14 Classic Albums That Flopped When They Were Released

'Pet Sounds' and more iconic slow burners

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Big Star, '#1 Record' (1972)
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Big Star, '#1 Record' (1972)

Both the band name Big Star and the album title #1 Record have taken on an ironic, self-deprecating air in the LP's long life as a cult classic. But given Alex Chilton's teenage fame as the voice of the Box Tops' Hot 100 chart-topper "The Letter," there was good reason in 1972 to believe that his new band, whose label Ardent was distributed by soul powerhouse Stax Records, had a bright future. But while #1 Record's homespun sound and insistent hooks gained positive reviews from the press, Big Star struggled to tour or land radio airplay, and few copies were stocked on record store shelves. After founding member Chris Bell's exit, Chilton made two more Big Star albums before giving up on the group and going solo, but the band's legend only grew as they became a central influence of the power pop genre. By the end of the Nineties, a reconstituted Big Star was a popular touring attraction, "Thirteen" was a popular cover among indie bands, and "In the Street" was the theme song of That '70s Show.

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