The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
Few bands in history can claim to be as influential as The Smiths. Johnny Marr’s jangly guitar tones and Morrissey’s dark but beautiful lyrics have influenced nearly every British rock band since, and provided a template for Indie and Britpop. The Queen is Dead is considered the peak of the band’s short life and features one of their most well known songs “There is a Light That Never Goes Out”.
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
As well as having one of the most iconic album covers in history, Unknown Pleasures was way ahead of it’s time. It remains one of the most critically acclaimed albums ever released despite releasing no singles and failing to chart. The tragic suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis shortly before the release of their second album made this his lasting legacy, and the remaining members continued on as New Order.
Talk Talk – Spirit of Eden
Feeling that their earlier new wave albums didn’t reflect the music they wanted to create, Talk Talk decided to experiment. After an intense and often improvised recording process they released an album with hints of jazz and classical music. Spirit of Eden was about as far from a commercial success as you can get, but it paved the way for other bands such as Radiohead to break the mould.
The Fall – Hex Induction Hour
Essentially the solo project of Mark E Smith, The Fall are one of the most influential cult bands in history. They have had a lasting impact on everyone from Sonic Youth to the Arctic Monkeys. John Peel, the most famous radio DJ in history and champion of new music, has often cited them as his favourite band. Hex Induction Hour was the first time in the bands long history that they made it into the albums charts.