Top Rock Operas/Musicals

The Top Ten

1 The Wall - Pink Floyd

My criteria for a quality rock opera: - pleasure of listening - quality of message - how interesting the story is - re-listen value - ability to portray a feeling - excitement

This ticks all of the boxes better than any other rock opera or album I have heard.
Runners up for me are Quadrophenia and Operation: Mindcrime.

Absolute classic!

An absolutely beautiful story about Floyd, a bricklayer

This is pure magic - AlexZoraj

2 Tommy - The Who

Tommy absolutely annihilates the wall


Play pinball!

Tommy is just the best written of them all. Plus, it has the most obscure, but interesting story line. A boy who witnesses his fathers death and is told not too see or say anything about it and his mind takes it to an extreme and he becomes deaf, dumb, and blind. He is then given to his molesting Uncle Ernie. He discovers he is a "Pinball wizard" and becomes famous around the world. He becomes very attached to mirrors and they feel he can't see the things around him but himself in these mirrors. His mother is mad that he is becoming too attached to the mirrors and smashes them. This cures tommy of his odd disease, hence the songs "Sensation" and "I'm Free." Uncle Ernie tries to take advantage of Tommy's fame and starts a wildly overpriced camp for children of Tommy's old nature to be cured and learn pinball. The children in the end rebel, which is the song "We're Not Gonna Take It." I feel that this storyline by itself makes it #1.

3 American Idiot - Green Day


Green Day's American Idiot is one of the absolute best Rock Operas of the 21st Century. Jesus of Suburbia is such a powerful song comprised of 5 movements, adding up to a 9 minute track. It is followed by several songs that simply add to the story of Jesus of Suburbia, eventually closing the album with a sort of aftermath track: Whatsername. Legendary Masterpiece. 10/10

This is clearly the most powerful/political rock opera EVER. Following the Jesus of Suburbia and his view of how F-ed up the world is, and how he can't stop it, as he has his own problems. Add his alter ego; St. Jimmy, and the girl he falls in love with, Whatsername and you have the story of the century! On top of that, it hit Broadway

My favourite album of all time

4 Quadrophenia - The Who

Quadrophenia is simply a masterpiece, with a beautifully made plot line, interesting characters, not to mention the sheer talent from every member of the Who! It's just a great story and a great album (why is everyone comparing it to American Idiot or whatever, you don't need to put down another album to know that this one is amazing)

Definitely has the best movie. How is it lower than American Idiot. American Idiot barely has a story. Quadrophenia is really meaningful and has characters that you can relate to.

Best album of all time that also happens to be a concept album

Best rock opera that has and ever will be written

5 Moon - Gackt

Consisting in two albums (Moon and Crescent), two tours (Kagen no tsuki and Jougen no tsuki), two novels (Moon Child and Requiem) and a movie (Moon Child), is one of the most amazing musicals of all time!

6 Jesus Christ Superstar - Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber

I think there a many that claim to be "rock opera" but in my opionion this is the one, true example of what a rock opera should be like. The music, the voices, the story, the political message. And it is incredibly moving, while it at the same time manages to be catchy as hell.

There is no question that JCS is the greatest rock opera; the quality of the music surpasses both the Who and Pink Floyd, and the lyrics are far more complex, akin to top literature; whilst the themes of the Wall and Tommy (especially the latter) are by comparison quite straightforward. JCS asks fundamental questions about the meaning of one of the greatest stories in history (whether it is actually historical fact or not). I find it quite amazing that this work is so little celebrated.

Gethsemane, Heaven on their minds, I don't know how to love him, strange thing mystifying, all of these songs and one of the greatest musicals I have ever heard (especially Heaven on their Minds)

I love Mary in the film. Anyone who does not like this is a nutcase! It's a great film of a famous story. Although I don't believe in God myself, I really enjoy it.

7 Operation: Mindcrime - Queensryche

This is my favorite album of all time. Fantastic concept album. So happy that Adam Pascal is developing a version of it for the stage!

8 Bat Out of Hell / Bat Out of Hell II - Meat Loaf

The rock opera all rock operas need to be measured against.

Great music and enjoy it most every day! # 1 goes with this post as Well!

I Love Meat Loaf and these CDs they are some of the best I've heard including Bat 3 which has perhaps the greatest song of all time Seize the Night all the songs are good except track 5 and Track 13 was too slow but the last Track is very peaceful - Greenday

I love the Bat II album that it was skipping a little, and I think I need a new copy!

9 Grease
10 The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Who didn't vote this top?! Oh my word! Richard O'Brien is greatest genius of our time and Rocky Horror is a testament to that! - RiffandMagenta

Flashy, trashy, kinky, and leather makes this movie/musical one of the most memorable out there.

I don't believe there's every been anything quite like this movie made before. - Dave0the0Suave

It's The Rocky Horror Picture Show need I say more?


The Contenders

11 Lifehouse - The Who

This was never a real rock opera because the project was scrapped and made into Who's Next but you can hear on YouTube of what it would've been like and in my opinion, it would've been better than their number one album Who's Next!

It might have been the best album ever made, but instead we got Who's Next, which is still pretty good. - AlexZoraj

12 21st Century Breakdown - Green Day

An even more modern version of Romeo & Juliet. Beautifully crafted, I love this album.

13 Diamond Dogs - David Bowie
14 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway - Genesis

The story and the lyrics by Peter Gabriel are not easy to understand, but they are great.. And the music also amazing. "The lamb lies down...", "Carpet Crawlers", "The Lamia".. WOW!

15 The Black Parade - My Chemical Romance

This is the greatest album of all time and know one can tell me otherwise

This album is very grand and the songs don't fall off the concept of the story

A good album with lots of catchy songs, although I'm not entirely sure it's one of the best "rock operas" in that sense (the plot and characters aren't as expertly defined as, say, Tommy or American Idiot). Ignoring that part, the album's great

An album that shaped a generation of teens that felt left out in society. The Black Parade is an epic that was timely and effective.

16 Rent


i love rent. jonathan larson was amazing. such a story. such music. such a MESSAGE. anyone who doesn't like RENT is CRAZY. i love it.

I love all of this music theres not a day that goes by when im not singing a song from rent

Very hard-rock type of score, yet so beautifully done in terms of plot. Pretty good.

1 Comment
17 Sweeney Todd

The version by Michael Cerveris and Patti Lupone is grande in the best way possible. They renew this show into an gothic classic. You can still feel the emotions on this cd. The whole company played their own instruments - amazing!!!!

Good, but not really a rock musical.

18 The Wake of Magellan - Savatage

I don't disagree that Savatage deserves this spot. Why I am commenting is because Savatage did two other rock operas that are better than this one. Whereas Streets is my favorite and is inspirational beyond belief, musically, Dead Winter Dead is better and should be number one on this list. Covering a love story in the middle of the chaos during the fall of communism in Yugoslavia, it still strikes a chord with the people in Bosnia, even though it came out in 1995. Phenomenal!

Great album, great story, great lyrics. Very elaborate melodies, and, once more, a brilliant use of counterpoint in the vocals. It's very ambitious, because there are a few different stories, but, somehow, in the end, they seem to complete each other, and you get the sensation they really should be told together. - amandamop

19 Hair

One of the first and one of the best!

20 The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails
21 01011001 - Ayreon

Have to agree; this is a killer album. - Psi

The double album that set a new standard in rock operas, with amazing songs that tell a state-of-the-art story. - diegokatabian

22 Thick as a Brick - Jethro Tull
23 Joe's Garage - Frank Zappa

Haha this is at #25! Real music is dying.

Extremely weird, but just wow.


24 Cats

Also not rock

25 We Will Rock You


Some of the best ever Queen songs, with an insane plot-line thrown in! It couldn't get any better! - ObsessedwFreddie

26 Antichrist Superstar - Marilyn Manson

This will take you away if you let it... great

27 Hedwig and the Angry Inch

This will move up the list fast as Neil Patrick Harris is about the take the lead role in 2014 on Broadway. Go check out the original starring writer/director John Cameron Mitchell. He is amazing. This rock opera is amazing!

A beautiful story about struggle, self realization and the love of rock and roll. Best film of 2003.

28 Anthem - Drew Puzia

I love this rock opera because it really rocks and tells a great story at the same time. Plenty of guitar work and synths drive the songs with a lot of power.

A rock solid CD! Love it

At last not a pop opera

29 Repo! The Genetic Opera

This. This rock opera was absolutely fabulous. I adored Sarah Brightman's performance, as I always do, and believe that the story and music is quite original. This should've been in at least the top 20.

Normally, I can't stand Sarah Brightman, but here, good god

30 Metropolis - Dream Theater

Possibly the most underaged prog album in history. It’s definitely my favorite album of all time. The level of craftsmanship and raw skill shown in this album has yet to be matched by any other album in the rock and roll genre. Minute details really carry this one forward from the representation of mental conflict through modal interchange, the motivic development of the entire album being based on part 1 and the overture, the metric modulation that continuously evolves the band’s musical ideas, and most impressively the sheer instrumental talent of all these musicians. Rudess, Petrucci, and Portnoy all stand as top musicians in their respective instruments, and the fact that these three legends all perform on this album is reason enough for anyone to at least give it a try.

31 Evita
32 Wicked


33 The Human Equation - Ayreon
34 The Protomen - (Act I, II, & III)

Act I is a raw, yet satisfying, attempt of a band trying to tell the story of Mega Man in a fun way.

Act II is pure genius. A truly awesome story. The music and flow of the entire album makes sense.

A dystopian rock opera loosely based on the mythology of the Mega Man IP.

Incorporating amazing vocals and tenured musical scores accompanied by western, blade-runner-esq, and 8-bit motifs; this children's narrative is transformed into touching tales of good vs. Evil and the quest to find oneself.

ActI is still in production at time of writing, and reading the albums script along with each song is a must to fully appreciate this work.

My first experience with The Protomen was listening to act 1
a lot of the songs were good if not meh

and then Will of One played, then Vengeance! then The Stand (Man or Machine)! and then Sons of has this godsend of a band not been nominated for every grammy ever

35 War of the Worlds - Jeff Wayne

I cannot believe only 43rd, by far the best music story based on a narrative masterpiece with faultless narration and out of this world music and such distinct character sounds. MASTERPIECE

This is an all time classic. great story, amazing vocals and haunting narration. it gets played every Halloween without fail since its release in 1978.

36 The Astonishing - Dream Theater
37 Godspell

"Prepare ye the way of the Loord. " Stephen Schwartz really knew what he was doing!

38 West Side Story
39 Turahtan (Rock Opera)
40 The Devil's Carnival
41 Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh - Magma
42 The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking - Roger Water
43 A Hard Day's Night - The Beatles

The definitive storytelling of what it was like in 1964 when they became the biggest thing in the world. Funny, smart, and irreverent.

Beatles music is the Greatest Of All Time!

44 Help! - The Beatles

Story a bit contrived, but Leo McKern's acting was Oscar-worthy, and of course the music was... THE Beatles.

45 Sunshine on Leith

Based around the back catalogue of The Proclaimers

46 Wretched And Divine: The Story Of The Wild Ones - Black Veil Brides

It is the damn best!

47 Berlin - Lou Reed

A sad love story about a man who struggles with his partner's instability.

48 Shock Treatment

"Not a prequel, not a sequel... an equal" to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. More incredible Richard O'Brien rock and roll!

49 Radio KAOS

Totally underrated album by a roger Waters

50 Streets of Fire
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List Stats

1,000 votes
51 listings
13 years, 308 days old

Top Remixes

1. The Wall - Pink Floyd
2. Operation: Mindcrime - Queensryche
3. Quadrophenia - The Who
1. Tommy - The Who
2. The Wall - Pink Floyd
3. American Idiot - Green Day
1. The Wall - Pink Floyd
2. Tommy - The Who
3. Quadrophenia - The Who


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