15 INFLUENTIAL ALBUMS TO ADD TO YOUR VINYL COLLECTION
When it comes to music, there are certain albums that stand the test of time and continue to influence generations of artists and listeners. These albums not only topped the charts and sold millions of copies, but they also changed the course of music history.
So, put on your headphones and get ready for a trip down memory lane as we count down the top 10 most influential albums of all time.
15. BEYONCE - LEMONADE (2016)
Queen Bey's 2016 concept album explores the themes of infidelity, forgiveness and female empowerment. Lemonade was released as a visual album, which allowed Beyoncé to tell her story through music, poetry, and film. It received widespread critical acclaim, winning several accolades and awards, including two Grammys.
Fun fact: "Hold Up" was written by more than 15 people, including Beyoncé, Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, Diplo and Father John Misty.
14. U2 - THE JOSHUA TREE (1987)
With hit songs like "With or Without You" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," The Joshua Tree solidified U2's status as one of the biggest bands in the world. The band's exploration of political and spiritual themes helped to expand the boundaries of what a rock album could be.
Fun fact: Kirsty MacColl helped decide the tracklist.
13. DR DRE - THE CHRONIC (1992)
The Chronic was a landmark in the world of hip-hop, and it helped to establish Dr. Dre as one of the most influential and successful producers of all time and helped to launch the career of Snoop Dogg. "The Chronic" was a commercial and critical success, and it featured the hit single "Nuthin' But a G Thang."
Fun fact: The album's cover art took inspiration from Zig-Zag rolling papers.
12. ALANIS MORISSETTE - JAGGED LITTLE PILL (1995)
Jagged Little Pill was a massive commercial success and earned Morissette multiple Grammys. The album's raw and emotional lyrics tackled themes of relationships and self-empowerment.
Fun fact: The album was produced by Glen Ballard, who previously worked with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones.
11. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO - THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO (1967)
This album may not have sold many copies upon its initial release, but it has since been recognized as one of the most important and influential albums in the history of rock music. It was one of the first to introduce avant-garde and experimental elements into rock music, and its influence can be heard in the music of countless artists that followed, including David Bowie, Joy Division, and The Jesus and Mary Chain. The album features the iconic banana cover art designed by artist Andy Warhol.
Fun fact: Warhol was a big fan of the band and even managed them for a short period of time.
10. BOB DYLAN – HIGHWAY 61 REVISTED (1965)
Bob Dylan’s sixth studio album was a turning point in his career, marking his transition from acoustic folk music to electric rock and roll. Highway 61 Revisited is considered one of the greatest albums of all time and it’s credited with paving the way for folk rock and protest music.
Fun fact: The album’s title is a reference to the famous highway that runs through Dylan’s home state of Minnesota.
9. PRINCE - PURPLE RAIN (1984)
Purple Rain is the sixth studio album by Prince, and it's considered one of his greatest albums. This album helped to cement Prince's status as one of the most innovative and influential artists of all time, and it's known for its mix of rock, funk, and R&B.
Fun fact: The album's title track was written as a tribute to Prince's father, who was a jazz musician.
8. MARVIN GAYE - WHAT'S GOING ON BY (1971)
What's Goin' On was originally written as a concept album about poverty, police brutality and the Vietnam War. It was a marked departure from Marvin Gaye's previous albums and his record label was hesitant to release it. After much persuasion, the album was finally released to widespread critical acclaim.
Fun fact: The album was recorded in just two weeks.
7. THE BEATLES - SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (1967)
Sgt. Pepper's is often hailed as a revolutionary step forward in the world of rock music, and for good reason. Not only did it feature groundbreaking production techniques, but it also marked a departure from the band's earlier, more simplistic sound.
Fun fact: the album's iconic cover was designed by the pop artist Peter Blake and features over 70 different people and characters, including Marilyn Monroe, Edgar Allan Poe, and even the Beatles themselves dressed as a marching band.
6. NIRVANA – NEVERMIND (1991)
Nevermind brought grunge and alternative rock to the mainstream, and it helped to bring an end to the hair metal era of the 80s. The album made Nirvana and Kurt Cobain household names and cemented them as one of the most important bands of the 90s.
Fun fact: The album's iconic cover, which features a baby swimming towards a dollar bill on a fishhook, was almost scrapped because the band thought it looked too cheesy.
5. THE ROLLING STONES - EXILE ON MAIN ST. (1972)
Exile on Main St. is considered one of the greatest albums of all time and it’s often credited with helping to define the sound of rock and roll, with its eclectic mix of blues, rock and country influences.
Fun fact: The album was recorded in a rented villa in the south of France, where the band lived and recorded together for several months.
4. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - BORN IN THE USA (1984)
This 1984 album was not only a commercial success, selling over 30 million copies, but it also dealt with important political and social issues. The album's title track is often mistaken for a patriotic anthem, but the lyrics actually criticised the treatment of Vietnam War veterans. Springsteen's storytelling and blue-collar themes resonated with working-class Americans and cemented his status as "The Boss".
Fun fact: Annie Leibovitz shot the iconic album cover.
3. LED ZEPPELIN - IV (1971)
Led Zeppelin’s fourth studio album was also their most successful and is considered one of the greatest rock albums of all time. IV features some of the band’s most iconic songs, including the almost eight-minute anthem “Stairway to Heaven” and “Black Dog”. The album's artwork features symbols chosen by each band member to represent themselves, and the symbols were later used in the band's live performances.
Fun fact: Lead singer Robert Plant bought the 19th-century oil painting on the front of the album at an antique store.
2. PINK FLOYD - THE WALL (1979)
The Wall is a rock opera that tells the story of a rock star's descent into madness, and is considered one of the greatest concept albums of all time.
The album marked a departure from Pink Floyd's earlier, more psychedelic sound and introduced the world to a more experimental and political side.
Fun fact: The album was turned into a film directed by Alan Parker, and featured Bob Geldof as the lead character.
1. MICHAEL JACKSON - THRILLER (1982)
The King of Pop's 1982 album is not only the best-selling album of all time, but it also revolutionised the industry. Jackson turned the music video into an art form with videos like "Thriller" and "Beat It", setting a new standard for music marketing and promotion.
Fun fact: "Thriller" is the only music video to be inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
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