10 Albums That Should’ve Been Commercial Hits

Sweet lord. This is where the so-called power of the Internet exposes an otherwise nice and bright chap to be just like all the rest of humankind, someone with an asshole and an opinion.

Both of which are largely best kept to ourselves.

Anyway, I could crap on this list all day long with the exception of entry 10, the Ramones, which is so obvious that by putting them at number 10 suggests the list is faulty to begin with.

But the rest of this list is ridiculous.

There is not one meaningful, near-miss artist. Yeah, you can make a case for Big Star, I suppose, but they did not have the discipline and drive to get over the top. They had some very good songs for sure, but shit, so did Tom Rush. And even Eric Carmen and the Raspberries.

So not to pussy out on this, let me offer up my own take on some bands that shoulda, coulda, woulda:

The Jim Carroll Band – his first two albums were mixed with brilliance, balls and great guitars. Do yourself a favor and get Catholic Boy.


The Boomtown Rats – Fuck “I Don’t Like Mondays.” Get, and listen to, their early days best of album A Tonic for the Troops. That sucker is loaded with songs that should’ve kept the likes of the Thompson Twins and KajaGooGoo off our shores. Ireland’s own Bruce Springsteen mixed with the Clash and the Stones. Yeah. It’s that good.

Yaz – Upstairs at Eric’s Before there was a Depeche Mode, before there was a true understanding of what the new British Invasion could mean to great songwriting, great soul singing and great innovation, there was and always will be Yaz.

The Sundays – A great band with great songs and a great singer that shoulda been bigger than the Cranberries, let alone a trippy one-hit-wonder group like Mazzy Starr. Listen to Here’s Where the Story Ends and tell me you don’t get goosebumps. And then once you do, go buy a few more albums from this ridiculously underrated band.

The Helio Sequence – This Oregon-based duo writes some of the best indie pop songs that rely less on acoustic guitars, mandolins and dobro, and more on killer synth pads, great vocals and memorable melodies. And while, yeah, they have fans, I say not enough. In  a perfect world these guys could be bigger than Maroon 5 and the Plain White T’s. At the very least, in the old days these guys would’ve been a better complement to U2 than Simple Minds and the Alarm. But what sucks for them is that they are great in an age when being great is not enough. In fact being great only matters in that it is great. Which is awesome in the pure indie sense of music and art, but unfortunately in today’s day and age, does not pay the bills, minimizes your cultural relevance and leads toward selling out for selling out’s sake.

Image: Helio Sequence via SubPop Records

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