This year happens to be the 45th anniversary of the most unfortunate releases in rock history. The year was 1969, the group was the Who, and the album was Tommy.
It was the band’s fourth album, and its first double album. Like most other two-disc efforts, Tommy would have been much more accessible had it been limited to just one.
In fact, the only double album that actually contains enough great songs to fill all four sides is Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, which happens to be the first ever recorded.
Here are ten others that are enjoyable, but each one would be moderately improved by omitting second rate tracks so that only the best would be on one disc.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John: The title track and “Bennie and the Jets” make the first disk great, but sides three and four are littered with mostly forgettable songs.
Blinking Lights by the Eels: Mark Oliver Everett put his soul into this album, but only half of the tracks live up to “Trouble with Dreams,” “The Other Shoe” and “Going Fetal.”
(White Album) by The Beatles: Diehard fans constantly argue about which songs should be omitted, but they all agree that the album would be even better were it parsed to one disc of the best fifteen songs.
The Wall by Pink Floyd: Roger Waters did not need three versions of “Another Brick in the Wall” nor multiple takes of “Goodbye Cruel World” to get his point across, so eliminating those and the spoken tunes would get this set down to one disc.
Something/Anything? by Todd Rundgren: Remove the two cover songs, the intro, and the two silly experiments, and the result is a great single album with treasures like “Cold Morning Light,” “One More Day,” “Hello It’s Me” and “I Saw the light”
Quadrophenia by the Who: The interminable single “Love Reign o’er Me” does not fit the album’s rebellious concept, so cut it and all of sides four and one except “The Real Me.”
Louder than Bombs by the Smiths: Nearly all of the songs here are indispensable, but they could be confined to just two sides if the ones that already appeared on Hatful of Hollow were deleted.
Out of the Blue by the Electric Light Orchestra: Jeff Lynne created a masterpiece with a very artistic cover, but to keep it one disc he should have left out the tracks that do not even come close to “Turn to Stone,” “Sweet Talkin” Woman” and “Night in the City.”
Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin: Rolling Stone kept it at the top of its chart for nearly a year, but it could have endured even longer had Page and Plant chose to drop sides one and three.
Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder: To pare down this album, which stayed at number one for months because of “Sir Duke” and “I Wish,” all one needs to do is eliminate the four self-indulgent songs that last over seven minutes each.