Records that suffered name changes

Did you know that, as with movie translations, an album’s title can be changed when it’s released abroad? Sometimes, even back home.

Sammy Hagar – Sammy Hagar

After replacing David Lee Roth as Van Halen’s frontman in 1986, Sammy Hagar still owed his former record label one more solo album, which was recorded in only ten days!

Originally titled Sammy Hagar and with an untitled cover, the singer teamed up with MTV for a promotional contest that allowed his fans to name the record. The winning name was I Never Said Goodbye which was used for future pressings. Some retained the original title and made things a little confusing because Hagar had already released a Sammy Hagar album in 1977.


“Bringing it All Back Home” – Bob Dylan

Dylan’s fifth studio album, released in 1965, featured the track Subterranean Homesick Blues, his first single to chart in the US, peaking at #39 (you’ll definitely recognize the video).

That could be the reason why, in Germany, the record’s initial pressings were titled after the famous song.


A Quick One – The Who

A common practice in the ’60s, a song was removed from The Who’s “A quick one” when it was released in the United States; it was their cover of Martha and the Vandellas Heat Wave.

Instead, they added the track Happy Jack, which became the record’s title to avoid the sexually suggestive one of the original UK release (in fact, the song’s full title is A quick one, while he’s away!).


Speak of the Devil – Ozzy Osbourne

An interesting change due to cultural differences. Language differences, to be precise.

“Speak of the devil” is the short form of the idiom “Speak of the devil and he doth/shall appear”. But in the UK, “Talk of the devil” is more common. That’s why Ozzy’s classic album suffered a name change.


Killing Machine – Judas Priest

Judas Priest’s fifth studio album, “Killing Machine”, received a title change in the US to avoid controversy regarding the Cleveland Elementary School shooting which had recently taken place (and inspired the song I don’t like Mondays by Bob Geldoff).

It was renamed “Hell Bent for Leather” after one of the songs of the album.


Electric Light Orchestra – ELO

This one’s pretty funny:

ELO’s eponymous record was released as “No answer” in the US as a result from misunderstanding a note left by a United Artists Records employee who had tried to phone Harvest Records for the title but got “no answer”.


Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel

Gabriel had already released three albums under the same name! Actually, no name, just his own.

So for the fourth, his new label Geffen Records decided to take no chances and issued the album, with Gabriel’s reluctant agreement (he provided the title himself), with a Security sticker to differentiate it from his previous releases.

The album was still officially known as Peter Gabriel in other territories and is known by fans as Security or Peter Gabriel 4.


David Bowie – David Bowie

What a mess.

Bowie released two albums under his own name: first in 1967 and then in 1969. The first one wasn’t that good; in fact, it’s completely different from the music style that would make him famous. So, since he wasn’t a star yet, record companies decided to change the title when the second one was released.

It did get to be released as David Bowie by Philips in the UK, but in the US, Mercury launched it as Man of Words/Man of Music. Reissued in 1972 by RCA Records, the title was changed once again to feature Bowie’s classic Space Oddity which was the album’s opening track and had already reached No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart). This was the name used for CD releases in 1984, 1990, and 1999, reverting to the original, eponymous title for 2009 and 2015 reissues.



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