What do you consider to be the Greatest Albums of All Time

On my drive to work today–a 45 minute commute–my mind began to wander as is its wont. After hearing a snippet of “Hey Jude” it began to ruminate on great music, and great musicians. While there are many singles out there that are amazing, I began to think that they are rather limited in their expression–a truly great artist is able to put together an entire LP on which every track is amazing, that the whole ends up being greater than the sum of its parts, and were frequently hugely influential as a result. Many artists (groups, solos, orchestras, whatever!) were lucky enough to have one such seminal album, a few even had more.

So, teeming millions, what are your Greatest Albums of All Time ™. One caveat, it has to have been an album as intended to be by the artist- no compilations or ‘best ofs.’ (for example- while Springsteen’s Greatest Hits is an amazing collection, it was never intended to be a single artistic statement). Also- you may name an album that you don’t like, if you recognize its importance and brilliance.

Let me start:

The Beatles were musical geniuses and have several truly great albums.

  • Help! While it is a little too poppy for my full enjoyment, I still enjoy this album which really announced their coming into their full faculties as artists. When I listen to it, I listen to the whole thing.

-Abbey Road. What is there to say? If you’ve never listened to the entire second side all at once, do so. It is, simply, sublime. Side 1 isn’t as good, but it is still brilliant.

-Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. How many interviews with great rock stars are there who say this album changed their lives? In popular rock and roll, there’s before Sgt. Peppers, and there’s after. It literally changed the course of music.

Led Zepplin

-“3.” Albums “1” and “2” were amazing, but it is their third album that really made me go ‘wow’ not a bad track on the whole thing. When Page and Plant did their MTV reunion special in the early 90s, this was the album that they puilled the bulk of the playlist from. You can have “4” and Stairway to Heaven- I’ll take this one every time!

-Physical Graffiti. What a monumental achievement- a double album on which every track is mind-blowingly good. Not just heavy, but deft, agile, and soaring. Bluesy in all the best ways. Jones, Bonham, Page, and Plant are at their peak here.

I’ve got lots of other ideas- but your turn first!

I’ll go with Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy. I’ve never been able to get enough of this album from beginning to end.

FACT: Led Zeppelin has the highest overall signal-to-noise ratio.

The Greatest Album Of All Time (So Far) is Refused’s The Shape Of Punk To Come.

Combat Rock by The Clash is not far behind in 2nd place, tho.

Physical Graffiti is my comfort music, turn to anytime album. There’s nothing else that even comes close to getting into my soul and taking me away like it does. Coincidentally, it was getting Zep III as a young kid when it first came out that first turned me on to them. They truly have been the benchmark I’ve held everything against ever since.

Abbey Road… I mean it’s perfect, it’s complete, there’s nothing missing or overdone.

Odelay blew me away when it came out. I’d no idea I’d ever see such an innovative, entertaining work like that again. I never ever tire of it. Beck is just frikkin’ amazing.

There are three. Abbey Road, Who’s Next, and a Led Zeppelin album, but which one changes from day to day. :slight_smile:

Van Morrison put out five amazing albums in a row in the early 70s, Astral Weeks, Moondance, His Band and Street Choir, Tupelo Honey, and St. Dominc’s Preview. People have favorites among them and they’ve started many arguments. The song “Astral Weeks” is transcendant. Side 1 of Moondance, “And It Stoned Me,” “Moondance,” “Crazy Love,” “Caravan,” and “Into the Mystic” was a perfect side, when album sides meant everything. But as a complete album, I vote for St. Dominc’s Preview, a mixture of short danceable pop, smooth hits, and long vistas of high emotions. How good it is? “Redwood Tree” would be a fine addition to Side 1 of Moondance, yet it’s no better than 5th on this album. Maybe 6th.

Just as perfect, though, is side 1 of Crosby, Stills, & Nash. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Marrakesh Express,” “Guinnevere,” “You Don’t Have to Cry,” and “Pre-Road Downs.” Side 2 is almost as great, and the album created a whole genre of music but CSN as a group was never topped.

I know you make the call for Led Zeppelin 3, but Led Zeppelin 1 was another genre starter and no group ever did it better than the Zep, so I put it as best.

You could even make that argument for a third group that put out its first album in 1969, a great album that should have started a genre: Santana.

Was 1969 the greatest year ever for albums? Abbey Road is 1969. Blood, Sweat, & Tears hit #1 and I would argue for its inclusion if I didn’t think people would hit me. Same with the one and only Blind Faith album, one of my all-time favorites. Johnny Cash at San Quentin was the only #1 country album of that era and contains “I Walk the Line,” “A Boy Named Sue,” and “Folsom Prison Blues.” The other #1’s aren’t favorites, but ain’t shabby: *TCB *by the Temptations and Supremes; the original cast album of Hair; Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Green River, and Led Zeppelin II. And just browse the Wikipedia page of 1969 albums for names that will stun that didn’t make it to #1.

Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, “Striking it Rich”

Just keeping it on the rock side of things to avoid mixing apples and oranges too much, there are two records that stand above all others: My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. That’s been my opinion for about the last ten years, and nothing has changed it so far.

Rumours - Fleetwood Mac

Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen

Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd

Time Out - Dave Brubeck

Surrealistic Pillow - Jefferson Airplane

I tried to avoid ones that had been named, otherwise Pet Sounds would have topped my list.

Combat Rock?

Yeah, right …

Cut the Crap or GTFO!

Who Quadrophenia.

Great songwriting, hot guitars, great vocals, thumping bass, and Keith Moon mayhem keeping it all together.

DSOTM is great but I think “The Wall” and perhaps even “Obscured by Clouds” are even better.
“Quadrophenia” is so inextricably linked to my youth that I can’t shake it loose.
“Jordan, the Comeback” by Prefab Sprout is never far from my playlist.
“Purple Rain” by Prince as an honourable mention.

The greatest albums, to me, hang together as a whole. They tell a story and take you on a journey. Cliched but true. By that criteria I’d have to put “The Wall” and “Quadrophenia” as the top.

edited to shake fist at campp!

The answer is Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.

Yeah, I was going to put in a vote for that, too, but limited myself to rock. The Refused album is a good one I had completely forgotten about.

If I treat the question as a “desert island” thing, I’d have to go with:

Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
Live at the Fillmore East – Allman Brothers Band
Time Out – Dave Brubeck Quartet
Travels – Pat Metheny Group
On the French Riviera – Dizzy Gillespie

maybe three others that will occur to me after I submit this

Rumours-Fleetwood Mac
Four-Foreigner
Thriller-Michael Jackson
Dark Side Of The Moon-Pink Floyd
A Night At The Opera-Queen
Who’s Next-The Who
Joshua Tree-U2
Tapestry-Carole King

Always have these two close by:

Live at the Fillmore - Allman Brothers
Waiting for Columbus - Little Feat

My number one choice is easy:

The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus by Spirit. Twelve superb songs from a group that never got the recognition it deserved. This album didn’t get the notice it should because the group was breaking up as they recorded it – which was one reason it was so good, since everyone wanted to go out with a bang. The first side – “Prelude/Nothing to Hide,” “Nature’s Way,” “Animal Zoo,” “Love Has Found a Way,” “Why Can’t I Be Free?” and “Mr. Skin” – is perfect, and the worst song on it – “Space Child” – is merely very good.

There are so many others that come close:

Abbey Road – Beatles
Let it Bleed – Rolling Stones
Who’s Next – The Who
Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround – Kinks
Moondance – Van Morrison
Emitt Rhodes
The Doughnut in Granny’s Greenhouse – Bonzo Dog Band (U.S. Title, Urban Spaceman)
Led Zeppelin I (they stole from better acts than usual)
Workingman’s Dead – Greatful Dead
It’s a Beautiful Day
Atom Heart Mother – Pink Floyd
Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
London Calling – The Clash

Good stuff guys!

Exapno- good call son the CS&N and Johnny Cash… 1969 WAS a heck of agood year for music. Pulykamel- Pet Sounds… absolutely (wasn’t it influenced by Sgt. Pepper’s?) Silenu, good choices all, except Dark Side of the Moon- which is an awesome album, except I HATE the track “Money”. Similarly I don’t put the Eagles’ Hotel California on my lsit. Its a GREAT album, except it has the title track on it. I don’t like the song! (I think its because both “Money” and Hotel California" were overplayed by my local radio station growing up. When they said “and Eagles coming up next” you just KNEW it was Hotel California…

The Boss’ Born to Run- no disagreement here. Who Quadraphenia, likewise.

Davis’ Kind of Blue. Kinda obvious! (or it should be)

OK, some more from me:

AC/DC
-Back in Black. It could have been soooooo bad, instead they came out swinging and swinging hard. Every track hit its mark and HARD.

Van Halen
-1984. The last of the original, and the best. The singles from it were amazing, and all huge hits in their own right, but I honestly think that the unreleased tracks are at least as good or even better. Top Jimmy, Drop Dead Legs… better than the title track.

Michael Jackson
-Thriller. OK, not my genre of music at all, but I can admit that it was an amazing pop album. He and Quincy had figured it all out, and every track is as polished and catchy as the others.

Pink Floyd.
-The Wall. Great tracks, all of them. Run Like Hell, Another Brick in the Wall are great singles. But if you’ve never sat down and listened, really listened to the entire album, in order, you really need to- such powerfully sad story of descent into madness. Roger Waters’ genius shines on here.

Paul Simon.
-Graceland. It gave me chills the first time I heard it, and it still does. It’s not a cliche- it is hauntingly beautiful. Argueably one of the top five albums of all time. Brilliant wrting, brilliant arranging, brilliant collaboration.

Prince and the Revolution.
-Purple Rain. Agian, not my preferred genre, but there isn’t a track on the whole album that isn’t working. Prince was at his weird best here.

Excellent picks – all on my list as well. I’ll add another dozen:

Stand Up – Jethro Tull
Blonde on Blonde – Bob Dylan
Music from Big Pink – The Band
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic – King Crimson
Disraeli Gears – Cream
Are You Experienced? – Jimi Hendrix Experience
The Velvet Underground & Nico
The Doors
Another Green World – Brian Eno
Countdown to Ecstasy – Steely Dan
Bursting at the Seams – Strawbs
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys – Traffic

(From which my approximate age should be pretty obvious.)