David Bowie and Glenn Frey, who both passed away in January, had more in common than just musical talent. Based on the success of their best-selling albums, they also had a knack for making titles for hit songs.
Each of the albums made by Frey’s band, the Eagles, was titled after the song that became its biggest hit. In 1975 they made Desperado, which charted as a single and an album. They had a similar fate with its follow up, One of These Nights. Their biggest album Hotel California came next, spawning the classic hit with the same name. The band’s last album before a ten year hiatus, The Long Run, had the same pattern.
Bowie experienced a similar trend with his albums. Starting with Space Oddity back in the early seventies, the title tracks always became the best hits from the albums. Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars charted both as an LP and an individual song, as was the case with Young Americans and Let’s Dance.
The two late rockers are certainly not the only ones whose title songs are the best from their albums. In fact, it is actually rare for a title track not to be one of the best tunes on the record.
Rare, however, is the case where the title tune is not as good as the other songs on the LP. Here are ten such examples.
Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell
“Help Me” and “Free Man In Paris” were far superior hits, as was “Raised on Robbery.”
Meat Is Murder by the Smiths
Morrissey’s crusade against eating animals is an inferior track on this set, the follow up to the band’s tremendous debut.
Tug of War by Paul McCartney
This underrated collection (“Ballroom Dancing”, “Take It Away”, and “Dress Me Up As a Robber”) is among Sir Paul’s best stuff, excluding the song with the same name.
Pieces of Eight by Styx
“Blue Collar Man” and “Renegade” were the obvious gems, but the title tune is not quite as memorable.
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles
Considered by many to be the best in the discography of the Fab Four, but the title tune is not quite as strong as the others.
Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan
The song is good, but just not as good as “Like a Rolling Stone”, “Desolation Row” and the rest of the record.
Traffic and Weather by Fountains of Wayne
It serves as a good metaphor for a sexual relationship, but every other number surpasses it in quality.
Jack’s Crows by John Gorka
The folk singer’s sophomore effort soars far higher than the song of the same name.
Imperial Bedroom by Elvis Costello
The title song failed to make the original release and only surfaced as a bonus with the CD format.
How Dare You? by 10cc
Fortunately, after this disappointing instrumental opener, the record is filled with gems like “Art for Art’s Sake”, “Head Room” and “I’m Mandy Fly Me.”