Just for fun, I thought I would make a list of what I consider the top 25 greatest rock albums of all time. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, this music was the backdrop of my life, and I listened to most of it on vinyl, the medium in which I still prefer most today. In fact, I still own most of these albums and listen to many of them regularly. First of all, this was a hard list to compile. I have so many favorites and it was hard to whittle it down to just 25. What makes a great album? I think it comes down to the songs, performances, production, staying power, and popularity. Of course, excluding popularity, all of these criteria are a matter of opinion.

The following albums, in my mind, are all gems. They are all outstanding collections of great songs performed by brilliant musicians, and deliver a monumental sonic imprint to the universe. You might notice, barring a few exceptions, that most of this music was recorded before 1980. Once again, just my opinion, but I think that the majority of all great rock music was recorded during the 60s and 70s. Although some great rock records were made during the 80s, advances in recording techniques led to the tendency to “overproduce” which unfortunately dated many recordings from that period. By the 90s, the rock ‘n roll party was pretty much over. While grunge and alternative did have some elements of rock, the feel-good factor (along with guitar solos) seemed to be missing.

So here it is. The music that rocked the masses, the songs that inspired so many of us to grow, the sounds that made me want to learn guitar, the records I cranked full blast on my bedroom stereo after school before the parents got home, the music I listened to in my car while cruising the beach with my buddies late at night, the songs that helped solve many of life’s problems, the music of my generation and the generation just before – The greatest albums by the greatest bands from the golden era of rock!


Boston – Boston


Van Halen – Van Halen


Are You Experienced – Jimi Hendrix


Led Zeppelin IV (Zoso) – Led Zeppelin


Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd


Electricladyland – Jimi Hendrix


At Fillmore East – Allman Brothers


Led Zeppelin I – Led Zeppelin


Van Halen – Fair Warning


Montrose – Montrose (Sammy Hagar’s first band circa 1972)


Bad Company – Bad Company


Abraxas – Santana


Rubber Soul – The Beatles


Band of Gypsies – Jimi Hendrix


Moving Pictures – Rush


Revolver – The Beatles


Whitesnake – Whitesnake


Back in Black – ACDC


Wheels of Fire – Cream


Doctor Feelgood – Motley Crue


Machine Head – Deep Purple


Woodstock Soundtrack


Get Your Wings – Aerosmith


Van Halen II – Van Halen


Who’s Next – The Who

What’s your take? Do you think all of these albums belong at the top of the pile? Do you think any are missing? What are your favorites? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

4 Responses to Top 25 Greatest Rock Albums of All-Time

  • Well, I’d say that’s a pretty great summary seeing how I own 21 of the 25 on LP, 8-Track (yes I collect and have several working players and hundreds of tapes) and again on CD and mp3. The 4 I’m missing are great records and I really should own them. Woodstock, Allman Bros, Santana,and Cream. In my top 25 they would be replaced by Yes-Fragile or Close To The Edge, Kansas-Leftoverture, Alice Cooper-Billion Dollar Babies,and Something/Anything or Utopia by Todd Rundgren. Also, Aerosmith- Rocks and Toys in the Attic would get honorable mention here. Cheers!!

  • in my own personal list, I would put the GnR album, appetite for destruction quite high. I have the original vinyl, the CD, and a commeritative T-shirt. Guns were a good rock and roll band when grunge and hair metal were in. I’m all for these genres, but guns is one of my favorite all-time bands!

  • Solid list. Like Scott, I have 21 of those 25 albums… and also like him, two of the four I don’t have are the Woodstock OST and the Cream double-LP. The other two I’m missing are the Montrose self-titled and Hendrix’s Band Of Gypsies (not a huge fan of live albums as a general rule).

    Although I like some of those albums/groups more than others (Motley Crue would never make my Top 25, for example), it’s pretty tough to dispute what you’ve got up there. The Beatles are well-represented with their ’65-’66 offerings, but 1969’s Abbey Road pretty much has to make any Top 25 list to me. Bad Company I would’ve left off entirely, personally.

    Albums missing that I’d have added would include King Crimson’s In The Court Of The Crimson King (1969)…. Jethro Tull’s Thick As A Brick (1972, for the adventurous) or Aqualung (1971, for more radio-friendly material)…. and, truly, at least one album from the Rolling Stones’ Mick Taylor years (roughly 1968-1974). One could make a strong case for any of the first four — Banquet (’68), Bleed (’69), Sticky (’71), or Exile (’72).

    For a couple of more-recent options… Jeff Buckley’s Grace album (1994) is a monster… as is Neil Young’s Ragged Glory (1990) which is a seriously furiously rocking album with Crazy Horse with unreal riffage, soloing, and guitars amp’d up to 11 (and sometimes spilling over into distortion – in a good way!)


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.