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

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

This isn't just a album.

It's a revolution.

V 59 Comments
2 Led 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

What an absolutely beautiful album. I have it at 6 with LZII being Led Zep's best. My thinking behind it is Four Sticks being only a decent tune and with only 8 tracks it puts IV at 7 great tracks while II has 8 great tracks and the very entertaining Moby Dick only solidifying it's rank. However, 99% of rock bands would trade their entire career to make just 1 album as good as Led Zeppelin IV. Black Dog is probably their best ever track. Rock and Roll is classic rock at its finest. Stairway to heaven is a beautiful track that takes the listener on a ride through Zep's gushing song writing and inspired countless musicians on a journey to write something great. Misty Mountain Hop is the secret weapon on this album, a foot stomping gem. Going to California delivers on how well of an acoustic sound they had. When the levee breaks delivers on how big and right down nasty their tone as a unit was. Bonham's drum tone is mind blowing in Levee, maybe the best drum tone of anything in rock. ...more

Everyone praises Stairway but I genuinly believe that When the Levee Breaks is one of the best, coolest, most obscure and groundbreaking songs of all time.. even just the beginning gives me goosebumps

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3 Sgt. 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

Every album the beatles made was the best music ever nobody compares to the beatles they are the artists that invented how to make a album where every song was good on the entire album and they also sold 600 million albums more than anyone

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4 Back in Black - AC/DC

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.

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.

This album is awful it's really to bad that bon scot died

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5 The 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.

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.

It actually suprized me that this masterpiece was ranked so low on so many lists, especially Rolling Stone's incredibly inacurate "500 best albums of all time" list. It is accepted among all music critics that this album is perhaps the best of all music history.

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6 Moving Pictures - Rush

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.

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

This album define's the meaning of ROCK!

Rush is my favorite band.

I first bought this album on vinyl, but later it was the second CD I ever bought (the first being U2's Joshua Tree). I had to hear YYZ on the latest technology of the day.

It's rare when you can listen to an entire album where every song is fantastic and half of them are masterpieces. This is one them. - ClimberRat

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7 Who'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.

Best rock album of all time. Best album of all time. Period.

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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

Should be ahead of IV!

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9 Paranoid - 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.

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

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 this not top 3? Black Sabbath is the greatest metal band of all time and this album is better then The Who's, Rush's and AC/DC's! Also better then The Wall and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band...

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10 Machine 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

If you don't like Highway Star you don't like rock

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The Contenders

11 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

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.

Greatest album by the Best Band ever!

V 12 Comments
12 A 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.

This album showed the world that damn near anything can be rock if you just do it right. Freddie was the greatest front man of all time, and what he and Brian and the rest of them did on this album completely changed not just rock, but everything that played on the radio because it showed that the world would listen to great music regardless of genre.

The diversity on this album is incredible, featuring charleston (Seaside Rendevous, Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon) Metal, (Death on Two Legs, The prophets song) Folk ('39), opera/rock/whatever the hell you want to classify Bohemian Rhapsody as. Point is, this album does everything. If you're looking for an album suggestion, this is the one.

Bohemian Rhapsody... enough said

V 10 Comments
13 Hotel 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.

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

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

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

V 2 Comments
14 Are 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.

Very Unique For It's Time(1967). - FettiMC

It's Hendrix, nought said...

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15 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!

Should be top 10

V 8 Comments
16 Wish 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.

First Floyd album I listened to. been a fan ever since. Welcome to the machine!

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17 2112 - 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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18 Boston - Boston

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

By far greatest band ever put together

Simply amazing especially the song Peace of mind!

Number 18?! Has anyone heard this album? As a bass player I've not heard playing like what is displayed on this album and Tom Scholz wrote and played all the basslines! Absolute genius.

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19 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.

Machine Head has 3 medicore songs: Maybe I'm a Leo, Lazy, Never Before
In Rock has only one mediocre song: Living Wreck
And that's all. This album is totally overshadowed by Machine Head... - somekindofaguy

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20 Made In Japan - Deep Purple

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 is the album that turned me on to rock n' roll.

V 4 Comments
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Top Remixes (31)

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