Posted by: Kaushik | July 27, 2005

30 Greatest Rock Albums ( Part 1)

This blog was originally started with a lot of promise and I said I would write about things that mattered. I�ve done a little bit of that. Maybe, I don�t expect too many comments even but keeping this blog does make me happy. I�ve wanted to put up this particular list for a long time and here it goes. Rock music has had a profound influence for a long time and it�s something very close to my heart. So, here in the first of three installments is a post of in my view 30 of the greatest rock albums of all time.These are ranked in no particular order and readers are free to welcome me with barbs and constructive criticisms as well as to what they would have liked in their posts.

Well, here goes nothing

1. The Beatles- Revolver (1966)

I grew up on the Beatles and this is probably their best album. Even though people felt Sgt. Pepper�s was the LSD album, this was really the album after the famous �dentist� experience and allusions to drugs in various songs. The album starts promisingly enough with Harrison�s �Taxman� and the allusion to drugs can be found in Paul�s �Got to Get You Into My Life�, which refers to his experience with pot. Lennon�s arresting track� Tomorrow Never Knows� finishes the album with the haunting words �Turn off your mind, relax your lights and float downstream.� All in all a definitive work which transformed all of them into superior songwriters and a departure from the traditional pop-rock mould.

2. Pink Floyd- Dark Side Of the Moon (1973)

This is probably one of the greatest albums of all time having spent more than 500 weeks on the Billboard chart at No 1 and is one of the greatest selling albums of all time. I got my original copy a year ago on my birthday and it�s one of the albums I listen to more frequently than others. Starting with the �Speak To Me- Breathe� medley, Time & Money are other classics on this album. But the best song of the lot is probably �Brain Damage� and the album climaxes fittingly with �Eclipse� and all in all a definite must buy. The influence of drugs almost a recurring feature with most brands is more evident probably in �Pink Floyd�s � music than anyone else�s. I�ll leave you with the classic,
�If the dam breaks open many years too soon
Fills your head with dark forebodings too,
I�ll see you on the dark side of the moon.�

3. Led Zeppelin � Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

Led Zeppelin IV took one and a half years in the making due to poor sound engineering, conflicts with Atlantic over the album cover etc. Stung by the criticism received for Led Zeppelin III, they wanted to make an album where the music would speak for itself. They fought Atlantic tooth and nail for no identification marks on the cover. They got their way finally and the four symbols used by the members gave the album it�s other name or �Zoso�. It contained rock classics like �Stairway to Heaven� which was never released a single despite it�s immense popularity and housewives requested it during the day and kids at night. It was even played at funerals! �Battle of Evermore� though supposed to have allusions to Lord Of The Rings is actually about Celtic heroines and Rhioannon the Horrible according to Robert Plant. The album has the typical Zeppelin feel to it with �Black Dog� & �Misty Mountain Hop.� �Going to California� a soulful Plant rendition of memories of torrid fun had by Zeppelin in the Riot House comes to fore. Led Zeppelin contributed 30% of Atlantic Records� sales in 1985. Led Zeppelin IV contributed 8% then to Atlantic�s annual sales and now contributes around 5% to Atlantic�s annual sales.

4. Jethro Tull � Aqualung (1971)

All bands have certain defining albums like Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin but I would put Aqualung as Tull�s best album simply because as a stand alone album it is excellent. Their compilations are mind-blowing stuff. Aqualung in itself is a thematic album, which deals with the concept of Religion and Christian hypocrisy. �Aqualung� is the equivalent of a theruvu rowdy or street tramp. Songs like �My God� and �Wind Up� indicate the disillusionment with Jesus and the anger of seeing Christians who use Jesus for their own private gains. Without a doubt, the track of the album is �Locomotive Breath� with some fantastic instrument work. Anderson comes across as a sublime genius with his flute work and his vocals are one of the most underrated.

5. Crosby,Stills,Nash & Young � So Far

One of the most famed super groups of the 1960�s, they were Atlantic�s biggest selling act until Atlantic Records signed Led Zeppelin. David Crosby formerly of �the Byrds, Stephen Stills of �Buffalo Springfield, Graham Nash of �The Hollies originally started out as CSN. Neil Young later joined them to complete the now famous quartet. �So Far� is a compilation of their songs. Zeppelin in Led Zeppelin III imitated their soft acoustic sound, which came to be known as the trademark California sound, rather poorly. Classics of theirs include �D�j� vu, Wooden Ships, Ohio and Suite; Judy Blue eyes.� They played at Woodstock 69 and blew the audience away with a song called �Marrakesh Express.� I love their soft sounding vocals and Stills amazes you with his depth while Young flatters to deceive. A fine piece of work and a must buy for people into slightly soft rock.

6. U2 � The Joshua Tree (1986)

I have to thank Supriya, incidentally one of my most favourite people in the world for inadvertently getting me to listen to U2. I gifted her �The Joshua Tree� for one of her birthdays and I started listening to it then. When you listen to Bono singing �I Still Haven�t Found What I�m Looking for�, you somehow think you have found what you�ve been looking for all along in a musician. �Friends� was responsible for me listening to �With or Without You� another song that I like. But my favourite tracks on that album are �Bullet The Blue Sky� and �One Tree Hill.� Originally to be named the Two Americas, the album got it�s name when the band when to Yellowstone National Park. It�s a critically acclaimed rock classic.

7. The Doors- The Doors (1967)

It was rather difficult to pick one album of the Doors like Jethro Tull to put in the list of the greatest rock albums; their compilations are almost unrivalled in their quality and depth. But, this album of the Doors, the first to be released was released in 1967. This album contains three classic tracks in �Break on through, Light My Fire and The End.� The most haunting track on this album has to be �The End� which plays in the beginning of �Apocalypse Now� when the forest breaks into fire with the bombs thrown. Two really underrated tracks on this album are �Crystal Ship and Soul Kitchen.� Jimbo does a great job with the vocals. Even though I�m disgusted by some of his drinking excesses, praises are to be sung for his vocals.

8. Simon & Garfunkel � The Graduate (1968)

This album was compiled for the film specifically. I loved the movie for a lot of reasons. I saw it when I was 16 and I loved the music. Music more than made up for lack of screenplay or a good script. I saw it again with Fatty & Anirudh and they absolutely panned it. All said and done, the album is an extremely good one to have and I have not heard a more beautiful track than �Scarborough Fair� till date. I think my fondness for Simon & Garfunkel arises from the fact that I was brought upon them and they hold a special attachment.

9. Jimi Hendrix Experience- Are You Experienced? (1967)

With Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums and guitar god Jimi Hendrix on lead, the Jimi Hendrix Experience was born. It is said to have been the greatest most influential release by any new artist. �Hey Joe, Purple Haze and Foxey Lady� are classic son this album which easily spring to mind. The other album, which I would rank higher than this, is when Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire and played live at �the Isle of Wight�. But it has influenced a number of rock acts to come out in later years most notably Lenny Kravitz who is a fairly decent musician. A great listen for guitar fans.

10. Nirvana- Nevermind (1991)

Ah, the days of teenage angst. I was first exposed to Nirvana in the 11th standard and everyone in school was like- Nirvana man, it�s great man. I can feel Cobain�s pain man! Some of them were just wannabes. Cobain would never have made a successful transformation to ageing rock star but �Nevermind� is one of the most craftily composed albums. �Smells Like Teen Spirit and Come As You Are� are the usual suspects in this album with �Lithium & Something In the Way� being my favourite tracks. To be honest I listened to Unplugged more but I grew to appreciate Cobain�s vocals and now really enjoy Nirvana and most of those bands that came out of Seattle. This has to be my favourite Nirvana album and Niranj, you were so goddamn lucky to see them in concert in Sydney.

Well, this list took a fair bit compiling. Will profile 10 more albums in the next post. Please shower praise, brickbats etc. Above all, let me know what your top ten list is like.

Cheers till the next post


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