The Black Album is a common reference to Metallica's eponymous fifth album.

Before Metallica released this album, which has a black matte cover with a black satin impression of a coiled rattlesnake (reminiscent of that seen on the Revolutionary War flag designed by Christopher Gadsden with a coiled rattlesnake on a yellow field with the legend "Don't Tread on Me" which is also the title of one of the songs on the Metallica album) The Black Album referred to the then only release by the band Spinal Tap.

Spinal Tap's first album is titled This is Spinal Tap after the "rockumentary" of the same name. It is supposedly a collection of their greatest hits. The album itself has a featureless black cover.

The reason the Spinal Tap album has a black cover can be found in the rockumentary. In the rockumentary, Spinal Tap released an album titled Smell the Glove which featured cover art of a woman on her hands and knees wearing a collar and leash being made to smell a black leather glove as if she were some form of hunting dog. Unfortunately for the band, their record label found this image to be too offensive and it was replaced with a plain black cover. The band opposed this vehemently, but they lost that battle and so the black cover it was.

The original rockumentary was released in 1984, directed by Rob Reiner and starring Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer as the legendary heavy metal band. The album was also released in 1984. Eventually, with the continued popularity of both, there was a second album released in 1992, Break Like the Wind.

Before Metallica's Black Album, Prince recorded an album of the same name and delivered it to Warner Bros in 1988. The album was very dark and experimental, some of it culled from the Dream Factory sessions (the 3LP undertaking that ultimately became the double LP Sign O' The Times. The CD was prepped for distribution, and reviews were written, but the album was pulled at the last minute by Prince. At the time, he felt that he may die soon and didn't want the album to be his last work, as he felt it was too angry and negative. He quickly kicked out Lovesexy to replace it, and launched one of his most spectacular tours ever.

Several songs from the album showed up on the tour frequently: Bob George, Dead On It, and When 2 R In Love(which was also on Lovesexy). Prince's Black Album rapidly became one of the most bootleged titles to date, and was frequently doubled up with pirated copies of Lovesexy to symbolize the dark and light sides of Prince.

Ultimately, The Black Album was released by WB against the wishes of Prince while he was in his The Artist Formerly Known As Prince phase trying to get out of his record contract. The mix is slightly different from that of the original one delivered to Warner, indicating either an uncredited remastering or that the widely bootlegged 1988 release was not the final master. The former is most likely, as the bootlegs were largely created off review copies of the official '88 release.

Tracklist (official release):

  1. Le Grind 6:44
  2. Cindy C. 6:15
  3. Dead On It 4:38
  4. When 2 R In Love 4:00
  5. Bob George 5:36
  6. Superfunkycalifragisexy 5:56
  7. 2 Nigs United 4 West Compton 7:01
  8. Rock Hard In A Funky Place 4:32
Many bootlegs included the tracks Old Friends 4 Sale and All My Dreams, also outtakes from the Dream Factory sessions.
The Black Album was the first album that the Dandy Warhols wrote for Capitol Records. The original mixtapes are still sitting around in the offices of Capitol. The album was never actually finished. For no apparent reason. Rumors say that Capitol rejected it for being 'too out there' (paraphrased from the Official Site). The Dandy Warhols don't say why it was never finished. In fact, it was never even an album. Just a bunch of tracks that were never finished, that someone compiled into the 'black album' of the Dandy Warhols.

The one that doesn't exist.

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