25 Albums that Rocked the World

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It's difficult, but it's hard to argue that Revolver deserves the crown. A work of breathtaking quality - be it songwriting, performance, or sonically - and it opened up the boundaries of what was possible in popular music. Full of classics, of varying styles: if you've never listened to it, you should do so right now. Probably rock's most successful supergroup, as the supreme individual talents of Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton combined to stunning effect. Disraeli Gears was their masterpiece, combining their classic rock and blues roots with psychedelia - as the cover hinted at very subtly.

It took just three and a half days to record; the product of a band at the peak of their powers. The album which introduced the world to the shamanic genius of Doors frontman Jim Morrison and which was probably the best record they made. It refined what was possible in rock, showcasing new sounds, new ideas, and a host of phenomenal songs. A concept record with a title to match, this was the creative peak and last act of frontman Steve Marriott.


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Lazy Sunday was originally written as a joke about arguments with Marriott's neighbours and released against the band's wishes. You can't keep a good tune down though, and it duly raced to No. A beguiling cocktail of country, rock, folk, classical and soul, Music From Big Pink was quite unlike anything that had been heard before. Sonically, it was an eclectic bridge between blues and hard rock, featuring nods to Muddy Waters, B. King and Howlin' Wolf amongst others, and was to inspire countless future musicians including Boston's Tom Schultz, who named it as his favourite album.

An influential classic. Not only was the great man himself on the form of his life, but so were his compatriots Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell. A genius in full flow. Tensions within the band were high and Lennon proposed splitting the A and B sides between him and McCartney. Nevertheless, things came together - literally - for both principle songwriters, while George Harrison contributed two of his best-ever songs in the shape of Something and Here Comes The Sun.

It stands, against all the odds, as a brilliantly cohesive piece of work.

25 Albums that Rocked the World

And, of course, what opens the record? Probably the greatest guitar riff of all time in Whole Lotta Love. Rootsy, bluesy, country rock was the order of the day while, lyrically, it featured classic storytelling, and old childhood memories from frontman John Fogerty. Stick this on the stereo to be transported to a world of 60s Americana and good old rockin' tunes. In a quandary over how exactly to follow up the sprawling rock opera Tommy , guitarist Pete Townshend attempted to create another concept piece in the form of Lifehouse.

However, when audiences - who were meant to be part of the performance - failed to respond, it drove Townshend to the edge of a nervous breakdown and almost caused a band split. Eventually, they enlisted engineer Glyn Johns and instead recorded a straight-ahead rock record.

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An undisputed classic. With Rod Stewart now indulging in easy listening covers and the like, it's easy to forget that he always had an effortlessly powerful rock voice. Nowhere was it better showcased that on this record, his third solo album, which featured guest appearances from fellow members of The Faces throughout. A great rock vocalist at the top of his game. Arguably Led Zeppelin's finest moment, this was the record with the perfect blend of what made them one of the greatest bands of all time. Essentially, a faultless album. So much has been written about this album in the past that it seems a fruitless task to try and add any more.

A bisexual alien rock superstar alter-ego, lyrical themes of politics, sex and drugs, progressive production; it redefined what a rock star could do. And yet, all of this would have meant nothing if the songs were no good, but Bowie had that covered too.

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Still a thrilling listen. There were moments of greatness throughout the subsequent six albums, but it all came to a head with The Dark Side Of The Moon. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics CD box set reviews Alexis Petridis's album of the week. Pop and rock album reviews. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All.

25 Albums That Rocked the World!

Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading? Most popular. Who Knew? So how do you build a collection? What do you buy? Not only is there just so much I mean, even if you knew everything there was to know about jazz, how could you possibly own it all? There are nearly as many jazz albums as there are women in the world and how could you sleep with all of them? Ornette Coleman was one. Over half a century after the event it is difficult to recapture the shock that greeted the arrival of this record, but it just gave me a headache.

No matter how much I tried. As far as I was concerned he was improvising up his own sphincter. And what is jazz anyway? Some people now even call it the new chillout.

But not everyone I asked was as enthusiastic as I was. There are no songs for me to sing to. Also, jazz has often been victim to the vagaries of fashion, destined to be revived at the most inappropriate moments. The last time jazz was really in the limelight was back in the mid-Eighties, when it became the soundtrack du jour in thousands of matt-black bachelor flats all over designer Britain and when every style magazine and beer ad seemed to look like a Blue Note album cover. Jazz went from being a visceral, corporeal music to a lifestyle soundtrack.

This was the age of Style Council, of Absolute Beginners Buying into jazz was meant to lend your life a patina of exotic sophistication and was used to sell everything from Filofaxes and coffee machines to designer jeans and sports cars. Whatever jazz might have been as an actual occupation, the jazz musician offered one of the first truly nonmechanical metaphors of the 20th century. Now, whether one has heard of Charlie Parker or not, we inherit a motion of cool, an idea of well-etched individuality, a certain angle of descent.

If jazz started life as a subversive sexual extension of ragtime, blues, boogie-woogie and the New Orleans sound, by the end of the century it had become the soundtrack of accomplishment, a way of upstairs acknowledging downstairs in the manner of nostalgie de la boue. But what about the music?

Everyone wanted to sound like Miles or Dizzy; either that or they went fusion mad and ended up sounding and looking like Frank Zappa on steroids. And so, after six long months I arrived at my final selection, the best jazz CDs money can buy. There is very little trad, not much fusion and rather a lot of stuff from the golden age of modern jazz, from to Oh, and nine albums by Miles Davis. Before I embarked on my quest I could never have pictured myself wearing a metaphorical beret and nodding along to seemingly random trumpet sounds in the comfort of my own home.

And all I could hear was Freddie Hubbard. Mmmm, jazz. You may be alarmed and offended. Released at the height of flower power, Electric Bath still sounds as energised and as arcane as it almost certainly did then. The best jazz debut ever.

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Underappreciated at the time, this is now afforded classic status. The Ellington band never sounded so good and they are especially gifted in the way they manage to articulate sex.


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With a face, a body and a demeanour straight out of central casting, Julie London was a chanteuse with a difference. A haunting record, its only downside is the now very obvious Eighties production close your eyes and you could be in Miami Vice. Nevertheless, if only for its blatant commerciality, this is an indispensable Davis record. She appeared seemingly out of nowhere, although on closer inspection you can tell she has been exceptionally well groomed.