I am about to embark on a journey that is bound to create all sorts of controversy. Is it a rant about political topics? No. Is it a diatribe into religious issues? No. It’s a top ten list of my favorite rock albums of all time.
A few things to get out of the way. First, this is my top ten list. If you don’t like it, get your own blog and make your own list! 😉 As the saying goes, “Opinions are like … (fill in the blank) … everyone’s got one.”
Second, this list is an approximation of what my top ten rock albums are as of this day. Ask me next week and you might get another list.
Third, the order is based on my feelings as I write this. Ask me tomorrow, and the order might be different.
OK, without further ado, and with some slight commentary along the way, here is the list beginning with #10…
#10: Rage Against the Machine — Rage Against the Machine
The eponymous debut album from one of the 90’s rawest bands. RATM managed to meld the sounds of punk, hip-hop and thrash into a blend of rage and fury against corporate America and cultural imperialism. This music is not for the faint of heart. It’s raw, it’s loud and it’s vulgar (at times); but it was the first of its genre and some of the songs are featured in the movie, The Matrix.
#9: Appetite for Destruction — Guns ‘N Roses
If you want to know what 80’s rock-n-roll was all about, listen to Guns ‘N Roses. This album features some of their best songs, such as: Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City, and (my personal favorite) Sweet Child O’ Mine. This album was #1 in the U.S. and has gone platinum 18 times over. It’s one of the best selling albums of all time.
#8: Black — Metallica
If Guns ‘N Roses is the epitome of the 80’s rock band, then Metallica is the epitome of the 80’s metal band. They are the kings of the Heavy Metal genre, and this is, IMO, their best album. It contains such hits as Enter Sandman, Nothing Else Matters, and The Unforgiven. This album has gone 15x platinum and is simply one of the finest metal albums around.
#7: Boston — Boston
I can’t say enough good things about this album. Released in 1976, it always reminds me of my childhood growing up. I could listen to the whole first side of the album (yes, back in my day, we had albums with sides) over and over again. More Than a Feeling, Peace of Mind, and Foreplay/Long Time are rock classics that stand the test of time.
#6: Moving Pictures — Rush
I had a hard time deciding between this album and its predecessor, Permanent Waves. These two albums are probably Rush’s finest, but I went with Moving Pictures. “Why not choose both?” some may ask. Well, I only reserved that privilege for one band (and if you know me, you know what band I’m talking about). Here is why I choose this album over the other: TomSawyer, Red Barchetta, YYZ, & Limelight. You’d be hard pressed to find four better songs back to back to back to back.
#5: Are You Experienced — The Jimi Hendrix Experience
The best album from the best guitarist of all time…’nuff said! One of the finest albums from the 60’s psychedelic era. Plus it contains all of the songs that people know and love from Jimi: Foxey Lady, Hey Joe, Purple Haze, & Fire. It’s a shame that Jimi died so young. The Experience only released three albums, and Jimi released some solo stuff after that. But imagine what his output might have been had he lived longer.
#4: Dark Side of the Moon — Pink Floyd
What more can be said about this album that hasn’t already been said? It is the pinnacle of the progressive rock (“Prog Rock”) genre. It has remained on the Billboard top albums chart for 741 weeks; the most of any album. It is one of the best-selling albums worldwide in the history of music with a reported 45 million in sales. Why not The Wall? Good question. I think I can survive most people’s scrutiny if I leave The Wall off my list. I can’t say the same if I leave off Dark Side of the Moon.
#3: Led Zeppelin IV — Led Zeppelin
This album actually has no name, but since it’s the fourth album released by Led Zeppelin, it’s been called Led Zeppelin IV. I’ve got one reason why this album is one of the best albums of all time: Stairway to Heaven. Any album that has that song on it, deserves to be on the list. Of course, that’s not the only song on the album. It also contains such hits as: Black Dog, Rock and Roll, Going to California & When the Levee Breaks. Plus how can you not like an album that has an old guy carrying a bundle of sticks on his back as the cover art??? Seriously though, every single one of their albums went platinum in the U.S.; every single one of them. And this one out sold them all.
#2: Revolver — The Beatles
What can I say about this album? This is arguably the album that launched the 60’s psychedelic movement. When you listen to the Beatles, you might be tempted to think, “yeah, they’re OK.” But then you realize that when you listen to them, you’re listening to musical styles and trends that began with them! They’re the innovators, everyone else are the imitators. This is the Beatles at the height of their creativity. Freed from the rigorous touring schedule they were on in the first few years of their career, they were able to experiment with new ways of recording music. Their only limitation was the technology that was available to them. This album is so good that it made #3 on the Billboard 500 greatest albums of all time; only to be surpassed by…
#1: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band — The Beatles
The album considered by most to be the greatest album of all time. It’s an iconic album with an iconic album cover. This album is the Beatles at their best, and it caps a trio of albums that mark, IMO, the best creative output by any musical artist in history (Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s). The title track and the finale, A Day in the Life, stand out on this masterpiece of rock music. One might ask me, why didn’t I include Rubber Soul on this list? I almost did, but then if I did, I might as well included the entire Beatles studio collection; they’re that good! But then it wouldn’t have been much of a list. Here’s a scary thought. The single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane was slated to be on this album, but the record company wanted a single for release prior to the album’s release and there was some archaic rule that a single released prior to an album’s release couldn’t be included on the album. If there is any debate about the greatness of this album, all debate would have been silenced if that single were included.
So there you have it! My top ten list of the greatest rock albums of all time. Think you can do better?