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Top Ten: Classic Rock Albums

by The Concordian November 8, 2011
10. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: The Beatles were already stars when they released SPLHCB, which gave them room to have fun―and that’s exactly what it sounds like. Sing-along songs such as “When I’m Sixty-Four,” the mock carnival of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” and of course “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” are what make this album classic rock ‘n’ roll.

9. AC/DC – Back in Black: This was AC/DC’s first album without original singer Bon Scott, but it still includes some of their greatest hits of all time. Brian Johnson’s fresh new vocals tear the album from the start, paired with Angus Young’s filthy and iconic guitar riffs. The title track of this album in itself is pure, simple rock ‘n’ roll.

8. Queen – A Night at the Opera: This record contains probably the most epic classic rock song ever, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Layers upon layers of powerful instrumentals accompany Freddie Mercury’s flamboyant vocals to make this a distinguishable slice of classic rock music.  Queen’s unique sound is captured fully on this album, and it should—it was the most expensive album recorded at the time.

7. David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust: Some consider Bowie to be more “glam rock” than “classic rock,” but it’s worth noting that he pioneered the whole glam genre, and this album is what made him a star. The album follows Ziggy Stardust and his melodious trip to Earth. By the end of “Five Years,” you can’t help but pity the fictional alien.

6. The Doors – The Doors: From the beginning, The Doors had different instrumentation than others at the time. In an era of love and peace, Jim Morrison merged sinister poetry and music to make an awesome start on the scene. From the killer keyboard solo of “Light My Fire” to the strange and dark “The End,” this album is full of weird but admirable moments that have made this band last.

5. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced: This album is Jimi Hendrix’s legacy of being one of the greatest guitarists ever. His raw vocals, blues-infused guitar and loads of feedback give us hit after hit on this album. It kicks off with the solid “Purple Haze,” complete with brilliant lyrics and mind-boggling guitar solos, a quality that continues throughout the record.

4. The Who – Quadrophenia: The Who’s second rock opera is an early example of what would become punk rock. Although few major hits appear on the list, Roger Daltrey adopts a throatier and grown-up voice in tracks like “The Real Me.” This concept album depicts the angst felt by the four young bandmates and an entire generation of disgruntled teens.

3. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers: We get a taste of folk, jazz, country and blues in this album, but the boys still have their swagger. A little less radio-friendly than their other works, but no less memorable. “Dead Flowers” will make you want to cry into your beer and “Bitch” will make you want to move.

2. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon: This early work of progressive rock is a cornerstone in classic rock. Songs like “Us and Them” and “Breathe” soothe you, while “The Great Gig in the Sky” rattles and wails at you. Experimental sound effects with gospel vocals and lyrics that seem to have been written on an acid trip are what this record’s all about. So, turn off the lights, crank up the volume, and prepare to have your mind melted.

1. Led Zeppelin – I: Led Zeppelin’s groundbreaking debut album skyrocketed them to well-deserved fame. Every track on the album is a hit, from the heavy riffs of “Good Times, Bad Times,” to the classic ‘70s rock sound of “Communication Breakdown,” and the haunting acoustics of “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You,” all with Robert Plant wailing his brains out on vocals. This band wasn’t afraid to take risks, and the result is one of the greatest albums of all time.

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