There’s an old music industry adage that goes something like this: You’ve got your whole life to make your first album, but only a year to make your second.
The saying is cliche, but it’s also pretty accurate. Unknown artists have the luxury of working at their own pace, honing their craft in the shadows without any outsiders intruding. As soon as a band gets some attention, pressure, expectations and the demands of record labels and management all come creeping in.
It’s no surprise, then, that so many notable acts have struggled on their second album. It’s a problem that’s affected Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, multiplatinum stars and stadium headlining rockers alike. We’ve highlighted 20 Famous Bands That Suffered Sophomore Slumps in the gallery below.
READ MORE: 35 Terrible Classic Rock Covers
For some acts — such as Depeche Mode and Steely Dan — the slumps can be chalked up to growing pains, as each act searched for their distinctive sound. For Kiss, the problem came down to technical issues, while Meat Loaf buckled under the weight of overwhelming popularity.
In several cases, bands were pushed to churn out new music in an effort to capitalize on the momentum of their first album. While such an idea may seem good in concept, forcing creativity rarely results in quality work. Case in point, Quiet Riot, whose sophomore LP Critical Condition couldn’t match the high standard of their groundbreaking debut, Metal Health.
Regardless of the exact reasons, these sophomore releases failed to connect with audiences. In a few cases, these slumps led to a band’s downfall. Thankfully, in many more instances they were just a bump in the road on the way to a long and fulfilling career.