Top 10 Music Albums Recorded in a Very Short Time

What should be taken into account?
1) how short was the recording time? (there's a big difference between 12 hours and 12 days)
2) album quality (a bad album recorded in 2 days isn't an achievement)
3) difficulty of the songs on the album
4) importance of the album
The Top Ten
1 Machine Head - Deep Purple

The story of this album can make a great action movie plot. Deep Purple's masterpiece was recorded in the early Dec 1971 - the recording time was shortened by EXTREME circumstances that ruined Deep Purple's plans:

1) singer Ian Gillan contracted hepatitis and was advised to spend the next few months recuperating. Gillan ignored the doctor's advice but the recording began a bit later than planned

2) the song "Smoke on the Water" partly describes what happened next - Deep Purple went to Montreux, Switzerland, to record this album at Montreux Casino. The band arrived there on Dec 3, but on Dec 4, the Casino caught fire during Frank Zappa's concert because a fan fired a flare into the roof and the Casino burned down

3) Deep Purple moved to a theater nearby and began recording with a Mobile Studio unit but they were quickly evicted because the neighbors flooded the police station to complain about the noise the band made

4) the band moved to a hotel where they walked across balconies to provide mattresses from the sound-insulating "equipment" (the Mobile Studio was in a van)

5) Everything was so complicated and everyone - so exhausted, that Deep Purple didn't even listen to the playbacks of their recordings and just played the songs!

Who was the "lucky" sound engineer who had to record and mix this album? The one and only Martin Birch!

2 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

According to Tony Iommi, it was recorded in a single day (Oct, 16 1969) and the session lasted 12 hours. It was mixed the next day.
Iommi said:
"We just went in the studio and did it in a day, we played our live set and that was it. We actually thought a whole day was quite a long time, then off we went the next day to play for £20 in Switzerland."

3 Kind of Blue - Miles Davis

It was recorded in only two days - on March 2, 1959, and on April 22, 1959.
One of the best selling jazz album of all time, one of the most influential albums of the 20th century, and it is also widely regarded as his greatest work.

4 Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin

According to Jimmy Page, it took 36 hours spread out over several weeks. He thinks it was recorded in 36 hours because they paid for recording time of 36 hours.
I guess they entered the studio when a song was completely ready to be recorded.
Just to remind you, most of the songs on this album were covers (uncredited or credited).

5 Ramones - Ramones

Their debut album was recorded over 7 days. A very influential album.

6 Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan's debut album was recorded in 2 days - November 20 and 22, 1961.

7 The Clash - The Clash

The Clash debut album was recorded over three consecutive weekends.

8 Kill 'Em All - Metallica

Metallica's debut album is a very influential album that was recorded in 17 days, from May 10-27, 1983, but I don't know if they recorded every day.
17 days is pretty good for this album because its sound was very different from everything made before and there were some experiments - for example, James guitar/amp needed to be altered and "customized", etc., to get the sound we know. Experiments of this type also include more time to test the new sound.

9 White Light / White Heat - The Velvet Underground

It was recorded in two days - some tracks were recorded in one take completely live

10 Another Side of Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan

His 4th album was recorded and mastered in a single session, technically over 2 days because they started before midnight but finished after midnight.
This isn't his best album but still ("Mr. Tambourine Man" was part of the recording session but was left off the album).

The Contenders
11 Please Please Me - The Beatles

10 hours to make this album, versus 110 hours to make "A Day In The Life".

It took approximately twelve hours to make.

12 Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart

They prepared it for months and months, rehearsing all day long together, but after that, they were so well-prepared that the recording lasted for 5 hours only.

13 Pink Moon - Nick Drake

The album was recorded on October 30th and 31st of 1971. Nick and engineer John Wood went into the studio at 11:00 pm because it was booked during the day; they recorded about 5 songs each night. The reason it was so easy to record is that Nick wanted the album to just be the sound of his voice and guitar, as opposed to his first two albums (which featured a lot of outside musicians).

14 The Doors - The Doors
15 Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble

The album was recorded in Jackson Browne's personal studio on Nov. 22-24, 1982. The first day was spent setting up the equipment, and the other two days were used for recording the music. They played all the songs like a live band, and they didn't overdub any extra parts. As a result, it's the closest sounding replication of their live sound that they got in the studio.

16 Seven Churches - Possessed

It was recorded during the Spring Break of 1985, so it probably took less than a week to record. A very influential album, probably the first extreme metal album.

17 Thick as a Brick - Jethro Tull

This one was a surprise, because I thought it had take them a week and a half. But actually, they COMPOSED it in one week and a half, then went to the studio and recorded it in a few days. This means the album's sound only took two weeks to craft. At first, it was supposed to be separate songs, but on the last days when they crafted this album, Ian ANderson thought it would be fun to link them all together. What was recored after that, my friends, is history.
"We spent more time on that album cover than on the album itself", says Ian Anderson.
The composition time seems to have been very pleasant : Ian would write some lyrics in the morning, as they came to him, and then after lunch they would play, building on the previous day's work to make the piece evolute.

18 The Feeding of 5000 - Crass

Recorded in one day. Crass were always a pretty peculiar band, so I'm not too surprised. Apparently was sold dirt cheap too.

19 Presence - Led Zeppelin
20 A Love Supreme - John Coltrane
21 Donuts - J Dilla
BAdd New Item