14 Classic Albums That Flopped When They Were Released

'Pet Sounds' and more iconic slow burners

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The Kinks, 'The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society' (1968)
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The Kinks, 'The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society' (1968)

Although it was lauded by Pete Townshend as a "masterwork" comparable to Sgt. Pepper's, Ray Davies's nostalgic rumination on pastoral British life only sold about 100,000 copies upon its release, failing to chart. The Kinks hit-making machine had slowed to a crawl by 1967's Something Else, and Davies followed his perfectionist bliss into what he called the "pet dream" of his thematically linked sequel — with a greater sense of anxiety and mental chaos haunting Village Green tracks like "Animal Farm" and "Big Sky." Despite its initial obscurity (it was released the same day as the Beatles' White Album), Village Green proceeded to become the Kinks' best-selling non-compilation album, at least in part thanks to the inclusion of "Picture Book" in an HP Digital Photography commercial.

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