this was the ‘70s mind you), were fired from two record labels for erratic behavior, and banned in playing in most parts of England.

The group had a mission: attack social conformity and the “fascist regime” of Great Britain in the ‘70s. Their music wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t particularly accessible either. They were angry, and full of hate, something that rubbed many casual observers the wrong way.

However, “Never Mind the Bollocks” was undoubtedly one of the most exciting rock ‘n’ roll albums of its time. The Sex Pistols were largely credited with starting the punk movement, heavily influencing bands like The Clash.

After the band’s U.S. tour tension between the members and a worsening heroin addiction from Sid Vicious, the band broke up just four months after the album’s release. Vicious died in 1979, and the band did a couple of reunion tours in the ‘90s and early 2000s.

The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in February, 2006, but refused to attend the ceremony, calling the museum “a piss stain.”