Top Ten Classic Rock Albums of All Time

These are simply the albums that have defined rock and roll. No frills. Here we go:

The Top TenXW

1Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd

This album defines rock and roll in its entirety. Saying this deserves number three is like saying Kanye West doesn't have an ego. This is THE album, this is THE best compilation of songs and themes all woven into one record. It speaks life, and all the things that can drive you insane. The songs below.

Speak to Me - Communication
Breathe - Work
On the Run - Anxiety/Travel
Time - Time
The Great Gig in the Sky - Death
Money - Greed
Us and Them - War
Any Colour you Like - Drugs/Choice
Brain Damage - Insanity
Eclipse - The whole album summarized into this final tune

I would say that almost everyone knows this album even if their not Pink Floyd fans. The album cover is recognized by everyone and songs like money, us and them, brain damage/ eclipse are still played on classic rock stations. If you have not listened to this great album I suggest you do. I promise you you won't regret it. - Windowstcm1988

This really wasn't even a question. If we're talking about best album ever, Dark Side wins it no matter what. It flows so well, it could honestly be just one song. Every song is good in its own way, and I can't just listen to one tune off of this album, I have to listen to the whole thing. It is also really deep and very thought provoking. If you've never listened to this album, get some high-quality headphones, and just listen to the song in the dark. Nothing compares to it. - lavillaof2112

Awesome, enough said.

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2Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin

This is seriously the best album of all time, 1 it has stairway to heaven. It's become very fashionable to knock Stairway, but the reason it's overplayed is because it's so GOOD Simply one of the epics of rock. and it also contains classics Black Dog, Rock an Roll, not to mention the other ones that are all so completely overlooked, Going to California, Misty Mountain Hop, When the Levee Breaks, etc. The Drums are incredible, especially on When the Levee Breaks, Four Sticks, and Black Dog. The variety is amazing too, going from heavy rock (black dog, four stix) to beautiful acoustic songs (going to California, the battle of evermore). John Bonham's powerful drumming, John Paul Jones's keyboards and thundering bass, Jimmy Page's incredible acoustic and electric guitar work, and Robert Plant's amazing vocals(going to California black dog and rock and roll are the best examples of Robert's singing) all come together into the best 8 songs ever stuck together and packaged. It's sold 38 ...more

I love Led Zeppelin so much, but no album comes close to Dark Side. Don't even try to convince me to put this above Dark Side. However... I love this album! Black Dog is a great hard rocker, and Rock and Roll goes back to rock music's roots. The Battle of Evermore is a great folk-rock song that is often overlooked because of the overplayed, overrated Stairway to Heaven. Misty Mountain Hop is really good, and then Four Sticks, which is OK. Going to California, the best song on the album, in my opinion comes next, followed by the finale, When The Levee Breaks, an incredible blues song. - lavillaof2112

Awesome album!... Should be above Dark Side of the Moon simply because it's pure Rock! Not a mellow song to be heard. And really isn't that what made Rock-n-Roll stand out and be so feared way back in the beginning?... The Beat! The Beat!... This album set the standard then. Influenced countless others and is still looked upon as something to aspire to

Quintessential Rock Album of all Time

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3Back in Black - AC/DC

Rock at its purest and most rauccous, Back in Black is AC/DC's most cohesive album, as well as maybe its most important, as it showed the world that the band has a future despite the tragic death of its legendary original lead singer, Bon Scott. Brian Johnson's pipes filled the part nicely, doing Scott plenty of justice and serving as the voice of the band's most famous song, this album's title track.

This one of AC/DC's best albums. Some of the best songs are on this one. If you dislike this, you suck. This album made over $22,000,000 in sales and it reached #1 on the top charts. And whoever said AC/DC is least skilled and least creative, well, AC/DC has more talent than you have in one fingernail.

Back in black is my third favorite acdc song but my first acdc album. It has all of the good acdc songs hells bells, shoot to thrill, have a drink on me, rock and roll ain't noise pollution, you shook me all night long, back in black, shake a leg and I forget the ether one. Acdc for ever!

This is their only good album but it's really good. The rest all sounds the same

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4Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

If not for this album, the others would not be. Sgt. Pepper broke the mold and became the model for others to follow. This should definitely be number one. It has it all - hard rocking songs, as well as great ballads.

I agree Sgt. Peppers is the best of all time. Followed closely by Beach Boys Pet Sounds. Third Love Forever Changes is right up there. So is Velvet Underground Loaded. The Beatles Rubber Soul is also up there. That is my top 5. I have more but not now.

This is the greatest rock album of all time. Everything is based on this album. If it were not for this album we would still be listening to Bill Haley and the Comets

Like Revolver better myself!

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5The Wall - Pink Floyd

What the hell! How can this be so low. It at least deserves to be in the top 5 if not the first position. Come one guys, this is a classic.

The random genius of four people reaching it's peak and culminating to what what is the most monumental work in modern western music. Magnum Opus of Rock Music.

I love this album, but honestly, it's a bit overrated. I think Wish You Were Here and The Wall should switch places.

Pink Floyd really don't Rock. They put me to sleep.

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6Moving Pictures - Rush

This album define's the meaning of ROCK!

Every song RIPS! Top 3 for me of all time.

Fly by Night will always be my favorite!

Better Than Best

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7Who's Next - The Who

Roger Daltrey's scream at the end of the instrumental section in won't get fooled again is the moment rock music came of age (said someone). Everything since has been anticlimax.

Roger Daltrey's scream marks the pinnacle of classic rock. Nothing before that moment had so well captured the essence of rock and roll, and nothing after it matched the primal nuance of rock's earlier days. Surrounding this singular moment is rock and roll at its very finest.

Baba O'riley, Behind Blue eyes, Won't get fooled again, need I say more? This album represents one of the greatest rock groups at their best. It contains some of the greatest rock tunes and some of the greatest rock ballads as well. This album has every band member performing at their best and most rocking. It deserves top 3 for sure.

Rock music at its wildest. - lavillaof2112

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8Paranoid - Black Sabbath

This album actually contained the blueprint of heavy metal. Beginning with wailing air-raid sirens, ozzy's demented howling, sweeping power chords of Iommi along with the crushingly heavy team of geezer butler and bill ward the band made this album worthy of the apocalypse. I am still stupefied by this Sabbath sound ever since I listened to this album 20 years ago ; although I feel it should not be classified here as it is a genre defining album... giving birth to the genre of heavy metal.

Most unique sound out of all the above artists. This band has influenced all the heavier bands I listen to today. This should definitely be in the top of this list

Why Is Back In Black Higher Than This? Seriously Back In Black Is A Great Album But Not As Good As Paranoid

Black Sabbath are very underrated. They are equally the best band of all time alongside band such as Zeppelin, Beatles etc.

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9Machine Head - Deep Purple

Easily Deep Purple's best album, Machine Head features a wide variety of sounds, from the explosive Highway Star, to the surprisingly groovy Lazy, to the classic riff to rule all other riffs, Smoke on the Water.

Machine head is a milestone in the history and development of rock music & an album which has influenced countless groups and musicians for 42 years. There is no competitive album.
All the albums that are better for a position is just below the machine head

The best album in hard rock, with the perfect songs ever

Just Listen to it; Enough said

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10Abbey Road - The Beatles

The Beatles are the band that every other band looks to as the archetype. They were the original classic rock band that all the other classic rock bands bow to. Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, the Eagles, the Rolling Stones, etc, etc - they all looked to the Beatles as their idols.

To address a topic addressed by another comment - yes, back in the day they called them "pop" - but they also referred to the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Led Zeppelin as pop as well. Back then the word "pop" literally meant "popular" - and literally everybody from Frank Sinatra to Janis Joplin to James Brown were all considered "pop. " To say that the Beatles sounded more "pop" than Led Zeppelin makes no sense in the context of the time period...

The Beatles don't need to sound like Zeppelin because the Beatles pioneered the musical sounds that Led Zeppelin employed. The definition of "Classic Rock" is album oriented rock & ...more

The Beatles are the best rock band ever, the comment below mine says they are pop comparing them to Led Zeppelin (ironically he didn't write correctly the band's name). Led Zeppelin is heavier than The Beatles, but than doesn't means that The Beatles aren't classic rock... this guys have many songs that were considered heavy and every song of them is rock!

Many people label them as pop. That's bad because they were the band that made better rock!

By the way, this album is perfect because all its songs rock! - rock2metal

I realize these lists are subjective, however I don't understand how anyone can be "sick of the Beatles" But you're correct, The Beatles are not "rock". Their music encompassed far too many styles to be labeled as just "rock". But they were a rock band and released many "rock" songs as well as ballads, Indian, big band, acoustic, folk, psychedelic, blues, etc...No other band even comes close to The Beatles influence and creativity and that includes Cream.

One of the best Beatles albums of all time

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The Contenders

11Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin II is probably my favorite album out there. Individually, each track is strong, but not the best per say. But Led Zeppelin II is not album made to showcase any track in particular, and this becomes apparent when you listen to the whole album through. "Heartbreaker" is great, "Living Loving Maid" is great, but the way they sound back to back on a record just can't be beat. Led Zeppelin IV is great as well, but there are a few weaker tracks, thus putting II higher in my ranks

This was a very tough choice, but overall I think this the best Led Zep album, just barely beating Led Zeppelin IV. This album contains some of the best writing the band ever put forth, including maybe the best all around guitar work in rock history.

Bee-like psychedelic breakdown right from the get-go, music only becomes better throughout

Should be ahead of IV!

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12Hotel California - The Eagles

While the whole album is great, it must be said that the title track is one of the most incredible chapters in the history of rock, lyrically and instrumentally.

A great album and the title track is nothing less than a classic.

The album that best decribes the decadence of late 70s california

V2 Comments
13Are You Experienced - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

So many good songs on this album, from Purple Haze, Hey Joe, Foxy Lady, Manic Depression, Fire, and The Wind Cries Mary. The best of all time, no doubt. Never has an album had such a great list of songs!

One of the most influential albums ever recorded. The best debut album as well.

V2 Comments
14A Night at the Opera - Queen

Who would think that Rock and Opera would be the perfect combination?

Queen did, and the result is unique.

Each song perfectly matches the next one, and ends with the best song ever, Bohemian Rhapsody.

Holds the greatest song of all time!

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15Rumours - Fleetwood Mac

I agree, this is one of the best albums ever!

For sure, one of the best! Every single song is awesome!

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16Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

A MASTERPIECE! The most brilliant album ever recorded, in the entire history of music. Wish you were here, where every song is one of the greatest songs ever... Simply mind-blowing

This album should be higher up. From the epic Shine On You Crazy Diamond to songs like Wish You Were Here and Have a Cigar, this album is awesome in every way. - matty925

It should be number 2. Exceptional music. Outstanding in every aspect. Definitively has to be ranked higher, much higher.

How is THIS not in the top ten? This record is legendary!

V3 Comments
172112 - Rush

Played so often on my turntable that is sounds like it has no highs left. Still amazing to listen to.

Why is Moving Pictures before 2112? That's like saying Justin Bieber could sing for Nirvana! Or saying that he could even sing in the first place!

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18Boston - Boston

By far greatest band ever put together

There's so many great ones on this list but Boston gets my vote but I respect the others - Sabbath

This album should have been at #1. Great songwiting, great sound, great mix and very melodic with great musicianship. Sounds as new and fresh as the day I bought it.

Best band ever made best album ever made

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19In Rock - Deep Purple

This is a far better album than Machine Head. It's more intense and the songs are more daring. Not surprising considering in the line-up's first album together and they were still unknown so were more free to stamp the songs with whatever direction they wanted. Child In Time on its own would be worth the album price, but the whole thing is full to bursting with loud, intense raw power. By the time Purple came to do Machine Head, they were more cautious and had more pressure on them after the lackluster Fireball. Deep Purple In Rock showed what a band could do without any shackles.

I had been playing drums as a young guy (started pre-teens, about 10 years old)... I would turn 13 May of the year this came out - 1970, joined my first really good local Rock Band that winter as well... No other album (and all the above are amazing, and greatly influenced me as well), but, no other album, music, drummer, influenced my Hard Rock playing ability more than Deep Purple, Ian Paice, and this album... I had Heard "Hush" years earlier, great, great stuff, but this album and line-up just blew me away for years to come!... Long Live "DP"

The greatest heavy rock album of all time by in my opinion, the most underrated band in the last forty years. This album set the bar, never surpassed, rarely equalled.

Better than Machine Head? I think so as well. One of the most underrated albums of all time. A must listen if you like good music.

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20Appetite for Destruction - Guns N' Roses

How on earth did The Beatles have not one, but two albums ahead of this. I am a huge classic rock fan and this is at least top ten, deserves top five, and should probably be top three. And no hate towards Rush, Moving Pictures is amazing, but no way both Moving Pictures and 2112 are ahead of this.

Better then 99% of the albums on this list. Not a single bad song on the album. They all rock and still to this day this album owns its relevance even in the newest generation.

One of THE greatest albums ever should at least be in the top ten

Most definitely should be in top 10! Rock in its prime!

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List StatsUpdated 26 Aug 2016

1,000 votes
143 listings
5 years, 147 days old

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