Top 10 Most Influential Albums of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Thriller - Michael Jackson

Okay, I love this album, and it greatly influenced a lot of pop and hard rock that followed. But why aren't Metallica's Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, or Master of Puppets on this list, while the Black Album is? Those three albums were incredibly influential, serving as the blueprint for much of the metal and rock that came after, including for legends like Slayer, Korn, Testament, and Avenged Sevenfold.

But back to Thriller. This album had so many tunes that became the blueprint for a lot of pop and hard rock, especially the title track. If this album were released today, all the songs would be playing in the top 40 and could dominate at least a quarter of the radio, rather than just two songs. I truly love this album.

2 Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd

One of those rare albums where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It must be listened to from beginning to end. A prog rock masterpiece!

My favorite album of all time! Thriller is not the most influential album of all time! People just vote for it because he's dead.

Better than all the rest. A true masterpiece! It stands the test of time, envelops you, and strikes a chord with every passage!

3 Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

There are two albums that changed music on a social and cultural level. The first is Elvis Presley's album (the album that made rock popular not only in the States but all over the world) and this one from The Beatles (the album that changed the late '60s and everything that came after). It's certainly not Thriller from Michael Jackson that changed the eighties and music on a social and cultural level. Eddie Van Halen, Paul McCartney, Quincy Jones, etc., all contributed to the Thriller album, but people treat Michael Jackson as the one and only genius who influenced and changed everything in music.

4 Every Picture Tells a Story - Rod Stewart

This is the first album in history that reached the number one spot simultaneously in the USA and UK. Also, the single "Maggie May" was number one at the same time in the USA and UK, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Germany, Australia, Chile, France, Greece, Israel, South Africa, and Ireland.

5 Nevermind - Nirvana

This album has inspired many artists around today, some good, some bad (Miley Cyrus comes to mind with that insulting cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit). Also, if it wasn't for Nirvana, we wouldn't have Foo Fighters. So, it's not only the most influential album but also one of the most influential bands.

This album represents more than just music. It represents a whole generation. Albums are not only excellent because of their music. It's more about the context at the moment they were released and what they evoke in any person who lived listening to it.

6 The Velvet Underground and Nico - Velvet Underground

Ok, this is irritating. I was reading the list for best albums and it was basically identical to this. Now, don't get me wrong, a lot of the albums on here are very good (fantastic even), but how influential were they? Back In Black is one of my favorite albums, but it's not overly influential, so I wouldn't vote for it.

This album, however, was hugely influential and invented punk. Without this, there would have been no Sex Pistols or Clash, which means no Nirvana or Green Day. This album is incredible to think about the music that was popular at the time. Nobody sang about heroin until Lou Reed did.

Please stop voting for what you like and vote for what is most influential!

7 Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan

Really? Ranked 47th? This album deserves to be probably in the top 5.

8 Dream With Me - Jackie Evancho

In this, her debut album, Jackie enlightened the world about what Classical Crossover is and should be about. With her head in the music and her heart on her sleeve, this young lady uses her gently powerful vocal instrument to set the bar for fine performances.

In an era where almost the only thing being listened to is auto-tuned pop and gutter-level rap, along comes the purest voice in more than a century.

This is the most influential album in my life, so it gets my vote.

9 Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols - The Sex Pistols

They didn't create punk, but they influenced virtually every punk band that came after them. They are not one of the best punk bands though.

It was totally revolutionary for the punk music industry. I believe it's their only album, but you can still see its effect on today's teenagers. A great album from the punk greats.

There are so many bands that wouldn't exist if this band and this album had not happened.

10 Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys

Pet Sounds is by far the most innovative, experimental, and influential album of all time. Despite the fact that many claim Sgt. Pepper to be this album, without Pet Sounds, there would be no Sgt. Pepper. A truly masterful work of musical beauty.

I can't respect any list that doesn't have Pet Sounds in the top 5 as the most influential album of all time.

Yes, it should be in the top three at least. If SMiLE had been released in 1966 or '67, it would be in the top three also.

The Newcomers

? Rubber Soul - The Beatles
The Contenders
11 Awakening - Jackie Evancho

Jackie continues to enlarge the tent of the "classical crossover" genre with this mix of sacred, classical, and pop covers, and some startling original songs. Something for everyone, and all of it done in grand style.

Surrender to this voice and you will fly.

12 Straight Outta Compton - N.W.A.

One of the greatest gangsta rap albums ever made.

13 Led Zeppelin IV (aka ZOSO) - Led Zeppelin

Proof that hard rock bands could be more than blaring guitars and pounding drums.

14 Dangerous - Michael Jackson

I love this album so much! This is the first album of Michael's from which I immediately loved every song. It's one of the best albums of all time, together with all the other MJ albums.

15 Are You Experienced? - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
16 Paranoid - Black Sabbath

The true first metal album, not their debut album. Paranoid sounds a lot more like metal than the self-titled album. It's still bluesy, but way heavier than anything before it.

For pioneering music that moms screamed at their sons for listening to, and doing it successfully at that, this album ought to have a spot in the top 10 somewhere. After all, this list is for albums that reinvented music, bestseller or not.

17 London Calling - The Clash

The number of different sub-genres of rock this album brought to the mainstream definitely falls under the most influential albums category. It might not be the most influential but deserves to be higher than 24.

18 Play - Moby
19 Autobahn - Kraftwerk

It started something completely new in music.

20 Invincible - Michael Jackson
21 It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - Public Enemy
22 Off the Wall - Michael Jackson

This was his debut album as a solo artist. What a start he had. This was a mix of the past with the future. Michael presented it perfectly. Love for MJ.

Wow, 5 Michael Jackson albums in the top 10! Amazing and well-deserved! Michael still is the best!

23 HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I - Michael Jackson
24 Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley

I don't know what the first album of all time was, which obviously influenced every other album and therefore is objectively the most influential album of all time. So, I'll just vote for the earliest album with pop cultural influence that came to my mind. Albums of the 21st century should not be on such a list. They fit on genre-specific lists, but not on lists about influential music in general.

Say whatever you like about the album. Covers which do nothing special, vocal tweaking, but this album influenced every teen at that time to become a rebellious force like Elvis. Rock and roll is finally liberated from racial stereotypes. The charts embrace a new form of music which alters pop culture until the end of time.

25 Queen II - Queen

Brilliant album. The diehard Queen fans and music fans get it, which is why it's so influential, while everyone else is worried about grabbing the Greatest Hits album.

I think that this album is pretty underrated.

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