After contemplating the ratio of people who have heard of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon compared to those who have actually listened to it all the way through, I was slightly disturbed. Many people nowadays boast “good” modern music taste but fail to recognize the albums that planted the seed of inspiration in many of the artists we love today.
With that said here is our list of classic rock albums that you have most likely heard of, but may not have never listened to full through…
1. Electric Ladyland- The Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1968
Jimi Hendrix. Widely known as the greatest guitarist of all time, yet not as widely listened to when it comes to his albums. I chose this album because it really proves that what Jimi, Mitch Mitchell, and Noel Redding created was truly an experience. It is also the only album Jimi produced himself, so no one else can be accredited for the incredible sound quality of Hendrix’s masterpiece. Although you can isolate the singles such as “All Along the Watchtower” and “Gypsy Eyes”, to fully understand what makes Jimi Hendrix so legendary this album is a must listen to start to finish. Ending with “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” it surely will leave you in awe. If you haven’t listened to this album front to back it is time for that to change.
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2. Aftermath – The Rolling Stones, 1966
The Rolling Stones are a band that I assume everyone has heard of. As the 60s was mostly a singles market, full albums in 1966 could easily be dismissed or forgotten. From the well known funky “Paint it Black” to the beautiful ballad “Lady Jane” this album explores the many different dynamics of the band. It was the first album fully written by Richards and Jagger, and shows the bands musical experimentation with the use of instruments not so commonly heard in ’66. Although it may not be their strongest artistic composition, it is a pleasant listening journey, as well as a great introduction to The Rolling Stones if you have never given them your time of day.
3. The Doors – The Doors, 1967
This album is pure poetry. There is an off-key deranged feeling to The Doors that is especially apparent in this debut album. With Robby Kreiger’s bluesy guitar and Ray Manzarek’s funky keys backing Jim’s whims, their sound is so unique there has never been a band quite like them. Only after being listened to can one grasp how iconic and influential The Doors actually were. With songs such as “The Crystal Starship” and “The End” included on this album, Morrison’s lyrical genius is truly showcased right from the very start of the bands career. Listening to this album is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.
4. The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd, 1973
Probably the most iconic album of all time, Pink Floyd were the masters of creating experiences rather than just music. If you are even slightly into classic rock or any music at that, you have most likely heard this album. I had to include it because although the album is very well-known, there is still a large amount of people who could recognize the cover, but not the music. Although “Money” was released as a single off the album, Dark Side of the Moon can really only be listened to as a whole. It all runs together in a beautiful and continual flow of music that explores the different aspects of being human. This album is art, an absolute masterpiece that will take you somewhere else- somewhere wonderful.
5. Led Zeppelin I – Led Zeppelin, 1969
If there is one album you should listen to front to back its Led Zeppelin I. I chose this one of all their albums, because in order to comprehend just how earth-shattering this band was you have to start at square one. I assume you are not from planet earth if you have never heard a Led Zeppelin song (i.e. “Stairway to Heaven”, “Immigrant Song”, “Kashmir”), and listening to their debut album in its entirety will change the way you hear those songs forever. This album was a turning point for music, as Led Zeppelin changed the musical scene in so many ways you couldn’t even imagine. Written and produced by the guitarist and musical mastermind Jimmy Page, this album is the beginning of a 12 year rock reign for Page, Bonham, Plant, and Jones. Listening to tracks such as “Dazed and Confused” with Page’s infamous guitar and violin bow combination, and the fast paced opener “Good Times, Bad Times” you can really understand why this band was so musically ground breaking.