Delay is a compilation album of early outtakes of Can’s work with singer Malcolm Mooney, including some of the band’s earliest material. It contains the song “The Thief”, which had already been released officially as a slightly longer version on United Artists compilation album Electric Rock in 1970. The track was later covered live by the Britpop band Radiohead.
Holger Czukay has said that Delay 1968 was originally intended to be the band’s first album and would have been titled Prepared to Meet Thy PNOOM (“Pnoom” being the name of the album’s second track—a 27-second saxophone instrumental, recorded as part of their Ethnological Forgery Series). When no record company would release the record, Can set out to make a somewhat more accessible album, which became their 1969 debut Monster Movie. Parts of Delay 1968 circulated in bootleg form for several years under the title Unopened, and included other tracks recorded during the same sessions that would later surface in various forms on other albums.