14 Classic Albums That Flopped When They Were Released

'Pet Sounds' and more iconic slow burners

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Beastie Boys, 'Paul's Boutique' (1989)

Beastie Boys, 'Paul's Boutique' (1989)

Licensed To Ill made the Beastie Boys a fratty pop phenomenon, selling 10 million copies and bringing hip-hop to middle America like never before. But by the time the trio split from Def Jam and reappeared nearly three years later with visionary, sampledelic Dust Brothers production replacing their hard rock riffs, it appeared that the zeitgeist had moved on. "Hey Ladies" grazed the Top 40, and the album initially moved only a few hundred thousand copies, peaking at Number 14 — still the lowest charting proper album of the band's career. But the album's forward-thinking sound incubated a new audience by the time the more successful follow-up Check Your Head came around. And the Dust Brothers' dense production style, too ahead of its time in 1989, was vindicated by the acclaim for Beck's Odelay in 1996. Just before the album's 10th birthday in 1999, Paul's Boutique was certified double platinum.

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