14 May

Back to my expanding list of music albums.... The difference between a studio album of original material and an album that largely consists of previously-released singles needs further clarification. The first area is that of the transition in the U S from a singles-dominated industry to an album-oriented market, roughly spanning the years 1960-1967. Two case studies from Motown artists: first that of the Temptations and the Supremes, then the Miracles. As noted previously, The Temptin' Temptations [1965] and the Supremes's Where Did Our Love Go [1964] (as well as another worthy of consideration, More Hits by the Supremes [1965]) largely consist of tracks previously released on singles. Temptin', though, is only a slim-majority previously-released; that is, seven of its 12 tracks had been released on singles before the album's release. Where Did Our Love Go, on the other hand, only features one track that had not been available on a single, 'Your Kiss of Fire'. 'More Hits' features seven tracks that had been on a single; one of the remaining five tracks would be used as a B-side later, a practice not uncommon throughout the music trade's history. Especially after singles became less significant in the U S market, the singles promoting an album would just feature another album track on their B side.

Another complication that appears throughout the music album's history is that of singles from an album released just prior to that album's own release. One of the singles and B-side on Temptin' Temptations, My Baby b/w Don't Look Back, for example, was released a little more than a month ahead of the album. Overall, in the case of such singles, writers tend to ignore them when stating that a particular album is a studio recording consisting of previously-unreleased material; listeners understand that the first single from the album perhaps was released before the album, so there's no need to persistently point out that the album is not made up entirely of new material. But, given this custom, perhaps The Temptin' Temptations can be said only to have included five previously-released tracks instead of seven. Even so, we can claim probably with little disagreement that it doesn't qualify as a major studio album of previously-unreleased tracks. Five tracks is nearly an entire side of an L P in this case.