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What Could Have Been: Music
  • David Bowie originally planned, among many other things...
    • ... to have a Chuck Berry cover as the fourth track of Ziggy Stardust, to complement the Ron Davies cover that followed, until Executive Meddling made him replace it with "Starman." Best not to dwell too hard on that one!
    • ... a stage musical based on the plot of 1984, but failed to get the copyright. Instead, he took most of the songs he'd written for it, such as "1984" and "Big Brother", and wrote several new songs (most famously "Rebel Rebel") to accompany them in a story of The Apunkalypse in "Hunger City"; the result was the Concept Album Diamond Dogs.
    • ...to write "Golden Years" for Elvis Presley to sing. Bowie ended up singing it himself after Elvis turned it down.
    • ... to write a three-part (possibly five-part) cycle of annual Rock Operas beginning with 1. Outside, but at nearly fifty could not return to an annual release schedule and instead moved on to other projects.
  • Pete Townshend's original plan for the album Who's Next was an elaborate Rock Opera called Lifehouse about futuristic dystopia where people lived in pods and only experience life through a virtual mainframe. But then an old man taught a group freedom fighters about rock 'n' roll from the old days, and they put on a concert that transforms the world and wakens those from their Matrix-esque prisons. It was going to involve direct participation from the audience by them inputing biographical data into a computer which would be written into the songs during concerts, effectively changing the music to fit in with those hearing it hopefully resulting in a "perfect chord" and trascend vibrating nirvana. It eventually fell apart mostly due to no one else involved in The Who having a bloody idea what he was talking about, and instead we only got one of the greatest rock albums of all time; Townshend gathered the best songs he had prepared for the project, and they became the centerpiece for Who's Next.
    • Pete Townshend eventually completed Lifehouse and was released in 2000.
  • In-between Marilyn Manson's album "The Golden Age of Grotesque", in 2003, and the 2007 "Eat Me, Drink Me", an entire album was recorded for a scrapped era, The Celebritarian Era. Elements of this era eventually were used in the 2012 album "Born Villain", and it's believed that "Eat Me, Drink Me"'s Mutilation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery is the only track that was used, although this is just speculation based on subject matter. Additionally, after 2000's "Holy Wood", there was supposed to be an orchestral instrumental album (yes, you read that right) called "The Factory". It too was finished but never released.
    • "Holy Wood" itself is the source of What Could Have Beens. First off, it was supposed to have an accompanying movie, called "Holy Wood" and the album was to be called "In The Shadow of the Valley of Death", which is just the album's subtitle now.. This was scrapped. There was also supposed to be the book "Holy Wood", which was finished but, you guessed it, never released. Additionally, there were somewhere between 70 and 100 songs recorded but not used for the album. A few fragments were released of three, and a few others, including a cover of Elvis' "In The Ghetto" and Charles Manson's "Sick City", have surfaced.
    • Additionally, Manson was originally to score the film From Hell, but never did. On top of that, he was the first choice for playing The Scarecrow in Batman Begins.
    • Also, the 1996 album "Antichrist Superstar" was originally far different sounding, more rock like the early Spooky Kids material, and there were several songs drastically altered or scrapped. An early version of the song Astonishing Panorama of The Endtimes was a part of it, with mostly different lyrics, and several songs were cut up and had parts put into several songs. Additionally, there was to be an updated version of the Spooky Kids song "Suicide Snowman", which was also scrapped. Lucky for us, Daisy Berkowitz later released all this stuff online.
    • The 1998 album "Mechanical Animals" was supposed to be a total collaboration with The Smashing Pumpkins. Seriously. It sadly never happened, although there were a few tracks written for it.
    • Twiggy Ramirez was never supposed to leave after "Holy Wood" came out. However, he grew a beard, which was clashing with Manson's look for the next era, "The Golden Age of Grotesque", and refused to shave it, leading to what Manson called "a breakup" and John 5 and Manson writing "The Golden Age of Grotesque" instead. Much of the lyrics are adapted from a suicide note Manson penned to his cat, Lily White, after Twiggy left, but he changed his mind.
    • After seeing the video for "The Beautiful People", David Bowie wanted to work with Manson, but nothing ever came of it.
    • Two songs were cut from "Born Villain" for time reasons. There was supposed to be a special edition with new art and those songs, but Manson never did it, and as he's his own label now, nobody made him.
    • Manson's first recorded song is a rap song called "No Class/Styrofoam Raps". Imagine if Manson ended up being the first edgy popular white rapper instead of Eminem.
    • Additionally, there was supposed to be the "Triptych Tour", in which Manson was to play the Triptych, "Holy Wood", "Mechanical Animals" and "Antichrist Superstar" (they were released in opposite order, but the three go in that order for the story as they're all concept albums), in their entirety, live. However, this never happened because four hour long shows are insane and a bad plan.
    • Marilyn Manson and band co-founder Daisy Berkowitz almost never got famous as musicians at all. Manson had a Psycho Stalker whose place they almost burned down with her inside, but a homeless man scared them off. Additionally, had Daisy never been ousted a few years later, the band would have gone for a much different sound.
      • Soon after, Manson and the cause of the falling out between him and Daisy, Trent Reznor, had a falling out.
    • J-Devil, aka Jonathan Davis, was supposed to be the opening act for Manson and Rob Zombie's Twins of Evil tour.
    • Marilyn Manson and Shirley Manson of Garbage recorded a song together, but it was never released.
    • Marilyn Manson has said that Nirvana is the only grunge band he thinks is good and he wishes that Kurt Cobain was alive, because he would have loved to work with him. Imagine two of the biggest rock stars of the 1990s, working together on anything.
    • Twiggy Ramirez joined the band because the previous bassist, Gidget Gein, ODed on heroin in 1993. He left his band, Amboog-a-Lard, while mastering their first album, A New Hope. Had he not, Amboog-a-Lard may have went somewhere. Additionally, he discontinued his band Goon Moon in 2008 to rejoin Marilyn Manson. He also used to date Courtney Love, which he considers a huge mistake and is deeply embarrassed by. Gidget, meanwhile, died of another OD in 2009.
    • Had Manson listened to the warnings given to him by everyone that knew him, he would have never married Dita von Teese. Had this happened, the Celebritarian Era wouldn't have been scrapped, and "Eat Me, Drink Me", "The High End of Low", "Born Villain" and the next album would have never happened, nor would have his relationship with Evan Rachel-Wood, so he wouldn't have "aged" (actually scars, not wrinkles, from cutting on Christmas, one for every unanswered phone call to her that day in 2007, equaling 158) so suddenly or gained weight (he's a stress eater and, as he's not a cokehead anymore, he doesn't just drop pounds).
    • Marilyn Manson wanted to play Willy Wonka in the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but didn't get the role. Johnny Depp, however, based his portrayal on his best friend since the 1980s... Marilyn Manson.
  • Weezer's second album was originally going to be an ambitious Rock Opera with a science fiction backdrop, entitled Songs From The Black Hole. It was hinted that this was scrapped because Matt Sharp's side project The Rentals released their debut first, and the two albums would have sounded too similar to each other due to prominent use of moog and female vocals. Some of the material intended for Songs From The Black Hole worked well enough out of context to become Pinkerton album tracks ("Tired of Sex", "Getchoo", "No Other One" and "Why Bother?") or b-sides - For instance the b-side "I Just Threw Out The Love Of My Dreams" was meant to be sung by a female character in the story, which is why the officially released version had Rachel Haden on lead vocals. The rest of the material was never recorded by the band, though it was all sketched out in home demo form by Rivers Cuomo. These demos are being gradually portioned out in Rivers Cuomo's Alone solo releases, and for a spell he even took to posting lyrics and sheet music to unheard songs from the project online so fans can do their own versions.
    • In general, Rivers Cuomo seems to have a habit of building up a lot of material before an album, then ultimately rejecting most of it and starting anew, but at least fans often get to hear the songs: During a 2000 summer tour, they were playing fourteen new songs, only three of which ultimately ended up on an album ("Hash Pipe" on The Green Album and "Dope Nose" and "Slob" on Maladroit). Similarly, leading up to Maladroit and Make Believe, the band were posting mp3's of demos to their official website: A lot of the posted songs weren't on Maladroit and none of them were on Make Believe.
      • The band were reportedly discussing a guest appearance by Axl Rose on "Mo' Beats", an unusually Rap Rock-influenced pre-Make Believe demo. "Mo' Beats" was among the demos that the band leaked online, but of course this was a version without Axl.
    • Homie was supposed to be a side-project for Rivers Cuomo: Many songs intended as Homie material were played live by his other side project The Rivers Cuomo Band, but only "American Girls" ever officially saw release, and that was actually performed by an entirely different lineup than the album was going to have.
    • Spike Jonze had Weezer record a version of "Happy Together" by The Turtles for Adaptation, but rejected it in favor of the original because it was "too sad". They were playing a version of the song live around the same time, but all signs point to this being an entirely different arrangement.
  • Pink Floyd originally planned their followup to The Dark Side of the Moon to be something called Household Objects where they would play things like saucers and pieces of string as instruments. They abandoned it after only a few recordings, with the only recording making it onto Wish You Were Here being the recording of tuned wine glasses that appears at the beginning of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". Another possible follow up to Dark Side was the soundtrack to an Alejandro Jodorowsky-helmed Dune film that never saw the light of day.
    • The Immersion boxed sets from 2011 feature several pieces from the Household Objects sessions. The wine glasses piece (under the title "Wine Glasses") appears on the WYWH box and another track called "The Hard Way" appears on the ''Dark Side" box set. A third track, title unknown, has yet to see release.
    • Alan Parsons later explained in a radio interview that the main reason the Household Objects idea was dropped was that after three or four months of work in the studio, they had less than two minutes of usable material to show for it, and quickly concluded that if this kept up they would all go mad long before they could finish a single track, let alone an entire album.
    • Later on, Waters's original plans and demos for the epic The Wall included the album filling out three LP's and a worldwide tour in "a giant inflatable slug", according to Nick Mason's book on his time in the band, Inside Out. Ultimately, due to financial reasons and the sheer insanity of Water's ambitions, the album's length was cut by a third and the tour only consisted of a string of residencies in New York City, Los Angeles, and London (which still ended up losing the band money because of the previously unheard of expense of the shows).
      • Waters presented a very long acoustic guitar demo of songs he was gathering from 1978-79 featuring two projects: The Wall and The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking. The band were in serious debt as their managers squandered all their money and the band was living as tax exiles. As their next project was to be do-or-die, they felt The Wall had more commercial potential. The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking wound up as Waters' debut solo album.
      • Pink Floyd went in the studio in 1982 to record new songs for the movie version of The Wall. When new music wasn't needed, Pink Floyd intended to release a project called Spare Bricks featuring unused Wall tracks. The Falklands War inspired Waters to write the next Floyd album, The Final Cut, incorporating Spare Bricks.
    • While the band (minus Roger Waters) was recording A Momentary Lapse of Reason, producer Bob Ezrin suggested that they would rap some of the lyrics. That Is All.
  • Freddie Mercury had a lot of those: in mid-70's, there'd been plans for a singing trio called Nose, Teeth and Hair including Elton John, himself and Rod Stewart, but it never happened (he once jokingly stated they could never agree on the order of the words). He'd also been scheduled to appear on Thriller and to sing with Michael on "State of Shock" (there's even a demo of the latter) as well as doing the title track of the Victory album (which remains unreleased). Freddie was replaced by Mick Jagger for the final recording. Michael was supposed to guest on Freddie's solo song There Must Be More to Life Than This (again, there's a surviving demo).
    • Speaking of Queen: "Another One Bites the Dust" was supposed to be about cowboys (there's also a legend that John wrote it for MJ, but it's a lie), "Prophet's Song" was supposed to be a guitar extravaganza, not a vocal one, "Procession" was to include timpani and orchestral cymbals, etc.
    • As Brian May and Roger Taylor have observed, there are also numerous tracks from The Miracle and Innuendo which would have been good Audience Participation Songs if Freddie hadn't become too sick to perform live by 1989. As well as that, there was the persistent rumour in the mid-nineties that George Michael could be the new singer for Queen.
    • Brian May has expressed regret for not pushing for releasing a Highlander soundtrack album instead of A Kind of Magic and has stated that he hopes to put together an album featuring Michael Kamen's score as well as the songs recorded by Queen.
  • Michael Jackson's song "Is It Scary" was first conceived in 1993 as a tie-in to Addams Family Values, along with a video concept that he hashed out with Stephen King in which Michael would face a Torches and Pitchforks mob with help from Wednesday and Pugsley Addams. When the first round of child molestation allegations was leveled against him, this was all put on hold, but he revived and completed the project in 1997 as the 38-minute video Ghosts, which added two more songs and dropped the Addams Family trappings.
    • The main page illustrates a snippet from the rehearsals of the This Is It shows that he did not live to do, with the film of the same title consisting of rehearsals and special effects footage prepared for them. An interesting What Could Have Been question is whether he would have completed the run of 50 shows had he lived, given his tendency to not fulfill contracts and obligations. Had he failed to do so, the fallout would likely have been catastrophic, given that it was a last-ditch effort to salvage his finances.
    • Thriller was originally called Starlight.
    • MJ's song "Bad" was originally supposed to be a duet with Prince. Rumored explanations for why Prince didn't participate abound: he felt the song was excellent with just Michael singing; he wasn't terribly enamored of the song's opening line, "Your butt is mine..."; he knew a duet would make it obvious to all audiences that Jackson was significantly taller than him, etc.
    • Michael Jackson and Run-D.M.C. worked on a number for 1987's Bad, "Crack Kills", but it didn't pan out. Christopher Andersen's biography Michael Jackson Unauthorized claims that the two entities lacked chemistry together, while Joe Vogel's Man in the Music claims that Jackson was worried that rap would never catch on. Quincy Jones's comments on the making of the album support the latter explanation — Jackson actually told him that rap was dead!
    • Jackson tried to enlist first Barbra Streisand, then Whitney Houston, for the duet "I Just Can't Stop Loving You".
    • Decade, a Greatest Hits Album with some new tracks, was supposed to be his first album after Bad. Putting the project on ice had disastrous consequences for an endorsement deal he'd inked with shoe company L.A. Gear: They launched a Jackson-branded shoe at the time the album was supposed to come out. Since he wasn't on the minds of potential buyers, the shoes flopped.
    • "In the Closet" was originally planned as a duet with Madonna. The story given in Michael Jackson Unauthorized is that she pressed him to write a genuinely sexy, erotic song, and this was what he came up with — when she heard it, she was appalled by its quality and turned it down flat.
    • Jackson was rehearsing a special for HBO, One Night Only, in late 1995 when he collapsed and had to go to the hospital; although the show had been widely advertised, he never rescheduled it.
    • In her Oprah interview, J. K. Rowling revealed Jackson once approached her, wanting to do a musical version of Harry Potter. She turned that down. It could have worked, assuming he had wanted to play Voldemort.
    • After he was declared not guilty of child molestation and related crimes in 2005, he tried to get on the bill of the Live 8 charity concert later that summer, but was turned down (perhaps because, given his recent notoriety, the media would have focused on the comeback attempt and missed the event's point).
    • In the oral history I Want My MTV, director Tarsem Singh recounts meeting with Michael Jackson, who wanted him to direct one of his videos in The Nineties. Singh was so alarmed by Jackson's facial appearance that he came up with a concept where Jackson would be behind a tree the whole time, with the viewer only seeing his arms and legs in motion. Jackson didn't get it, so it didn't work out.
  • Entirely averted by Johannes Brahms, who burned all the drafts of his music before publication.
  • The Beatles recorded "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" in the Sgt. Pepper sessions and planned to release them on the album. However, the record company wanted a new single in the meantime. The Beatles didn't release singles prior to them appearing on an album, so they were left off. George Martin later viewed this as a mistake. And he was quite right.
    • In fact, "Strawberry Fields Forever" stopped another What Could Have Been: The Beach Boys' album Smile. Brian Wilson worked so hard on the album, which was supposed to be like "Good Vibrations" except much, much more...and then he heard the Beatles' song in his car and halted work on the project. This also might have been one of the causes of Brian Wilson's mental issues. In 2004, Wilson released a newly recorded solo version of the album which was critically adored. What was recorded of the actual Beach Boys version was released in November 2011, roughly 45 years after its initial planned release.
    • Pete Best's ENTIRE LIFE can basically be summed up by this trope.
      • Ditto Stu Sutcliffe. Although he died a few years after leaving the band.
    • Let it Be was originally supposed to be a return to the band's original sound, recorded alongside a documentary, and culminating as a live album. Instead, the documentary was less of the creation of an album and more the end of a band, the live show was on a rooftop, and the tapes were given to Phil Spector, who added strings and his trademark lush sound.
    • Let it Be... Naked is Paul McCartney's redo of it that removes the Spector element.
  • An interesting version of What Might Not Have Been: If a stomach injury hadn't killed Till Lindemann's potential Olympic swimming career, Rammstein might never have formed.
    • In a similar vein, Robert Schumann would have spent more time performing on piano and less time composing if he hadn't injured his finger in an effort to make it more flexible.
  • Barry White claimed in a mid-90s interview that he and Marvin Gaye had been planning to collaborate on an album before the latter's untimely death. Such a record would likely have kickstarted another baby boom.
  • Hendrix, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, anyone? By 1970, when Keith Emerson and Greg Lake were looking to complete their lineup, Jimi Hendrix was tired of the whole Experience thing and looking for something different. He started discussions with them after they tried to headhunt his drummer (they later recruited Carl Palmer from Atomic Rooster). We can only speculate where things might have lead if Jimi hadn't died soon afterward.
    • Allegedly, John Paul Jones also tried to recruit Greg Lake as a keyboardist.
  • Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine once offered Dimebag Darrell Abbot a spot in the band as lead guitarist. Dimebag turned it down, as he wouldn't play without his brother, Vinnie Paul Abbot, and the position of drummer in Megadeth was already filled. Dime and Vinnie Paul carried on with their own band, Pantera, who is often named as the only band that carried heavy metal through the days of grunge.
    • Also, Dave Mustaine and Cliff Burton remained good friends even after Mustaine was fired from Metallica. While unlikely, it's theoretically possible that Mustaine could have convinced Cliff to quit Metallica and play for Megadeth. This, plus the above possible inclusion of Dimebag and Vinnie Paul, would have resulted in quite possibly the greatest metal band ever.
    • On the subject of Cliff Burton, one must wonder how far into the Progressive Metal direction he was leading Metallica in would they have traveled had he not died in a literal Bus Crash.
    • Metallica originally wanted John Bush to be their vocalist, but he declined since his band Armored Saint was essentially made up of his childhood friends (he did later answer Anthrax's call after losing Joey Belladonna).
    • Before Appetite For Destruction was released, Slash spent a lot of time hanging out with Mustaine. They smoked crack and wrote music and Slash joining Megadeth was a serious possibility for a brief period of time.
    • An unknown but highly talented teenaged guitarist from Wisconsin auditioned for Megadeth shortly after Jeff Young was thrown out; while impressed by his performance, Mustaine felt that he was too young and had too little life experience to be a wise choice, and so he had no choice but to turn him down and wish him luck with his future endeavors. That guitarist's name? Jeff Loomis.
    • After Burton's death, Les Claypool auditioned to play bass with Metallica. James Hetfield would later say he didn't get the job because "he was too good" and "should do his own thing". Les' distinctive Funk Metal style and joking suggestion that after his audition they should "jam on some Isley Brothers tunes" didn't jibe well with Metallica. That said, Les did end up briefly joining a bay area metal band: he played on Blind Illusion's 1988 album The Sane Asylum alongside future Primus guitarist Larry LaLonde.
    • Whilst not being tragic a loss to the history musically, it recently came up in interviews that Hulk Hogan attempted to audition for the part. Even more surreal is the fact he later tried to do the same with The Rolling Stones.
    • Also on Metallica, there are two originals from S&M ("No Leaf Clover", "Minus Human") which show an interesting future. But then came Napster, Jason Newsted's departure, and the mother of all Creator Breakdowns...
  • X Japan has a lot of these:
    • What if the band hadn't been sued by the American band X in their first attempt to break into the US rock scene in 1991? Would they have been dismissed as just another hair metal flash in the pan (and one that couldn't sing in the best English at the time), would they have been absorbed into the American metal scene of the time as it was about to tank, or would they have somehow overcome the language barrier and would Visual Kei have began to develop in America 10 to 14 years before it actually ended up doing so?
    • What if Taiji Sawada hadn't been kicked out of the band in 1992 and had stayed on as the bassist?
    • What if they had been able to debut Art of Life at Madison Square Garden?
    • What if Taiji's solo career had been as overwhelmingly successful as hide's? Or hide's failed as badly as Taiji's?
    • What if hide had lived rather than died in 1998, and what if, had he lived, he had gone on to front X Japan as the vocalist replacing Toshi in 2000, as had been planned?
    • What if Miyavi had been chosen as the new lead guitarist rather than Sugizo?
    • What if Toshi had gotten free from Home of Heart earlier? Or for a more horrific version, what if he had not gotten free from Home of Heart...
    • What if Taiji had lived and came back to the band, and they'd become a double bassist band? The band's only glimpse of this, with him at Yokohama in 2010, was one of their best shows since reuniting...
  • After Parsifal, Richard Wagner planned to spend the rest of his life composing symphonies. Unfortunately, he did not live that long.
  • Several future music notables auditioned for The Monkees, including Stephen Stills (who recommended his buddy/lookalike Peter Tork), Danny Hutton (of Three Dog Night), Paul Williams (who would later compose the flopped Monkees single "Someday Man") and Van Dyke Parks. The urban legend that Charles Manson auditioned isn't true, though. He was in prison at the time. Stills figures into another What Could Have Been scenario with The Monkees: Peter Tork asked him if he wanted to produce their Headquarters album and he agreed, but they found out that Michael Nesmith had beaten them to it by hiring Chip Douglas.
    • About Charlie Manson: He did actually want to get into music, and even wrote and recorded a song with the Beach Boys. The Boys' producer Terry Melcher turned him down, but his song was later retitled and submitted on an album. In fact, Charlie murdered Sharon Tate and co. as a twisted revenge ploy against Melcher since Sharon was living in Melcher's former house. (All this generates more What Could Have Been speculation regarding Sharon Tate. Nice going, Charlie.)
    • The Monkees were later offered the chance to record "Sugar Sugar", but collectively hated the song and refused. This is a claim backed by the group's then-manager, Don Kirshner, who claimed Nesmith so hated the song, he put his fist through a hotel wall in defiance. The claim is denied by the song's co-writer, Jeff Barry, who says the song hadn't even been written yet, at the time Kirshner says the incident went down.
  • There's a deleted scene from the They Might Be Giants documentary Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns discussing the possibility that Elvis Costello might have produced the Apollo 18 album. Depending on who you want to believe, either Costello accepted the offer only to have the Johns change their mind, or the Johns briefly tossed out the idea but weren't really serious about it and their record label misunderstood them.
    • The band had originally intended Joe Strummer of The Clash to sing on the bridge of "Cyclops Rock", but for some reason or another, Strummer wasn't able to make it to the studio on time. The band instead asked Catatonia singer Cerys Matthews (who was recording elsewhere in the studio) to sing it instead.
    • There were plans in the late 90's for a compilation called Superfueled Freaksickle - it basically would have compiled their Elektra-era B Sides the way Miscellaneous T did for the b-sides from first two albums. John Flansburgh claims it was axed because they didn't think there would be much fan interest, as well as citing concerns about "flooding the market" (both this album and the two disc compilation Then: The Earlier Years would have been released in the same year). Now that TMBG are no longer recording for the Elektra label, a belated official release seems pretty unlikely. However, fans have put together track-lists and artwork to make it easier for one to track down the material themselves and make their own version of the album.
  • Green Day had recorded an entire album, Cigarettes and Valentines. Then the master tracks got stolen. They decided not to recreate the thing, instead creating their New Sound Album American Idiot.
  • In the months before John Lennon's death, The Beatles had been teasing in interviews about the band reuniting for a Reunion Tour. That's right, the Beatles were planning to reunite in 1980. Then along came some arsehole who read The Catcher in the Rye way too much...
    • According to one urban legend, when Lorne Michaels offered the Beatles $3000 to appear on Saturday Night Live (and later sweetened the pot to $3200) John Lennon and Paul McCartney actually considered taking him up on his offer. Blogger MightyGodKing provided a detailed speculation of what might have happened if the Beatles had reunited on SNL. Among other things, The Beatles agreed to appear on an episode of The Muppet Show during its fifth season and spent much of December 1980 in London where the show was produced. Not only did his being in London avert Lennon's assassination, but working with the Beatles revived Jim Henson's creative juices; instead of going off the air that year, the Muppet Show would go on for a total of 12 seasons. What could have been indeed!
    • There is evidence that Mark David Chapman considered murdering David Bowie, performing in The Elephant Man on Broadway at the time. He apparently made a choice between killing Bowie or Lennon — what if he'd gone with the former? Or much worse, decided to kill both men?
  • In the late '80s, there was talk of youngest Gibb brother Andy Gibb joining The Bee Gees, making them a quartet for the first time since their late 60s harmonic rock period. Andy's untimely death at the age of 30 in 1988 meant this would never come to pass.
  • Sufjan Stevens' album Illinois was originally conceived as a double album, but he scaled it down to one disc pretty early in the creative process. He ended up releasing all the unused songs on The Avalanche anyway, but one can't help but imagine what the double-album version would have been like: How would all the songs been arranged as a cohesive whole? What would the Avalanche tracks have sounded like with all the musicians from the Illinois sessions playing them? (It probably wouldn't have had three different versions of "Chicago" on one disc.)
  • As shown here, a then-unknown college girl named Stefani Germanotta had a chance to be the next Sara Bareilles or Norah Jones. She turned it down in favor of taking a ride on your disco stick, having a puh-puh-puh-poker face you can't read, following you until you love her, wanting your love, and wanting your revenge.
    • She also worked with Britney Spears on two or three songs for her Circus album. These where cancelled or left to become b-sides (Amnesia). "Telephone" ended up on The Fame Monster.
    • Michael Jackson wanted to work with her before he died.
    • The Fame Kills tour with Kanye West
    • The Edge Of Glory cancelled video
    • Just Dance was supposed to be a rock song.
  • Ronnie James Dio had plans to make a sequel to his 2000 album Magica, but had opted to temporarily put it on the back burner when he was reinvited to Black Sabbath so he put his entire focus on The Devil You Know. Unfortunately, this will never happen for obvious reasons.
  • Saint Etienne's Foxbase Beta (a remix/re-recorded album of their debut album Foxbase Alpha) bears this as an actual credit (What Could Have Been: Brian Cant). Richard X, who was remixing (or as he put it, re-producing) the album, wanted Brian Cant to do some narration, but it never happened.
  • Another example of What Might Not Have Been: If Waylon Jennings had not graciously given up his plane seat to a sick Big Bopper, country music would not have been the same.
    • Had Ritchie Valens survived, we could have had a Hispanic Revolution instead of a British one in the sixties.
  • Martina McBride has said that she thinks her breakthrough album The Way That I Am would've been even more successful had "Strangers" been released after her Signature Song "Independence Day" instead of the back-to-back duds "Heart Trouble" and "Where I Used to Have a Heart." She even included "Strangers" on her Greatest Hits Album.
  • Barely averted with Jason Aldean. The studio that held the masters to his second album, Relentless, caught fire, but the fire stopped just shy of where the masters were stored.
  • After Greg Lake left King Crimson, among those auditioning as the band's new lead singer were several (then-) unknowns: Yes singer Jon Anderson, future Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry and a session pianist and struggling songwriter known professionally as Elton John. The part was eventually given to singer-songwriter Gordon Haskell, but Anderson gives us a peep of what it could have been like, he sings on "Prince Rupert Awakes" from the resulting album, Lizard.
    • Furthermore, while they were taking In the Court of the Crimson King on tour, Robert Fripp actually offered to resign from the group to settle the creative bustups they were having. But Michael Giles and Ian McDonald rejected this offer and resigned themselves. Also, Greg Lake actually quit to join ELP before recording started on In the Wake of Poseidon, and appeared on the album as a session vocalist only. So, if Giles or McDonald had accepted Fripp's resignation, Anderson, Ferry or Elton could have ended up running King Crimson.
    • That wasn't the first time Fripp had played chicken with What Might Not Have Been. He joined Crimson precursor Giles, Giles and Fripp after responding to an ad for an organ-playing vocalist - Fripp could do neither, but they took him on anyway because nobody else turned up. Later, when he recommended his friend Greg Lake to the band, he suggested that Lake replace either himself or Peter Giles - Giles, while seeing this as a political manoeuvre by Fripp, opted to leave anyway, disillusioned by lack of success.
    • Elton John also auditioned to be Gentle Giant's vocalist, but was turned down again.
    • After Robert Fripp collaborated with Hall & Oates on some of a ca. 1978 album, he was so impressed by Daryl Hall's voice and versatility that he asked Hall to be the lead singer of King Crimson. Hall was more interested in sticking with Hall & Oates, though. So imagine life with Daryl as the lead singer of King Crimson — what musical direction the band would've taken with a blue-eyed soul guy in front, as well as having Hall & Oates miss out on their most commercially successful period (which began in 1980 and reached its acme in 1983 ["Maneater", "One on One", "Adult Education", "Say it isn't So"]).
  • Vangelis was offered a spot in the group Yes. However, he turned it down to go solo. Had Vangelis accepted, we probably would have never gotten the scores to Chariots of Fire or Blade Runner.
    • It probably would have also resulted in a very different Yes, if his album 666 is any indication.
  • Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart" was originally written with The Ramones in mind.
    • He also wrote a song for the first Harry Potter film called "I'll Stand By You Always," inspired by his reading the books to his son, but J.K. Rowling made a stipulation not to use any commercial songs in the movie so it was never released.
  • BECK was originally slated to sing on one track of the Melvins' The Crybaby - next to Tool he would have been the biggest name on the guest-appearance-heavy album. Beck reportedly expressed interest in doing it note , but some record label issues prevented the collaboration from happening.
  • Memphis Soul managed to survive the death of Otis Redding and the original Bar-Kays, thanks largely to the Wattstax event (which the national debut for the new Bar-Kays). But Al Green's leaving the industry to dedicate himself to the church seemed to rip the soul (pun not intended) out of the city's music industry and Memphis Soul never regained it's prominence.
    • Around the time of his death, Otis Redding was supposedly planning a Sgt. Pepper or Pet Sounds style album consisting of songs in the mould of (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay. If this had gone ahead, it's entirely possible that soul might not have lost as much ground to funk in the 1970s.
  • The supergroup that was formed to portray the wizarding group The Weird Sisters in the film version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- which included members of Pulp and Radiohead - originally planned an entire album of in-universe music rather than the two songs they provided for the soundtrack. Alas, an obscure real-life group from Canada named the Wyrd Sisters, took issue and the idea had to be scrapped. NB 
  • Billy Corgan was once working on backing music for a Shaquille O'Neal rap album (At his own publisher's suggestion). Around the same time, David Lynch wanted a new Smashing Pumpkins song for Lost Highway, but didn't like their original contribution, "Tear". So Corgan took the electronic instrumental he intended to submit to the Shaq album, built it into a more-electronic-than-usual Smashing Pumpkins song, and the resulting song "Eye" appeared in Lost Highway instead. Would Adore still be a New Sound Album if "Tear" was released on the Lost Highway soundtrack and was less well received than "Eye" was? Perhaps more importantly, what on earth would "Eye" sound like with Shaq rapping over it?
  • When Chris Thompson left Manfred Mann's Earth Band in 1980, several singers were auditioned to take his place. Among them: Paul Young, Graham Bonnet (who had just left Rainbow), Brian Johnson (who would later take the reins as another band's lead singer), and Huey Lewis.
  • Britney Spears was going to do a Jazz/Rock singer/songwriter record called Original Doll in 2005 before it was cancelled by the record company. Fans still feel they are owed that!
    • The original concept for Britney was to be a more R N B Darker and generally more personal album called Shock Your Mind which she wrote most of the tracks except for one. Jive decided they'd rather have another Max Martin focused album and nixed the idea
    • "Everytime" was supposed to have Britney commit suicide, the recording company couldn't have that.
    • "Gimme More" was originally going to be a video where Britney dies and another Britney comes and laughs at her grave or funeral. Jive nixed that idea in the bud.
    • "Radar" got released due to some technicalities in the legal level making of Blackout, from the album "Circus". It was an awkward bonus track and very tacked on final single for the album.
    • One outtake of Circus, "Whiplash", was eventually recorded in 2011 by Selena Gomez + The Scene.
  • "Fall to Pieces" by Velvet Revolver was a decent hit from their debut, with Scott Weiland on vocals. Apparently the song was originally going to be a Guns N' Roses song, that could have had Axl on vocals instead. It would have doubtlessly been a bigger hit if this had happened.
  • McFly's 5th Studio album could have been a lot different. According to one interview, a whole album's worth of songs had been written, only for them all to be scrapped, instead starting from scratch to create their New Sound Album, Above The Noise.
    • Not only that, there were plans to release a science-fiction themed album!
  • In the early 80's, Slash auditioned for Poison, but was rejected. He went on to be one of the founding members of the much more successful Guns N' Roses.
  • However much Creator Backlash the Beastie Boys have for the lyrical content of Licensed To Ill, imagine how much worse they'd feel about the album today if their label had let them call it Don't Be A Faggot.
    • There were originally plans for an alternate version of their instrumental album The Mix Up featuring guest vocalists on every song - rumored contributors included MIA and Jarvis Cocker. This of course never ended up happening.
  • BECK recorded a somber, acoustic folk album as his major label followup to Mellow Gold, then decided to scrap the material, collaborate with The Dust Brothers and release the much more eclectic Odelay instead. Two songs from those sessions, "Brother" and "Feather In Your Cap" saw release as b-sides, while another, "Ramshackle", actually appeared on Odelay itself. Still, the most critically and commercial successful Beck album almost didn't happen.
    • He also had the idea of getting David Eggers and Spike Jonze to do a "commentary track" for the entirety of The Information. This is what led to the recording of Eggers and Jonze having a strange conversation at the end of "The Horrible Fanfare/Landslide/Exoskeleton".
  • Voices: WWE The Music, Vol. 9, was originally planned to be a sequel to WWE's 2002 album WWE Anthology, titled WWE Anthology II. WWE Anthology II was going to be a three-CD set that would have had new music and alternate mixes of older material. It was also going to have unreleased music as well. Among the older material, it was reported that Demolition's theme and Slick's "Jive Soul Bro" would be included.
  • After Jim Morrison's death, there was talk of Iggy Pop joining The Doors, replacing him as lead singer.
  • Before Simple Minds ended up recording it, "Don't You (Forget About Me)" was shopped to Bryan Ferry, Cy Cumin from The Fixx, and Billy Idol, all of whom turned it down. Simple Minds themselves actually turned it down at first too, which is part of why it got some Creator Backlash for a while. As a nod to what could have been, Billy Idol later recorded a version in 2001 for a Greatest Hits Album.
  • The Minutemen intended to put out a triple album called 3 Dudes 6 Sides 3 Studio 3 Live, which was to consist of three sides of new studio material and three sides of live songs (with the songs to be included for the live portion voted on by fans). D. Boon died in a car accident before the studio material could be recorded, so the band released the live half as Ballot Result and broke up.
  • The Crystalline Effect created an EP called Do Not Open, which was leaked before official release. As a result, the EP underwent major changes (half the songs were scrapped and replaced with tracks from their forthcoming album, and it was renamed) and they had to rewrite a large amount of the next album, which became Identity.
  • The Prodigy's "Narcotic Suite" could have had Ian Anderson playing flute on it. Liam Howlett had sent him a letter asking him to either play an already written part or to give permission for them to use samples of his playing. Anderson didn't see the letter until the album was already out, and in the meantime Howlett had Phil Bent play the pre-written flute part instead.
  • There was a urban legend going around that NWA and Guns N' Roses were gonna make a song together.
  • Supposedly Tupac Shakur was going to semi-retire after his contract was up with Death Row records. Afterwards he was going to release only high concept albums every few years.
  • Steely Dan has a few of these:
    • For the first couple years of the band's existence, where there were still official band members other than Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, David Palmer was added as a singer (he sang lead vocals on "Dirty Work" and "Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)" from Can't Buy a Thrill). This was because Donald Fagen had terrible stage fright, and didn't want to sing in concert.
    • A ton of their demo material has been leaked, and in some cases officially released; some are early versions of songs that would appear on later albums, like "Parker's Band" and "Everyone's Gone To The Movies," while others are unique compositions. However, most of it is of varying quality. It's maddening to try to imagine what "Old Regime" or "Mock Turtle Song" would've sounded like if it was produced with the Dan's trademark studio perfectionism.
    • During the troubled production of Katy Lied, a song called Mister Sam was recorded, but due to sound processing issues wasn't considered in good enough shape to be released, and was cut from the album.
    • A version of it from the sessions was leaked and it sounds great, if a little trebly.
    • During the even more troubled production of Gaucho, a technician accidentally erased most of the master recording of the first song completed on the album, "The Second Arrangement." Attempts at re-recording were apparently unsuccessful, and to this day the song has never been performed in concert or (officially) released.
      • However, this ended up being somewhat of a good thing, as it led to the writing of Hey Nineteen, which is regarded as a classic. Fagen noted that they threw it together quickly. Some sources say Third World Man is the replacement in question, but they actually had worked on it during the Aja sessions under the title "Were You Blind That Day".
      • The Second Arrangement was finally performed like in 2011 at the band's rarities night. Mentioned then was the fact that Fagen has a backup copy of the final take, but the sound quality was supposedly not as good. Knowing his reputation - see his comments on the noise reduction on Katy Lied - the lapse in quality is unlikely to be discernable to the average listener.
      • In 1986, Becker and Fagen reformed Steely Dan and wrote some new songs together. Among these were "Snowbound", which ended up on Fagen's next solo album Kamakiriad, and an original reggae song, which was rewritten years later to become "West Of Hollywood". Demo recordings from this period would be intriguing to hear.
      • The band's 1996 tour included three new songs "Jack Of Speed", "Wet Side Story" and "Cash Only Island", but only "Jack Of Speed" made their next album. Studio recordings of the other two songs have never been released, despite the fact that "Wet Side Story" is highly regarded by fans.
      • "Fall Of 92" was originally considered a Steely Dan song and the first to be sung by Walter Becker, but this didn't end up happening, possibly because of the lyrics. It ended up appearing on an extremely rare Becker promo CD.
      • "What I Do" was originally considered for Everything Must Go, but Becker didn't like it, so Fagen used it on his solo album Morph The Cat instead. If a Steely Dan version had been recorded, it would have fit in nicely with Things I Miss The Most.
  • Bob Dylan allegedly considered following up 1969's Nashville Skyline with an album where he would be backed by frequent Dylan-coverers The Byrds. It's not clear how serious the infamously fickle Dylan was about this, however. Bob Johnston had produced the most recent albums for both artists and would have been the producer for this project, but Johnston didn't get along with The Byrds and never produced anything else for them, which may have helped kill the album. Dylan wound up recording the Dork Age album Self Portrait instead.
  • In the mid-90's Steven Spielberg approached British alternative rock band Supergrass and proposed that they work with him on an Monkees-esque television series after seeing the music video for "Alright". They turned the offer down.
  • Purportedly Radiohead had initially planned to film a music video for every song on OK Computer, the possibility of a cinematic release in mind; the idea had been scrapped because of financial constraints. An video for "Let Down" had already been filmed but never released.
  • In 1981, Jimmy Page, Chris Squire, and Alan White got together as the band XYZ (which stood for "Ex Yes and Zeppelin"). They wanted Robert Plant to complete the lineup as a singer, but after he watched a rehearsal he decided he didn't like the direction they were going in. Due to not having a strong vocalist, as well as some debate over who would manage the group, they split up before getting very far. Demos of four songs surfaced though, two being instrumental and the other two featuring Chris Squire on vocals. Three of these four songs ended up being reused for another project in some form: Yes remade "Can You See" as "Can You Imagine" and reworked an untitled instrumental into a section of "Mind Drive". Meanwhile, Jimmy Page's next project, The Firm, turned a different untitled XYZ instrumental into the intro to their song "Fortune Hunter". Alan White has said that other material originally written for XYZ became songs for 90215 by Yes, but didn't specify which songs.
  • Steve Perry left Journey in 1987 and the band went on hiatus for nearly ten years. However, Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain tried to find a new lead vocalist to front the band and record a new album, and the most likely candidate at the time was none other than Michael Bolton. When they were unsuccessful, most of the songs they'd written ended up on Bolton's album The Hunger.
  • Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain and REM singer Michael Stipe were close friends and - sensing a change in Kurt's demeanor in early 1994 - Stipe insisted that Cobain come down to Georgia to record with him. Kurt apparently strongly considered it, but never did due to his suicide that Spring. Many rock music journalists have speculated that this recording-session-that-could-have-been could have resulted in a Kurt Cobain solo record.
    • Nirvana's final new recordings - "You Know You're Right" and "Sappy" in particular - point the way towards what a fourth Nirvana album would have sounded like.
    • Courtney Love had a recording of her band Hole performing "Asking for it" with Kurt on backing vocals. This was planned to be released as a single, but dropped after Cobain's death. You can still find it online, but the there's a fuzzy noise throughout, and it remained un-mixed/produced.
  • Big L had just completed a deal to become a part of Roc-A-Fella Records before he was brutally gunned down in Harlem.
  • Trey Songz originally wanted to become a rapper, but when people heard his singing skills they urged him to become a singer instead.
  • Delta Goodrem has at least a couple EP's worth of music for her Fourth record. All either cancelled or not picked to be on her fourth album. For one reason or another.
    • Also her self titled third album has lots of held back material before she got into the groove with The Elements, a group of songwriters led by her boyfriend at the time and a few of his friends.
  • Christina Aguilera's original idea for Bionic was supposed to be more modern and more fitting to the promoted theme (Cutting edge electro pop). The rumour is that her recording company refused to put the more abstract and creative songs on the album.
  • Genesis was briefly considering replacing Steve Hackett with either Jeff Beck or Steely Dan session guitarist Elliot Randall, before deciding to be a three-piece and use Daryl Steurmer on guitar/bass and Chester Thompson on drums live.
    • Also, Phil Collins had briefly considered changing the band into an instrumental band after Peter Gabriel left.
    • Fish from Marillion was briefly to be considered the replacement for Phil Collins, before deciding to use Ray Wilson of Stiltskin.
  • Though it hasn't been confirmed or denied by anyone else involved, Devo have claimed that before they recorded their first album, Richard Branson tried to convince them to let John Lydon become their new singer. They were fans of the Sex Pistols, but they still thought the idea was ridiculous and politely turned it down. Given the Post-Punk style of Public Image LTD, formed shortly after this proposal, the pairing actually could have worked better than the members of Devo originally thought.
  • According to vocalist Jaz Coleman, Killing Joke originally wanted their 2003 Self-Titled Album to feature "three of our favorite drummers": Dave Grohl, System of a Down's John Dolmayan, and Tool's Danny Carey. Dave Grohl decided that he wanted to play on the whole album instead, and that's what ended up happening.
  • An unknown group called The Lost Trailers recorded the song "Chicken Fried", written by one Zac Brown. Zac later changed his mind about giving the song away, and had The Lost Trailers' label withdraw it. Two years later, Zac's eponymous Zac Brown Band recorded "Chicken Fried". Their version went to #1 and began a very fruitful career.
  • Blake Shelton's debut single could have been the Country Rap "I Wanna Talk About Me", but label execs thought it was too risky for a debut single. It went to Toby Keith instead, whose version went to #1. Not that Blake suffered; his debut single "Austin" did likewise.
  • Kryst The Conqueror, a planned band/project by Misfits bassist Jerry Only, shortly after Danzig quit the band and royally screwed the rest of the band over. The project came to a halt when Jerry let James Hetfield listen to early demo material... only for Metallica to rip off the music for their own albums. This, coupled with Danzig's mistreatment of his former band, as well as Hasbro ripping off the Misfits band name for a doll line, resulted in Jerry Only not coming back into prominence again until the late 1990s when the courts finally gave him full ownership of the Misfits band trademarks.
  • "Start All Over" and "As A Blonde" were written, but not released by American Idol contestant Fefe Dobson, before Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez + The Scene respectively made them popular.
  • The Red House Painters album Rollercoaster was originally supposed to be a double album with the songs that originally appeared on Bridge mixed into the sequence of Rollercoaster. One has to wonder how the album would have sounded being twice as long and possibly twice as depressing.
    • Songs For A Blue Guitar almost ended up being changed completely into a more commercially accessible album. Kozelek refused Ivo Watts-Russel to control his vision and was thrown off the record label due to his inistance of not letting it get changed.
  • Tool and Rage Against the Machine worked together on a song for the movie Judgment Night (fitting the soundtrack's theme of Rap Rock or Rap Metal collaborations). Neither band were satisfied with the track, so they opted not to submit it, leaving it unreleased. A poor quality bootleg of the song, which has no official title but is usually called "Revolution" or "You Can't Kill The Revolution" due to it's chorus, did eventually surface. Rage Against The Machine would rework the song's instrumental coda into the chorus of their song "New Millennium Homes", and A Perfect Circle's "Thinking Of You" used a similar rhythm to the verse sections.
  • Skrillex AKA Sonny Moore has an entire concept album that was never released; titled "Bells", it was a mish-mash of unnerving 'glitch' tracks reminiscent of Aphex Twin, as well as him playing the guitar and singing. After he left From First To Last, he started releasing music under the name "Sonny", but after his first album ("Gypsyhook") got a medicore reception, the label locked away the demos for "Bells". A recent livestream and tweets by friends of Moore indicate the album might not be gone forever, but had it seen release as scheduled, his career could have taken a very different direction.
  • "Feel Good Time", P!nk's song from the Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle soundtrack, was originally going to be a BECK song. Beck and producer William Orbit worked on the track for a solo album by the latter, and someone involved with the film heard a working version of the song and wanted it to be a lead-off single for the soundtrack. Beck turned it down, primarily because he prefers to lend his music to more artistic movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - the fact that "Feel Good Time" could not be further from the mood of the Creator Breakdown album Sea Change, released just one year earlier, may have also been a factor. Meanwhile, P!nk and Orbit started collaborating on a different song for the same soundtrack - she heard the "Feel Good Time" demo from him and expressed interest in doing a version of that instead. Once permission from Beck was confirmed, she recorded her own vocals over the original track and her version became the lead-off single. William Orbit would later leak an MP3 of the Beck version of "Feel Good Time" - aside from having Beck's vocals, the original included a lead guitar part that was omitted from the P!nk version, but otherwise had the exact same backing tracks.
  • In response to the rumor that 311 was named for the Ku Klux Klan, they started writing a song entitled "Fuck the KKK". This eventually morphed into the song "Electricity", which is a cry for tolerance and unity. The opening lyrics explain why:
    This song started as a rant against haters,
    But that'd be giving in to the instigators
  • The Duran Duran song "Wild Boys" was supposed to be part of a much larger project Russell Mulcahy (who was a frequent collaborator with the band) had planned — a film version of the William S. Burroughs novel of the same name, with Duran Duran providing the entire soundtrack. When the deal fell through, the band tacked it onto the end of their live album Arena and that was that. If Mulcahy had gotten to do such a project, that would've meant the band would've worked through the 1984 - 1985 period that became their hiatus (the only track they worked together on during that period was the Bond theme "A View to a Kill"). They might have never splintered into Arcadia and Power Station, since Power Station would've never happened Robert Palmer (who was a blue-eyed soul guy in the late '70s with a couple of hits ["Bad Case of Loving You", "Every Kind of People"]) might've never gotten a second wind career-wise and the world may have never known such songs as "Simply Irresistable" and "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On", the band might've never broken up, they probably wouldn't have developed a new sound (as they did when Warren Cuccurullo [a Frank Zappa band vet] joined the band), and they may have fallen into the trap of being an '80s nostalgia band as a result.
  • Bon Jovi's "Who Says You Can't Go Home" was originally supposed to be a duet with Keith Urban, who was also to play six-string banjo on it. However, Jon Bon Jovi thought that Urban's voice was too similar to his own, so he ended up cutting it with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. A good choice, as it made Bon Jovi the first rock act to top the country charts.
  • Run-D.M.C. wrote a song called "Slow And Low" while working on their album King of Rock, but ultimately discarded it as an outtake. Then The Beastie Boys, who were also on Def Jam at the time, heard a demo of the song and asked to do their own version, which appeared on Licensed To Ill - the Beastie Boys made a couple of slight lyrical changes to put a bit of their own personal touch on it, but it's still credited on their album as being written by Run DMC and Rick Rubin. The original Run DMC demo appeared as a bonus track on a 2006 re-release of King Of Rock, but a more fully produced version apparently doesn't exist.
  • Kenny Chesney was supposed to film the video for his 2001 single "The Tin Man" (a re-release of a 1994 single) at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, but had to cancel the filming a few days prior because of delays in shipping the equipment.
  • Several "Weird Al" Yankovic parodies have only been performed in concert rather than recorded, due to the original artist objecting to the latter. These include:
    • "Gee I'm a Nerd" (The Beatles' "reunion" single "Free as a Bird"; scrapped because Yoko Ono deemed the parody "Too Soon")
    • "Laundry Day" (The Offspring's Come Out and Play")
    • He's also claimed that Prince didn't like his idea to redo "Raspberry Beret" as "Brown Ugly Toupee", nor has he liked any of his parody ideas for Prince songs.
    • "Snack All Night", a parody of Michael Jackson's 1991 number "Black or White", was supposed to be the centerpiece of Al's 1992 album (eventually released as Off the Deep End), but Jackson objected to his pro-racial harmony song being Played for Laughs. After Jackson's death, Al admitted that having to scrap this one was probably for the best — first because it would have typecast him as a Jackson parodist after two previous spoofs ("Eat It" and "Fat"), and second because "Smells Like Nirvana" came about as a substitute leadoff track. Years later, a similar situation with regards to the James Blunt parody "You're Pitiful" (which was denied not by Blunt, but Blunt's label) paved the way for "White and Nerdy", another big hit.
    • Additionally, "Talk Soup" (off Al's 1993 album Alapalooza) was actually commissioned by the E! network to be the new theme song to their show of the same name. According to Al, E! execs told him they "approved" the lyrics and "loved" the song, and then proceeded to never use it. "Go figure."
    • For his more recent album "Mandatory Fun", he was thinking of a parody of Frozen's "Let It Go" called "Make It So", which would be an entire song devoted to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Then, he found out that someone had beat him to it and that it go so popular, Disney's legal team descended on the person and it was yanked from the web. He just couldn't find anything better with it, so he had to let it go.
  • During their restructuring in the 1980's after departure of founding guitarist Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS met with and entertained the idea of bringing on a guitarist from a band whom Gene had spotted on the LA club scene and helped land their first record deal. The guitarist was unhappy in his current band and thought he might fit into KISS. Paul and Gene, tempted by the young guitarist's overwhelming talent considered bringing him in, but ultimately the guitarist decided to return to his band with Paul and Gene agreeing it was for the best. The guitarist? Eddie Van Halen.
  • Toni Braxton had to be talked into recording what would become her Signature Song, "Unbreak My Heart." Her producers L.A. Reid and Babyface, thought it would be a monster. She just didn't feel it. The song ended up as the second-biggest single by a female artist ever (Behind Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You.").
  • The Hawthorne Muchachos were one of the first member corps of Drum Corps International in The Seventies. Just before the 1975 DCI Championship Finals, it was revealed that the Muchachos had marched an overage member; as a result, the corps was disqualified. It was believed that the Muchachos would have given the eventual champion Madison Scouts a serious run for the title. Had the Muchachos not been caught with the overage member, they may have continued their success in DCI and broken the Western/Midwest dominance of the circuit. As it turned out, the Muchachos never recovered from the scandal and folded three years later.
    • On the other side of the coin: After the Muchachos' Finals DQ, several members and instructors defected to the Bridgemen and the Garfield Cadets. This allowed those corps to ascend within DCI, with the Bridgemen winning several Top Drums honors (thanks to former Muchachos instructor Dennis DeLucia) and the Cadets winning 4 DCI Championships in The Eighties. So it's possible that a successful Muchachos corps could have prevented some of its fellow East Coast corps from becoming contenders.
  • ThatVideoMakingKid's Youtube account features lyric videos for nearly every version of nearly all of Evanescence's songs, including the original demo versions of many of the band's older songs, such as Haunted and Imaginary.
  • The Rolling Stones intended "Paint It, Black" to be a comedic song. When the original guitar riff didn't work, they replaced it with a much harsher one, which changed the entire tone of the song.
  • Frank Zappa:
    • Originally the album We're Only In It For The Money was going to be called Our Man In Nirvana. Zappa changed the title and the concept when he heard about the Beatles ' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band hype.
    • Zappa was once contacted to compose the music for an upcoming science fiction movie. He turned it down. The name of the movie? Star Wars!
    • Near the end of the 1970s Bob Dylan contacted Zappa in person to produce one of his next albums. Although ideas were worked out Dylan eventually withdrew himself from the project.
  • We also have Zappa to thank for most of Captain Beefheart 's career. After Beefheart first two albums fell victim to Executive Meddling he wanted to leave the business altogether. Zappa then produced Beefheart's next album Trout Mask Replica and gave his friend total creative freedom. The result is one of the most unique and groundbreaking albums of all time. Though not exactly a best-seller the Zappa-Beefheart connection provided Beefheart with enough notoriety to continue his recording career. In 1975 Beefheart was saved yet again by Zappa when he took him on tour at a time when Beefheart was contractually unable to record any new albums. Zappa would originally have produced a new Beefheart album, "Bat Chain Puller", but legal problems put the project in the closet. Beefheart then went his own way again and recorded three of his best albums in the process before he quit the music business all together in 1982.
  • Trent Reznor approached Sade and Aaliyah to sing on the Nine Inch Nails track "The Great Below" from The Fragile.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven's symphonies have a few:
    • One early sketch for the finale of the Fifth Symphony was a piece in C minor and 6/8 time.
    • The great instrumental recitative that opens the Ninth Symphony was originally intended to have lyrics and be sung, at least at the turning point where the key changes to D major.
  • Gustav Mahler's Third Symphony was once planned to have "Das himmlische Leben" as its seventh and last movement. While the song was used in the fourth symphony instead, a few of its musical themes can be heard in the third symphony's second and fifth movements.
    • Sketches for the C minor chorale in the Sixth Symphony's finale included Wagner tubas.
  • Jimmy Buffett wrote "Margaritaville" for Elvis Presley. Presley died before he could even record a demo, so Buffett recorded it himself. It became his Signature Song.
  • "Irreplaceable" was written by fellow R&B artist Ne-Yo: He intended to record it himself, then re-imagined it for a female country singer. Allegedly, Beyoncé heard the song and demanded it for herself, despite Ne-Yo and producer Tor Hermansen protesting that they already had another song meant for her. Beyoncé insisted, gaining one of her signature songs in the process.
  • Lupe Fiasco along with Pharrell from N.E.R.D./The Neptunes and Kanye West were going to form a supergroup called Child Rebel Soldiers or C.R.S. Unfortunately all that materialized were two songs and later Lupe announced that group was on ice. Lupe and B.o.B. formed a massive super group that many fans thought were going to put Young Money in its place...they've done absolutely nothing, besides a remix to "I'm Beaming". Additionally, B.o.B.'s songs "Airplanes" and "Nothin' on You" were originally Lupe's songs before Atlantic gave them to B.o.B.
  • Johnny Mathis' career could have taken an interesting turn in the 1980s, if Columbia Records hadn't refused to release the album he recorded in 1981 with Chic.
    • Around the same time, Atlantic nixed the idea of an Aretha Franklin / Chic collaboration before it even got into the studio.
    • On the other hand, Chic were in involved in one example where it went gloriously right - early in their career, their record label asked them to do something with The Rolling Stones. Feeling that if it worked, the Stones would get all the credit, and if it didn't, Chic would get the blame, they turned it down and asked whether the label had an unknown act they could work with instead. The label paired them up with Sister Sledge, and the resultant album, We Are Family, was a huge hit and established Chic as go-to hitmakers.
  • Reba McEntire had wanted to record "Does He Love You" since the mid 80s, but her producer, Jimmy Bowen, didn't like the song. After she changed producers to Tony Brown, he approved the song, but her label wanted her to record it with someone on the same label, with Wynonna Judd and Trisha Yearwood being suggested. However, Reba insisted on making it a duet with Linda Davis, a mostly-unknown singer who was singing backing vocals for her and was between record deals at the time. Linda ended up on the final version, which was a #1 hit and won both of them a Grammy… and Linda's only hit to boot.
  • Elvis Presley almost deserves his own subpage given how many "what could have beens" that have emerged, both in terms of his music and his film career.
    • What if his towering cover version of Bob Dylan's "Tomorrow is a Long Time," buried and forgotten as a filler track on the eighth-rate soundtrack album to Spinout, received proper release in 1966?
    • What if Col. Parker hadn't become so paranoid about Ann Margret outstaging Elvis in Viva Las Vegas that he prevented two of their recorded duets (including the erotic "You're the Boss") from being included in the film and prevented the third from seeing release until well after Elvis' death?
    • Elvis' final recording session was held at Graceland in October 1976. Only a handful of songs were recorded, including the rocker "Way Down" which was his final hit. The producer tried to get Elvis to record another song called "There's a Fire Down Below" but he refused. The music track survives and reveals the song would have been a very contemporary rocker and potentially a stronger track than "Way Down" was, and thus a potential additional hit record during Elvis' final months.
    • What if Elvis had been allowed to tour outside the US in the 1970s? The only time he performed outside the US was in 1957 when he made three stops in Canada; in October 1958 there was talk of Elvis joining Bill Haley and His Comets during one of their shows in Germany, but this was vetoed due to the rioting already plaguing Haley's tour.
  • Garth Brooks' ill-fated crossover album that featured him as a rock star named Chris Gaines was supposed to be a preview album for a feature film called The Lamb. The tepid reception the album got pretty much killed the project.
  • Faith Hill had originally slated to marry her producer, Scott Hendricks. Instead, she married Tim McGraw in 1996, and the two ended up the power couple of country music.

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