Top 10 Bands That Only Released One Album

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Top 10 Bands That Only Released One Album

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Andy Hammersmith
For these artists, it was one and done. For this list, we'll be looking at bands that only put out one official record. Our countdown includes Them Crooked Vultures, Sex Pistols, Derek and the Dominos, and more!
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Top 10 Bands That Only Released One Album



Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Bands That Only Released One Album.

For this list, we’ll be looking at bands that only put out one official record. While they might’ve released live records and compilations, these groups only have one studio album to their name. We won’t be including solo artists like Lauryn Hill or Jeff Buckley, as they deserve a list of their own.

Did we miss any of your favorite one album bands? Let us know in the comments below.


#10: Them Crooked Vultures


Formed in 2009, hard rock band Them Crooked Vultures had a brief run that delivered something for every type of rock fan. Fans of Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age got to see Dave Grohl and Josh Homme team up with Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones in a supergroup for the ages. Started as a side project, the group’s self-titled album fared well on the rock charts. Not only that, “New Fang” won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. Given the three members’ busy schedules, the band didn’t last beyond their one album. Never say never, but Them Crooked Vultures might be destined to forever be a quick and satisfying detour for the three bandmates.


#9: The Germs


As punk rock exploded in late 70s Los Angeles, The Germs staked their claim as among the city’s most iconic hardcore bands. Raucous lead singer Darby Crash led a ragtag team of musicians that lit the punk scene on fire. Nirvana and Foo Fighters' guitarist Pat Smear and The Go Go's singer Belinda Carlisle both got their start in the band. Produced by Joan Jett, their album “GI” kick started the new wave of West Coast hardcore music. Unfortunately, Crash’s tragic death brought the band's tenure to a premature close. Inspiring a new generation of bands, The Germs’ influence extends well beyond their short-lived career.


#8: Young Marble Giants


Hailing from Wales, Young Marble Giants arrived in the midst of a turning point in punk music. At this point, punk bands either veered into experimental post-punk territory or double-downed with the aggressive energy of hardcore. Young Marble Giants went for post-punk, which preferred more technical and melodic territory. Through this new sub-genre, the band found their own specific form of sparse instrumentation. Singer Alison Statton’s signature voice rounded out their idiosyncratic sound. Lasting two years, the band’s legacy lives on through their album “Colossal Youth.” An interesting contrast to their louder counterparts, Young Marble Giants' minimalism continues to shine as a cult staple.



#7: The Postal Service


Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and producer Jimmy Tamborello formed this indie pop supergroup with help from singer Jenny Lewis. Due to their conflicting schedules, Tamborello sent his produced tracks to Gibbard through the mail. This unique songwriting method gave the band their name. Their 2003 album “Give Up” featured songs like “Such Great Heights” that made the band a cult favorite. Prioritizing other music ventures, the band members weren't able to stay together. A decade later, The Postal Service reunited for a tour, exciting fans that were eager for another release. Ultimately, the band announced that there wouldn’t be any new music. Whether or not they ever produce a follow-up album, The Postal Service remains an indie pop standout.


#6: Derek and the Dominos


From The Yardbirds and Cream to his appearance on a Beatles' record, Eric Clapton was perhaps the busiest guitar player of his era. One of his many projects was Derek and the Dominos, known for their album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.” The legendary title track stands as the most memorable moment of the band’s legacy. Combining Clapton’s soaring leads, Duane Allman’s slide guitar, and the now iconic piano outro, the epic track is a highlight of the early 70s rock scene. Not long after the release, Clapton was on to his next project, a successful solo career. While Derek and the Dominos’ legacy might only be “Layla” and “Bell Bottom Blues,” their brief run was chock-full of quality rock and roll.


#5: X-Caliber


This little-known heavy metal band snuck their way into the hearts of hard rock fans. During the heyday of big hair and metal, X-Caliber failed to conquer the heavily saturated hard rock market. Still, their album, “Warriors Of the Night,” delivered an engaging and rocking good time. With an ode to King Arthur’s sword, loud guitars, and fantastical lyrics, X-Caliber made their unique stamp on metal. The band and their discography is especially rare, without even a Wikipedia page to their name. They might not be remembered as well as other 80s groups, but hair metal devotees will love this throwback to a bygone era.



#4: The La’s


At the start of the 90s, The La’s and their self-titled debut were considered the next big thing. Along with a repackaging of their previous single “There She Goes,” the album received decent sales and critical acclaim. However, singer and songwriter Lee Mavers’ perfectionism stalled future projects. A year after their album came out, bassist John Power exited the group for other ventures, with the band dissolving soon after. Subsequent reunions have yet to yield a sophomore effort from the band. Years later, Sixpence None the Richer brought back “There She Goes” in a successful cover version. Through covers and renewed interest in their work, The La’s legacy carries on.


#3: Minor Threat


In the early 80s, Washington D.C. quickly became a premier destination for all things hardcore punk. Singer Ian MacKaye led the D.C. charge with his band Minor Threat. Their album, “Out of Step,” provided a template for the regional music scene, along with MacKaye’s record label Dischord. Not only did Minor Threat prove to be a profound influence on hardcore, they also spearheaded DIY culture and inspired the straight edge movement. In just three years, the band left an indelible mark on punk and independent music. MacKaye went on to expand his influential roots with post-hardcore band Fugazi, continuing to push the envelope and adhere to his DIY principles.



#2: Damageplan


Born out of the ashes of their band Pantera, Damageplan once again featured Dimebag Darrell on guitar and Vinnie Paul on drums. The Abbott brothers continued to push their talents to the limit, forming Damageplan as a further exploration of groove and heavy metal. Their album, “New Found Power,” with guest appearances from Jerry Cantrell and Corey Taylor, saw some success on the Billboard 200. However, the promise of a new start for the Pantera veterans ended tragically on tour. During a performance in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed by an armed spectator. Vinnie Paul forged ahead in other bands, but no one could replace the one-in-a-million talent of Dimebag Darrell.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

The Monks
Their Album Black Monk Time Expanded Garage Rock and Pioneered Early Punk Music.


The Modern Lovers
With Jonathan Richman’s Eccentric Songwriting, They Took Alternative Music to New Heights.


Temple of the Dog
Soundgarden & Pearl Jam Teamed up for a Supergroup That Was Classic Grunge.



#1: Sex Pistols


There was music before and after the Sex Pistols. After the release of their 1977 album “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols,” punk music and aesthetics flooded the culture. Led by the snarling vocals of Johnny Rotten and the sonic boom of Steve Jones’ guitar, the band unleashed punk upon the British masses. With provocative songs such as “Anarchy in the U.K.,” they inspired a generation of British music from Joy Division to The Smiths. Some say they had no musical talent, but the Sex Pistols' impact rises above all the naysayers. In less than three years, the band laid waste to the musical establishment.
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