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A double album (or double record) is an audio album which spans two units of the primary medium in which it is sold, typically records and compact disc. A double album is usually, though not always, released as such because the recording is longer than the capacity of the medium. Recording artists often think of double albums as comprising a single piece artistically; however, there are exceptions such as John Lennon's Some Time in New York City and Pink Floyd's Ummagumma (both examples of one studio record and one live album packaged together) and OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (effectively two solo albums, one by each member of the duo). Another example of this approach is Works Volume 1 by Emerson Lake and Palmer, where side one featured Keith Emerson, side two Greg Lake, side three Carl Palmer, and side four was by the entire group.
In physics, sound is a vibration that typically propagates as an audible wave of pressure, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid.
An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), vinyl, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded music were developed in the early 20th century as individual 78-rpm records collected in a bound book resembling a photograph album; this format evolved after 1948 into single vinyl LP records played at 33 1⁄3 rpm. Vinyl LPs are still issued, though album sales in the 21st-century have mostly focused on CD and MP3 formats. The audio cassette was a format widely used alongside vinyl from the 1970s into the first decade of the 2000s.
Compact disc (CD) is a digital optical disc data storage format that was co-developed by Philips and Sony and released in 1982. The format was originally developed to store and play only sound recordings (CD-DA) but was later adapted for storage of data (CD-ROM). Several other formats were further derived from these, including write-once audio and data storage (CD-R), rewritable media (CD-RW), Video Compact Disc (VCD), Super Video Compact Disc (SVCD), Photo CD, PictureCD, CD-i, and Enhanced Music CD. The first commercially available audio CD player, the Sony CDP-101, was released October 1982 in Japan.
Since the advent of the compact disc, albums are sometimes released with a bonus disc featuring additional material as a supplement to the main album, with live tracks, studio out-takes, cut songs, or older unreleased material. One innovation was the inclusion of DVD of related material with a compact disc, such as video related to the album or DVD-Audio versions of the same recordings. Some such discs were also released on a two-sided format called DualDisc. Due to the limitations of the gramophone record, many albums primarily released on the format were under 40 minutes long. This has led to record labels re-releasing two of these albums on one CD, thus making a double album.
DVD is a digital optical disc storage format invented and developed in 1995. The medium can store any kind of digital data and is widely used for software and other computer files as well as video programs watched using DVD players. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than compact discs while having the same dimensions.
DVD-Audio is a digital format for delivering high-fidelity audio content on a DVD. DVD-Audio uses most of the storage on the disc for high-quality audio and is not intended to be a video delivery format. DVD-Audio has much higher audio quality than most video DVDs containing concert films or music videos.
DualDisc was a type of double-sided optical disc product developed by a group of record companies including MJJ Productions Inc., EMI Music, Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and 5.1 Entertainment Group and later under the aegis of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It featured an audio layer intended to be compatible with CD players on one side and a standard DVD layer on the other. In this respect it was similar to, but distinct from, the DVDplus developed in Europe by Dieter Dierks and covered by European patents.
The same principles apply to the triple album, which comprises three units. Packages with more units than three are often packaged as a box set.
A box set or boxed set is a set of items traditionally packaged in a box and is offered for sale as a single unit.
The first double album was recordings from the Carnegie Hall Concert headlined by Benny Goodman, released in 1950 on Columbia Records, that label having introduced the LP two years earlier. Studio recordings of operas have been released as double, triple, quadruple and quintuple albums since the 1950s. The first rock double album was supposed to be Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde scheduled for June 20, 1966, but was delayed for a few months and was beaten by The Mothers of Invention's debut record, Freak Out! , released as scheduled on June 27, 1966.
The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert by Benny Goodman, Columbia Records catalogue item SL-160, is a two-disc LP of swing and jazz music recorded at Carnegie Hall in New York City on January 16, 1938. First issued in 1950, the landmark recording captured the premiere performance given by a big band in the famed concert venue. The event has been described as "the single most important jazz or popular music concert in history: jazz's 'coming out' party to the world of 'respectable' music." Both critical and public reception of the performances was outstanding.
Benjamin David Goodman was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the "King of Swing".
Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.
The best-selling double album of all time is Michael Jackson's HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I with over 33 million copies (66 million units) sold worldwide.The second best-selling double album and best-selling concept double album ever is Pink Floyd's The Wall with over 30 million copies (60 million units) worldwide. Other best-selling double albums are The Beatles' White Album , The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St. , Billy Joel's Greatest Hits I & II , Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde , and The Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness .
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest entertainers. Jackson's contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I is the ninth studio album by American singer Michael Jackson, released on June 20, 1995. It was the fifth Jackson album released through Epic Records, and the first on his label MJJ Productions. It comprises two discs: HIStory Begins, a greatest hits compilation, and HIStory Continues, comprising new material written and produced by Jackson and collaborators. The themes include environmental awareness, isolation, greed, suicide, injustice, and Jackson's conflicts with the media.
A concept album is an album in which its tracks hold a larger purpose or meaning collectively than they do individually. This is typically achieved through a single central narrative or theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, or lyrical. Sometimes the term is applied to albums considered to be of "uniform excellence" rather than an LP with an explicit musical or lyrical motif. There is no consensus among music critics as to the specific criteria for what a "concept album" is.
The double album has become less common since the decline of the vinyl LP and the advent of compact discs. A single LP had two sides, each of which had a capacity of up to 30 minutes (although 20-25 minute sides were more typical to avoid compromising sound quality), for a maximum of 60 minutes per record. A single CD has a capacity of 80 minutes (originally 74 minutes until the 1990s): accordingly, many old double albums on LP have been re-released as single albums on CD. However, other double albums on LP are re-released as double albums on CD, either because they are too large for a single CD, or simply to retain the structure of the original (in the early days of CD production double albums were sometimes made to fit onto a single CD disc by cutting one or more songs).
There are also double-LP albums, such as Mike Oldfield's Incantations and Chick Corea's My Spanish Heart , for which some tracks were removed or shortened for a single 74-minute CD release, though both were later re-released in their entirety when 80-minute CDs were developed.
Though the average album length has increased since the days of LPs, it remains rare for an artist to produce more than 80 minutes of studio material for one album. Thus, the double album is now more commonly seen in formats other than studio albums. Live albums that either present all or most of a single concert, or material from several concerts, are commonly released as double albums. Compilations such as greatest hits records can also often comprise double albums. Soundtracks and scores are also commonly released on two CDs; particularly soundtracks to musicals, which typically last longer than 80 minutes, are commonly released in their entirety as double albums, occasionally offering a second single-disc version featuring the most notable songs. The double album format is also frequently used for concept albums.
The double album is not entirely obsolete when it comes to studio albums, however. Some artists still occasionally produce a large enough quantity of material to justify a double album. For example, progressive rock band The Flower Kings have released four double albums out of eleven studio albums. Barenaked Ladies recorded 29 songs (initially intending more than 30) for their first original album following the completion of their contract with Reprise Records, including several songs that were cut from past albums under that contract. Without needing to get a label's approval, they were able to release a 25-track "deluxe edition" double album Barenaked Ladies Are Me , as well as releasing the album as two separate single albums, as well as a variety of other formats. Guns N' Roses famously insisted on releasing their Use Your Illusion I & II albums simultaneously but separately so as not to burden their fans with the expense of having to buy a double CD set. Nellie McKay reportedly fought with her label to get her debut album, Get Away from Me released as a double album, even though the material would have fit on a single disc. She has been said to be the first female artist to have a double album as a debut.
A recent development is the release of a double studio album in which the two discs contain different mixes of the same tracks. An example is Shania Twain's Up! , which was sold with a pop-mix disc and a country-mix disc in North America, or a pop-mix disc and a filmi-mix disc internationally.
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince were the first hip hop artists to release a double album, 1988's He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper which at eighty-five minutes warranted a double vinyl package but was edited by thirteen minutes to allow a single CD release. However, in 1995 "Master P pres. Down South Hustlers" was released as being supposedly the first double rap album to ever be entirely of an original album format, and was one of the earliest double rap albums to have not been edited by thirteen minutes for a final release. A year later, The Notorious B.I.G.'s Life After Death was released, later becoming the first hip hop double album to be certified Diamond.
Many albums since the recent rise in popularity of vinyl records, while released as a single disc on the CD version, have been released as double albums, typically because they may slightly exceed the limitations of a single record. Many of these releases stretch the album to cover four sides, while some only fill three sides and leave the last one for a bonus track(s), or occasionally an etching. These albums are usually released as two 12-inch records but occasionally as two 10-inch records.
Jamaican recording artist Eldie Anthony was the first reggae artist to release a double debut album at the launch of his career on February 17, 2015. The album, entitled Break Free, was produced by the Reggae Embassy.
On June 30, 2015 Long Beach rapper Vince Staples released Summertime '06 as a double disc debut album. The two discs had 20 songs with 10 on each.
With regard to records, most double album sets have sides one and two back to back on the first disc, followed by sides three and four on the second disc, etc. The record industry term for this practice is "manual sequence." However, some double album LP sets have sides one and four pressed on one disc along with sides two and three on the other. This practice, known as "automatic sequence," began in the era of 78s and was intended to make it easier for listeners to play through the entire set in order on automatic record changers. The use of automatic sequence gradually declined during the 1970s as automatic record changers fell out of favor. High quality manual turntables became more affordable and are often preferred because they cause less record wear.
After a company decided on manual or automatic sequence, production of that title generally stayed in the same configuration indefinitely. Notable examples of albums using automatic sequence include the 1968 Reprise Records release, Electric Ladyland , by The Jimi Hendrix Experience which was still sold in automatic sequence well into the late 1980s. Other common examples include Frampton Comes Alive! by Peter Frampton, Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder, Quadrophenia by The Who, and Bad Girls by Donna Summer.
There are only a few examples of a sesquialbum (i.e. one and a half records). Johnny Winter released what would be the first three-sided rock album, Second Winter , on two 12-inch discs, with the flip side of the second disc being blank. In 1975, jazz artist Rahsaan Roland Kirk released The Case of the 3 Sided Dream in Audio Color which apparently had only three sides. However, on closer inspection, there were a small number of grooves pressed on side four with a few short "hidden" conversation snippets (the CD reissue includes them all). A 1976 live concert recording by Keith Jarrett and his quartet was released as Eyes of the Heart by ECM Records in 1979, featuring three tracks covering three sides of the original double album, with the fourth left blank. Joe Jackson's 1986 release Big World and Pavement's Wowee Zowee are other examples. The 1992 Julian Cope album Jehovahkill , contained three sides or "phases," with a laser-etched fourth side which was unplayable. In 1982, Todd Rundgren and his band released the self-titled album Utopia featuring one full LP of 10 songs and a second 12-inch disc with five bonus tracks and the same five tracks on the flip side. The Monty Python album Matching Tie and Handkerchief was originally issued with two concentric grooves with different programs on the second side (this was done for comedic rather than practical reasons). The Stranglers, Elvis Costello and The Clash (amongst other 1970s/80s acts) would sometimes release early pressings of their albums with extra material on a 45 RPM single. The Sunlandic Twins by Of Montreal features a third side officially called a "bonus EP"), essentially offering an alternate definition of an EP, a single 33 1/3 RPM side instead of a two-sided 45 RPM record. The Norwegian band Motorpsycho released their albums Motorpsycho presents The International Tussler Society and Heavy Metal Fruit in vinyl editions containing four sides: three with music and one with a drawing/etching. Excepter's 2014 album Familiar covers three sides (the third, with only one track, being shorter) with an etching on the fourth. Seattle band Alice in Chains released their first two EPs, Jar of Flies, and Sap (EP) on two vinyl discs in 1994. The two releases only took up three sides on vinyl, and the fourth side contained a laser etching of the Alice in Chains logo. The vinyl pressing of the My Chemical Romance album The Black Parade also has three sides worth of content, with side four being a laser etching of a portion of the limited edition album art.
Genesis' Three Sides Live, Kiss' Alive II and Moody Blues' Caught Live Plus 5 are examples of double albums with three sides of live recordings, essentially one and a half albums, and one side of studio recordings.
Among the first successful triple albums (or triple records) were Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More , released August 15, 1970, and George Harrison's All Things Must Pass , released November 27, 1970. A triple album may be live, such as The Band's The Last Waltz (1978) and Led Zeppelin's How the West Was Won (2003); or a compilation of an artist's work, such as Stevie Wonder's retrospective anthology Looking Back . Yes' live album Yessongs was made a triple album owing to its inclusion of many of the band's longer compositions. With the longer time available on compact disc, many albums that spanned three vinyl discs are able to fit on two compact discs (an example being Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile).
Triple albums are released across genres, including punk with The Clash's Sandinista! , alternative rock with Pearl Jam's 11/6/00 – Seattle, Washington , and mainstream pop with Prince's Emancipation .
Frank Sinatra's Trilogy: Past Present Future was originally released as a three LP set in 1980. Compact disc pressings of the album combine the triple vinyl set onto two CDs, with "Past" and "Present" taking up the first disc.
The first triple hip-hop album was American Hunger by New York City rap artist MF Grimm which was released in 2006. It contains 20 songs on each disc.
American hip hop artist Lupe Fiasco's canceled third studio album release LupEND would have been a triple album, composed of discs titled "Everywhere," "Nowhere," and "Down Here." Joanna Newsom's 2010 album Have One on Me is a triple album; due to the unusual length of the songs, there are only six tracks on each disc.
Escalator over the Hill , Carla Bley's jazz opera (lyrics by Paul Haines), was originally released in 1971 as a triple album in a box which also contained a booklet with lyrics, photos and profiles of the musicians.
The Great Concert of Charles Mingus by Charles Mingus was recorded in 1964 and released in 1971.
The Knife's 2013 album Shaking the Habitual is spread across three LPs and two CDs, being an hour and forty minutes in length. (Although a single-disc edit exists omitting the 19 minute track Old Dreams Waiting To Be Realized)
Swallow the Sun's 2015 album Songs from the North I, II & III is divided into Gloom, Beauty and Despair. In total, each disc contains no more than 8 tracks and no less than 40 minutes.
When albums exceed the triple album format they are generally referred to as box sets. Normally, albums consisting of four or more discs are compilations or live recordings, such as In a Word: Yes (1969–) and Chicago at Carnegie Hall , respectively. In a very rare move, French singer Léo Ferré released a four-disc studio concept album named L'Opéra du pauvre in 1983. So did Pan Sonic with a four-disc studio album named Kesto (234.48:4) in 2004, as did avant-garde guitarist Buckethead with his 13-disc set In Search of The in 2007. Esham made a box set of Judgement Day in 2006 which contained Vol. 3, Vol. 4 and Matyr City.
Some performers have released two or more distinct but related albums simultaneously (or near-simultaneously) which could be seen together as a double album. Moby Grape's Wow/Grape Jam (released in 1968) is an early example. Others include:
In the music industry, a single is a type of release, typically a song recording of fewer tracks than an LP record or an album. This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of different formats. In most cases, a single is a song that is released separately from an album, although it usually also appears on an album. Typically, these are the songs from albums that are released separately for promotional uses such as digital download or commercial radio airplay and are expected to be the most popular. In other cases a recording released as a single may not appear on an album.
The terms A-side and B-side refer to the two sides of 78, 45, and 331⁄3 rpm phonograph records, or cassettes, whether singles, extended plays (EPs), or long-playing (LP) records. The A-side usually featured the recording that the artist, record producer, or the record company intended to receive the initial promotional effort and then receive radio airplay, hopefully, to become a "hit" record. The B-side is a secondary recording that has a history of its own: some artists released B-sides that were considered as strong as the A-side and became hits in their own right. Others took the opposite approach: producer Phil Spector was in the habit of filling B-sides with on-the-spot instrumentals that no one would confuse with the A-side. With this practice, Spector was assured that airplay was focused on the side he wanted to be the hit side.
An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.
A phonograph record, often simply record, is an analog sound storage medium in the form of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. The groove usually starts near the periphery and ends near the center of the disc. At first, the discs were commonly made from shellac; starting in the 1940s polyvinyl chloride became common. Since then, gradually, records made of any material began to be called vinyl records, or simply vinyls.
This is the discography of Apple Records, a record label formed by the Beatles in 1968. During its early years, the label enjoyed a fair degree of commercial success, most notably with Mary Hopkin and Badfinger, as well as discovering acts such as James Taylor and Billy Preston who would go on to greater success with other labels. However, by the mid-1970s, Apple had become little more than an outlet for the Beatles' solo recordings. After EMI's contract with the Beatles ended in 1976, the Apple label was finally wound up. The label was reactivated in the 1990s with many of the original Apple albums being reissued on compact disc, and the company now oversees new Beatles releases such as the Anthology and 1 albums as well as the 2009 Beatles remastering programme. In 2010, Apple set about remastering and reissuing its back catalogue for a second time.
Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake is the third studio album, and first concept album by the English rock band Small Faces. Released on 24 May 1968, the LP peaked at number one on the UK Album Charts on 29 June, where it remained for a total of six weeks. It ultimately became the group's final studio album during their original incarnation, and their last album containing solely new material until Playmates was released in 1977. The title and the design of the distinctive packaging was a parody of Ogden's Nut-brown Flake, a brand of tobacco that was produced in Liverpool from 1899 onwards by Thomas Ogden.
The overwhelming majority of records manufactured have been of certain sizes, playback speeds, and appearance. However, since the commercial adoption of the gramophone record, a wide variety of records have also been produced that do not fall into these categories, and they have served a variety of purposes.
A CD single is a music single in the form of a compact disc. The standard in the Red Book for the term CD single is an 8cm CD. It now refers to any single recorded onto a CD of any size, particularly the CD5, or 5-inch CD single. The format was introduced in the mid-1980s but did not gain its place in the market until the early 1990s. With the rise in digital downloads in the early 2010s, sales of CD singles have decreased.
A maxi single or maxi-single is a music single release with more than the usual two tracks of an A-side song and a B-side song.
Star Wars is the soundtrack album to the 1977 film Star Wars, composed and conducted by John Williams and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. Williams' score for Star Wars was recorded over eight sessions at Anvil Studios in Denham, England on March 5, 8–12, 15 and 16, 1977. The score was orchestrated by Williams's frequent associate Herbert W. Spencer, who also later orchestrated the scores for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The score was recorded by engineer Eric Tomlinson and edited by Kenneth Wannberg, and the scoring sessions were produced by Star Wars director George Lucas and supervised by Lionel Newman, head of 20th Century Fox's music department.
The score from The Empire Strikes Back, composed by John Williams, was recorded in eighteen sessions at Anvil Studios over three days in December 1979 and a further six days in January 1980 with Williams conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. Between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, Williams had also worked with the London Symphony Orchestra for the scores to the films The Fury, Superman and Dracula. The score earned another Academy Award nomination for Williams. Again, the score was orchestrated by Herbert W. Spencer, recorded by engineer Eric Tomlinson and edited by Kenneth Wannberg with supervision by Lionel Newman. John Williams himself took over duties as record producer from Star Wars creator George Lucas.
Birth of the Dead is a two-CD compilation album chronicling the early years of the San Francisco psychedelic band the Grateful Dead. The set was originally part of the twelve-CD box set The Golden Road (1965–1973), released on October 16, 2001, then was released as a stand-alone album on March 25, 2003. The album consists of various studio and live tracks of seven original songs and a number of covers.
Private Eye, the British fortnightly satirical magazine, has produced various comedic audio recordings since its founding in 1961.
Elvis' Golden Records is a compilation album by American rock and roll singer Elvis Presley, issued by RCA Victor in March 1958. It compiled his hit singles released in 1956 and 1957, and is widely believed to be the first greatest hits album in rock and roll history. It is the first of five RCA Victor Elvis' Golden/Gold Records compilations, four of which would be released during Presley's lifetime. It peaked at number three on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart. It was certified Gold on October 17, 1961, Platinum on May 20, 1988, 5x Platinum on March 27, 1992 and 6x Platinum on August 17, 1999 by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Mensch, released in 2002, is the 20th studio album by German rock/pop artist Herbert Grönemeyer. Mensch ("Human") is Grönemeyer's 11th full-length album of original compositions. The title track "Mensch" became Grönemeyer's first number-one single in Germany. The mood of the album reflects the then recent death of his wife and one of his older brothers in the same week, and is rich with poetic imagery. The songs range from rock to ballads. The richness of the imagery and language, as well as the use of creative word play, can make the lyrics difficult to understand and interpret by listeners who are not fluent in German. In Mensch Grönemeyer reflects on his own humanity as it relates to feeling loss. The song "Der Weg" in particular focuses on memories of his wife and the love they shared, while the song "Unbewohnt" is dealing with the loneliness and depression he felt after his wife's death.
Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call is the (double-LP) fourth album by Scottish post-punk band Simple Minds. It was released in September 1981 and was their first to reach a wide international audience. It includes the singles "The American", "Love Song" and "Sweat in Bullet".
The LP is an analog sound storage medium, a vinyl record format characterized by a speed of 33 1⁄3 rpm, a 12- or 10-inch diameter, and use of the "microgroove" groove specification. Introduced by Columbia in 1948, it was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry. Apart from a few relatively minor refinements and the important later addition of stereophonic sound, it has remained the standard format for vinyl albums.
Elvis is a live album by American rock and roll singer Elvis Presley, released by RCA Records in December 1968. It was recorded from his 1968 Elvis special in Burbank, California at Western Recorders on June 20, 21, 22 and 23, 1968, and at NBC Studios (Burbank) on June 27 and 29, 1968. It peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200. It was certified Gold on July 22, 1969 and Platinum on July 15, 1999 by the RIAA.
NTS Sessions 1–4 is the thirteenth studio album by British electronic music duo Autechre, released by Warp Records on 26 April 2018. The album was announced on April 9, and consists of original music comprising Autechre's April 2018 residency for NTS Radio, which was announced the week before, on 3 April 2018. The album was subsequently released in both digital and physical formats. Containing eight hours of music, NTS Sessions 1–4 is the longest Autechre release to date. The album was met with critical acclaim.