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 Ten

1 Dark 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

This album is unmatched in lyrical depth, musical excellence, imaginative instrumental innovation coupled with timeless relevance of its narrative. I know that ranking albums is a matter of personal taste. But I suspect that Dark Side of the Moon will be studied 500 years from now as Shakespeare's finest masterpieces are researched today. It is peerless from that perspective, a clear # 1 in my book.

While this is in my top 10 I don't see it as the best and most influential album of all time

amazing.

86 Comments
2 Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin

Way better than Dar Side

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

Simply great!

While there are other albums that might be more consistently good all the way, IV/Zoso reaches such unbelievable highs that it's comparable with some of the Beatles' best work. It covers so many genres (blues, rock n' roll, folk, prog, stoner, math rock, and metal) but remains consistent and seamless all the way through. It's a gorgeous 40-minute journey through music. 7/8 of the tracks are the best songs I've ever heard, and that 1/8 is only great. There's at least something here everyone can enjoy, whether they're into rock or not. A 10/10 for sure. - ThatDudeRoss

47 Comments
3 Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

You can't beat this album with great songs like Lucy in the sky with diamonds a day in the life

If you didn't listen to this you have nothing to say about rock music!

This album is as good today as it was 52 years ago. Wow, 52 years ago, I remember buying this album. It is still the best album ever recorded.

Beatles music is much more elaborate, has a special sound and it's not common.

31 Comments
4 The Wall - Pink Floyd

This is simply the best album of all time

Top ten?

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.

So the story is I was looking through my dads old record collection. I liked some really bad pop music back then. I found this album, hesitant to play it, I put it on, and as soon as the needle touched the record and I heard the first crackle, I cried for as long as I could. Quite embarrassing I know, and then I put on side 3, followed by side 4. I was then in a pool of tears. To this day I don't know why, but I listen to the record every night, right before I go to sleep. Sorry this was long by the way

26 Comments
5 Back in Black - AC/DC

The best

Must rock album to have in your collection

10 songs of pure rock and roll. Malcolm Young's rhythm is heavy and unmatched. I don't think anyone ever hit the strings harder than him in his day. Maybe the greatest riff guitarist of all time. Angus Young's leads are flawless and brilliant leaving you wanting more and more. Johnson's vocals are that of a confident front man in his prime which is stunning in itself as his 1st album with an already established band. This was in the prime years of AC/DC and every single track is instantly noticed after the 1st few notes. The drums and bass offer a rock steady backbone to the plethora of guitar brilliance. The tone both Angus and Malcolm have in the Back in Black track is enough alone to put them in the Rock Hall of Fame. Throw in the rest and it's a world class rock song. You shook me all night long is just a sexy song and displays amazing song writing front to back. Hells Bells is a bit darker than anything else on this album, but man is it killer or what? It's definitely adds some ...more

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.

34 Comments
6 Moving Pictures - Rush

Absolutely Iconic! Not a single bad song on this album.

This album is seriously the best of this band songs like tom sawer limelight and more songs that are so good.

I can't believe this album is so high but I couldn't be more pleased! This album and band are amazing. Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta, YYZ, Limelight and Vital Signs are amazing. The Camera Eye and Witch Hunt are great too.

Inventive and groundbreaking, this album re-defined rock and created a genre of its own, stepping away from 70s prog and reaching the perfect mix between great songwriting and intricate and fabulous playing.

16 Comments
7 Paranoid - Black Sabbath

Paranoid is a must here for all

This album is 100+% metal - 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

12 Comments
8 Led 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

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

7 Comments
9 Who's Next - The Who

Love Pete Townshend -- Musical Genius

Great album, way ahead of its time! Simply genius!

The 2nd or 3rd best rock album ever for sure. (1 being Led Zeppelin IV and 2 maybe being the Dark Side of the Moon) - ThatDudeRoss

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.

11 Comments
10 Are You Experienced - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Overwhelming

This album is a masterpiece. This album is Like a greatest hits album it's so great - Sabbath

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.

6 Comments

The Contenders

11 A Night at the Opera - Queen

This album is simply better than any other album on this list, for sure! A Night At The Opera is definitely the most iconic rock album ever, no doubt! I don't get why this one is so low on the list!

love

Can't believe this one is so low! It's a Top 5 contender for sure! An eclectic album perfectly illustrating Queen's eclectic and diverse style. Something for everyone and this is pure raw talent at it's best. Also, goes without saying that the timeless 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is on this album too

This album contains the best vocals of all time, the best vocal harmonies, the best sounding guitar and greatest rock song ever written- Bohemiam Rhapsody- by the greatest front man the world has witnessed!

17 Comments
12 Hotel California - The Eagles

This should absolutely be in the top 5 for sure!

Couple of good songs but I never really thought it was that great. Overrated.

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.

One of my favorite albums ever, many great rock songs. Joe Walsh and Don Felder on dual guitars, what more could you ask for.

6 Comments
13 Machine Head - Deep Purple

Should be higher,

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

10 Comments
14 Abbey 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

A perfect and poignant culmination of everything that made the Beatles great, and a far better conclusion to their discography than Let It Be. - ThatDudeRoss

In my humble opinion this album is a masterpiece. No contemporary musical opus is perfect and sadly that's a fact. However, what makes a good album might be a single unforgettable track supported by a load of nearly but not quite tracks. What makes a great album is perhaps two or three awesome tracks. But with the exception of two pointless fillers, namely Octopus's Garden & Maxwell's Silver Hammer, this album is faultless musically, lyrically & production wise. A veritable tsunami of sound and harmony is there, timelessly set in stone, to engulf all fortunate past & future audiences emotions. It will forever be a mystery to me how four undereducated working class youths ever managed to conceive and deliver such a level of musical genius.

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

15 Comments
15 2112 - Rush

Rush at their best.

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!

16 Boston - Boston

Awesome band

Greatest debut album of all time and a true classic rock masterpiece

Are you gonna hitch a ride on a smokin rock and roll band that will share their piece of mind to give you more than a Feeling. Take this record home tonight

Best vocalist in rock!
RIP Brad Delp

13 Comments
17 Rumours - Fleetwood Mac

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

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

When they been at their worst they did the best... Among my top three Albums!

The best album of all the chain is the best song along with dreams

10 Comments
18 Revolver - The Beatles

While Abbey Road is better musically, and Sgt. Pepper is more influential, Revolver exemplifies everything that was so amazing about the Beatles. At the time, the Beatles were still on good terms and Lennon and McCartney were still writing songs together. This combination resulted in one of the greatest albums of all time (ask Rolling Stone, they have it ranked as the number 3 greatest album of all time). Revolver includes musical innovations like Eleanor Rigby and Tomorrow Never Knows and brilliant songwriting like Here, There and Everywhere and I'm Only Sleeping. While it's not the most recognized or the most influential, it is among the Beatles best albums, and should be high in the top ten.

The most experimental album of its time. Be prepared for the revolving trip!

Why the heck isn't this top ten! This should be #1! But #95! What the hell! I was going to vote for Joshua Tree, thinking this would already be up there and Tree would need the vote a comment, but I see the Beatles best album and greatest of all time at 95. Shame. I don't like this list- mostly because of this albums poor placement.

Revolver is surprisingly underrated, "Taxman", "And Your Bird Can Sing", "Eleanor Rigby", and "Yellow Submarine" all come from this album, and are some of the greatest Beatles songs of all time, if not some of the greatest SONGS of all time. - Mousike

7 Comments
19 Appetite for Destruction - Guns N' Roses

Too low for the most rock and roll album in recent times.

Best

This album is the epitome of rock and roll!

Guns N' Roses released this album in 1987 and just brought back sex, drugs and rock n' roll back to the music scene. Definitely deserves top 5 or even top 3 number 1 in my opinion I am just a young kid but I know my music facts and right from the getco I've loved this album and just recently bought the CD Every song on this album is simply spectacular including the following Sweet Child O' Mine, Welcome To The Jungle, Paradise City, It's So Easy, Out Ta Get Me etc. But, To conclude it all this album influenced more than any other album has and is just perfect, perfect.

27 Comments
20 In 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.

Four out of ten charting album are deep purple, and even one in the top three. crazy stuff. This album is simply a Hard Rock poster

5 Comments
21 Ok Computer - Radiohead

Deserves a top 10 ranking all time for creativity, influence and quality. This album redefined an era and is the personal soundtrack to my life.

This Album deserves to be in the Top 10.

So awesome it should be in top 20

Best Album on earth

8 Comments
22 Made In Japan - Deep Purple

This and Live At Leeds by The Who are two of the greatest live recordings ever!

Best live album ever

Best live album ever! Enough said!

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

5 Comments
23 Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap - AC/DC

GREAT BAND AND SONG-BUT ANGUS YOUNG WAS AC/DC

24 Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

Not as long winded and overly experimental as Dark Side of the moon,Not as overblown as The Wall.It showcases the best of all the members of the band and even people who were not members of the band.A masterpiece for those who know.

The most touching and personal Pink Floyd album. Maybe not the best but definitely my favorite.

Greatest album of all time - Yigit_Akcekoca

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

15 Comments
25 American Beauty - The Grateful Dead

If I were on a desert island American Beauty would be with me every song is so nice I love box of rain but all the song are great started listening to when it came out... I play piano still get tingling feeling at end of box of rain other albums would be... exile on main street... whos next... aqualung...led4...a space in time ten years after

Greatest American band of all time, and this is the one that combines all the reasons they are that band. Blues, ballads, rock and roll and everything in between.

This is top 5

26 Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple

Great Later stuff by an ICONIC Band!

My introduction to Deep Purple. Still my favourite album.
Menacing, heavy, melodic, brooding, intelligent... Etc...

27 Deja' Vu - Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young

Awesome sound great songs

Exceptional!

Top Ten all-time album. No question

28 Exile On Main Street - The Rolling Stones

The only other that comes close to this is Teenage Head - Flamin Groovies.

The Best of Stones! The Best Rock N' Roll Album Ever! This is Rock N' Roll at it's best!

Pure rock n roll!

29 In the Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson

Should be number 1

One of the best and original albums ever made

Great album at least top 5

This is not only one of the best rock albums ever made, but one of the best albums in the history of music. It is credited as being the first progressive rock album. It will blow your mind.

4 Comments
30 Highway To Hell - AC/DC

This is better then Back In Black and every other album on this list (Other than the Queen ones)

This is AC/DC at their finest. BIB is a close second however, HTH just rocks more

Bon Scott is the greatest - ACDC-

31 The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars - David Bowie

Needs to be higher

Shocked by how low down this is. All of the songs on this album are great, and I'd go as far as to say that "Starman" is one of the best classic rock songs ever written. Not a mention a genius character and story.

This should absolutely be way higher. This is ridiculous. Rolling Stone has your #1 (Pink Floyd 'Dark Side of the Moon') at #43 and this album at #35. So, there's that.

Without this album Pink Floyd, Queen, the Clash, and most of rock after 1973 wouldn't have existed.

3 Comments
32 Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits

Some of the most iconic rock songs in a single album, making it one of the best albums ever. Should be in the top with Pink Floyd. Mark Knopfler, the Genius.

Easily top 5 album what

It should be at least top 15. this list is fraud

33 First Rays of the New Rising Sun - Jimi Hendrix

An album 95% finished when he died, that showed the new direction Jimi was heading. An excellent album.

34 Nevermind - Nirvana

Perfect album!

I think it is one of the best albums of all time. The 12 tracks match each other perfectly. If you are not shaken by Nirvana, boy... you are already dead...

Since the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, nobody had such an enormous impact on music. This album didn't just kill hair metal, it made alternative metal popular, which has been 98% of rock for the last 25 years... rock will never be same after this

How is this not in top 10? By far one of the most important and successful albums in music history let alone rock history!

14 Comments
35 Cosmo's Factory - Creedence Clearwater Revival

The Best American Rock Band for sure.

Ass kickin american rock n roll! CCR is up there in the MT. Rushmore of Rock Icons! Is number 10 on my list!

My first Lp

36 Sticky Fingers - The Rolling Stones

How is this 28th, and the first stones on this list?

It's The Rolling Stones in the middle of their epic string of albums...hello?

Top Ten album!

Best rock album of all time.

3 Comments
37 Dirt - Alice In Chains

It is so far a head for me as my favorite album that I can't actually think what would be second, Incredibly powerful and moving album-not for the faint hearted.

You may think this is the finest pearl.

If you haven't listened to this LP...DO IT

Unique! A masterpiece

38 Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin

Woah woah woah, why is this 42? Easy top 5, every single song in here is absolutely phenomenal

Some of their best work is on this album

Only 42. No, no, no. One of the finest rock album produced ever. Should be among the first 20.

Zero filler. Includes everything from the blues to heavy rock to folk acoustic. The best rock double album by the best rock group ever. Fact.

7 Comments
39 Beggars Banquet - The Rolling Stones

The start of a classic run of great albums, one of the best album ever from the Stones.

40 4 - Foreigner

Should be in top 20

Why is this hear

This album rocks from beginning to end.

I agree. should be on this list and definitely not this high.

1 Comment
41 L.A. Woman - The Doors

Alright, everyone has an opinion on the Doors, however this ablum is pure Rock N Roll. From songs like L.A. Woman (the best roadtrip song) The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat), Love Her Madly and Riders on the Storm (need I say more)? The whole ablum itself puts off a great bluesy rock feel. The band worked very well together recording the ablum. Jim Morrison was excellent on vocals, Ray Manzarek killed it on the keyboard and Robby Krieger had some catchy riffs. You can tell the band really enjoyed their time recording and all around a fun lisen. As the last ablum the Doors ever put out and the band as a whole never able to perform live it's a shame. When you get to the end of the ablum Riders on Storm will have you feeling eerie. The last song and last ablum from the Doors I must say this is a great one and should be higher on this list.

Pure Greatness should be higher.

Doors overrated.

42 1984 - Van Halen

Number 49? No disrespect to deep purple but swap made in Japan for this one!

Not a single bad song

JUMP Panama HOT FOR TEACHER ILL WAIT ARE SO GOOD

43 The Yes Album - Yes
44 The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle - Bruce Springsteen

Great album. Underrated. Really a jazz album.

45 Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs - Derek & the Dominos

Top 3 easily

The best guitar-playing duets ever.

Eric Clapton and Duane Allman, what else to say

46 Destroyer - KISS

I am over 50 years old, and I think this may be one of the most under-rated rock albums ever, or at least, in my era. Yes, the cover and the band's 'shtick' have worn off over the years, but the songs on this album are really pure classic rock and roll. It's tough for a lot of people to acknowledge KISS actually put out good rock, but this is proof.

Iconic. After "Alive! " catapulted KISS to the top, "Destroyer" proved the accession wasn't a fluke. Bob Ezrin (the same producer for Pink Floyd's "The Wall," stretched KISS' song-writing and musicianship to new levels. The songs have stood the test of time, E.G. , "Detroit Rock City," "Beth," "Shout it Out Loud," "Do You Love Me," etc. An amazing musical experience!

47 The Beatles (The White Album) - The Beatles

Just listen to this record and you will agree best Beatles album ever!

48 Whitesnake - Whitesnake

Sorry,in my opinion this album doesn't come close to the other albums on this list.It's a good album but,come on!

Sucks very mediocre...really ahead of so many great albums

49 Blood On the Tracks - Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is the most influential rock and folk artist of all time. I cannot believe that he does not have a higher place in this rating. Tells me that something is not right with how this is being complied. This is an incredible album and had a great impact on my life it is not necessarily his best album.

Best Dylan Album

50 All Things Must Pass - George Harrison
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