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 album means so much to so many people of different races/creeds. It talks of Humanity, the cycle of life and what we all will potentially go through in this ocean of chaos. The Almighty Floyd has better albums in my opinion, but this one, as well as Meddle, are the tipping point for Floyd, where they really reach their pinnacle of sound, style and feeling. Often repeated but NEVER duplicated. All hail the mighty Pink Floyd!

Nothing compares!

V29 Comments
2Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin

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

Should be at number 1! Definitely the best, with Black Dog, Stairway to Heaven, plus other epic songs like Rock and Roll, as well as innovative drum recordings heard in When The Levee Breaks, and Bonzo's technique in Four Sticks --Don't think I can give any more praise!

Better than Led Zeppelin II and any other Led Zeppelin album. My favorite album of all time after Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. It features Led Zeppelin at its best. - fidelcanojr

The definitive rock album of all time. From the hard-driving "Rock and Roll" to the spiritually inspiring "Stairway to Heaven", this album covers the complete gamut of Rock and Roll.

V18 Comments
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!

No way should this this high.

V10 Comments
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.

There's Sgt. Peppers and the greatest 10... Above everything else!

Can't be topped for originality.

V6 Comments
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.

Another brick in the wall is the best Pink Floyd song

V6 Comments
6Moving Pictures - Rush

This album define's the meaning of ROCK!

I love this album. Every song is amazing

Rush simply redefines epic with just one album. çThe one reason this album is classic is because it�'s all killer, no filler. From Tom Sawyer to YYZ to Red Barchetta to CAMERA EYE, this is darn amazing. Must own.

V2 Comments
7Who's Next - The Who

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.

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.

Side one alone deserves a spot in the top ten. The complete rock album.

V2 Comments
8Machine 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.

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

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

Just Listen to it; Enough said

V7 Comments
9Paranoid - Black Sabbath

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

One of the best voices in rock and roll coming into his own

One of the best rock albums

This album defines music for me

V3 Comments
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

V9 Comments

The Newcomers

?London Calling - The Clash

One of the best albums ever recorded!

V1 Comment
?August and Everything After - Counting Crows

The Contenders

11Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin

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

Songs and riffs on this album are known by almost everyone, even if they don't know who wrote it!

This is the best rock album ever...

V2 Comments
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.

V1 Comment
13A 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.

V3 Comments
14Are You Experienced - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

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

V2 Comments
15Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
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.

One of the top three Pink Floyd Albums, and arguably one of the top 20 all time.

V2 Comments
17Boston - Boston

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.

When it came out it was totally different. Almost hit me as hard as Led Zep II, and that's big praise.

V1 Comment
18In 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.

V2 Comments
192112 - Rush

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!

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

V1 Comment
20Made In Japan - Deep Purple

Listen to this and you won't bother with the studio versions any more

"The Mule"... Now tell me Ian Paice only has one Bass Drum here?!? Yup, that's right!

V2 Comments
PSearch List

Related Lists

Best Rock Albums of All Time (Excluding Greatest Hits) Top Ten Greatest Folk Rock Albums of All Time Best Comeback Rock Albums of All Time Best Rap Rock Albums of All Time Top Ten Best Hard Rock Albums of All Time

List StatsUpdated 13 Feb 2016

1,000 votes
127 listings
4 years, 317 days old

Top Remixes (26)

1. Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
2. Live at Filmore East - The Allman Brothers
3. Aqualung - Jethro Tull
1. Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
2. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
3. Back in Black - AC/DC
1. Back in Black - AC/DC
2. Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin
3. Who's Next - The Who

View All 26


Add Post

Error Reporting

See a factual error in these listings? Report it here.