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- 1+ 21- 4vWish You Were Here is the ninth studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd, released in September 1975. It explores themes of absence, the music business and former band-mate Syd Barrett's mental decline. Inspired by material the band composed while performing across Europe, Wish You Were Here was recorded in numerous sessions at London's Abbey Road Studios. Although some of these sessions were problematic, it was lead writer Roger Waters' idea to split the centrepiece track "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" in two and join each half with three new compositions. "Shine On" was a tribute to Barrett, who, coincidentally, made an impromptu visit to the studio while it was being recorded.
As with their previous album, The Dark Side of the Moon, the band made use of studio effects and synthesisers. Roy Harper provided the lead vocals on "Have a Cigar". The album's packaging, designed by Storm Thorgerson, featured an opaque black sleeve which hid the album artwork. Wish You Were Here was an instant success and record company EMI was unable to print enough copies to satisfy demand. Although it initially received mixed reviews, the album has since been acclaimed by critics and appears on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Band members Richard Wright and David Gilmour have each declared Wish You Were Here their favourite Pink Floyd album.
- 2+ 20- 8vSgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (often referred to simply as Sgt. Pepper) is the eighth studio album by the English rock band The Beatles. Released in June 1967, Rolling Stone called it "the most important rock & roll album ever made ... by the greatest rock & roll group of all time." The LP included songs such as "With a Little Help from My Friends", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", and "A Day in the Life".
During the Sgt. Pepper sessions, the group improved upon the quality of their music's production while exploring experimental recording techniques. Producer George Martin's innovative approach included the use of an orchestra. The songs on the album range from music hall, rock and roll and pop to traditional Indian music. Widely acclaimed and imitated, the album cover's inspiration came from a sketch by Paul McCartney that depicted the band posing in front of a collage of some of their favourite celebrities. It later served as the basis for the design by English pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth.
Sgt. Pepper was a worldwide critical and commercial success, spending a total of 27 weeks at the top of the UK Album Chart and 15 weeks at number one on the US Billboard 200. A seminal work in the emerging psychedelic rock style, the album was critically acclaimed upon release and won four Grammy Awards in 1968. In 1994, it was ranked number one in the book All Time Top 1000 Albums. In 2005, the album was placed at number one on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Sgt. Pepper is one of the world's best selling albums, with 11 million RIAA certified copies sold in the US as of 2012.
- 3+ 16- 5vPhysical Graffiti is the sixth studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released on 24 February 1975 as a double album. Recording sessions for the album were initially disrupted when bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones considered leaving the band. After reuniting at Headley Grange, the band wrote and recorded eight songs, the combined length of which stretched the album beyond the typical length of an LP. This prompted the band to make Physical Graffiti a double album by including previously unreleased tracks from earlier recording sessions.
Physical Graffiti was commercially and critically successful; the album went 16x platinum (though this signifies shipping of eight million copies, as it is a double album) in the US alone.
- 4+ 14- 4vParanoid is the second studio album by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath. Released in September 1970, the album was the only one by the band to top the UK Albums Chart, and as a result is commonly identified as the band's magnum opus. Paranoid has been certified four times platinum by the RIAA and contains some of the band's best-known signature songs, including the title track, "Iron Man" and "War Pigs".
- 5+ 12- 3vThe Soft Parade is the fourth studio album by The Doors, released in 1969.
The album met with some controversy among fans and critics due to its inclusion of brass and string instrument arrangements, as opposed to the more stripped-down sound of their earlier recordings. Fans also complained that The Soft Parade followed the lyrical formulas of previous albums, and thus was not very innovative. In reviewing the 40th anniversary remix (for the August 2007 issue of Downbeat Magazine) correspondent Dan Ouellette thought otherwise, declaring it to be "the apex" of the band's creativity.
Due to Jim Morrison's increasing alcoholism and interest in poetry, guitarist Robby Krieger has a stronger presence on The Soft Parade than on any other Doors album from the Morrison era, contributing around half the material, including sharing the lead vocal on the song Runnin' Blue.
- 6+ 16- 7vThe Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (often shortened to Ziggy Stardust) is a 1972 concept album by English musician David Bowie, which is loosely based on a story of a fictional rock star named Ziggy Stardust. It peaked at number five in the United Kingdom and number 75 in the United States on the Billboard Music Charts. A concert film of the same name directed by D.A. Pennebaker was released in 1973.
The album presents, albeit vaguely, the story of a rock and roll character called "Ziggy Stardust". Ziggy is the human manifestation of an alien being who is attempting to present humanity with a message of hope in the last five years of its existence. Ziggy Stardust is the definitive rock star: sexually promiscuous, wild in drug intake and with a message, ultimately, of peace and love; but he is destroyed both by his own excesses of drugs and sex, and by the fans he inspired.
- 7+ 14- 6vWho's Next is the fifth studio album by English rock band The Who, released in August 1971. The album has origins in a rock opera conceived by Pete Townshend called Lifehouse. The ambitious, complex project did not come to fruition at the time and instead, many of the songs written for the project were compiled onto Who's Next as a collection of unrelated songs. Who's Next was a critical and commercial success when it was released, and has been certified 3× platinum by the RIAA.
- 8+ 15- 7vAppetite for Destruction is the debut studio album by American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, released in July 21, 1987 on Geffen Records. It was well received by critics and topped the American Billboard 200 chart. As of September 2008, the album has been certified 18 times Platinum by the RIAA, accumulating worldwide sales in excess of 30 million. The album is featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
- 9+ 10- 3vDisraeli Gears is the second album by British supergroup Cream. It was released in November 1967 and went on to reach number 5 on the UK Albums Chart. It was also their American breakthrough, becoming a massive seller there in 1968, reaching number 4 on the American charts. The album was #1 for two weeks on the Australian album chart and was listed as the #1 album of 1968 by Cash Box in the year-end album chart in the U.S. The album features the two singles "Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love".
The title of the album is based on a malapropism. Eric Clapton had been thinking of buying a racing bicycle and was discussing it with Ginger Baker, when a roadie named Mick Turner commented, "it's got them Disraeli Gears", meaning to say "derailleur gears," but instead alluding to 19th-century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. The band thought this was hilarious, and decided that it should be the title of their next album.
The original 11-track album was remastered in 1998, and then subsequently released as a two-disc Deluxe Edition in 2004.
In 1999, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
In 2003 the album was ranked number 114 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. VH1 also named it their 87th greatest album of all time in 2001.
- 10+ 9- 6vTen is the debut studio album by the American alternative rock band Pearl Jam, released on August 27, 1991 through Epic Records. Following the disbanding of bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard's previous group Mother Love Bone, the two recruited vocalist Eddie Vedder, guitarist Mike McCready, and drummer Dave Krusen to form Pearl Jam in 1990. Most of the songs began as instrumental jams, to which Vedder added lyrics about topics such as depression, homelessness, and abuse.
Ten was not an immediate success, but by late 1992 it had reached number two on the Billboard 200 chart. The album produced three hit singles: "Alive", "Even Flow", and "Jeremy". While Pearl Jam was accused of jumping on the grunge bandwagon at the time, Ten was instrumental in popularizing alternative rock in the mainstream. The album has been certified diamond by the RIAA in the United States. By August 2012, it had sold 9,963,000 copies in the U.S., and remains Pearl Jam's most commercially successful album.
- 11+ 9- 6vMoving Pictures is the eighth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush. The album was recorded and mixed from October to November 1980 at Le Studio located in Morin Heights, Quebec, Canada, and released on February 12, 1981.
Moving Pictures became the band's biggest selling album in the United States rising to No. 3 on the Billboard charts and remains the band's most popular and commercially successful studio recording to date. The album was one of the first to be certified multi-platinum by the RIAA upon establishment of the certification in October 1984, and eventually went quadruple platinum.
Following the formula of their previous album, Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures follows a more radio-friendly format and includes the two iconic singles, "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight", as well as the FM rock radio standard, "Red Barchetta".
Moving Pictures is one of two Rush albums listed in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2112 is the other). Kerrang! magazine listed the album at No. 43 among the "100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time".
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- 13+ 8- 9vWhen the Pawn... is the second album by American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, released by Epic Records in the United States on November 9, 1999. The full album title contains over 400 characters of text. In 2010, Spin magazine named the album the 106th greatest of the last 25 years. A year later, Slant Magazine named it the 79th best album of the 1990s.
- 14+ 8- 9vMetropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory is the fifth studio album by American progressive metal band Dream Theater, released in 1999. It is a concept album that deals with the story of a man named Nicholas and the discovery of his past life, which involves love, murder, and infidelity as Victoria Page. It was recorded at BearTracks Studios in New York, where the band had previously recorded their second studio album Images and Words (1992) and the EP A Change of Seasons (1995).
The album is the sequel to "Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and the Sleeper", a song previously featured on Images and Words. It was also the first album to feature Jordan Rudess on keyboards, and was the last album for which John Myung wrote lyrics until their 2011 album A Dramatic Turn of Events. Its also considered by some as one whole 77:00 piece.
In the late July 2012, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory was listed as the number one all-time progressive album by Rolling Stone, beating Rush's 2112 and Close to the Edge by Yes.
- 15+ 7- 8vAudioslave is the eponymous debut studio album by the American rock supergroup Audioslave and was released on November 19, 2002 (see 2002 in music). It features the hit singles "Cochise", "Show Me How to Live", "What You Are", "Like a Stone", and "I Am the Highway". The record was certified triple platinum in the US. "Like a Stone" was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.
- 16+ 6- 8vFor their third release, the Americans of Symphony X have produced something very special: an album that would establish the foundations of their sound. Classic symphonies and metal match perfectly in this brilliant album. First hard to get into due to the ever-progressive tricks-and-turns, The Divine Wings of Tragedy is getting better at each listen. With the excellent duo of Michael Romeo on guitars and Michael Pinnella on keyboards, Symphony X has become a revered act in the musical sphere. All the classical elements are there: wonderful solos, great vocals and on top of it, brilliant and complex songwriting and execution.
'Of Sins and Shadows', 'Sea of Lies' and 'The Divine Wings of Tragedy' [an epic song, about 20 minutes of pure happiness!] are the highlights of this album. More complex songs such as 'The Accolade' or 'The Eyes of Medusa' will kick your ass, while the beautiful 'Candlelight Fantasia'" will become your favorite melody when you're about to fall asleep. Some could write books about this album, but as I'm not a good writer, I just have to say that The Divine Wings of Tragedy has changed my perception of music, and I'm sad for guys who have never felt that! Far from brutal and nu metal, this kind of music is an oasis of light in the desert of basic songs.
- 17+ 7- 10vWatershed is the ninth full-length studio album by the Swedish progressive death metal band Opeth. Published by Roadrunner Records, the album's special edition was released first (rather than the standard edition) as a music download on the Italian iTunes Stores on May 19, 2008.
Watershed is the first studio album by Opeth to feature drummer Martin Axenrot and guitarist Fredrik Åkesson, as well as the first not to feature longtime guitarist Peter Lindgren and drummer Martin Lopez. The artwork for the album was made by Travis Smith (who has created the artwork for eight previous Opeth releases) in collaboration with Mikael Åkerfeldt.
- 18+ 5- 9vGhost in the Machine is the fourth album by The Police, released in 1981 (see 1981 in music). Much of the material in this album was inspired by Arthur Koestler's The Ghost in the Machine, which also provided the title. It was their first album to bear an English language title. The group released three successful singles from the album: "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", "Invisible Sun", and "Spirits in the Material World". It went multi-platinum in the United States. The album was listed #322 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
- 19+ 3- 9vIt’s probably needless to say that the sound and production of the album is perfect for me. The band combines progressive rock elements, melodic metal as well as jazz and lounge influences to a highly atmospheric album that sound like Amorphis and nothing else. Every song has something special and intriguing but this diversity perfectly fits together and the album has magic and coherent flow. Every song on here is catchy and memorable and a true killer. The guitars sound as if they were crying and screaming all along and are filled with emotions. The bass is audible and plays some very catchy rhythms and does a very solid background work with the drums. The keyboards and electric organs don't bury the sound but support it and underline the spacey drug trip atmosphere of the album. If there is one album that one should listen to in a weird state of mind, than it's this one. The guest instrumentations which are a saxophone and a saw fit perfectly to the progressive sounds and are integrated as if they have always been a part of the band sound. The saxophones and keyboards are two main reasons why this album might not only please to any open minded metal fan with taste but also to fans of progressive rock, classical music, world music, jazz or lounge. Sometimes, the guitars even sound like weird grunge pieces and this in a completely positive way. Anybody that has ears should check this album out, seriously. Last but not least, the vocals on this record are so amazing, emotional and diversified that I get goose bumps every time I'm listening to the album. The vocals always sound like an additional instrument as they are so melodic and form a perfect duality with the music itself. Every song is catchy and the hooks on the album are amazing. Even if the later Amorphis singer Tomi Joutsen is technically said easily better than Pasi Koskinen, the magic and flow that he creates on this album is almost unbeatable. His vocal attitude somewhere between relaxed, dreamy and emotional perfectly fits on this album.
- 20+ 3- 11vYou Had It Coming is the eighth studio album by guitarist Jeff Beck, released on February 6, 2001 through Epic Records. The third track, "Dirty Mind", went on to win the award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 2002 Grammy Awards. Singer Imogen Heap is featured on "Dirty Mind" and "Rollin' and Tumblin'", and would later tour with Beck in 2004.