10 Rock Albums That Took Forever To Make

While art obviously can’t be forced, sometimes rock albums just take way too long to make, with Tool’s long in the works 5th studio album being the perfect example. Here are 10 albums that took longer than most to make.


10. Portishead – Third

Portishead went on hiatus in 1999, but in 2005 announced that they were writing their third studio album. They released two tracks on their MySpace page in 2006, but didn’t end up releasing the album until April 2008.


9. Hole – Nobody’s Daughter

Courtney Love began writing tracks for what was planned to be her second solo album during a rehab stint in 2005. She continued writing and recording throughout the rest of the 2000’s, releasing demos online. Linda Perry and Billy Corgan at times came in to contribute to the writing of the album. Love decided in 2009 to make Nobody’s Daughter a Hole album, despite Eric Erlandson not being involved. The album was finally released in 2010, nearly 5 years after writing had begun.


8. U2 – Songs of Innocence

U2 already were working on a followup to No Line On The Horizon in 2009, with Songs of Ascent rumored for a mid 2010 release. The album was abandoned though, and reports came out that the band were working on three separate albums: a rock album, a dance album, and a meditative album. These albums were also abandoned, and in 2012 the band continued work and Bono even proclaimed that they’d just spent their best three weeks in the studio since 1979. In January 2013, the band claimed the new album would be titled 10 Reasons To Exist and that it would be released in September. The band released “Ordinary Love” in November 2013 and “Invisible” in February 2014 to provide fans with new songs as they waited for a full album. U2 surprised fans last months when they released Songs of Innocence for free on iTunes, 5 years after announcing they had begun work on a new album.


7. Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension

Aerosmith’s 2012 album Music From Another Dimension came over a decade after the band’s last full album of entirely original material, 2001’s Just Push Play. The band reportedly started working on a new album in May 2006, with more studio work done in November 2007. In 2009 reports came out that the band would be releasing an album by June with Brendan O’Brien producing. After Steven Tyler’s 2009 injury, there was major tension in the band, leaving to Tyler almost leaving. Aerosmith reconvened though for a tour in 2010, and resumed work on their new album in 2011. The album was finally released in November 2012, 6 years after initial recording sessions took place.


6. Boston – Third Stage

Boston began work on Third Stage in 1980, writing the album’s first track “Amanda” during the first year of work. The band was recorded at Tom Scholz’s Hideaway Studio for 6 years ‘between floods and power failures.’ The album was finally released in 1986, debuting at #1 and going 4X Platinum.


5. Scott Weiland – Happy in Galoshes

Former Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland began work on his second solo album in 2002 with producer Josh Abraham, but Weiland ended up shifting his focus to Velvet Revolver throughout the 2000’s, while working on the album in his spare time with his producer/guitarist Doug Grean. Happy in Galoshes was finally released in November 2008, with single and double disc versions being avilable for purchase.


4. Peter Gabriel – Up

Peter Gabriel began work on Up in the spring of 1995, and claimed the album was near completion in 1998. The album didn’t end up coming out until September 2002, 7 years after initial work began. Gabriel released videos of short demos leading up to the album’s release.


3. Kate Bush – Aerial

Kate Bush began work on Aerial in 1996, to follow up her 1993 album The Red Shoes. Bush took her time on the album, focusing on her family and raising her son. Aerial finally came out as a double album in November 2005, 9 years after she had initially began work on it.


2. Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy

Guns N’ Roses began working on new material in 1995-1996, mostly to no avail. Axl Rose had brought in his guitar teacher Paul Tobias to attempt to write with Slash, and Slash did not think Tobias was fit for the band. Slash quit GNR in 1996, followed by Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum in 1997, leaving Axl Rose the last original/classic GNR member standing. Rose brought in several musicians in the ensuing years to work on the album including Robin Finck, Tommy Stinson, Josh Freese, Buckethead, Bryan Mantia, Chris Pitman, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, Frank Ferrer, Gary Sunshine, Dave Navarro, and even Brian May. “Oh My God” was the first track to be released from the sessions in 1999, with Rose promising that the album would be released by the end of the year, the first in a series of postponed album release dates that would continue throughout the 2000’s, along with several tours to promote the album years before it ever came out, with many tracks leaking. The album reportedly cost $13 million to make, and was finally released in 2008.


1. Brian Wilson Presents Smile

Brian Wilson originally began work on Smile as a Beach Boys album in 1966 with Van Dyke Parks. The album was intended to be the followup to Pet Sounds, but it was shelved with Smiley Smile being released in 1967. After years of encouragement, Wilson began to finally put Smile songs into his live setlists, with “Heroes and Villains” being performed in March 2001 for the first time in decades. In 2003 Wilson began to finally complete the album and perform it live. The album was finally released in 2004, 38 years after it was originally intended for release.

  • http://Boom.com Boom

    Tip from Boom. Stay off the smack, things get done more faster when you no do smack. Most artists on this list on smack.

    Boom out!!

    Boom know, Boom was all smacked out in years prior, one time went to the Mexico in early ’85, just for weekend trip. Boom no get back till late ’88. Gone three fucking years in the Mexico all fuckered up on the heroin. Bad dark times for Boom.

    Boom good now no relapse for while now and sober.

  • http://www.justinpeterson.net Justin P.

    Everyone think’s Songs of Innocence took a long time to make… but, the gap between most U2 records is around 4 years (Zooropa 1993 / Pop – 1997 / All That You Can’t Leave Behind – 2000 / Atomic Bomb – 2004 / Horizon – 2009), so the 5 year gap this time wasn’t much longer than what’s come before.

    I just hope they drop Songs of Experience in 2015. Bono said something recently about their new iTunes / Apple project being 15 months off, which would squarely put that around Christmas time next year. Maybe released in between legs of a world tour (like Zooropa)?

  • Miguel DeLeon

    Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE, it should be noted, was the modern reworking of the highly anticipated Beach Boys album for 1967 — it was touted to equal, if not surpass, Sgt. Pepper. Supposedly the greatest album of all time, it is certainly the greatest unreleased album of all time. And Wilson won a Grammy for the instrumental “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” piece. Definitely worth a listen!

    • Chris Edwards

      And lest I forget, My Bloody Valentine’s “mbv” record…now there’s an album that crossed over into urban legend status similar to “Chinese Democracy.” Seemed so surreal when in finally, unceremoniously, was dropped on an unsuspecting public.

  • Raj

    STP – Shangri La Dee Da (2001) to the Self-Titled Album (2010), but SW joined VR
    Bush – Golden State (2001) to Sea of Memories (2011) (breakup then reunion with new members)
    Weezer – Pinkerton (1996) to Green Album 2001 (hiatus, so this one should count?)
    Filter – The Amalgamut (2002) to Anthems for the Damned (2008) hiatus, never broke up but RP joined A of A

    • Eddie Yarler

      Idk if STP counts cause that was a break up. For all we know they could have never reunited. Same with Bush. Filter and Weezer I agree though.

    • Alternative Nation

      Weezer is valid, but the period that Cuomo was writing songs for it was 3-4 years, so it would be borderline to make this list. There’s another piece I’m working on though where the Green album will be applicable. Filter is definitely an honorable mention for this list, as it did take 6 years. Bush were only actually working on that album for a year and a half-two years. STP didn’t start working on self-titled until January 2009.

  • Eddie Yarler

    I don’t see why U2’s album is here. Maybe the plans have changed behind the concept but their last album came out in 09. You might as well say that AiC took forever to make their last album since it came out one year before U2’s and their last album also came out in 09. Guns N’ Roses and Tool are lost causes.

  • Bonado

    The new Dead Sara album too.

  • Chris Edwards

    The second Toadies LP and Mark Lanegan’s “Whiskey for the Holy Ghost” also spring to mind.

  • spiderbucket

    Aside from Brian Wilson and Peter Gabriel’s albums – I think this just shows how much an album can suck if you overthink it.