The hit singles that never made it onto an album

A selection of songs that never found an album to call home.

Album and single go together like horse and carriage, love and romance, and tequila and hangovers. 

But sometimes, a single stands proud and alone, and decides not to join the album track club. In fact, back in the day, it used to be the done thing that singles wouldn't appear on albums. Lately, however, standalone singles have been pretty rare, but some artists, for whatever reason, like to hold them back.

We look at some hits and key tracks that never had a studio album to call their own.

Ariana Grande

Remember Focus, Ari's Top 10 hit from 2015? It was the lead single from her Dangerous Woman album, right? Wrong! While originally intended to lead out Ariana's third studio album, there was a shift in focus (funnily enough) and it was decided the feel of the song wasn't right, so it was shunted from the album altogether, appearing only as a bonus track in Japan! See all Ariana's UK hit singles and albums

Rihanna

Rihanna was big on this for a while. Before the release of her eighth album Anti, RiRi released no fewer than three songs – FourFive Seconds, Bitch Better Have My Money, and American Oxygen.

FourFive Seconds was a huge hit, going Top 3 in 2015, while BBHMM also went Top 40. And how many of them appeared on Anti? Not one. Nope. Nothing to see here. See all Rihanna's official UK hit singles and albums in her archive

Will they ever get to rub shoulders with an album's worth of tracks? Doesn't look like it, does it? Well, until the greatest hits anyway…

But that's not all for Rihanna…

Calvin Harris

In 2015 and 2016, Calvin was "between albums", enjoying the same kind of freedom people enjoy when their between relationships. The Scottish DJ, producer, and general hands-in-the-air enthusiast released a succession of hits that would go nowhere near an album.

First came UK Number 2 hit How Deep is Your Love? with Disciples, followed by a long-awaited collaborative reunion with RiRi on another Number 2 hit, This is What You Came For, which ended up as the fifth biggest tune of 2016. Next came Top 40 hit Hype, with Dizzee Rascal, and after that was Top 5 hit My Way. And did any of them end up on 2017 album Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1? No, they did not. Look back at all Calvin Harris's hits in the UK

Lana Del Rey

OK, so the original version of Summertime Sadness was indeed featured on that huge breakthrough debut album Born to Die, but the beefed-up, very very different version remixed by Cedric Gervais has, so far, not been anywhere on the album. Lana's at it again now, too, ahead of the release of her sixth album Norman F*cking Rockwell – a trio of songs, starting with Mariners Apartment Complex, have been called "fan tracks" which means they're here to fill the gap before the album but will not, apparently, feature on it. Lana Del Rey's UK chart history

Zayn

The former One Direction star's second album Icarus Falls was renowned for having quite a few tracks on it – 27! – and yet, no room for two hits that came before it. Zayn's springtime 2017 bop Still Got Time, which featured PartyNextDoor, and its Top 5 follow-up and Sia collab Dusk Till Dawn, were purposefully left off the album. Their vibe is, admittedly, different from the rest of the finished album, but 29 tracks isn't much more of a leap, is it? 

Katy Perry

In 2016, after an absence of two years, Katy Perry returned to the chart with Rise, an inspirational call for unity that just happened to coincide with the Olympic Games in Rio (and was released two weeks after the EU referendum in the UK). Used by US TV channel NBC in its coverage of the event, Rise was an international hit but, according to Katy, was always going to be a standalone single, saying it had been brewing inside her for years but "I was inspired to finish it now, rather than save it for my next album, because now more than ever, there is a need for our world to unite". 

Madonna

It's no secret to Madge fans that the star falls in and out of love with her back catalogue pretty frequently. Perhaps her most overlooked song of all is Gambler, which never made any of her studio or greatest hits albums.

It did feature on the soundtrack to beyond-dodgy movie Vision Quest, along with her much-favoured Crazy For You and now very hard to find, but other than that, she's roundly ignored it. We're aiming to get #Justice4Gambler trending so this wrong can be righted. Madonna's Official Top 40 biggest selling singles

Pet Shop Boys

Widely acknowledged as one of the greatest cover versions of all time, Pet Shop Boys' rendition of Always On My Mind never made it onto a studio album. Originally recorded for an Elvis Presley TV tribute, the track was so popular it was released as a single and became 1987's Official Christmas Number 1.

Trouble was, the guys were kind of halfway through their Actually album campaign so the song never found a home. It did make it onto US versions of Actually, and a heavily remixed version was included on Actually's follow-up Introspective, but the original is still an orphan. 😭

MORE: See all Pet Shop Boys' UK hit singles and albums

Kanye West

First he left Only One, FourFive Seconds and All Day off The Life of Pablo – all featured former Beatle Paul McCartney, coincidence? – and then in 2018 he teamed up with Lil Pump on I Love It, a non-album single which was released to coincide with Kanye's role as creative director on an awards show for a pornographic movie site. Perhaps one day I Love It will get that happy finish and end up on an album, but as yet it's in limbo. All Kanye's hit singles and albums

Warning: explicit lyrics in this one

Sugababes and Girls Aloud

Remember when two pop behemoths Sugababes and Girls Aloud got together in the name of Comic Relief to cover an Aerosmith/Run DMC classic? 

Originally a Number 8 hit in 1986, the eight-headed hits juggernaut of 'Babes Aloud (Suga Girls, maybe?) did even better, taking the track to the top. What they didn't do, however, was include it on any album. How remiss of them!

Kylie Minogue

Released to mark Kylie's 25th anniversary in the music 'biz' in 2012, Timebomb was left off La Minogue's next album Kiss Me Once. A crime.

Coincidentally, Kylie's very first single from 1987, which is what we'd politely call a very 'of its time' version of The Locomotion only released in Australia, never made it onto an album either. It was re-recorded for the release of Kylie's debut and when released as a UK single – her third here – it was remixed yet again. Check out all Kylie's big British hits

Victoria Beckham

It's hard to believe now that fashion supremo and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham did the solo thing too, but in 2004 she made a shock, and broef, return to the charts – with a double-A side, no less!

This Groove had an R&B flavour, while Let Your Head Go was a dancefloor filler and possibly the best pop video she's appeared in. Dare we say iconic? Too late, we just did.

The world waited with bated breath for a full album, but despite the singles going Top 3, VB was having none of it, and they remained out in the cold.See all Victoria Beckham's solo hits in the archive

Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea

Collaborations tend to be overlooked more than other songs when it comes to making it onto an album. Britney and Iggy's Little Mix-penned team-up charted at 16 but has yet to find itself a home.

With Britney and Iggy trading cutting barbs after the song's release, it seems neither of them look upon Girls too fondly, so its inclusion on any album looks unlikely.

will.i.am

A couple of tracks from the Black Eyed Peas' frontman have never made it past single stage. His 2012 Top 3 hit T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever), may have featured showbiz royalty like Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez, but it missed out on an album.

His most recent Number 1, It's My Birthday feat. Cody Wise, has also yet to make an appearance anywhere else. 😞

MORE: View will.i.am's full Official Chart history

Jennifer Lopez

Remember Live It Up, J-Lo's fourth collaboration with Mr Worldwide himself, Pitbull? Well, it's more than Jennifer does. Despite the song going Top 20 in 2013 and scoring MTV award nominations, when J-Lo's album AKA surfaced in 2014, there was zero trace of it. Missing. Absent. Shame.

MORE: See Jennifer Lopez's full UK chart archive

Arctic Monkeys

Leave Before The Lights Come On was Arctic Monkeys' third single, but wasn't on their hit debut Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. You could be forgiven for expecting to find it on the follow-up Favourite Worst Nightmare. However, it wasn't there either. We checked everywhere, and no trace. But, why?

Well, it seems the band regretted not putting it on their first album so gave it a single release to make up for it, but because it was the last song Alex Turner wrote about that time of his life, before fame, he decided it wouldn't fit on album number two. "My life's not like that anymore," he mused. The struggle was real. It got to Number 4.

MORE: Arctic Monkeys' chart history

New Order

It's sold over a million copies, has charted four times and is one of the most iconic '80s songs in British chart history. But has Blue Monday ever appeared on a New Order studio album? Has it buffalo! The wrong has been righted slightly, with different versions of the song being added to reissues that came out in 2008, but before then, it was nowhere to be seen!

Do you have a favourite single that didn't get the memo about belonging to an album? Come find us on Facebook or Twitter or get busy in the comments below