Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Columbia Records mistakenly released a Byrds album without a title.
Origins: By 1970 the Byrds, who had started out so promisingly just five years earlier with two #1 hits
When veteran musician Skip Battin was invited to join the Byrds in late 1969, Roger McGuinn was optimistic that he had finally assembled a stable
The details of how the album came to be called (Untitled) differ slightly depending upon the source, but the evidence confirms the accidental origins of the name. As Roger McGuinn explained in an advertisement for the album, "Somebody from Columbia called up our manager and asked him what [the title] was. He told them it was 'as yet untitled,' so they went ahead and printed that." The Byrds' producer-manager, Terry Melcher, related a slightly different version of events, claiming that he had written 'Untitled' on the official label copy sheet sent to the record company because the group had not yet settled on a name for the album, and before anyone realized what was happening, the albums had been pressed as (Untitled). (The fact that the name printed on the album sleeves included parentheses makes Melcher's explanation the more likely one.)
Much as we like to think that all aspects of artistic efforts are deliberately infused with meaning, sometimes random chance and coincidence have their say as well. For a similar story involving a different band's album title, check out our "No Answer" page.
Last updated: 26 April 2007
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.