10 Albums That Almost Destroyed Their Creators

It’s long been a myth in popular music that creative tensions often lead to high points in a band’s career. While not universally true, there are certainly notable examples of artists who have managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, somehow overcoming torturous circumstances to produce quality music. sustainable.

Between disintegrating relationships, infidelities and twisted mind games, unbridled excess, psychological burnout and damaging lawsuits, each of the records presented below has pushed its creators to the limit. The stories behind some of them, like Guns N’ Roses’ long-awaited Chinese Democracy, which has been running for years, may be familiar to you. Others, including post-punk band Slint’s frenetic four-day catharsis, might be new.

Either way, each of the ten albums featured below comes with a fascinating genesis, proving that discord within a band doesn’t necessarily translate to discord in the studio.

None of these records have been a joy to make, although they are all worthy of your time.

Critically acclaimed purveyors of high-quality, jazz-influenced cerebral pop, Steely Dan had by the time of the release of Gaucho (1980) followed the Beatles in becoming a studio band only. Beginning in 1974, founding members Walter Becker (guitars, bass) and Donald Fagen (keyboards, vocals) employed a rotating line-up of session musicians to achieve their sound. Famous (or infamous) considered perfectionists, the duo took on their toughest challenge with the recording of this album.

Plagued by drug addiction, Becker’s contributions were further strained thanks to a serious accident – the guitarist was hit by a car, leading to multiple broken bones and a lengthy rehabilitation, compounded by secondary infections. Then Becker’s girlfriend, Karen Stanley, died of a drug overdose while at the star’s home. Stanley’s family then sued Becker for his death, ultimately losing the case but putting everyone involved in a torturous process.

Plagued by additional legal troubles and an increasingly soured relationship between Becker and Fagen, by the time Gaucho was completed, some 40 musicians had been employed to work on the album. Gaucho proved a critical success, winning a Grammy, but the two musicians would not work together for over a decade.