Top 10 Best 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 really wasn't even a question. If we're talking about the 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.

This album is unmatched in lyrical depth, musical excellence, imaginative instrumental innovation, and the 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, just as Shakespeare's finest masterpieces are researched today. It is peerless from that perspective, a clear number one in my book.

2 Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin

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 okay. 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.

3 Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

With this album, The Beatles proved that you can be famous by writing and recording whatever experimental music you want. If you do it with talent, you will succeed. The message of the album for other bands was, "Come on, guys, there's no need to write cheap 3-chord songs to become famous. Go on, do whatever you like!" I see that most people voted for Dark Side of the Moon, but in fact, without Sgt. Pepper, there wouldn't be Pink Floyd at all!

While Rubber Soul and Revolver pointed to the path The Beatles were about to take, Sgt. Pepper's moved music past the "moon in June" stage to something much larger. Everything beyond this album owes something to it. It is singular in its importance to the music world.

4 Back in Black - AC/DC

Rock at its purest and most raucous, Back in Black is AC/DC's most cohesive album, as well as perhaps its most important. It showed the world that the band had 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.

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. He may be 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 this was his first album with an already established band.

This was in the prime years of AC/DC, and every single track is instantly recognizable after the first 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 songwriting from front to back. Hells Bells is a bit darker than anything else on this album, but man, is it killer or what? It definitely adds some nice depth to a pretty straightforward classic rock album.

Shoot to Thrill, Given the Dog a Bone, Have a Drink on Me, and Shake a Leg are rock at its absolute best and some of the greatest songs in their entire catalog. Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution sums up AC/DC, letting the entire world know they're in it to rock the world every single time they record or play live. Let Me Put My Love Into You is prime AC/DC sex and rock n roll hits. And What Do You Do for Money Honey isn't bad either.

One of the finest albums ever put together. Its sales are the stuff of legend, and I can't think of songs from any other album from anyone that's constantly played everywhere more than Back in Black. Pro sporting events? Yes. Movies? Yes. TV Commercials? Yes. When 9 out of 10 people think of a rock album, it's this one.

5 The Wall - Pink Floyd

This is the first album that I ever purchased, and I am proud of it! While other albums on this list are amazing, they lack the showmanship and thought-provoking journey that The Wall takes the listener on. Add in the fact that the album made even more sense after the movie was made, and it becomes a crowning achievement of proactive beauty. An album "ahead of its time" can't even begin to describe the genius of this work of art.

I was looking through my dad's old record collection. Back then, I liked some really bad pop music. When I found this album, I was hesitant to play it. However, 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.

Then, I put on side three, followed by side four, and I found myself 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.

6 Moving Pictures - Rush

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 of those albums.

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

7 Paranoid - Black Sabbath

This album actually contained the blueprint of heavy metal. Beginning with wailing air-raid sirens, Ozzy's demented howling, and the 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 this not in the top 3? Black Sabbath is the greatest metal band of all time, and this album surpasses those by The Who, Rush, and AC/DC! It is also better than The Wall and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

8 Who's Next - The Who

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 three for sure.

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.

9 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 se. Led Zeppelin II is not an 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 is the best Led Zeppelin 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.

10 A Night at the Opera - Queen

Not to mention commercial success, but musically, the album is considered one of the few historical records in Queen's history. It features a variety of genres like The Beatles' White Album, and the quality of each song is very high. In particular, Bohemian Rhapsody, the highlight of the album, is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of all time.

This album showed the world that nearly anything can be rock if you just do it right. Freddie was the greatest frontman of all time, and what he, 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 Contenders
11 Are You Experienced - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

The quintessential Hendrix album, a true trip in its own right. Anyone who listens to it comes away enlightened. However, discussing the experience of listening to this album under the influence is not suitable for this platform.

This album contains so many good songs, from Purple Haze and Hey Joe to Foxy Lady, Manic Depression, Fire, and The Wind Cries Mary. It is undoubtedly the best of all time. Never has an album had such an impressive list of songs.

An absolute classic that has stood the test of time. Perhaps "standing the test of time" should be a category. In my opinion, this album should be in the top 2.

12 Abbey Road - The Beatles

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 and Maxwell's Silver Hammer, this album is faultless musically, lyrically, and production-wise.

A veritable tsunami of sound and harmony is there, timelessly set in stone, to engulf all fortunate past and 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.

13 Machine Head - Deep Purple

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 '60s and '70s was constantly exploding with albums that were masterpieces, and this is one of them.

Easily Deep Purple's best album, Machine Head showcases a wide variety of sounds. It ranges from the explosive Highway Star, to the surprisingly groovy Lazy, to the classic riff in Smoke on the Water.

Machine Head is a milestone in the history and development of rock music and an album that has influenced countless groups and musicians for 42 years. There is no competitive album. All the albums that are better for a position are just below Machine Head.

14 Hotel California - The Eagles

While the entire album is great, it must be said that the title track is one of the most incredible chapters in the history of rock, both lyrically and instrumentally.

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

I love every single song on that album. It is amazing and really shows how the band changed when Joe Walsh joined.

15 Appetite for Destruction - Guns N' Roses

Guns N' Roses released this album in 1987 and brought back sex, drugs, and rock and roll to the music scene. It definitely deserves a spot in the top five or even top three albums of all time, in my opinion. I may be a young kid, but I know my music facts, and right from the start, I've loved this album.

I recently bought the CD and every song on it is simply spectacular, including Sweet Child O' Mine, Welcome to the Jungle, Paradise City, It's So Easy, Out Ta Get Me, and more. But to conclude, this album has had a greater influence than any other album and is simply perfect.

16 Boston - Boston

The best album I've ever heard. They were so far ahead of their time. Delp's vocals were incredible along with Scholz's sense of timing and melody. When kids today hear it for the first time, they are blown away, which is not an easy feat!

For me, Boston is all about this album and the follow-up, Don't Look Back. Like someone on this thread mentioned, not a dud to be found. While the later albums are not bad at all, I felt that Tom Scholz chose to recycle a lot of riffs and melodic phrasings. Too many later songs of Boston sounded similar.

Anyway, I love this album and can never get bored of it.

17 2112 - Rush

Played so often on my turntable that it sounds like it has no highs left. Still amazing to listen to.

18 Rumours - Fleetwood Mac

The only thing prettier than Stevie Nicks is her voice. All the bands in the 70s were so different, yet the era was the same. In a sentence: a bunch of young people with a 12-pack of beer, a big old four-finger bag of Colombian, and a mountain top sunset, listening to Fleetwood Mac. Man, how I miss the 1977 to 1981 era!

When they were at their worst, they did their best. Among my top three albums!

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

19 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.

20 Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap - AC/DC
21 Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd

This album should be ranked higher. From the epic Shine On You Crazy Diamond to tracks like Wish You Were Here and Have a Cigar, this album is awesome in every way.

It should be number 2. Exceptional music. Outstanding in every aspect. It definitely has to be ranked much higher.

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

22 Dirt - Alice In Chains

The greatest grunge album of all time. Alice In Chains were one of the bands that defined the grunge genre. Layne Staley is one of the greatest rock singers of all time. Also, check out my rock band The Genocide.

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

You may think this is the finest pearl.

23 Highway To Hell - AC/DC

This album is better than Back In Black and every other album on this list, other than the Queen ones.

This is AC/DC at their finest. Back In Black is a close second. However, Highway To Hell just rocks more.

24 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 it's the lineup's first album together and they were still unknown, so they 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.

25 Nevermind - Nirvana

Since the Beatles and Led Zeppelin, nobody has 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 the same after this.

This album ended the era of hair metal and was the prototype for a decade of music to follow. It is tragic that no Smashing Pumpkins are on this list, as they were contemporaries of Nirvana.

This obviously shouldn't be number one, but it's just an amazing album. This album is almost the soundtrack of my life. But I have one question: How is Kurt Cobain a genius? He killed himself. Dave Grohl is the real genius.

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