Classic Rock Albums: Top 10 Ranked

Here at Return of Rock we present you with some of the finest Classic Rock albums of the past half century. The tunes on this list are sure to sound crisp and bring back memories when you spin the vinyl on your record player. Here are the Top 10 Classic Rock albums ever created.

10. Metallica: Metallica (1991)                                                      

“In my youth I had heard whispers of “Metallica” but was too busy contemplating humanity and my inexplicable lack of chest hair to pay attention. After a long day of complaining about the lack of local recycling options, I came to Amazon to buy “Metal Can Bin” but this CD showed up in the results. It was fate. When it arrived, I put it on in my Prius and started driving to my favorite vegan burrito & poetry club, thinking it was just another day. The next thing I know, I’m at a butcher shop buying a 3 pound bone-in ribeye. After grilling it on an [illegal] open fire in a state park, I ripped the sleeves off my organic cotton shirt and dug in, with “The Unforgiven” blasting out of the car. Oh the car. With Metallica in my heart and cow blood dripping down my chin, I saw that piece of ultra-efficient engineering in a whole new light. A terrible light. I immediately drove to my nearest Ford dealer and traded it for a F150 Raptor. After burning some SIIIIIICCCCKKKKKK donuts in the Whole Foods parking lot, I set off across the country on a quest to find anything that rocks harder than Metallica. So far nothing has come close.”

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9. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (1977)

“Reviewing such icons, such pillars of popular music, is almost not even worth it. To the end I’ll keep it short and say that this album is incredible. It belongs high on the list of best and most influential rock albums of all time. If you’ve never listened to Fleetwood Mac before then you owe it to yourself to give this album a go. You will recognize many of the songs just from movies and TV and will be surprised at how far reaching the influence this album has had.”

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8. The Beatles: 1 (1962-1968)

“The Beatles 1 album, originally released in 2000, was a compilation of all of the band’s 27 Number One hits in the U.S. and U.K. It became one of the best-selling albums of all time, and paved the way for similar compilations by other artists (Elvis, The Supremes, The Rolling Stones, etc.). Even the group’s original fans loved it because of the improved sound quality. In 2011, a new edition, utilizing the 2009 remasters, was issued as a budget-priced CD, which topped the charts all over again.

The set is packaged in a beautiful 124-page hardcover book with a blue cover and a red slipcase. In addition to a nice introductory tribute from writer Mark Ellen, the historical information for each of the songs in the set is much more detailed than what appeared on the previous CD releases. The single picture sleeves from the previous CD booklet have been assembled into a nice collage that appears on the tray cards on each end of the book.”

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7. Led Zeppelin IV: Led Zeppelin (1971)

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“Bands and their work can drown beneath praise that becomes burdensome – “Best heavy metal band,” “Hammer of the Gods” etc. Yet while Led Zeppelin had their lows as well as their highs, while they could be self-indulgent and repetitious at moments, this album is all its advocates claim it to be – a masterpiece. It is, in my estimation, their greatest album. Why? On no other album does the group do so much so well. In this it reminds me of the Beatles’ eponymous double album in which they take on a number of disparate styles. If there is anything less than amazing on this CD’s tracks, I am unaware of it and I’ve been living with it since its first release when I was a head banging teen. Perfect albums are as rare as perfectly pitched baseball games (“Who’s Next,” “Revolver,” “Exile on Main Street,” “Aja,” “Nevermind,” “Achtung Baby,” and “Automatic For The People” among them). This is one.”

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6. Hotel California: The Eagles (1976)

“I read a lot of reviews complaining about the Hotel California album, mostly saying that it has only 1 good song, that being the title album. To that I reply: Then you must not be a true Eagles fan. I love this album, and this particular vinyl pressing is well made, heavy, and sounds amazing. If you like the Eagles, pick this up.”

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5. Bat Out Of Hell: Meat Loaf (1977)

“This album may be 40 years old, but it’s still a true masterpiece to this day. This is fun, operatic, stage musical, arena, rock and roll. The entire album is fantastic, and I always feel marvelous when listening to it. Truly one of the greatest albums ever recorded. A must own album for anyone’s music collection.”

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4. Dark Side Of The Moon: Pink Floyd (1973)

” This iconic album is regarded as one of the best of all time for a reason. This isn’t just listening to songs for entertainment, listening to this is a journey that will leave the core of your very being in a different state than before. I as a fan will admit that the words are kind of difficult to understand, but the CD case includes a lyric pamphlet which solves that problem, but you don’t need to comprehend the words to feel the experience, you don’t need drugs either, although it is just as excellent both with and without. “

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3. Back In Black: AC/DC (1980)

” One of AC/DC’s Best! After the death of Bon Scott on February 1980, AC/DC briefly considered disbanding, but the group quickly recruited vocalist Brian Johnson of the British glam rock band Geordie. Back in Black, was released only five months later, and was a tribute to Scott. It went on to become the second best-selling album in history. Listen and you will know why. This Album should be owned by all fans of AC/DC & Rock”

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2. Appetite For Destruction: Guns N’ Roses (1987)

“From the very beginning GN’R were a rare real-deal in rock n’ roll. A perfect storm of punk, metal and rock with an unexpected sideline in epic ballads. A melting pot of the Sex Pistols, the New York Dolls, Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones and Queen. Axl’s grandiosity and unique screech was tethered by McKagan’s DIY punk ideology and punchy bass runs, and the scattergun swing-and-push rhythms of Adler and Stradlin. The whole thing was lifted by Slash, a virtuoso guitarist whose bluesy riffs, emotive solos and natty top hat made him a genuinely iconic presence. They looked wasted, grubby and mean. They could tear your face off with feedback and yet – were capable of writing ballads like ‘Don’t Cry’ and ‘November Rain’ before they’d ever set foot in a studio. They may have become a soap opera, then a self-parody and eventually a nice, safe, classic rock headliner, but back in 1987 they earned that Most Dangerous… tag.”

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1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band: The Beatles

“Sergeant Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour contain many of my favorite Beatles songs (e.g., A Day in the Life, Strawberry Fields, I am a Walrus). The two records combine almost like a double album since Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane were supposed to be on Pepper. Both records used classical musicians and shared a similar sound. The music was complex, as composer Howard Goodall demonstrated in his musical appreciation of the band. Goodall studied music at Oxford and in a BBC documentary he explains how sophisticated their music was. The band’s music changed again in 1968 and out went the orchestral players. Personally, I considered the White Album a disappointment by comparison.”

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