ART and business have always had a troubled relationship, particularly in the music industry.
So it's not surprising, there were enough stories of musicians being forced to make albums for legal reasons to get another column out of the subject.
Here's five more artists and the albums they made for reasons other than art.
IN 1992, the artist born Prince Rogers Nelson signed a new $100 million contract (a then-record) for six albums with Warner Bros, but Prince soon became unhappy with the label's stipulation that he release his music more sporadically. Then it was Warners turn to become unhappy when Prince changed his name to an unpronouncable symbol in 1993. The Artist Formerly Known As Prince then cracked the sads about Warners demands that to put out a greatest hits compilation, which he'd long baulked at, and the label's reported desire to take control of The Artist's master tapes (which he was understandably reticent about giving up). As a way to smooth things over, TAFKAP agreed to two 'best of's and an official release of his shelved 1987 record The Black Album, primarily as a way of cutting down the number of albums he owed Warners, but the label told him The Black Album didn't count. The Artist responded by appearing in public with "Slave" written on his face before releasing Come, the last recordings he made under his old name, making the album a symbolic "death" of Prince. In 1994, Warners agreed to release him from his contract if he did two more albums - The Artist acquiesced by putting out The Gold Experience and Chaos & Disorder within the space of 10 months.
Islands - The Band
CANADIAN group The Band's esteemed career - which included backing Bob Dylan during his 'electrification' periods - was drawing to an end in the mid-'70s when they threw together this collection of off-cuts and half-hearted efforts. Having said 'goodbye' to performing together with the concerts that would become performance film The Last Waltz, The Band still owed Capitol Records one last album. Rather than give them The Last Waltz soundtrack, which was coming out on Warner Bros, they released Islands in 1977 - a compilation of tracks dating back to '72. Not without its highlights, including their Jimmy Carter-fundraiser version of Georgia On My Mind, but many fans were less than impressed. Thankfully The Last Waltz served as a more fitting farewell, as Islands doesn't match the quality of previous albums such as Music From Big Pink or Cahoots.
Love Beach - Emerson, Lake & Palmer
PROG-ROCKERS ELP always divided music critics but their final studio album was even divisive among fans - in fact, calling its reception "mixed at best" is being kind. Featuring a laughable Bee Gees-esque cover photo, the band themselves even derided Love Beach, readily admitting that it was only made to fulfill contractual obligations (although they did get to make it in the Caribbean so it wasn't a total loss for them). ELP was slowly disintegrating as they made the album - so much so that keyboardist Keith Emerson was left to finish it off himself after Greg Lake and Carl Palmer took off. Rolling Stone's review at the time noted that "this album makes washing the dishes seem a more creative act by comparison" and the band pretty much agreed, saying it was just them going through the motions.
LOVE 'em or hate 'em, ELO certainly sold a lot of records, but according to certain sources, they released not one contractual obligation album but three. Depending on who you ask, Time (1981), Secret Messages (1983) and Balance Of Power (1986) were reportedly all put out to satisfy their various US and UK labels. Time is the only one that's really in dispute - ELO head honcho Jeff Lynne tried to get Secret Messages released as a double album so as to clear him of his contract, but the label refused, forcing him back into the studio to make Balance Of Power, which at 34 minutes, is the shortest ELO album to date. The fact that all three may or may not have been contractual obligations doesn't mean they were bad albums though. All three charted well (Time went to number one in the UK), Balance Of Power yielded a minor hit in Calling America and Time produced their last top 10 hit in Hold On Tight.
Contractual Obligation Album - Monty Python
LAST but by no means least is this Monty Python album, which was made for the reason its title suggests. It was released in 1980 in the wake of Life Of Brian but the group was working together less and less, reuniting only for the Hollywood Bowl gigs and The Meaning Of Life. The album itself is mostly musical and some of the few sketches (String and Bishop) even pre-date Python, suggesting they were digging in the bottom of the drawer rather than writing new stuff. Not without its controversy, some versions of the album omitted the track Farewell To John Denver, which featured the singer being strangled. Some tracks (Do What John?, Traffic Lights, Here Comes Another One) wear thin quickly but the highlights are great, such as the devilishly clever Medical Love Song, the Michael Palin monologue Martyrdom Of St Victor, and the old favourite Sit On My Face. As the name suggests, it was their last studio album.