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  • A 1976 fire destroyed a Long Branch, NJ department store building. The fourth floor was used by Atlantic Records for storing their tapes. That means thousands of hours of outtakes, alternate takes, unreleased songs, and studio talk are gone. Affected artists include Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Ornette Coleman, and the Drifters.
  • According to a 2019 NY Times Magazine article, the Universal Studios backlot fire on June 1, 2008 resulted in the loss of over 118,000 recording masters from Universal's subsidiary labels. The material lost ranges from artists like Chuck Berry to Nirvana to George Strait to Otis Redding (and many, many, many more), and included countless outtakes, unreleased songs, and studio chatter that will never be heard again.

  • According to music historian Tom Graves, Robert Johnson is known to have recorded 59 tracks in his career. Only 42 are currently available.

  • An endless list of compositions by almost any composer from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical eras (including Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, etc.) are considered lost or an autograph has never been found to confirm whether it has been rightly attributed. These range from small works to larger scale works such as operas. To name an example, several unique manuscripts of Haydn were lost when the opera house at Esterhaza (where he was employed) burned down in 1979.
  • Felix Mendelssohn mentioned in various correspondences that he was writing a cello concerto at around the same time he composed his famous violin concerto. The manuscript is said to have fallen off the back of a coach while Mendelssohn was travelling to present the concerto to its dedicatee; it was never recovered.
  • The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius published very little in the last twenty years of his life, and he indicated an interest in adding an eighth symphony to the seven he'd already done. It suffered massive Development Hell until the 1940s, when Sibelius destroyed the manuscript. To this day, it's unclear whether he finished or even started this work, and it remains one of the biggest mysteries in classical music. In 2011, three manuscript fragments speculated to be from the symphony were discovered and performed, but while they have been authenticated as the work of Sibelius, there is no consensus on whether or not they truly are from the lost symphony, and opinion is even more divided on whether, even if they are, completing the symphony from the sketches is possible or worthwhile.
  • What is now known as Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No.9 in E-flat major, first performed in 1964, is actually the second version of the work. Shostakovich told Beethoven Quartet first violinist Dmitri Tsyganov that the first version was "based on themes from childhood", but he became dissatisfied with the work and destroyed the manuscripts in a fit of depression in 1961. A draft version of the first movement was recovered and recorded in 2003.
  • The French composer Paul Dukas, best known for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", was an ardent perfectionist and destroyed the manuscripts of pieces which he felt were not up to standard; his surviving works only constitute around half of his total output. Among the lost works are several operas and ballets, a symphony, and a violin sonata.
  • This is sometimes the explanation for an opera that seems particularly disjointed. Giuseppe Verdi's Il trovatore lost a lot of explanatory material due to the libretto being savagely edited for time constraints, resulting in the long jumps between acts.
  • Arrigo Boito's Mefistofele was yanked and radically reworked by the composer after a cataclysmic debut in 1868 (two performances). He deleted (and destroyed both music and words for) a whole act between what is now Act 4 and the Epilogue, which would have filled in some of Faust's adventures and further character development after his dalliance with Helen of Troy. He also trimmed and slimmed the story, which allowed time to interpolate the well-loved "Lontano, lontano, lontano" duet for Faust and Margherida in Act 3 (it was recycled from another of his failures). Finally, he recomposed the role of Faust from baritone to tenor. The revised version made a successful debut in 1875, though Boito continued to tinker with it until 1881.
  • Many works by Alberic Magnard (a contemporary of Dukas) were also destroyed, albeit not directly by the composer's own choosing. In the early days of World War I, Magnard spotted German troops marching by his home. He opened fire on the soldiers, killing one of them. The Germans responded by burning down Magnard's house - without letting Magnard out. Several unpublished works, including at least two operas and a song cycle, were lost in the blaze.
  • It is estimated that 80% of the works of Norwegian composer Geirr Tveitt were destroyed in a fire at his home in 1970. The damage includes six piano concertos and several works for Hardanger fiddle. The charred bricks that were once those manuscripts are still archived in Oslo in the hopes that technological advances will make these burnt remains readable.
  • Maurice Duruflé shared his teacher Dukas' fanatical perfectionism; so self-critical was he that he only deemed fourteen compositions worthy of publication in his (84-year) lifetime. And he wasn't even happy with some of those; several, he simply refused to include in concert programmes, but he became so embarrassed by his Op.1, Triptyque (a set of three fantasies for piano on Gregorian chants), that he withdrew it from publication. It has never been re-published or recorded.
  • English composer Roger Sacheverell Coke enjoyed success early in his career, but the fact that he composed in a Romantic idiom that was half a century out of fashion meant he struggled to retain his audience, and this, combined with intense self-criticism and mental health problems, caused him to withdraw his Opp.1-12 from circulation and destroy them. The lost compositions include his first two piano concerti, his first piano sonata, and an assortment of chamber works. He also either destroyed or never got around to writing the first and last movements of his Piano Concerto No.5; only the (presumed) second movement survives.

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic has several cases of this. He has several songs, most notably song snippets that comprise his food medleys, which were denied permission for official release by the artists being parodied (though fair use laws state that permission is not required for a parody of a work, Al nonetheless likes to ask the artists directly for permission, to maintain good relations within the music community). He's only ever performed these songs, including "Pizza Delivery" (a parody of "My Heart Will Go On" by Céline Dion) and "Laundry Day" (a parody of "Come Out and Play" by The Offspring), in concert.
    • To a lesser extent, his 1981 Another One Rides the Bus EP is looooong out of print (though all songs but the title track were re-recorded for his 1983 Self-Titled Album), as is his 1994 box set Permanent Record: Al in the Box due to the artwork masters being lost forever (ironic given the title). The song "Headline News", released as a standalone single in 1994, did not appeared on any other official release until the Squeeze Box set in 2017.
  • Actress/comedian Melissa Peterman (Reba, The Singing Bee) was supposed to have released a standup comedy album via Big Machine Records in 2010. While it was supposedly recorded, it was never released.

  • Jason Aldean narrowly averted this when the studio holding the masters to his second album, Relentless, caught fire but stopped just shy of the room holding the masters.
  • River Road released a single in 2000 titled "Breathless" via Virgin Records Nashville. It was to have been the lead single to their second album Somethin' in the Water, and while advance copies of the album were sent to radio stations, the album itself never saw the light of day due to Capitol Records buying out Virgin Nashville's roster. The title track of the album later became an example of this trope a second time when its writer, Jeffrey Steele, cut it for an album that was also never released due to his label, Monument, closing its Nashville arm (although it later appeared on an independently-released album).
  • In 2004, The Jenkins (a mother and two daughters) cut two songs: "Blame It on Mama" and "Getaway Car", both for Capitol Records. They were to have been singles for an album on Capitol that had Rodney Crowell as producer, but it never saw light of day due to the singles' underperformance, and The Jenkins were never heard from again. However, "Getaway Car" had previously been a minor hit for Hall and Oates.
  • Ricochet's original third album, What a Ride, was supposed to come out in 1998, but was never released due to the underperformance of its three singles, "Honky Tonk Baby", "Can't Stop Thinkin' 'bout That", and "Seven Bridges Road". Eventually, the band released another album titled What You Leave Behind before being dropped by Columbia Records. According to an interview with the band, Sony still holds the recordings for what would have been What a Ride, but some of its tracks (including the "Seven Bridges Road" cover) still carried over to What You Leave Behind.
  • Lionel Cartwright's fourth album, supposedly to have been titled The Real Story, was never released despite producing two singles ("Be My Angel" and "Standing on the Promises"). The former had a music video made, while the latter was published in sheet music form.
  • Somewhere in Mercury Records' vaults is the only album by Daisy Dern, titled Little Dreams. Lead single "Gettin' Back to You" notched the Hot Country Songs charts, but no trace of the disc exists otherwise. However, "Gettin' Back to You" and some of Dern's other songs appeared on the After Hours album issued by her husband, Dave Gibson (formerly of the Gibson/Miller Band), in The New '10s.
  • Rick Trevino's fifth Columbia Records album was never released, despite charting the single "Only Lonely Me". According to Trevino himself, he had asked out of his contract before the single's release and Columbia told him no... only to drop him anyway when "Only Lonely Me" bombed.
  • Jake Owen released "Real Life" in mid-2015 as the intended lead single to his fifth album American Love, but after the single underperformed, the album was delayed to 2016 and "Real Life" was axed from the tracklist.
  • When the label Category 5 Records went out of business in 2006 due to the owner misallocating funds intended for assisted-living facilities that he owned, four singles were canned without ever being released: "Wake Up Dancin'" by Odiss Kohn, "All Kinds of Beautiful" by Shauna Feagan, "The One That Got Away" (irony abounds in the title) by Jerrod Niemann, and "Something Stronger Than Me" by Travis Tritt. Both Niemann and Tritt re-released their Category 5 material independently in 2013, but Kohn and Feagan immediately disappeared.
  • Craig Hand had this happen twice. He was also a victim of Category 5's closure right after his single "Direct Connect" was released, although the single does exist on iTunes. He later suffered this a second time as the lead singer of Bush Hawg, which barely scraped the bottom of the charts with "Crushin'". A second single, "More Than Corn", was announced but apparently never released, and Bush Hawg was never heard from again.
  • Clint Daniels had this happen twice. His first album for Arista Records Nashville was never fully released, although a few promo copies exist and lead single "A Fool's Progress" made the charts. He later moved to Epic Records and released "The Letter (Almost Home)", which also never made it to an album.
  • Country Music duo LoCash Cowboys were originally signed to R&J/Stroudavarious Records from 2010 to 2012. They issued three singles: "Here Comes Summer", "Keep in Mind", and "You Got Me", all of which reached the lower regions of the country music charts in anticipation of their first album. A fourth single, "C.O.U.N.T.R.Y.", was advertised in Billboard in May 2012, but the label closed and their debut album This Is How We Do It was shelved. "Keep in Mind" and "C.O.U.N.T.R.Y." were later put on an album released by another label, and the duo would later find success upon changing labels yet again and renaming themselves LoCash.
  • Chris Stapleton's debut single "What Are You Listening To" was never put on a full album. He didn't break out until "Nobody to Blame" two years later.
  • Brian McComas's debut album was delayed after its first two singles failed to hit Top 40 on the country music charts. It was finally released in late 2002 after "99.9% Sure (I've Never Been Here Before)" was a hit. A second album was to have been led off with "The Middle of Nowhere", but he instead left the label.
  • Brothers Osborne's debut single "Let's Go There" never appeared on a full album. It isn't even on the five-song EP released on the heels of its followup "Rum", which contains three other exclusive songs and an early version of what would later be their Breakthrough Hit "Stay a Little Longer".
  • In 2006, The Lost Trailers recorded "Chicken Fried", written by Zac Brown of the then-mostly unknown Zac Brown Band. Brown had given the Trailers permission to cut the song on the condition that they not release it as a single. While the Trailers complied, their label ignored Brown's request and shipped the Trailers' version of the song to country radio. When Zac heard the Trailers' version of the song, he had his lawyers issue a cease-and-desist order to their label. As a result, the version by The Lost Trailers never saw the light of day again, but the ZBB would later have success when a re-recording of "Chicken Fried" became their Breakthrough Hit in 2008.
  • Kip Moore had this happen twice. His debut album was delayed when his first single "Mary Was the Marrying Kind" did poorly, and that song appears only on the deluxe edition. Later on, his second album was stalled for nearly two years when its originally intended lead single "Young Love" and followup "Dirt Road" both completely flopped at radio. Neither song made the final cut.
  • Eric Paslay had this happen twice, too. Similarly to Kip Moore, his debut album was delayed when intended lead singles "If the Fish Don't Bite" and "Never Really Wanted" failed to make an impact. The latter did not appear on the album, which was finally released in 2014 off the success of the single "Friday Night". His second album was stalled when the lead single "High Class" performed miserably with radio and critics in 2015. A second single, "Angels in This Town", came and went without even charting at all, and a third single did not come until March 2018.
  • Jo Dee Messina's last chart single "I'm Done" never appeared on an album.
  • Craig Morgan's 2010 single "Still a Little Chicken Left on That Bone" was never put on an album due to the closure of BNA Records a few months later.
  • Curtis Wright charted in the Top 40 in 1990 with "She's Got a Man on Her Mind", later Covered Up by Conway Twitty. The song was supposed to be included on an album for the small Airborne label titled Slick Hick. It was also supposed to have a second single, "You Saved Me", which Wright wrote for Patty Loveless a few years prior. However, the label closed soon afterward, leaving both "You Saved Me" and the rest of Slick Hick unreleased. Wright later released a solo album for Liberty Records in 1992.
  • Scotty Emerick, a longtime collaborator of Toby Keith, had this happen several times. Before he started working with Keith, he had a deal with Rising Tide Records, which closed before he could release anything. His self-titled debut for DreamWorks Records in 2003 was canned when its singles "I Can't Take You Anywhere" (originally recorded by, and featuring a guest vocal from, Keith himself) and "The Coast Is Clear" failed to light up the charts. A third single, "The Watch", also didn't go anywhere and never made it on an album. However, all of these singles, plus "What's Up with That" from the soundtrack to Broken Bridges (in which Keith starred), are all on iTunes.
  • Terry Radigan had an album titled Pawnbroker's Daughter recorded in 1995 for Asylum Records, but it was never released. Lead single "Half a Million Teardrops" had a music video, and promotional copies of the album exist, but that's it.
  • Lee Ann Womack has had this happen twice. In 2006, she moved from MCA to Mercury Nashville and released "Finding My Way Back Home", the title track to an album of the same name. Due to its underperformance, the album was shelved and she moved back to MCA for the album Call Me Crazy. After that album, she put out a new single titled "There Is a God" (Covered Up Trent Willmon), but it also bombed, its corresponding album disappeared, and she left MCA. Womack has not charted since.
  • Pinmonkey released a cover of Robbie Fulks' "Let's Kill Saturday Night" for a proposed second album in 2003, but when it was charting, they abruptly left the label and one of the members quit.
  • Brad Paisley intended to lead off his eleventh studio album with the Demi Lovato duet "Without a Fight". When the song bombed at radio, the album was delayed for nearly a year, and "Without a Fight" was excised from the final tracklist.
  • Wade Hayes had this happen twice:
    • His third album was originally to have been titled Tore Up from the Floor Up, with a cover of Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman" as the lead single. When the cover bombed, the album was retooled, the cover was removed from the tracklist, and the album was finally released as When the Wrong One Loves You Right in 1998.
    • In 2003, he teamed up with fiddler Mark McClurg (formerly of Alan Jackson's road band The Strayhorns) to form the duo McHayes. They recorded a full album titled Lessons in Lonely, and although the lead single "It Doesn't Mean I Don't Love You" charted, the album was never released. Their second single was a cover of Don Williams' "Tulsa Time", which doesn't appear to have been intended for the album. After this, they went their separate ways and Hayes continued to record solo.
  • Amy Dalley released seven singles between 2003 and 2008 but never got an album out because, at the time, Curb Records had a policy that leadoff singles had to hit Top 20 before the album dropped, and her most successful only got to #23.
  • Curb Records' policy also screwed over Steve Holy, who had five singles between his biggest hits "Good Morning Beautiful" and "Brand New Girlfriend". Those five songs were "I'm Not Breakin'", "Rock-a-Bye Heart", "Put Your Best Dress On", "Go Home", and "It's My Time (Waste It If I Want To)". The latter three are all available for download, and both "I'm Not Breakin'" and "Put Your Best Dress On" were put on a compilation album in 2013, but "Rock-a-Bye Heart" remains out of print. Another stray single, "Might Have Been" from 2008, was also never put on an album, and the only circulating copy is on iTunes.
  • Two examples happened in the early noughties when Record Producer Keith Stegall got fired from his position of president of A&R at Mercury Records Nashville.
    • David Nail's debut album had been fully recorded, lead single "Memphis" was on the charts, and promotional copies of the album had been sent out, but the full product never saw the light of day. Nail was absent from the music business for nearly five years before resurfacing in 2009 on MCA Nashville.
    • Eric Heatherly had a second album for Mercury lined up, but it never got so far as having a single released. He then had this happen again when he moved to DreamWorks Records in 2002; a single titled "The Last Man Committed" had charted, and promotional copies of the album Sometimes It's Just Your Time had been sent to radio stations, but DreamWorks never chose to release it for some reason.
  • James Otto ended up subverting this. While his debut album had a few advance copies dropped around in 2002, the actual album didn't see the light of day until 2004. He had to change a couple tracks because another artist wanted to release one of them (specifically Montgomery Gentry with "Gone") as a single.
  • John Berry also had two unreleased albums in a row: the first, Crazy for the Girl, was dropped (and its single withdrawn after only a couple weeks on the chart) because he was having vocal cord troubles and couldn't finish recording it. After recovery, he recorded Better Than a Biscuit, which didn't get released because he asked out of his contract the week before it was supposed to come out.
  • Yet another example of this happening twice to the same artist is Jessica Andrews. Also signed to DreamWorks at the time, she was slated to release Ain't That Life in 2005, but it never saw release: the lead single failed to chart at all, and the second single was blunted by DreamWorks Records' closure. (However, Kellie Pickler later had a top 20 hit with her own rendition of "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You", a track that Andrews recorded for the unreleased album.) She eventually moved to Lyric Street, where she released the single "Everything", only to get screwed over by that label closing.
  • Also on Lyric Street, Bucky Covington perhaps got the shortest end of the stick. His second album was delayed due to its first two singles ("I Want My Life Back" and a cover of Nickelback's "Gotta Be Somebody") underperforming (although both appeared on digital-only EPs). And just when "A Father's Love (The Only Way He Knew How)" started to take off, Lyric Street closed its doors. A second label propped the song up to #23 on the charts, but it took until 2012 for the corresponding album Good Guys to finally get released.
  • Jon Randall also has two unreleased albums in the can: Great Day to Be Alive in 1996 for RCA Records, and Cold Coffee Morning in 1998 for Asylum. The former produced no singles, but title track "It's a Great Day to Be Alive" was later a big hit in 2001 for Travis Tritt. The latter had two chart singles in its title track and "She Don't Believe in Fairy Tales".
  • The Sky Kings, a supergroup consisting of John Cowan (New Grass Revival), Bill Lloyd (Foster & Lloyd), Patrick Simmons (The Doobie Brothers), and Rusty Young (Poco), recorded an album for RCA Records in the early 1990s, but it was never released. After Simmons left, they continued as a trio and charted the single "Picture Perfect" for a Warner (Bros.) Records album which was also never released. All of the RCA and Warner Bros. material — coincidentally, including another take on "It's a Great Day to Be Alive" — has since been released in compilations.
  • Rebecca Lynn Howard takes the cake, though. She was first signed to Rising Tide Records, but they closed in 1997 before she could release anything (except for a rendition of the Christian hymn "Softly and Tenderly" for the soundtrack to The Apostle). She then moved to Decca Nashville, which also closed before she could release anything. She finally signed to MCA in 1999 after that label acquired the Decca Nashville roster and had one unsuccessful debut album. Her second album, Forgive, was cut off after only one single due to a label restructure. After that, her third MCA album Laughter & Tears was canceled in 2003 due to underperforming singles; an album for Arista Records titled Alive & Well, slated for a 2005 release, suffered the same fate. Then after that, she moved to Show Dog Nashville (now known as Show Dog-Universal) and released only one single in 2006 that went nowhere. She finally got a third album out in 2008.
  • Diamond Rio had this happen twice:
    • They had planned to release an album titled Stuff in 2000, but it was delayed when radio resisted the lead single of the same name. Some of the tracks from Stuff later ended up on One More Day a year later.
    • Their 2004 album Can't You Tell was shelved when its two singles (the title track and "One Believer") both failed to crack the top 40. In exchange, the band threw some new songs on a Greatest Hits Album in 2005 and left Arista Records Nashville.
  • Ty Herndon's fifth studio album for Epic Records was never released when its lead single, "Heather's Wall", stalled out at #37. Epic then released a Greatest Hits Album, and Herndon was sidelined for several years due to a full-fledged Creator Breakdown. Ty said in an interview with CMT that the song's corresponding music video was part of a trilogy that would have included videos for "I'd Move Heaven and Earth for You" and "Stones", but neither video was made. "I'd Move Heaven and Earth for You" appeared on the Greatest Hits album, but "Stones" did not surface until Ty released a re-recorded version in 2011 on a small independent label (although a version also appears on Tracy Lawrence's 2004 album Strong).
  • Montgomery Gentry planned to release their sixth album for Columbia Records, Freedom, in late 2009. But when its lead single "Oughta Be More Songs About That" bombed, the label changed tactics and decided to instead release an EP with a mix of old and new songs titled Hits and More: Life Beside a Gravel Road, with "While You're Still Young" as the lead single. But when that also did poorly at radio, the duo asked out of their contract, leaving the EP unreleased as well.
  • Country Music singer Sylvia (best known for her hit "Nobody") has one unreleased album, titled Knockin' Around, which was slated for a 1986 release. Although lead single "Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained" made the country top 40, the album was shelved and she left the label.
  • Pirates of the Mississippi were to have recorded an album for Giant Records in 1995 titled Sure Sign. Two singles were released from it: the title track and "You Could Do Better", but neither charted and the album was shelved. "You Could Do Better" was made into a music video, but there is otherwise no trace of this album anywhere.
  • Anita Cochran's third album, God Created Woman, was never released. The album's lead single was "I Wanna Hear a Cheatin' Song", a "duet" with Conway Twitty which was created in a very bizarre fashion: Twitty's part was fashioned by stitching together existing recordings of him, due to him having died in 1993.
  • Ray Stevens was supposed to release an album titled Ear Candy independently in 2000. No trace of it exists, but some of its songs showed up on Osama — Yo' Mama just over a year later when he re-signed with Curb Records. A later album titled Thank You also seems to have gone unreleased as well.
  • Lee Brice's first single was supposed to be "Overrated", but it was changed quickly to "She Ain't Right", and no trace of "Overrated" exists. After that, his debut album Picture of Me was never released due to "She Ain't Right", "Happy Endings", and "Upper Middle Class White Trash" all underperforming. He finally released an album in 2010 titled Love Like Crazy, which came on the success of its title track; this album did include "She Ain't Right" and "Happy Endings" in the track listing, but left "Upper Middle Class White Trash" in the dust.
  • Shawn Camp recorded an album for Reprise Records in 1994, but it was never released due to Creative Differences. Parent company Warner (Bros.) Records finally released the disc in 2010 under the title 1994. Two tracks from the album were cut by other artists in the interim: both Randy Travis and Sammy Kershaw cut "Little Bitty Crack in Her Heart", and both Joe Diffie and Patty Loveless recorded versions of "The Grandpa That I Know".
  • Dusty Drake had this happen three times. He had out a single titled "I Am the Working Man", slated for a second album for Warner (Bros.) Records in 2004, but the single failed and he exited the label. He then attempted to release an album titled Dusty Drake at a Honky Tonk Near You on Big Machine in 2007, but its lead single "Say Yes" stalled out and the album was shelved. Then a Pittsburgh Steelers tribute song called "The 12th Man" (set to the tune of Mark Chesnutt's 2004 hit "The Lord Loves the Drinkin' Man") came out in 2009 but never appeared on an album either.
  • In late 2007-early 2008, Dierks Bentley tested a song in concerts titled "I Sing for Free", which was going to be the lead single to his fourth studio album. The song ultimately ended up not making the album's final cut, and no trace of it exists (except through a cover version by Brad Cotter).
  • In 1988, Marty Stuart recorded an album titled Let There Be Country for Columbia Records. The album charted two singles in "Mirrors Don't Lie" and "Matches", but it was never released. After Stuart had two hit albums on MCA Records, Columbia decided to cash in on Stuart's newfound success by finally releasing Let There Be Country. In the interim, Pam Tillis covered the album's closing track, "Don't Tell Me What to Do", and took her version to #5 on the country charts.
  • Carolina Rain had their first album Weather the Storm delayed due to single underperformance. "I Ain't Scared" charted way back in 2004, but the album didn't come out until 2006. In between, the singles "Louisiana Love" and "Let's Get It On" were cut from the tracklist. Then in 2008, they were slated to release a second album titled American Radio, but it was shelved due to their label closing. The only thing that's happened since is Rhean Boyer pulling a Fake Shemp by singing James Otto's part on the radio edit of Colt Ford's 2010 single "Chicken & Biscuits".
  • For no apparent reason, Johnny Cash's album Out Among the Stars was unreleased for thirty years after its recording in 1981 and 1984. It's not due a matter of quality - it's actually quite a lot better than some of the other music Cash was releasing at that time. A few overdubs were performed in 2013 and the album was finally released in 2014 to positive reception.
  • The Wilkinsons had their third album Shine finished in 2001, but it was never released due to their label, Giant Records, closing. It had one charting single, "I Wanna Be That Girl". There have been some copies issued in Australia though.
  • Neal McCoy recorded an unreleased album for Warner (Bros.) Records in 2003 called The Luckiest Man in the World. Although the title track was released as a single, the album never saw the light of day. However, Allmusic gave it a positive review. (Interestingly, the album included a version of "Put Your Best Dress On", which met this trope a second time through Steve Holy's version mentioned above.) After this album, he then moved to SEA Records, which closed before he could release anything.
  • In 1995, a singer named John Bunzow recorded an album for Liberty Records titled Stories of the Years, which included the single "Easy as One, Two, Three." Although the album was reviewed (favorably) by at least Entertainment Weekly and Allmusic, it was never released due to a label management change that merged it back into parent company Capitol Records. The song's music video has at least two copies floating around YouTube, however.
  • Sons of the Desert never had their second album for Epic Records released, due mainly to a clash between them and the Dixie Chicks over who got the rights to release "Goodbye Earl" as a single (obviously, the Chicks won out). The unreleased album had two singles ("What About You" and "Albuquerque"), plus at least one other known cut ("Bless the Broken Road", later Covered Up by Rascal Flatts). "Albuquerque" later appeared on their only album for MCA Nashville in 2000. "What About You" had a music video that can be found on Vevo, but other than that, any trace of the second Epic album is unaccounted for.
  • 4 Runner had a second album, One for the Ages, nearly done when their label underwent a management change in 1996, causing them to get dropped in lieu of releasing the album. Its lead single, "That Was Him (This Is Now)", written by a then-mostly unknown Keith Urban, has yet to see the light of day anywhere despite entering the charts.
  • T. Graham Brown's debut single "Drowning in Memories" was never put on an album due to underperformance on the charts. Collectors' Choice Music licensed all of his Capitol Records output, including "Drowning in Memories", and compiled these songs onto Deja Vu All Over Again/The Best of T. Graham Brown in 2007.
  • Terri Clark's sixth studio album Honky Tonk Songs was supposed to be released in 2004, but it was canceled when lead single "The World Needs a Drink" (written by a then-unknown Eric Church) faltered. The album then underwent a Retool and was issued as Life Goes On in fall 2005. "The World Needs a Drink" was not included on the tracklist, although Mercury Records later put it on a 20th Century Masters compilation. Her final disc for Mercury, 2007's My Next Life, also failed to materialize when both "Dirty Girl" and "In My Next Life" fared poorly with both critics and radio (although the latter went to #1 on the Canadian country charts). Finally, a 2018 duet with Dallas Smith titled "One Drink Ago" also never appeared on an album despite making #3 on the Canadian country charts.
  • Rodney Atkins was supposed to have released his debut album in 1997, but he asked the label to can it because he wasn't satisfied with the material (even though the lead single "In a Heartbeat" had already charted). It took six years of almost total inactivity before he finally released an album.
  • Thompson Square's originally-planned third album for Broken Bow Records never materialized due to the failure of the singles "Trans Am" and "You Make It Look So Good". According to the duo themselves, they split amicably from the label in 2017 and went on to release a third album independently in 2018.
  • Love and Theft's second RCA Records album was never released, despite producing a single in "Night You'll Never Forget". One of the tracks for the album, "Going Out Like That", was later recorded by Reba McEntire.
  • Eddy Raven has a lot:
    • His very first singles, "Ladies' Man" and "Once a Fool", were cut when he was only a teenager. Both singles were put on an obscure independent label in The '60s and even by the time he began having hits in The '80s, their whereabouts were largely unknown.
    • Many of his early singles for ABC/Dot Records were never put on an album. However, a few of them were later compiled on a disc called Thank God for Kids in The '80s on ABC/Dot's successor, MCA Records (including his version of the title track, which had been Covered Up by The Oak Ridge Boys in between).
    • After leaving ABC/Dot, he signed with Monument Records, who closed their doors not long after releasing his only single for them, "You're a Dancer".
    • In 1981, he signed to Elektra Records and released one album. He quit the label partway through the run of another single, "San Antonio Nights", which ended up never getting an album.
  • Caitlin & Will won the first season of the CMT singing competition Can You Duet and were slated to release an album titled Dark Horse following their first single "Address in the Stars". However, the duo abruptly split up while the single was charting, and the album disappeared with them.
  • Tucker Beathard's first album never materialized due to a label policy that albums are only released on the second single, and said second single happened to bomb. The label also closed the division to which he was signed, thus meaning that the single "Rock On" has also become victim to Keep Circulating the Tapes.
  • Ray Vega's 1996 debut album Remember When was never released by BNA Records, although there is evidence that promotional copies exist. At least two copies of the title track and only charted single exist on YouTube.
  • Chad Brock released five singles for Broken Bow Records between 2002 and 2004: "A Man's Gotta Do", "That Was Us", "It's a Woman Thing", "You Are", and "That Changed Me". All but "It's a Woman Thing" made the Hot Country Songs charts, but no known copies circulate of any of the five singles.
  • Kellie Coffey's second album A Little More Me was never released after its lead single "Texas Plates" bombed.
  • James Wesley had this happen twice. Under his real name of James Prosser, he recorded an album for Warner (Bros.) Records in 1999 titled Life Goes On, but it was never released due to poor single performance. In 2010, after shortening his name to James Wesley, he cut an album titled Real for Broken Bow Records, but it also never saw the light of day.
  • Tim McGraw was slated to release an album for Columbia Records in 2019, but the two singles ("Neon Church" and "Thought About You") both bombed, so he was dropped with the album unreleased and moved back to Big Machine Records.
  • Aaron Tippin's fourth Lyric Street Records album He Believed never materalized after its lead single "Come Friday" stalled out.
  • Darryl Worley had two albums go unreleased due to label closures: God & Family on Stroudavarious in 2010, and One Time Around on Tenacity Records two years later.
  • Dean Miller was one of the first artists signed to Universal South (now Show Dog-Universal Music) in 2002. However, his intended album Just Me was never released, and there is no trace of lead single "Love Is a Game" anywhere.
  • Julianne Hough's second album Wildfire never materalized due to the lead single "Is That So Wrong" failing to chart. Although she revealed in a 2012 interview that the album was completed, she also expressed no interest in releasing it due to her acting career taking greater focus.
  • Jamie Lee Thurston's I Just Wanna Do My Thing was supposed to be released on View 2 Records in 2003, but they went out of business. He then signed with Warner (Bros.) Records, but they dropped him when the lead single "It Can All Be Gone" under-performed. He later released the album independently in 2009.
  • In 1999, dance music singer Shana Petrone, who had a Top 40 hit with "I Want You" in 1989, attempted a comeback as a country music singer. Her debut country single "This Time" became a minor hit on the country charts, and promo copies of her debut Something Real were sent out by Epic Nashville, but the official release was pulled for unknown reasons. She has since recorded indie material.

  • Electronic experimental group Black Moth Super Rainbow completed an album titled Psychic Love Damage in 2011, then decided to scrap it, reworking some of the material for Cobra Juicy in 2012 note . Frontman Tobacco put out a Facebook post explaining that, after the album was finished, he decided "it wasn't very exciting. and not good enough in my opinion for you to spend your $ on" As a reward for fans who funded Cobra Juicy on Kickstarter, the band put out a vinyl-only EP that was also titled Psychic Love Damage, consisting of five songs not remade for Cobra Juicy.
  • KMFDM's 1984 debut album Opium only saw an initial release of 200 cassettes in Germany, and the master tapes were lost for nearly two decades before being salvaged from a house ravaged by fire and water damage. It finally got a full release in 2002.
  • Kraftwerk's Techno Pop. A few of the songs were moved on to Electric Cafe, and the single "Tour de France" became the basis for its own album nearly two decades later.
    • According to the band, there are no missing tracks and everything they planned for Techno Pop has been released. In fact, in the 2009 Der Katalog re-release, Electric Cafe was renamed as Techno Pop.
  • Front Line Assembly's first album Nerve War was never released past the demo tape run, probably due to the loss of the master tapes, although an MP3 bootleg has been leaked.
  • Boards of Canada claim to have released 5 albums/EPs before the "Twoism" EP in 1995 that first got them noticed. They were allegedly called (in chronological order) Catalog 3, Acid Memories, Closes Vol. 1, Play by Numbers and Hooper Bay, and the cover art for these release has been released. Short snippets of Acid Memories as well as the latter two were released on the band's website, but it's unknown wherever these are genuine or wherever these albums did even exist or not.
  • Momus has had two songs deleted from albums due to lawsuits from their subjects: The first was the Hippopotamomus track "Michelin Man", which compared the tire company mascot of the title to an inflatable sex doll. The second was the Little Red Songbook track "Walter Carlos", which was about transgendered musician Wendy Carlos traveling back in time to marry her pre-sex reassignment surgery self.
  • Skrillex allegedly had a finished EP with the working title Voltage set to release in 2011, but when his laptops and hard drives were infamously stolen that same year, the project was scrapped and never released. Despite this, bootlegs of the supposed title track have surfaced online since, and fans have speculated that versions of songs from Voltage were folded into his next two proper releases, More Monsters & Sprites and Bangarang.

  • According to Follow The Geography, David Bridie and John Phillips (along with several other artists) were secretly working on an album throughout the late nineties called Dumb that for some unknown reason, was never released. What survives was what was supposed to be the single from the album; a song called Crow (which was a reworked version of an instrumental piece called The Sleep of Rhythm) that eventually got released as part of David Bridie and John Phillips Projects 2... In 2011.
    • Another David Bridie rarity that has eluded a proper release was a grunge-y cover of "Map Ref. 41ºN 93ºW" by the post-punk band Wire. It was initially slated for release on Bridie's Act Of Free Choice album. However it was cut at the last moment. It was then going to be included on an Act Of Free Choice DVD along with some other rarities, but the project got shelved for some reason. Thankfully, someone managed to find a leak of the song (apparently with Bridie's permission), so at least it's not lost forever.
  • The Mechanisms deleted "The Ballad o' Lil Lemon" from the band's Bandcamp page and removed the lyrics from their website after a fan notified them that one of the verses was quite racist. You can read their statement about it here.

  • Many of Tay Zonday's earlier songs have been taken down, including "Year 6000", "Say No to Nightmares", and "Demons on the Dance Floor". Others are still on the channel but unlisted, such as "Roll Your Dice", "Musicolio", and "Traffic Machine". Tay has said on Twitter that he considers most of these songs an Old Shame.
  • Welsh psychedelic outfit Super Furry Animals have an almost legendary selection of unreleased and lost material. There's the fabled electronic album, reportedly lost around 2000 when keyboardist Cian Ciaran accidentally deleted it, but most infuriatingly to their fanbase, a project titled "Steelworks in Stone", recorded around the same time as their third album "Guerilla", which was released in 1999. It's unlikely to ever see any kind of official release, as each member of the band seems to be very busy with their solo and side projects at the moment. According to an interview given in 2015, it made heavy use of the Moog Taurus, a synthesizer you play with your feet.
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor's first album, All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling was limited to a release of 33 cassette tapes. Until 2022, when the band made it available on their official Bandcamp page, none of the songs had leaked to the Internet and all that was known about it were the album title, song titles, and the album art.
  • Lifter Puller, a Minnesota art-punk band best known as the progenitor of The Hold Steady, released a cassette with the track "Bitchy Christmas" and sold it at shows in 1998. To this day, no fan has ever shared it online and nobody (not even the band) has revealed what it sounded like.
  • For a couple of years, Red House Painters' last album, Old Ramon had become one of the most famous lost albums of all time. Recorded in the summer of 1997 and originally slated for a 1998 release, Island Records dropped the band before the album came out and cancelled the album's release. The record company absolutely refused to let the band have it back claiming copyright issues. After several companies tried to buy the rights for the album and got denied, Sub Pop finally offered enough money for it and the album was released in 2001.
    • The early RHP demos from before the well-known 1991-92 demos are considered mostly lost. What remains are 2 or 3 songs that were featured on a rare 1988 interview that didn't surface on the internet until around November 2012. While there are a few tastes given by Kozelek alone on acoustic guitar, it is likely that we will probably never know what those songs sound like with a full band, or if there are possibly more songs missing.
  • Microdisney's songs "Harmony Time" and "Money for the Trams". These were originally B Sides of the single 'Birthday Girl', and soon after appeared on the cassette version of the album The Clock Comes Down The Stairs. In 1995, when the band were going through their master recordings at Rough Trade, this master tape could not be found. As a consequence they are the only Microdisney songs from this period to have not been released on CD. Considering 'Harmony Time' was included on at least three releases (7", 12" and Cassette) it is confusing that this happened, as surely master tapes would exist for all three releases.
    • In 2013 they were finally released on CD on a reissue of The Clock Comes Down the Stairs. It isn't known if these are master tape sourced or simply very clean vinyl rips. If the master tape is still missing, then it still technically counts as a missing episode.
    • Their 1980/1981 demo tapes and most of the radio sessions from that era are also thought lost. Some apparently exist in the channel archives.
      • And the band have no control over their Virgin material either, which means that it can only see a reissue if the label sees fit.
  • Cloud Cult's 'first' album (actually a Craig Minowa solo album) "The Shade Project" is one of the most notoriously mysterious albums, owing to the extreme lack of information about it. What is known is that it was made by Craig on an absolutely miniscule budget to the point where he used all sorts of items and objects in his house as substitutes for instruments, and it garnered positive attention from record companies that he ultimately turned down in favour of starting his own environmentally-conscious one. Beyond that, almost nothing is known about it. It's unknown in what format it was released (if it had a proper physical release at all), how many copies were made, the cover art or even a proper track listing (there are a few track listings here and there, but it's impossible to properly verify them). There is speculation that even Cloud Cult themselves don't have a copy. Although a good percentage of songs from it were re-released with other rarities on Cloud Cult's "Lost Songs From the Lost Years" (which is itself difficult to track down), "The Shade Project" remains not only a source of frustration to die-hard fans trying to get a complete collection, but one of the greatest mysteries of the music world.
  • Car Seat Headrest's album Teens Of Denial originally included "Just What I Wanted/Not Just What I Needed", which included musical and lyrical quotes of The Cars' "Just What I Needed" as a Shout-Out: Matador Records failed to properly license "Just What I Needed" and Ric Ocasek nixed the use of his song, so all original copies of the album were destroyed before its initial release date and the group rearranged the song and re-titled it "Not What I Needed".

  • Buddy Bolden was an important figure in the early (1890s-1900s) development of jazz, with many crediting him as the inventor of the whole genre. Some of his fellow old-time New Orleans musicians recalled that his band had made a cylinder recording during that era, but it has never resurfaced. Rumors were rife about the Bolden cylinder's existence during the 1950s, but it sadly turned out that it was left in a storage shed that was destroyed in the early 1960s, and even if it had been recovered the poor storage conditions would very likely have made the cylinder unplayable anyway.

  • When Rachel Stevens was recording her second album, Come and Get It, a song called "Nothing in Common" was recorded but didn't make the cut, which led to a few whispers among Rachel's fans about wanting to hear it, since her previous collaboration with producer Richard X had given Rachel her biggest hit, "Some Girls." Six years later, Richard X, leaked the demo on one of his websites.
  • V V Brown's second album Lollipops & Politics was completed, then for over a year the release was repeatedly put back, until eventually it was scrapped altogether. Only the single "Children" ever saw a release, and that only in North America.
  • Kirsty Mac Coll's proper second album Real remains unreleased; when it was ready for release, Kirsty had just had her biggest solo hit with "A New England" and her record label chose to cash-in with an Updated Re-release of her debut album instead. It didn't sell particularly well, and subsequent singles flopped, so the Real album never appeared.
  • Bernie Taupin wrote a third verse for "Daniel" explaining the reason the title character was injured, why the narrator missed him, and so on: he was a veteran of The Vietnam War. However, Elton John cut it because he felt the song was too long, and unfortunately, neither Elton nor Bernie recalls it.

  • Louis Chauvin was considered by his peers to be one of the most gifted of the ragtime performers of the turn of the century, both as a composer and as a performer. He was said to be able to play even complex songs by ear after hearing them. He was also totally illiterate, and as such couldn't write down any of his compositions, so he never had a body of work. The only remnants of his music that survive are collaborations he did with Sam Patterson ("The Moon is Shining in the Skies"), Elmer Brown ("Babe, It's Too Long Off"), and the best known of the three, "Heliotrope Bouqet" which he co-wrote with Scott Joplin.

  • All of Venom now that Chamillionaire and his record label have been released from Universal Records.
  • Wu-Tang Clan's (in)famous Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, a double album the group worked on from 2007-2014 with Cilvaringz, an aspiring producer and close associate of RZA. In 2015, RZA and Cilvaringz planned to have the album be released in one copy for auction, and RZA enforced an 88 year ban for it to only be heard by the buyer and not to be commercially released. It was intended to be shown in museums, but this was scrapped. Things became more controversial when the album was bought for $2 million by controversial figure Martin Shkreli; while Shkreli has shown interest in leaking it if people really want to hear it, it's unknown if he will.
    • It became a lot more complicated with a slew of other controversies. These include the fact that most of the members (excluding RZA) have barely heard it, and the implications it's not an actual album by the Clan, but an originally planned fan project by Cilvaringz as an "album" for the fans. Which makes his infamous "This album isn't for the fans" quote more hypocritical.
    • There was a 51 second snippet uploaded by Forbes regarding the album, but fans are divided whether or not the music is good, considering how the album is suffering Hype Backlash.
    • There have been some hopes of it leaking, with Shkreli's arrest in 2015 for heavy frauds, a suing from an artist whose art was used in the album book without his permission, but alas, only fate will come in to release the album.

  • Recorded in 1970, Os Mutantes' Tecnicolor was meant to break the Brazilian group to the English-speaking world, and thus most of the songs were remakes of songs they'd released on their prior albums translated to English from Portuguese. It finally saw release in 2000, after reissues of their early albums rekindled public interest in the group. One story has it that the tapes were truly "lost", while another has it that the band just shelved the recordings because they weren't very happy with them.
  • Green Day recorded the album Cigarettes and Valentines in 2003, only to have the master tapes stolen (though some have suspected this to be a nothing more then a rumor). As it turned out, the band wasn't all that happy with the album anyway, so instead of re-recording it they elected to write an album's worth of new material. The whole thing turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since the new album became American Idiot. The band has confirmed they have recovered the master tapes, but have decided not to release them as of 2017.
  • The release of happy hardcore group Dune's planned 2000 album Reunion and the single "Heaven" were cancelled due to a lawsuit from A7 (not to be confused with Avenged Sevenfold) accusing them of plagiarizing their song "Piece of Heaven". A couple years earlier, while Verena was on hiatus from the band, they had another cancelled album, Five, due to poor performance of the singles.
  • Self's Ornament and Crime was supposed to be released in 2004, but was indefinitely shelved once Universal Music Group acquired DreamWorks Records. The unreleased album did leak, however, and the band themselves put up a collection of its outtakes for free download under the title Porno, Mint, And Grime. The album is probably never to see official release, but the band are slowly working another album, Super Fake Nice. The story of that album is another trope.
  • The Beatles:
    • During the lads' engagement at Hamburg's Kaiserkeller in 1960, their manager, Allan Williams, invited John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison to serve as the backing band for a recording session by Lu Walters, the bass guitarist for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes (who were sharing the stage with the Beatles at the Kaiserkeller). As the Beatles' drummer, Pete Best, was out buying new drumsticks at the time, Walters' bandmate from the Hurricanes, Ringo Starr, played the drums, making this the first time Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr played together. They recorded three songs, "Fever", "Summertime", and "September Song", but the current status of the recordings is unknown.
    • Some of the songs from the band's 1962 Decca session were included on the first The Beatles Anthology compilation, but many are still only available as bootlegs.
    • "Carnival of Light" is the only confirmed Beatles song to still be unreleased. In fact, not a single excerpt of the song, which is a nearly fifteen-minute psychedelic jam composed for The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave (around the time Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band came out), has never been released or bootlegged after the festival ended (any "leaks" turned out to be fake). Only descriptions of the song by people who composed or listened to it survive. Paul McCartney, who has the master tapes for the song, has expressed intentions to release the song at some point, but he hasn't received the unanimous consent necessary.
    • "Now and Then" was originally recorded as a John Lennon home demo, and was given to the surviving Beatles in the 1990s by Yoko Ono to flesh out and make a new song. It was never finished and never made it out. Fans are dying to hear it in one way or another, even if incomplete. The good news? Paul has shown interest in finishing it with Ringo. At around the same time, a new song, "All for Love", was rumored to be on an Anthology album as an all new song. It never was finished, and if there are any recordings, we don't know where they are.
  • George Harrison recorded hundreds of demos in his home during the 1970s onwards of which only a tiny fraction has ever been released. There are also several demos from the All Things Must Pass sessions that were never released, and also several other songs that gained an official release but haven't been reissued in decades.
  • The Beach Boys: Despite constant releases since 2011, the legendary Smile Sessions is still incomplete. Lost material that hasn't resurfaced includes The original Mix of Heroes and villains, the vocal tracks for Song for Children I wanna be around and On a Holiday, and the Paul McCartney sessions.
  • Hawkwind's 1975 album Warrior on the Edge of Time, arguably their most psychedelic and inventive, has not been included in the remastering programme because the copyrights are owned by all the participating band members, making royalty negotiations difficult. It wasn't until May 2013 that a remastered version of the record was finally released.
  • The Enid's debut 1976 album In the Region of the Summer Stars was not reissued in its original form for many years because of an apparent dispute between the band and EMI Records. With only the multitracks for side 1 available, the band were forced to remix and overdub side 1 and completely re-record side 2 for the 1984 reissue. It was not until 2010, when a bootleg of the 1976 version appeared, that EMI finally supplied the band with a digital transfer of the original 2-track masters and the band were able to re-release the original album officially on CD.
  • Twelfth Night's self-titled album was released in 1986, but because of a dispute over royalty payments, no CD version appeared until 2005.
  • Abominations of Desolation, recorded in 1986, was meant to be Morbid Angel's debut album, but they decided not to release it due to both dissatisfaction with how it turned out and the acrimonious departure of Mike Browning. It was eventually released in 1991 by Earache Records.
  • Butthole Surfers' 1998 album After the Astronaut had promo copies sent out, but the official release was pulled, reportedly due to record label disputes, and the Butthole Surfers were dropped from their label. About half of the album's songs would get reworked for their next album, The Weird Revolution, which was released on a new label in 2001. Also, bizarrely, the back cover of After The Astronaut ended up becoming the front cover of Marcy Playground's Shapeshifter: At the time, Marcy Playground were on Capitol Records, the same label Butthole Surfers were dropped from; Capitol retained the rights to the After The Astronaut artwork, and offered it to Marcy Playground without revealing it was originally meant for another album.
  • Powerman 5000's Anyone For Doomsday? similarly got pulled from official release two weeks before it was planned to hit stores. This was such a late development that review copies had already been sent out, Rolling Stone and Allmusic had already published reviews and the album's first single, "Bombshell" was already climbing the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart (it reached a peak of #26 before being quietly pulled). In this case though, the band themselves decided not to release it. Rumor had it that this was because the album title was unfortunate after 9/11, but frontman Spider has said it was just because he felt it was too similar to their previous album. For several years, "Bombshell" was the only song from the record legally available (it eventually found its way onto the soundtrack album for the 2003 film Freddy vs. Jason), but the whole album became available for purchase on iTunes some time in the late 2000's.
  • When Minutemen's double album Double Nickels on the Dime was released on CD, it was missing three songs from the original release ("Mr. Robot's Holy Orders", "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love", and "Little Man with a Gun in His Hand"): The album ran too long to be compatible with all CD players without splitting it into two discs, so the band personally picked their three least favorite songs and cut them. The songs aren't available as digital downloads either, at least not the versions that were on the album. To hear these missing songs you have to either buy the still-in-print vinyl version, or settle for different version of them on other albums (live versions of "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" and "Mr. Robot's Holy Orders" are on Post-Mersh Vol. 3 and Ballot Result respectively, while an earlier recording of "Little Man with a Gun in His Hand" is on Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat, and a studio version of "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" is on the Tour-Spiel EP). Or of course you can find digitized versions of the record out there.
  • Between Tin Planet and Suburban Rock 'n' Roll, Space made an album of songs with the working title of Love You More Than Football. The provisional tracklisting was published on the band's website, and song titles were leaked to magazines. One of the songs, 'Diary Of A Wimp', was released as a single in 2000, while 'Gravity' was premiered at gigs on the Bad Days Tour in 1998 and included on the Greatest Hits Album. However, due to problems with the record company and increasing delays, the album was never actually released and is now only available on bootleg. It's also the last album with Jamie Murphy on it, and also the last album with lead vocals by other band members besides Tommy Scott (or instrumentals).
  • Velvet Revolver supposedly recorded a song entitled "The House Is Alive", and was going to be used as the theme for the 2006 animated film Monster House. The song was never included in said movie, and has never been released to the public.
  • Pink Floyd:
    • The legendary rejected third single "Scream Thy Last Scream"/"Vegetable Man", despite being hailed as two of Syd Barrett's finest songs, did not see release outside of a bootleg until the Early Years 1965–1972 box set in 2016. The reason speculated is that the band felt it was too connected with Syd's Creator Breakdown.
    • After The Dark Side of the Moon, they experimented with a recording to be called Household Objects. The project was eventually scrapped, and although some bits were eventually incorporated into other songs (two full length recordings were also included in expanded re-issues of The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here), the rest of the project will most likely never see the light of day.
  • Michael Jackson has a considerable number of songs locked away, having never had official releases for whatever reason. Following his death in 2009, however, a number of these songs were leaked online, and a year later, Jackson's estate gave Sony Music Entertainment permission to include some of his unreleased songs on ten posthumous albums that will be released throughout The New '10s; so far two of these albums have been published.
  • In a 1998 Time magazine article, Bruce Springsteen said he has recorded a country album and a hip-hop album, neither of which he has released. Nor have any tracks leaked, either.
  • Neil Young has done this several times throughout his career, most notably with the 1975 album Homegrown which was withdrawn at the last moment and replaced with Tonight's The Night, recorded 2 years earlier. Some tracks showed up on other albums before the album was finally released in 2020.
  • Toadies' second album Feeler was planned for a 1998 release, but was rejected by the label - an album's worth of songs were recorded, but the recordings weren't mastered and a track-list hadn't been decided upon. When their official second album Hell Below/Stars Above came out in 2001, it featured only three re-recorded songs that were intended for Feeler, though a fourth re-recording, "Joey, Let's Go", appeared on a compilation album. Following a reunion, the band attempted to have the original Feeler recordings released on an independent label in 2008, but their old label wouldn't relinquish the rights. Feeler finally came out in some form in 2010 - the release consisted of newly recorded versions of nine songs from the period, leaving five additional songs that are still only available via bootlegs.
  • Mike Doughty recorded his solo debut, Skittish, in 1996, shortly before the release of Soul Coughing's Irresistible Bliss - the label rejected it for sounding too different from Soul Coughing. The album's first "release" was in the form of homemade copies that Doughty started selling as merch during a 2000 solo tour; Much of his set at the time consisted of songs from the Skittish sessions, and he had found that material had become popular with fans after it started circulating as Leaked Content. Skittish finally saw a more proper release in 2004, as a two-disc set that also featured outtakes, live songs, and the later EP Rockity Roll.
  • Canadian doom metal band Woods of Ypres recorded 5 songs for their unreleased EP Woods 4.5: You Were The Light in August 2010, but it was shelved after their label Earache Records showed a desire to have them release a full length album. As a result, the Juno award winning Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric Light was recorded instead, and while two Woods 4.5 songs came out in 2011 on the vinyl single Home, the other three tracks have never surfaced. Following frontman David Gold's death that December, it's unknown if they'll ever come out.
  • The critically acclaimed and highly influential "My Life In the Bush Of Ghosts" by David Byrne and Brian Eno lost a song between its first US release and its original UK release/CD release. The track "Qu'ran" (which features a reading of the Qu'ran set over a music track) was omitted at the request of several Muslim groups who asked the UK record label to omit the track. It was replaced in all subsequent pressings with the B-Side "Very Very Hungry". The track is present on CD on the 1989 US release, so is not totally a missing episode. Another song, "The Jezebel Spirit" itself exists because of licensing issues that propped up before the album was released. Originally it was a track called "Into the Spirit Womb" and has completely different dialogue from "The Jezebel Spirit". "Into the Spirit Womb" remains unavailable as a legitimate release.
  • Cradle of Filth's demo tape Goetia - the masters were taped over because the band couldn't afford to buy them.
  • The B-52s' "Don't Worry" appeared on their album "Whammy!" on vinyl and cassette. The band credited Yoko Ono for writing "Don't Worry", but did not realise they had to pay her. Her lawyers asked the band to pay Yoko the money they owed her in royalties up until that point. This, plus the fines for not doing so, ended up being so much that it meant the band made almost no profit off the album, so it was replaced on reissues with "Legal Tender"'s B Side "Moon '83" (starting with the 1986 vinyl reissue and all CDs.) Don't Worry has never appeared on CD, and is unlikely to as the band are no longer with Warner (Bros.) Records or Island Records, who handled the release of the song in different territories.
  • The Ramones' "Carbona Not Glue" was taken off of Leave Home due to a threatened lawsuit by Carbona, a trademarked cleaning fluid. Most versions of the album replaced it with "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker", which means that "Sheena..." is now on two of their albums, Leave Home and Rocket To Russia - harder to find copies replaced it with the B-Side "Babysitter" instead. A live version of "Carbona Not Glue" was a Hidden Track on one version of the Live Album Loco Live, and the studio version appeared on the box set Weird Tales Of The Ramones, but it's still not on the most recent reissues of Leave Home.
  • The Kinks recorded an album in 1968 called Four More Respected Gentlemen, intended as a companion piece to The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. The project was scrapped when Village Green tanked commercially and the band temporarily broke up. Reprise released several of the tracks on 1973's The Great Lost Kinks Album, but that album lived up to its title, ceasing printing when Kinks frontman Ray Davies - no longer with the label - sued Reprise. It's only with the 3-CD deluxe edition of Village Green that many of the tracks have seen wide release.
  • 10,000 Maniacs' 1987 album In My Tribe originally included a Cover Version of "Peace Train" by Cat Stevens. In 1989, the song's original performer made some controversial public remarks regarding Ayatollah Khomeini's death fatwa against Salman Rushdie, so the song was subsequently removed from the US CD version of the album. However, their version of the song remained on international CD copies of the album, as well as on vinyl, and it was re-released in the US in 2004, as part of a 2-CD greatest hits / rarities compilation called Campfire Songs.
  • One of the most notorious missing songs was a track called "Ready 'n' Steady" by a group only known as D.A.note  The song charted on Billboard's "Bubbling Under" chart (the songs that just missed the Hot 100 Charts, essentially #101 and so on.) for three weeks in 1979. Initially believing it was a small run of an independent label that managed to get some airplay in Midwestern markets, music historian Joel Whitburn - considered to be the foremost expert on the Billboard charts - searched out the address of the track's record label to an empty building in Detroit, and found no evidence of the song, the group, or the alleged record label. Information about this song was so impossible to find that until 2016, it was generally accepted that the record actually didn't exist and was merely some sort of practical joke. Then one resourceful investigator realized that no one had ever bothered to check copyright records for the song. Once he did, he found a listing for a "Ready & Steady" from 1979 written by Dennis Armand Lucchesi and Jim Franks. He passed the info on to Whitburn's assistant Paul Haney, who tracked down Franks and learned the whole story: the San Francisco based band was actually called D.A. & The Dukes, the song was never officially released as a single and its placement on the charts was due to the band's publicist pulling strings at Billboard (Billboard's chart director at the time, Bill Wardlow, was notorious for manipulating the rankings and accepting bribes). Lucchesi himself died in 2005, apparently unaware that he was at the center of a notorious music mystery. Franks also passed on the audio for "Ready 'n' Steady" to Haney, then Haney and Franks appeared as guests on Crap From the Past, a Minneapolis radio show dedicated to pop music obscurities, which gave "Ready 'n' Steady" its "world premiere" after 37 years, revealing it to be a fairly decent bit of bar band Hard Rock (here is a link to the song).
  • Shudder To Think's Funeral At The Movies originally included a Cover Version of "Crosstown Traffic". Copyright issues caused the song to be omitted on the most recent CD and vinyl reissues of the album, as well as on digital releases.
  • The 2015 remix of Prowler in the Yard by Pig Destroyer omits the song "Evacuating Heaven" entirely: The liner notes explain that the vocal track was missing from their archives, and "in keeping with the edict that we NOT add anything new to this CD", they removed the song rather than having to re-record the vocals.
  • A few Nine Inch Nails songs have not yet seen the light of day:
    • The most known being "Just Do It" that was for The Downward Spiral, never finished because album co-producer Flood objected to the Suicide Dare theme; another track left off was "The Beauty of the Drug", though nothing but the title is known.
    • The Fragile (1999), which was already a double album, had a few songs not included on the original release. Some of these were included in the all-instrumental album The Fragile: Deviations 1. Trent Reznor also noted that new tracks with '(Instrumental)' in the title have a version that has either an outline of vocal parts, or full vocal parts. Two other songs that showed up in lists shown in the Fragility tour book, "Rotation" and "Stained", remain unaccounted for and were not included in Deviations (a third track, "Anomaly", was actually a working title for "The Way Out Is Through").
    • When posters and .PDF documents for With Teeth were released with song titles and lyrics on them, "The Life You Didn't Lead", "Message To No One", and "The Warning" (Year Zero also included a song of the same name, though it likely has little else to do with it) were included. These, along with three other songs "Non-Entity", "Not So Pretty Now", and "My Dead Friend", ended up being left off the album. "Non-Entity" and "Not So Pretty Now" were performed live for a few years and finally saw their studio versions see a release online as part of the NINJA 2009 Summer Tour EP, but the other tracks haven't been so lucky.
  • Inverted when it comes to The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet. The song is available across the internet and its airing, which occurred in the early 80's, is mostly known. The artist, however, is unknown as is the actual name of the song.
  • Possibly due to licensing issues, Melvins' The Crybaby is missing its opening track, a Cover Version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit", on Spotify or other major streaming services - however, the song is still included on physical copies, as well as being available for download on the band's official Bandcamp site.
    • The Trilogy, a vinyl Boxed Set of the albums The Maggot, The Bootlicker, and The Crybaby, is missing some material from the original CD releases due to its 3 LP format: The Maggot and The Bootlicker are simply stripped of their hidden tracks, but Side B of The Crybaby is missing two minutes of "Divorced" and the last 4 songs are cut entirely. Something similar happened with the vinyl release of Hold It In, but only two songs had to be left off ("Eyes On You" and "House Of Gasoline"), and it was remedied somewhat by making those two missing songs B Sides of the separately issued 10" single "Bride Of Crankenstein".
  • The third album from Hanzel Und Gretyl, Oz Factor, was completed but never released due to the record label they were under collapsing. The band has talked about attempting to get the rights back, but so far nothing has happened.
  • Busted has only had the uncensored version of 'Who's David' released on a promo CD with a few other songs from their second album. It's since been ripped from one of those CDs and leaked online.
  • Mc Fly have many demos of their songs that have only been bootlegged. Notable examples incclude the original version of 'I Wanna Hold You' and 'Star Girl.'

  • The film version of "Lapti Nek" from Return of the Jedi was never included on any soundtrack albums, and has since been only available on the VHSs and the 2006 Limited Edition DVD. There was also an unused piece of Source Music composed by Joseph Williams that was lost.
  • One half-Live-Action TV and one half-Music: Back in 1979, NBC attempted to reinvigorate themselves through their "Proud as a Peacock" initiative. However, as NBC was in last place due to the ineptitude of Fred Silverman, many people were cheesed off with the network. As such, the people who created and sang the "Proud as a Peacock" jingle created a parody known as "We're LOUD". The song was distributed to various employees and affiliates as jokes to listen to. Then, Don Imus made the mistake of airing it over the air. This pissed off Silverman enough to go on a hunting spree to find and retrieve those copies. Some do still exist, but not in a state that they could be played crisply.
  • Disney Hits, a station on Sirius XM, has not played "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" despite the song being one of the signature songs of Disney.

    Visual Kei 
  • Jinkaku Radio's song "Hikizan" will probably never be released simply because one member criticized a seiyuu for the show it was supposed to be the closing theme for.

    Music videos 
  • The original video for Nas' "Hate Me Now" featured Puff Daddy (as he was known at the time) being crucified alongside Nas. Puffy, who initially agreed to acting in the scenes, changed his mind before the video was set to premiere and wanted his cross scenes removed. However, when the video premiered, the uncut version was shown by mistake, and Puffy and his bodyguards then forcibly seized the video. The only apparent version of the video visible today is the recut version, with only Nas being crucified.
  • The music video for Lady Gaga's "Do What U Want" has never been fully released, though snippets of it do exist online. Gaga originally announced that the video would be directed by fashion photographer Terry Richardson, and promised that it would push boundaries. Additionally, Interscope Records announced that they had plans to release the video in a bundle (distributed through file-sharing networks) that would also include behind-the-scenes footage, photos and interviews. However, the full video was never released — in a statement made just after the video's proposed release date, Gaga claimed that it wasn't up to her usual standards of quality. Nothing more would be heard about the video for several months until TMZ published several previously-unseen clips from it, which showed Gaga in an operating room and presumably being groped by R. Kelly while being heavily sedated, along with clips of her writhing around naked on a pile of newspapers. According to the TMZ story which accompanied this, the video was pulled due to a then-ongoing sexual harassment scandal against Richardson from models who had worked with him, as well as a fear of backlash regarding Kelly's previous criminal trial regarding a pornographic video he shot with a minor.
  • Lostprophets' final music video, for the song "Somedays", was never released because lead singer Ian Watkins was arrested and convicted of child sexual abuse. The rest of the band formed No Devotion and now refuses to preform Lostprophets songs again.
  • Several Nine Inch Nails music videos have gone unreleased, specifically videos for "Hurt" (replaced with a video consisting of concert footage), "The Day the World Went Away" (rumored that Trent Reznor found it hit too close to home in regards to his grandmother's passing, though fragments of the video appeared in an Easter egg on the And All That Could Have Been DVD), "Every Day Is Exactly The Same" (with only behind the scenes photos having been released), and "Everything". In regards to "Everything", Reznor stated in a Reddit AMA that "for whatever reason it just didn't turn out that great and I shelved it. This is not an uncommon occurrence in my world."
    • Clips from the "Everything" video later resurfaced on the directors' website in two different compilation reels (though without the song itself).
  • The original recording of Sparks' first Top of the Pops appearance (playing This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us) is still yet to be found. No bootlegs of it seem to exist (owing to how expensive home taping was during the 1970s), and it is likely that it was indiscriminately "purged" in the same way that Doctor Who was. This performance was particularly notable for being the only one to feature the full lineup that recorded Kimono My House, as bassist Martin Gordon was fired soon after the album charted.
  • George Strait's first music video, for "You Look So Good in Love", was pulled because he hated it to the point that he refused to do videos for years afterward. No copies seem to exist online, either.
  • Alternative Hip-Hop group Brand Nubian's original music video for their song "Wake Up" was banned from MTV after airing. One surreal section involved a black man in white face dressed as Satan who was in a corporate office esque room where he gladly watched as the 1990s crack epidemic and white supremacy wreaked havoc upon the black community & manipulating people into engaging in toxic & destructive behaviors to further destroy black america. This was considered rather controversial and they ended up banning it. Lord Jamar, one of Brand Nubian's members, stated in an interview "Yes, we were trying to say the white man is the devil, but we we're also trying to say that that devil really starts with you, that's why it was a black man in a white face."
  • This article goes into detail about how the music video for Lari White's 1993 single "Lead Me Not" seems to have fully disappeared from RCA Records' archives, nor does anyone at the label remember it being made. In the same article, the author highlights news footage indicating its director, along with a column in a music magazine indicating that the video was put in rotation on CMT and the former TNN (now Spike TV). So if it is out there, it likely got mis-filed. Even the official upload of the song on YouTube shows a live performance in lieu of the actual video (which, according to its director, had White performing it in front of a candle-lit piano).