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Great Bands That Only Made One Album

Whether they dismantled early in their career or the members weren't dedicated from the get go, there are a surprising number of great bands that only made one album.

There are a handful of great bands that only made one album, with various reasons for their lack of a second. Some of the bands met unfortunate fates, while others split up because they were only side projects to their members from the get go. Whatever the reason, there are a surprising number of great bands that you might not realize only made one album.

Them Crooked Vultures

Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones, and Josh Homme made up this rock super group that formed in Los Angeles. The band started as a side project for its members, who were busy with other bands. Grohl was also a member of Foo Fighters and Homme had Queens of the Stone Age, while Jones was occupied living down the hype from his career with Led Zeppelin. After releasing their debut album in 2009, Them Crooked Vultures would go on with ambitions of releasing a second album.

Members Grohl and Jones confirmed the recording of the second album, but were occupied with other projects. Since November 2010, the band has been on a hiatus and only sent out one tweet, a promo code for a 20% discount on merchandise from their website.

Josef K

Josef K was a Scottish post-punk band between the years of 1979 and 1982. The name came from a character in a Franz Kafka novel and they’re one of the great bands that only made one album. They have served as an influence for many following bands with their unique style of meshing post-punk guitars with funk and disco. They were influenced by Pere Ubu, Television, and Talking Heads, and adopted an anti-rock style where they didn’t do encores and deliberately avoided using drugs and drinking.

After achieving moderate success and momentum, the band was heading down a route they wanted to stay away from—commercial success. Founding member, Paul Haig, lost his vision of the band and from there, it disseminated. 

Temple of the Dog

Temple of the Dog is one of the great 90s alternative rock bands that defined the decade with hits such as “Hunger Strike” and “Say Hello 2 Heaven.” The band released one self-titled album as a tribute to Andrew Wood, former lead singer of Malfunkshun, who died of a heroin overdose in 1990.

Temple of the Dog was mainly comprised of former Mother Love Bone members Chris Cornell, Stone Gossard, and Jeff Ament. Eventually, Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder joined the mix along with Matt Cameron and Mike McCready. The band's name comes from the opening lyrics of a Mother Love Bone song "Man of Golden Words." This great band that released only one album was in the shadow of its member's other projects, as Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were both at the top of the charts.

However, this gave Temple of the Dog a lot of attention a year after the initial release of their album. Cornell seemed transformed by the collaboration that was Temple of the Dog, saying it was the reason he joined Audioslave. Members eventually went their separate ways which was ultimately the reason they never released another album under the name Temple of the Dog. Although most of the members of the group are still making music, Temple of the Dog stands mostly as a tribute to their lost friend and a great band.

Derek & the Dominos

In the spring of 1970, Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, and Jim Gordon formed Derek and the Dominos, a blues rock group. All of the four members played in a previous band together called Delaney & Bonnie and Friends while Clapton was playing with Blind Faith as well. Dave Mason and Duane Allman joined during early studio sessions and played the first live show the group had. This marked the formation of a great band that only made one album.

Derek and the Dominos’ album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, received wide critical acclaim but fell short in sales and radio time. It wasn't until two years after the release that the album’s single, "Layla," reached the top 10. Tragedy struck the band with the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman. Clapton was devastated by the loss of his close friends and "musical brothers." In conjunction with the faltered success of "Layla," which Clapton took personally, the band slowly dismembered. Clapton spiraled into drug addiction and depression and years later remarked the band was make-believe—that it couldn't last. Before finishing their second LP, the band dissolved from tension and paranoia.

X-Ray Spex

In 1976 in London, X-Ray Spex formed through the efforts of Poly Styrene, Jak Airport, Paul Dean, Paul Hurding, and Lora Logic. The punk rock band featured instrumental fusions with saxophones and sharp guitar riffs with distinct vocals by Poly Styrene. Their debut album was released in November 1978 titled Germfree Adolescents.

The band played multiple shows, one notably at Front Row Festival, a three week event in 1977. They promoted their album by touring with bands like The Clash, Steel Pulse, and The Ruts. Styrene was eventually exhausted from touring and left the band in 1979 and released a solo album before she joined the Hare Krishna movement. X-Ray Spex lost its momentum with the absence of Styrene and disbanded, putting them into the books as a great band that only made one album.

The Postal Service

The Postal Service was formed in Seattle, Washington in 2001 by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, producer Jimmy Tamborello, and Jenny Lewis on back-up vocals. This band made their debut in 2003 with their album Give Up. The American indie band remained active between 2005 and 2013 and toured briefly before disbanding on August 3, 2013 after their last show.

They released their album in February of 2003 and supported the album with a tour while intending to tour more in the future. The album reached gold certification in 2005 and later went platinum in 2012. It was Sup Pop's most successful release since Nirvana's Bleach. The band revealed in 2007 that it was working on a second album but later, in 2008, Gibbard said the band is "throwing ideas" back and forth but struggling to find time for the band with their own music taking up most of their efforts. Between a re-issue of Give Up and a new single, the second album would never be released. The band got busy with a reunion tour, which would be the last tour they made before their disbandment in 2013. They played their last show in Chicago on August 5, 2013.

One Day As A Lion

This great band that only made one album was a duo started in 2008 by Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine and Jon Theodore of Queens of the Stone Age. The rock-rap fusion band released one self-titled album in 2008. The duo formed through a mutual friend.

The first single of their debut album was released on their MySpace profile on July 16, 2008 and premiered on Australian and American radio stations. On July 18, 2008 the album was released in Australia and four days later in the United States. After rumors that a second album was in the works, One Day as a Lion played a few shows, the latest being in 2011. All of the proceedings from this show went to the Queensland Flood Relief.

The duo became a trio with Joey Karam on keyboards and the last anyone has heard of the band is that they are working on a second album. However, de la Rocha has been largely absent from any press or media attention let alone performing or recording music. 

The Monks

A garage in Germany in 1964 gave birth to The Monks, a pop punk band made up of five American G.I.s fed up with the traditional format of rock. The experimental group was defined by hypnotic rhythms and sound manipulation techniques. Shrill vocals, amplifier feedback, and a 6-string banjo pioneered the musical objection to the Vietnam War and the then dehumanized state of society.

The band found their start in Germany in the Maxim Club under the name Torquays. Han Reich, a talent manager who discovered the band, urged them to stay in Germany after their military careers to pursue a career in the music industry. Through the efforts of a German production team, The Monks established the sound and style they were seeking from its primitive state that led them through their experimental days.

This great band that only made one album released Black Monk Time in March 1966. The album reached limited success and although their success was capped, they have become highly regarded among music commentators. The sound The Monks created made the template for punk rock and has served as an influence for groups like the Velvet Underground.

After their album release, The Monks went on to tour through Germany and attend press conferences, but the touring life was detrimental to the group. With the limited sales of the album and audiences not catching on to their sound, the band started to fade. In the shadow of The Beatles' song "Yellow Submarine," The Monks were faced with a conflict which alienated their sound from the mainstream. After the release of two new singles, the band faced continued struggles with their sound as their album was refused in the United States because of the conflicting anti-Vietnam War lyrics. Between tensions on tour with the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the struggle for their style, the group disbanded in 1967. They went on to play a few reunions, but never released a second album.

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