Recording Artists Who Released A Strong Debut Album -- Then "Disappeared" From the Scene

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Following up on tomswift2002, how about listing recording artists that released a solid debut album — yet, released no follow-up album (and apparently disappeared from the music scene altogether).
  • Ground rule: said artist did not subsequently join a band or otherwise participate in other recording sessions that yielded released albums…
    • The artist could have subsequently recorded — but these were not issued at that time.
    • This may be hard with bands -- but do the best you can,
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I came away with these pop artists on a quick first pass:
  • Marc Eric / A Midsummer's Day Dream (’69)
  • Fargo / I See It Now (’69)
  • Joanna Gault / Watch Me (’68)
  • The Match / A New Light ('69)
 

Rudy

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Rosie Vela. She was on A&M for one album, Zazu. The big news at the time was the participation of Gary Katz as producer, and Donald Fagen and Walter Becker taking part in the sessions. (This was after Steely Dan had broken up, so, presumably one of the first times Katz, Fagen and Becker appeared together on an album after the split.) The album got a lot of positive reviews, but only did well commercially overseas. In the US it only appeared on the Billboard AC Albums chart, and did not sell well. I did my part--I first bought it on cassette (why, I don't know), then got it on CD when it appeared for all of five seconds, then got a sealed vinyl copy a couple of years ago that sounds really good.

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@Mr Bill and I have had a running joke about a seven song EP on IRS Records by a fellow named Patrick D. Martin, called Computer Datin'. He seemed to disappear without a trace after that clever release. I mean, how can I not like a song called "I Like 'Letric Motors"?? 😁

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It might be easier to list bands that had a strong first album and then every album after that was decidedly weaker.
That could arguably be thousands of albums. 😁
 

Harry

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I had the good fortune to work with program director Charlie Lake, who had been an A/R guy for A&M Records and was the one responsible for traveling with Rosie Vela all around the country - and Europe too, so he had fond memories of that particular album. At the time of he and I working together, the ZAZU album was hard to come by on CD, but he had one and made me a nice digital copy. A number of years later, Revola reissued the disc in the UK which devalued the old A&M disc, which I later picked up for cheap.
 
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rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
This is easy. Three from the same producer.
The Knack, Nick Gilder and Exile.
No loss as far as The Knack goes but I hoped for more from Exile.
Also Zager and Evans from 1968 or 69.
 

Rudy

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The Knack actually had six albums, not one. Not that the later five ever did much. 😁

Doug Feiger went on to do other minor work in music, and also contributed lyrics to the Manhattan Transfer album Brasil. He's probably more infamous for being the brother of Geoffrey Feiger, the bombastic trial attorney who represented Dr. Kevorkian.
 

Rudy

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I had the good fortune to work with program director Charlie Lake, who had been an A/R guy for A&M Records and was the one responsible for traveling with Rosie Vela all around the country - and Europe too, so he had fond memories of that particular album. At the time of he and I working together, the ZAZU album was hard to come by on CD, but he had one and made me a nice digital copy. A number of years later, Revola reissued the disc in the UK which devalued the old A&M disc, which I later picked up for cheap.
I remember getting the CD when it came out on A&M--very easy to find at the time, although it probably only went through one pressing run. (I remember getting new release CD information somewhere at the time--might have been the Digital Audio magazine.) But once those were exhausted, copies were unobtainium. I had a promo LP copy about four years ago but like most of the local vinyl I buy, it was too worn to be listenable. I finally remembered to look and nailed a sealed stock copy.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
I really don’t know if she released an album, but she did release a strong 12-inch single in the mid-80’s Called “Remembering Love” and that was Tiffany (aka Kimberly Warnock).
 

TjbBmb

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Trifle- First Meeting
The Silhouettes- Conversations With..
The Advancement
The Aquarians- Jungle Grass
Stark Reality- Discovers Hoagy Carmichael’s Music Shop
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
I never liked "My Sharona" and to this day I change the station every time it comes on.
Their follow up single was totally forgettable.
If they had 5 more albums they were well hidden in the stores if they got there at all for this area.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
The first name that comes to mind is Sixto Rodriguez, although his story is that he (an American singer-songwriter) was extremely popular in South Africa and virtually unknown everywhere else. "Cold Fact" (1970) was strong; "Coming from Reality" (1971) less so... and then he basically never recorded a studio album after that and all but disappeared until the documentary "Searching for Sugarman" (2012) was released.

Here's "Inner City Blues," the song whose lyrics from which the album "Cold Fact" takes its name:

 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
More recently, I feel that Lenka, the Australian singer, released a very strong debut album (eponymous, 2008). Some singles from that album, which were given airplay as cameos on various TV shows in the late 2000s, include "The Show" and "Trouble Is a Friend."

But after that album, she low key disappeared; well, I should say, she released a few albums after that (and YouTube is showing a music video from 3 days ago), but nothing that I know of compares to her debut album, and I'm certain her record company hasn't been promoting her.

Similar story, imho, with Mika... strong debut album, almost-as-strong 2nd album, then kind of disappeared from the [mainstream] scene. [Edit... I guess Mika has released five albums, including his debut from 2007, but I don't think the latest three have produced singles like his first two albums, at least in the U.S.]
 

Rudy

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I never liked "My Sharona" and to this day I change the station every time it comes on.
Their follow up single was totally forgettable.
If they had 5 more albums they were well hidden in the stores if they got there at all for this area.
The only follow-up I remember seeing in stores was the second album. ...But The Little Girls Understand. Maybe they understood, maybe they didn't, but even they didn't buy the album. I once heard the alleged hit single being described as "'My Sharona' played sideways." I think the local store I frequented featured it for maybe a week before it disappeared. The rest were later, and likely weren't on major labels anyways. Doug Feiger grew up with Don Was, of Was (Not Was), and I guess they did some demos together but nothing ever really came of it.

I was even going to mention the fluke success of the Was (Not Was) album but realized that they, too, had more than one album. Don Was, of course, is now leading the Blue Note label. That album was huge locally but I don't know if it was much heard beyond the Great Lakes area.
 

Rudy

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This album might squeeze in, although there were some stray tracks assembled after his death.

Mitar Subotic, aka Suba, produced Bebel Gilberto's first album and did the same with a few other newer artists in Brazil before releasing his album Sao Paulo Confessions. Not too long after, he died of smoke inhalation in an apartment fire. So his "disappearance" wasn't a mystery, unfortunately. He had a budding career back in his native Yugoslavia, but came into his own when he got to Brazil. The album is an acquired taste but this mashup of styles is right up my alley, combining samba, Bossa Nova, electronica and sampling.

 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
It might be easier to list bands that had a strong first album and then every album after that was decidedly weaker.
Oh, man. Just looking at pop "B" I would volunteer the following:
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears / Child is the Father to the Man ('67)
    • Once the monster destroyed its creator (Al Kooper) they became something "wholly other".
  • Buffalo Springfield / (self-titled; '66)
    • Steve Stills and Neil Young had been writing for several years and clearly selected their finest offerings for their debut. The follow-up contained obvious filler.
  • Jackson Browne / (self-titled; '71)
    • Similar story. He'd been writing around LA for about 6 years prior to issuing his first LP. As one of my LP friends likes to say about debuts in the '60s: "You have your whole life to prepare for that first LP; once that's done, you now have 6 months to scramble for the follow-up".
  • The Band / Music From Big Pink ('67)
    • They introduced a unique sound. Based on the "shock value" alone, they could never equal that opening anthem (and, apparently, by the 3rd LP several of the members were now sadly hooked on drug usage...)
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Oh, man. Just looking at pop "B" I would volunteer the following:
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears / Child is the Father to the Man('67)
    • Once the monster destroyed its creator (Al Kooper) they became something "wholly other".
  • Buffalo Springfield / (self-titled; '66)
    • Steve Stills and Neil Young had been writing for several years and clearly selected their finest offerings for their debut. The follow-up contained obvious filler.
  • Jackson Browne / (self-titled; '71)
    • Similar story. He'd been writing around LA for about 6 years prior to issuing his first LP. As one of my LP friends likes to say about debuts in the '60s: "You have your whole life to prepare for that first LP; once that's done, you now have 6 months to scramble for the follow-up".
  • The Band / Music From Big Pink('67)
    • They introduced a unique sound. Based on the "shock value" alone, they could never equal that opening anthem (and, apparently, by the 3rd LP several of the members were now sadly hooked on drug usage...)
Oh, these are good ones! Agreed on Buffalo Springfield and Jackson Browne! Although I do recall he had "The Pretender."
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I came away with these pop artists on a quick first pass:
  • Marc Eric / A Midsummer's Day Dream (’69)
  • Fargo / I See It Now (’69)
  • Joanna Gault / Watch Me (’68)
  • The Match / A New Light ('69)
Here are the stories on these as I understand them.

Mark Eric: The LP was a dead-ringer for that post-surf / pre-Pet Sounds Brian Wilson Beach Boys sound of '65. Which meant it would probably sell about 17 copies in 1969.
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Fargo -- The same sort of issue happened here. The LP sounds too much like a throwback to 1965-66.

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This one has a strange story. Jonna was built up as a peculiar musical wunderkind (perhaps sort of like a female equivalent of Van Dyke Parks, who had just release is idiosyncratic Song Cycle). Though at the time reported to be a teenager, according to the Discogs entry, she was actually 9 years older than claimed. The LP is a fascinating listen and am frankly surprised it was never picked up by RevOla or anyone else for CD issue.

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The Match was a strong "vocal group" band (like The Association) with fascinating arrangements. Hank Mancini wrote the liner notes -- which probably didn't help much to entice the Woodstock crowd to plunk down $3.98. The band's also too square looking for '69/'70. In any event, American culture was entering it's downhill/fickle phase with vocal groups...

match.jpg
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
OK. Two more:
  • Penny Nichols / Penny's Arcade ['68]
    • Fairly well known in the San Francisco area, but I guess her LP didn't sell well enough to generate a follow-up. Also, this is that odd period between acoustic folk (which essentially ended round about 1965-66) and singer-songwriter (which started to really kick in around 1970-71).
  • penny.jpg
  • Wendy & Bonnie / Genesis ['69]
    • Two truly talented teenagers. This may have been more a victim of Skye Records (which was a bit of a failure as a venture) than anything else.
  • wendy.jpg
 

Rudy

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Skye Records didn't last long--Cal Tjader bailed after three albums (as one of the co-founders). Gary McFarland tried to keep things going but ultimately Buddah got ahold of the label, then it got punted around to other owners throughout the years. It's typical, though--it starts as an artist-focused label but ultimately ends up falling victim to a lack of popularity and/or mismanagement. I think the album above was one of those later attempts to try to salvage the label.
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
Oh, these are good ones! Agreed on Buffalo Springfield and Jackson Browne! Although I do recall he had "The Pretender."
I have to disagree on Jackson Browne.
I feel his albums were all very solid and the number of gold albums he has makes the case.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
I have to disagree on Jackson Browne.
I feel his albums were all very solid and the number of gold albums he has makes the case.
I wasn't the one who proposed it; you can take it up with the person who originally proposed it. I recall saying that Jackson Browne had "The Pretender," which I do think is a strong album.
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
Canadian group Motherlode "When I Die" (Buddah) in 1969 BUT "Tapped Out" (Buddah) in 1970 or 1972 failed to chart.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
I have to disagree on Jackson Browne.
I feel his albums were all very solid and the number of gold albums he has makes the case.
That was me. Didn't mean to ruffle any feathers -- it's all subjective anyway. In any event, Jackson's first four LPs are solid for sure; nevertheless, to my ears his debut is notably above the other three given I detect the arguable presence of lesser quality material on those LPs. Every note of the debut is stellar. Add to this David Crosby's harmonies (Cros' beautiful tenor propels those first four Byrd's albums, too), the intimate soundstage, Leland Sklar's electric bass guitar work... As pure music, it just jumps out much farther than the others. (I do like The Pretender -- particularly the version of The Fuse with the erroneous dead ending!)
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
first four Byrd's albums
(Oh, good grief! It's "Byrds', not "Byrd's"! 🥴 Cros' is gonna hate me for the misspelling! Man, I tell ya, nearing 60 I concede that attention to detail has begun that long slow fade-to-black. No worries, I won't be conducting anymore open-heart surgeries.😁)
 
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