20 Major Artists Forced Into Contractually Obligated Works By Their Label

  • Here My Dear Marvin Gaye

  • REM Accelerate

  • Prince Chaos and Disorder

  • Islands The Band

  • John Lennon Rock’n’Roll

  • Mamas and Papas People Like Us

  • Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsies

  • David Bowie Scary Monsters and Super Creeps

  • Neil Young Landing On Water

  • Buffalo Springfield Last Time Around

  • Lou Reed Metal Machine Music

  • Frank Zappa Lather

  • Bob Dylan Album

  • Aerosmith A Little South Of Sanity

  • Todd Rundgren The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect

  • The Strokes Comedown Machine

  • Meatloaf

  • Rolling Stones

  • Van Morrison

  • Ben Folds

Just because you’re a famous musician doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to do whatever you want. The power of a record contract keeps musicians in check, and sometimes forcing them to do things they’d rather not. From Van Morrison to the Strokes; David Bowie to the Rolling Sones; Marvin Gaye to Meat Loaf, some of the biggest musicians of all time have been forced by duty (and the risk of being sued!) to make albums to fulfil their contractual obligations.

Some took to the task with dignity, like David Bowie who gave us the iconic track “Ashes to Ashes” from his contract album. Others use it as a means to stick it to the man, like the Rolling Stones. While a lucky few take the easy way out and release a live album (like Aerosmith) or a covers album (like John Lennon). So click through our gallery to find out what albums were made under contractual duress. Who knows, maybe one of your favorite albums was born out of less than creatively inspired circumstances!