A lot of excellent rock music has come out over the past fifty years on vinyl, CD, and various other formats. About 200 albums came right to mind, when I was asked to list the top 50 rock albums of all time. Somehow I narrowed it down to the fifty best and most influential rock albums in my life. Here is my list of top 50 Rock (& Pop-Rock) albums of all time. I hope you enjoy it.
50 The Doors The debut album by Jim Morrison & Co. kicks off and “breaks on through” to enter the 50 list.
49 Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) – David Bowie In the 70s Bowie spawned Young Americans and Heroes, two of the top 100 songs of all time; but it was in 1980 that he scored the superlative LP: Scary Monsters. Ashes to ashes, funk to funky …
48 Bon Jovi Debut BJ’s first album didn’t sell as many copies as Slippery or NJ, but musically it was Bon Jovi’s peak, and it still holds up. “Runaway” and “She don’t know me” are classics.
47 All Things Must Pass – George Harrison (speaks for itself)
46 Nimrod (1997) Green Day One of the few 90s CDs on our list, Green Day gave us a lot to remember and the “time of your life.”
45 The River (1980) Bruce Springsteen Arguably the best of the Springsteen catalog.
44 Are You Experienced? – Jimi Hendrix The winds cries Mary, and through a purple haze you can see a foxy lady on fire, just a highway chile on the third stone from the sun, married 51 years.
43 Damn the Torpedoes – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers From Refugee to Don’t do me like That , very memorable.
42 “2112” by Rush A sci-fi tale I’d like to see made into a movie. The music and story here are ground-breaking and timeless.
41 Spitfire by Jefferson Starship Slick and Balin are still the best duet singers. Excellent album cover , too. Winds of Change came later and ties in every way. Grace Slick is the boldest queen of rock.
40 Avalon by Roxy Music. Bryan Ferry still at the lead, this final Roxy LP was their best.
39 Peter Gabriel – Security – Peter’s 4 th LP with Shock the Monkey introducing him to MTVs mass audience. The heavy drum style would later be copied by many artists. I especially like ” Rhythm of the Heat “.
38 Billion Dollar Babies by Alice Cooper featuring the recurring Steven character, a follow-up to the mind-tickling theatrical LP Welcome to My Nightmare . No more Mr. Nice guy!
37 Low Spark of High-heeled Boys by Traffic The title track is smooth prog-rock at its best. A long-haired Steve Winwood brought us psychedelic fun in 1971.
36 Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness (1995) Smashing Pumpkins . A rare 90s act, in a decade lacking almost any musical talent, the Pumpkins came through for us!
37 Bad Co – Bad Company debut album. “Rock Steady” sums it up well. Almost as good as its followup LP: Straight Shooter .
34 Tea for the Tillerman – Cat Stevens. Probably the quietest album on the list; this is a series of beautiful acoustic songs that still endure today. “Where do the Children Play?” is more appropriate this year than ever.
33 Back in Black – AC/DC . We go from the quietest to the loudest LP on the list. This album was a monster and it shook us all night long.
32 The Roaring Silence by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. Along with its follow-up Watch LP, excellent psycho-trauma rock music.
31 London Calling (1979) The Clash Tackling social issues, such as unemployment and racism in the UK, the Clash rocked the house on this one. (They rocked the casbah later).
30 A Night at the Opera by Queen . There’s more to this LP than the monster hit “Bohemian Rhapsody.” All guitars, no synthesizers, Queen defied the laws of physics, and blew our minds.
29 Desolation Boulevard by (the) Sweet Glam rock peaked with Fox on the Run , and took this album to the top. I always enjoy No You Don’t and The 6-Teens, as well. This album was fast and unstoppable, and needs to be played again every summer.
28 Aqualung – Jethro Tull The most prolific and long-lasting of all the bands on our list, J-Tull crashed into the US charts with Aqualung in 1971. It was the most-played album of rock-radio in the 70s. Cross-Eyed Mary and My God stand out.
27 Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd Spending 741 weeks on the Billboard top 200 charts, this was a monster LP for a decade of progressive rock. The album shot PF into the limelight and paved the way for more psycho-trauma to come.
26 The White Album (1968) the Beatles There’s not much to be said here, except: very cool, timeless tunes. The first double rock album to ever go to the top of the charts.
For albums #25 to # 1, see : Top 25 Rock Albums of All Time