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Did the internet recently tell you about a long lost sixties collaboration between Neil Young and Rick James?

Dude, me too! I was not familiar with the band they collaborated in, the Mynah Birds, so hearing the track was a real treat.

Listening to it got me thinking, how does a collaboration of this magnitude maintain in obscurity for such a long time? I mean, Neil Young and Rick James! That’s pretty out there. Surely someone somewhere wanted to hear this.

This got me thinking about how many other failed superstar collaborations there must be out there? Unreleased? Forgotten? How many times over the years have the greats teamed up, only to achieve disappointing results, complete failure even?

Unreleased superstar collaborations? Tracks from pairings of your favorites lost to obscurity? Well, nerds, we’re dusting off the cobwebs. Check these out:


First off, most Beatles fans will tell you that John Lennon and Paul McCartney were never able to get along after the band broke up and that they never made music together again.

This is only partially true.

They never officially released music together again, but for a brief session in 1974, they certainly tried.

What makes this collaboration worth mentioning is not that the two Beatles were together again so much as the band they put together to work with.

John Lennon was to front the group, singing and playing guitar. Paul McCartney was scheduled to play the drums. The rest of the band consisted of Klaus Voorman on bass (longtime friend of Lennon, also responsible for the artwork for the Revolver album) Harry Nillson on vocals, and Stevie freaking Wonder on the keyboards.

Yes, you read that right. For one brief shining moment in the seventies, there was a band that included (the important) half of the Beatles and Stevie Wonder.

The sessions were a royal train wreck, and the project was scrapped.

But thanks to the power of the great galactic interwebs, you can be a fly on the wall:

How does a group this amazing on paper sound so awful in the studio?

Cocaine, of course!


Onto our next debacle!

In March of 1968, Jimi Hendrix played a concert at The Scene Club in NYC, to an invite-only audience full of friends and fellow artists. Hendrix recorded the show personally, with intent to capture some spontaneous improvised moments between his band and the artists in the crowd.

Jim Morrison, a fan of Hendrix and the lead singer of the Doors (the original LA hipsters, next to Arthur Lee & Love) was one of the guests at the event.

Hendrix invited Morrison to join the band onstage. Jim jumped up, approached the microphone, and proceeded to yell obscenities at the crowd.

Don’t believe me?

The recording has been highly bootlegged and can easily be found at your local hipster record store. Adding it to your collection is not necessarily recommended.

You pays your money, you takes your chances.


Speaking of train wrecks, this one was actually released successfully.


George Lucas has said that if he had the ability, he would roam the Earth with a hammer, destroying every known copy of his 1978 Star Wars Christmas Special. I don’t hate the Star Wars Christmas Special, but I’d like to smash Bowie/Jagger’s “Dancing in the Streets” out of existence. Special thanks to Mick’s dealer, a fellow called Red Jonny, for sponsoring the event.


Next, let’s travel to 1993, when Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain had the opportunity to record with one of his heroes, author William S. Burroughs. The duo created a nine minute track titled “The ‘Priest’ They Called Him.”

Cobain builds a wall of feedback on his guitar (often quoting the Christmas song “Silent Night”) while Burroughs reads us a story about a junkie trying to score heroin on Christmas eve. Polarizing? You bet.

The cd (and 10”) single received a limited release and no promotion. If you rolled with the cool kids back in ’93, it was the record that only your coolest cool friend had. I’m sure he’ll put it on next time you guys are hanging out. Maybe he’ll let you borrow it so that you can make a copy. No? Bummer.

Good thing you have the internet now. Because fuck that guy.


Finally, without rhyme, reason or explanation, I leave you with this monstrosity:

Here’s a playlist of the aforementioned Rock Stars in their natural habitats, doing what they do best.  Ah, sweet redemption.

F&N 05/28/13 – Rock Stars in their Natural Habitat

Until next week…Rock over London, rock on Chicago.