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

Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd Product Image

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 tells a story and it is definitely the most cohesive album of all time. It also has an answer for the major struggles people have in their life, from work to stress and money or war. Each song builds off the others and as a whole its Amazing! My only knock on the record also comes from this, take the songs individually and they aren't as strong as they are together.

Wore out at least 3 albums, and if you didn't have this one, your music tastes were questionable at best.

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.

Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin Product Image

My first Zeppelin album and think this and Led Zeppelin 2 are strong contenders for 2nd best of all time.

My favorite album of all time across all music, not just rock, and first vinyl I purchased for my collection. Every song has its own unique sound and could stand alone as a single.

Out Through The Outdoor is the greatest ever, but not here? Then Houses of Holy then Presence.

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

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles Product Image

The Beatles are the highest selling band of all time. Listen to this album and you can understand why.

The Beatles have a sound like no other band and pioneered the sounds you hear from Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. If you were to say this is the top rock album of all time, I wouldn't argue, but a few of the songs feel like 'experiments' and leave an unfinished note in my mind.

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!

The Wall - Pink Floyd The Wall - Pink Floyd Product Image

Another perfect album by Floyd. I include Animals in that category also.

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

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

Back in Black - AC/DC Back in Black - AC/DC Product Image

Back in Black is just a bad boy bad ass album, and you better not start anything when it's playing or there will be a fight that breaks out.

I thought that AC/DC was done after Bon's death and when this came out...WOW.

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.

Moving Pictures - Rush Moving Pictures - Rush Product Image

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.

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

Rush North America's best Been Around by far they are amazing bands to see live and they are totally awesome

Paranoid - Black Sabbath Paranoid - Black Sabbath Product Image

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.

Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin Product Image

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!

Who's Next - The Who Who's Next - The Who Product Image

I was fooled again and bought this on LP, 8-track, Cassette and CD.

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.

Are You Experienced - The Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced - The Jimi Hendrix Experience Product Image

Come on. This album was recorded in 10 days. Some songs were recorded the same day that Redding and Mitchell first heard them. Just incredible.

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.

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

The Newcomers

? News of the World - Queen News of the World - Queen Product Image

The Contenders

Hotel California - The Eagles Hotel California - The Eagles Product Image

One of the most popular songs of all time carries this album into the top ten.

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.

3/4 of the songs on this album are among the Eagles greatest hit. enough said.

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

Abbey Road - The Beatles Abbey Road - The Beatles Product Image

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

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!

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.

Machine Head - Deep Purple Machine Head - Deep Purple Product Image

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

This is the first album that really made me a rock aficionado. After listening to this album, I had to explore music that was like this. The music scene in the 60's and 70's was constantly exploding with albums that were masterpieces, and this is one of them.

A Night at the Opera - Queen A Night at the Opera - Queen Product Image

Bohemian Rhapsody is one of my favorite songs of all time and the other songs on here aren't slouches either.

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!

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.

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

2112 - Rush 2112 - Rush Product Image

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!

The most unique band in history. None can compare or copy

Boston - Boston Boston - Boston Product Image

Sets a high bar for debut albums, truly amazing and the songs mesh very well with no duds to be found.

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

One of the very best albums of all time, plays like a greatest hits album... Not a dud to be found

Rumours - Fleetwood Mac Rumours - Fleetwood Mac Product Image

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

Revolver - The Beatles Revolver - The Beatles Product Image

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.

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.

Probably if not definitely the best beatles album, it may not have some of the best known songs, but who gives as it is a bloody great album

In Rock - Deep Purple In Rock - Deep Purple Product Image

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

Appetite for Destruction - Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction - Guns N' Roses Product Image

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.

Axle Rose is 2nd most talented vocalist on this list after Freddie Mercury. This is an album that influenced a generation. Songs you can proper rock out to with some of the most indentifiable riffs. How is this so low down!

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.

Made In Japan - Deep Purple Made In Japan - Deep Purple Product Image

Best live album ever

Best live album ever! Enough said!

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

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

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap - AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap - AC/DC Product Image

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

American Beauty - The Grateful Dead American Beauty - The Grateful Dead Product Image

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

Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple Perfect Strangers - Deep Purple Product Image

Great Later stuff by an ICONIC Band!

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

Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd Product Image

Great follow up to DSOTM and will listened to 100 years from today.

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.

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

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

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