Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Your Favorite Rock Albums of All Time

Time once again for playing with musical lists.

It seems to me, that as an art form, "the album" has largely died. In the 60s, through the 80s... and especially in the somewhat overindulgent 70s; the Album was considered the real expression of a recording artists art. Now, in this age of digital downloads, the importance of the album has largely disappeared.

Perhaps that's a good thing, perhaps it's a shame. I love being able to skip over the filler crap that gets loaded onto most albums; but I can't help but feel that we've also lost something in this.

So, the rules this time are fairly simple. List your favorite 30 rock albums. I started out with over 200, but decided to cut it down for manageability.


Straight up "Rock" only, no metal, no folk, no R&B, no soul, no rockabilly, no punk (which is the anti-rock), but any genre of pure rock is acceptable. So for example, hard rock is OK.

So long as you stay within the genre, you can choose any artist, any group, any time period with one proviso, the album must be at least one year old.

Importantly, this is a judgment of the ENTIRE album in question, all tracks. If it's got more than one or two stinkers, the rest better be so spectacular as to completely wipe them off the blackboard.

Also, I know it's somewhat limiting, but lets only include a maximum of four albums per individual artist please. I realize some of you would love to include every Yes album, but lets get some variety here folks. I can't think of any band except maybe the Beatles, where you can say more than 4 of their albums really an truly belong in anyones top 30 list.

Oh and it should be obvious here, no studio compilation albums, or live albums that are not primarily original material; otherwise the list would be nothing but greatest hits, and live albums.

I'll let you off the hook on one thing, you don't need to put them in order if you don't want to. Lord knows I wont.


Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon
Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick, Aqualung
The Who - Whos Next (the extended release)
The Beatles - Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road
Led Zeppelin - II, IV
Guns 'n' Roses - Appetite for destruction
Queen - A kind of magic
Jimi Hendrix - Electric ladyland
Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Cream - Disraeli gears, Fresh Cream, Wheels of Fire
Deep Purple - Machine Head
Def Leppard - Pyromania
The Grateful Dead - Workingmans Dead, American Beauty
Van Halen - Van Halen
Dream Theater - A Change of Seasons
Alice in Chains - Dirt
Pearl Jam - Ten
The Allman Brothers Band - Eat a Peach
Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Pronounced Lynyrd Skynyrd, Second Helping
Bob DYlan - Highway 61 Revisited

Please note, this list isn't meant to be my favorite in any particular genre of rock; for example I like hard rock and classic rock more than progressive rock, so only a few progressive albums made it on my top 50. If for example I were doing my top ten prog rock albums, it would look a little different.

Also note, there are some conspicuous absences here in terms of bands and artists that I absolutely love; because this is about great albums, not necessarily great bands. Some of my absolute favorite bands never released albums that I would listen to every track from beginning to end. Elvis never had an album that wasn't half crap. I love a lot of Stones songs, but I could never listen to an entire Stones album all the way through without skipping a single track. I really love Yes, but they haven't made an album that isn't ruined for me by some stupid thing. Same for Rush. Although I included every Cream studio album, Eric Clapton has never made a solo album that I love.

...In fact, though I really love Chuck Berry, little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis, there isn't a single rock and roll album from the 50s that I think is great all the way through. Also, there are rarely any albums from the 80s, or 90s... and I don't think any from later than the 90s, in that list. It's not that I dislike newer or older music, but that as I said, I think the art of the album really peaked fomr the late 60s through the earl 80s, and is now essentially gone.

Oh and some of my absolute favorite songs aren't on "great" albums. My favorite dead song is "Scarlet Begonias", but "Mars Hotel" isn't that great an album. My favorite Deep Purple song "Perfect Strangers" is on an album I hate etc... etc...

One more things...

BONUS ROUND: Desert Island Rock Albums

I won't make you choose a favorite, but for fun, pick your five "desert island" rock albums. You know, the five you would pick if you had to be stuck on a desert island the rest of you life

1. The Who - Who's Next
2. Guns 'n' Roses - Appetite for Destruction
3. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
4. Led Zeppelin -Led Zeppelin IV
5. Jethro Tull - Aqualung

Those five albums right there... I could get by. I should note that I have owned all of these albums in some form or another since I was a kid. Those five are basically the only rock albums (other than compilations) I would actually repeatedly listen to, from 1987 (when Appetite came out) til about 1991 (when Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana all got slotted in to the rotation). There are, I think, better albums in my larger list above, but none that have more meaning to me.