Until 1994, pop music was almost exclusively the domain of the released song, as opposed to say album rock which played — appropriately enough — album tracks. In fact, just about every pop song hit until 1994 was a specifically released single song, promoted to pop music stations and fans like me.
But then there were those songs which made the pop chart without being released. A very small number of amazing breakout songs that pop stations dared to play without the record companies promoting them as such. In the early period, through 1993, these songs tended to be Christmas songs. Some were rock songs. See the full list here.
Remember this one? Of course you do!
This, of course, is Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin, #4 biggest unreleased song. “Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin has often been acclaimed as the greatest rock song ever. Despite no single record release, the song made it big on pop radio, even hitting number one on some stations.”
This little song, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, was so important in rock history. This was the main unreleased song that sparked the controversy about pop radio format choices, soon leading to the all-out rebellion that created what was then called album rock radio. A big thank you to The Beatles! Of course, the really long versions of some major hits by The Doors played a big role too.
More Than A Woman by Bee Gees was the biggest unreleased song. Yes, Tavares had the released hit version of the song, but you probably remember Bee Gees version best. It was #3 this week, with the top 3 dominated by music from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.
Into The Groove was never released as a normal single. True! Do you have one of those big maxi-singles like they played at the clubs? I have a few, but not this one. This was one of six top 20 hits by Madonna in 1985, including Like A Virgin which came out in 1984. Madonna was so hot that year.