4 Hit Rock Songs That Almost Never Saw the Light of Day

In the ever-evolving world of rock music, there have been quite a few hits through the years that are still loved by fans today. The process of getting those hits from concept to paper to recording studio is a lengthy one. And some of the biggest rock hits of the last century have almost fallen through the cracks of that process. Here are four hit rock songs that almost never saw the light of day!

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1. “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen

One of the most iconic and singable rock songs on the planet to date, this 1975 hit from Queen almost didn’t see the light of day. Freddie Mercury allegedly didn’t like the song at first and suggested that they leave it off their hit album A Night At The Opera. Thank the rock gods that he (and the rest of the band) were convinced otherwise.

2. “1979” by Smashing Pumpkins

“1979” was a major hit when it was released in 1995, and The Smashing Pumpkins album Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness hit diamond status in the US. In a way, the song cemented The Smashing Pumpkins’ success as pioneers of grunge music.

Surprisingly, the song almost didn’t happen. The band’s producer at the time, Mark “Flood” Ellis, allegedly didn’t like the song and rejected it. It wasn’t until Billy Corgan played him a demo of the song that Ellis considered it with a complete rework.

3. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is a career-defining track from The Rolling Stones, up there with “Wild Horses” and “Paint It, Black”. It also came close to never getting a spot on the American version of Out Of Our Heads.

Allegedly, Keith Richards hated the song despite writing the guitar riff that’s so well-known today. He also didn’t believe the song would find success. In fact, Mick Jagger spoke about Richards’ distaste for the song in the doc My Life As A Rolling Stone: “Andrew Oldham said, ‘This is like a number one single, this is great!’ Keith was like, ‘I don’t really like it. It can’t come out as a single.’ And it went to number one like instantly.”

[Get Tickets To See The Rolling Stones Live For The Last Time In 2024]

4. “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica

The Black Album was a huge deal in 1991, and the track “Nothing Else Matters” is one of Metallica’s most well-known songs today. It’s very different from the rest of their harsher music. One wouldn’t expect such a tender ballad to come from the metal band so well-known at the time for their thrash leanings.

James Hetfield penned the song in 1990, and it was not intended for an actual release. Lars Ulrich heard it and was convinced it would be worth a spot on their then-upcoming album. 

Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive

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