Created By: CosmicRock on August 10, 2012

Across Time and Albums

A band writes about a character or concept on several different albums

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Syd Barrett was the original lead singer of Pink Floyd, his tragic life and mental illness have been the subject of multiple Pink Floyd albums to one degree or another.

This is a rare, but often music trivia-worthy phenomenon where a band writes about a specific concept or person on multiple albums. This does not include writing about a general topic like religion, freedom, love, or heartbreak. This also does not include double albums released at the same time or within a few days or weeks of each other.

Examples:

  • Perhaps the ur example: Pink Floyd has written about the tragic life of original lead singer Syd Barrett on many of their most famous albums, most notably "Wish You Were Here", "Dark Side of the Moon", "The Wall", and "The Final Cut".

  • Canadian progressive rock band Saga have a series of songs titled as "chapters" spread out over the course of their first four major studio albums "Saga", "Silent Knight", "Images at Twilight", and "Worlds Apart". The songs were not released in chronological order and while they don't particularly flow into one another sonically. They are numbered independently of each album's track listings however, and do tell a vague and surreal story about maybe...locusts...or...something?

The Canadian rockers also seem to do this later in their careers with a character named "Sammy" from a song called "No Man's Land" on their "Security of Illusion" album who seems to become the subject of their entire next album "Generation 13".

  • Canadian Prog rock band Rush(go figure!) released two instrumentals titled "Where's My Thing" and "Leave That Thing Alone" on two subsequent albums "Roll the Bones" and "Counterparts". Described as experiments in funk by a white Canadian funk player's standards by members of the band.

  • British hard rock/metal band Iron maiden released a song on their 1980 debut album called "Charlotte the Harlot" about a prostitute who begins to lose her identity in her work. They write a follow up song about the tragic Charlotte on their 1982 "Number of the Beast" album titled "22 Acacia Avenue".
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • August 10, 2012
    Duncan
    As a child, Freddy Mercury of Queen invented, with his sister Kashmira, a fantasy world called "Rhye". Some of his early Queen lyrics have to do with the fantasy land- "Seven Seas of Rhye", "Lily Of The Valley", "My Fairy King" and "The March Of The Black Queen"
  • August 10, 2012
    TurntechGeneticist
    Coheed And Cambria's music tells a story paralleling The Amory Wars comics written by the singer of the band, a concept stretched across all their albums.
  • August 10, 2012
    KTera
  • August 10, 2012
    LeeM
    • Gong did this with their Flying Teapots concept which was spread over three albums.
    • British neo-prog band Arena included eight short pieces called "Crying for Help Parts I-VIII" on their first two albums. These were then reworked into an album entitled The Cry.
    • Not an album example, but in The Sixties British songwriter/producer Mark Wirtz wrote several songs based around his "Teenage Opera" concept. The first, "Excerpt from a Teenage Opera" (aka "Grocer Jack") was a huge hit for Keith West, the second, "Sam" not so much. The remaining songs were recorded by Wirtz and other artists, but the whole thing was not compiled on one album until the nineties.
  • August 10, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    • Janelle Monae's alter ego and the protagonist of many of her songs in all her albums, is Cindi Mayweather, an android who falls in love with a human and is sent to be disassembled for it, and in her second album becomes a messianic figure.
  • August 11, 2012
    Xtifr
    ^^ For Gong, Zero the Hero is probably a better example than the Flying Teapots, although you could use both--they were both on the same three albums. (Also, I think the Gong example may slightly predate the Pink Floyd example.)

    • Frank Zappa had so many that he coined the term "Conceptual Continuity" to refer to it--a phrase that appears in several of his songs, and may therefore be an example itself. The character "Suzy Creamcheese" appears in several songs on different albums, as does "Potato-Head Bobby", and a character simply called "The Muffin Man" and his Utility Muffin Research Kitchen. There's also a talking mountain named "Billy the Mountain", who has a song of his own, and also has cameos in other songs over the years.
  • August 11, 2012
    fulltimeD
    "Deanna" is a character that shows up in Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' album "Tender Prey," in the song "Deanna." She later shows up again in "More news from Nowhere" on the album "Dig, Lazarus, Dig."
  • August 11, 2012
    DaibhidC
    • They Might Be Giants have the Hotel Detective trilogy: "(She Was A) Hotel Detective" on They Might Be Giants, "She Was A Hotel Detective" on Back To Skull, and "(She Was A) Hotel Detective In The Future" on the bonus disc to The Else.
  • August 12, 2012
    TurntechGeneticist
    The Killers narrowly manage to qualify for this trope. Three of their songs ("Jenny was a Friend of Mine", "Midnight Show", and "Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf") are part of a so-called "Murder trilogy". Two of the songs ("Jenny" and "Midnight Show") are on their debut Hot Fuzz, but "Bourbon", while recorded at the same time as the others, wasn't released until their Sawdust album of rarities and B-sides.
  • August 13, 2012
    AgProv
    The Blue Oyster Cult do this with their Muse "Suzie", who appears as a character on quite a few LP's. "Before the Kiss" on the band's first album, Blue Oyster Cult; "Astronomy" and "Dominance and Submission" on Secret Treaties ( Astronomy is reworked on Imaginos), "The Marshall Plan" on "Cultosaurus Erectus", and others. Come to think of it, the bizarrely logical Imaginos Cycle, created by the group's manager Sandy Pearlman, inspired songs which cross a lot of BOC albums.
  • August 13, 2012
    NightNymph
    Bon Jovi has their fictional characters, Tommy and Gina, who are mentioned in three songs across three albums. Their introduction is in "Living on a Prayer" on the album Slippery When Wet. They are mentioned again in "99 in the Shade" on New Jersey. And they are referenced again in "It's My Life" on the album Crush.
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