14 Classic Albums That Flopped When They Were Released

'Pet Sounds' and more iconic slow burners

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New York Dolls, 'New York Dolls' (1973)
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New York Dolls, 'New York Dolls' (1973)

Even if they weren't freaked out by the scuzzy-glam streetwalker drag on the cover, no way were American kids who dug their hard-rock sludgy like Sabbath or sleek like Aerosmith ready for this reckless, feckless din. David Johansen howled and pouted and purred like the child of Mick Jagger and Shangri-La; Johnny Thunders' guitar ran Chuck Berry riffs through a rusty meat grinder; and the whole shebang rattled forward with the jerky abandon of the Coney Island Cyclone. Creem readers placed the Dolls on both their "Best New Group" and "Worst New Group" lists at the end of 1973, and even critics who loved 'em thought producer Todd Rundgren fussed too much with their sound. New York Dolls rocketed all the way to Number 116 in Billboard, and hardly anybody realized this was a classic until punk rock proved that it had to have been.

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