Must Own Albums: Best of the Best

Here’s the first post of what I hope to be a regular feature listing albums that you need to hear before you die. Albums that no good record collection should be without. Each band/artist can only have one album in the list and it’s studio albums only, no live albums or compilations. I thought it would be best to start with some of the most important acts in music and, what I consider to be, their best work.

abbey_roadThe Beatles – Abbey Road

It goes without saying that The Beatles should be first on the list. They are the most influential act in the history of music and the cover of Abbey Road is one of the most famous images ever created. Beneath the cover you find their swan-song, their last great work before the band called it a day. Ironically they sound more like a tightly knit unit here than they had done in a long time. Each member (even Ringo) makes great contributions and it has the perfect blend of experimentation and radio friendly songs.

let it bleedThe Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed

The pinnacle of the Stones’ 50 year long career which included some of the finest blues rock ever produced. The last album to feature Brian Jones and the first to feature Mick Taylor. You’ll find many fan favourites here including “Midnight Rambler”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and their magnum opus “Gimme Shelter” which has an other-worldly guitar sound and incredible vocals from guest Merry Clayton.

freewheelin bob dylanBob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

Undoubtedly the greatest songwriter the world has ever seen. He’s crafted many poetic masterpieces that perfectly described both the beauty and the hardship in the world. He has inspired countless people. He would later go on to make such classic albums as “Highway 61 Revisited” and “Blonde on Blonde”, but “Freewheelin” was one of the first real LPs. Before Dylan albums were mostly just soundtracks or compilations. Here was a group of songs all written and performed by one man full of enticing imagery which began a chain reaction that has influenced our entire culture.

whos nextThe Who – Who’s Next

By this time in their career The Who had made angry anthems for the frustrated youth of the world and intricate (and downright weird) rock operas. Performing the polar opposite genres of punk and prog before either were really invented. This album features the broken pieces of a failed concept piece, but even so there’s no denying the magnificence of the music. Some of the best musicians of the time, who sound way ahead of their time.

Led_Zeppelin_IVLed Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV

With their first 3 self titled albums Led Zep revolutionised blues, hard rock and folk music, and here on their fourth they brought it all together. There’s never a dull moment, each song captivates the listener. Robert Plant’s wailing vocals on “Black Dog”, John Paul Jones’ funky keyboards on “Misty Mountain Hop”, John Bonham’s epic, thunderous drum intro on “When The Levee Breaks” to Jimmy Page’s triumphant guitar solo at the climax of their signature song “Stairway To Heaven”.