Music

The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated July 13, 2020 118.7k votes 6.2k voters 34.5k views 257 items

List Rules Only debut studio albums allowed. No sophomore albums, EPs, mix tapes, or compilations.

It’s no coincidence that great bands and artists have some of the best debut albums of all time. You can tell a lot about a music artist from their first album, for better or worse. A debut album sets the stage for what audiences can expect, including genre, style, inventiveness, and many more details. For some talented artists, a debut album can be genre changing and influence pop culture. But what are the greatest debut albums of all time? See what music lovers have to say in the ranking below.

For some bands, a debut album may be their best work or even their only work. More than a few break up after their first effort. For many others, it may be their best work and they may end up being one-hit wonders. Not many artists continue to find more success after initial efforts.

For the purpose of this list however, we only care about that first seminal album. So vote for the artists that you think have the very best debut albums of all time. No sophomore albums allowed. If you don’t see a particularly great debut album listed, add it so that others may vote on it. All genres welcome.

list ordered by
1
Led Zeppelin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Led Zeppelin (1969); Tracks: Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, You Shook Me & How Many More Times

Label: Atlantic Records

Genres (Music): Psychedelic rock, Heavy metal, Blues-rock, Hard rock, Folk rock

"Good Times Bad Times"

"You Shook Me"

"Dazed and Confused"

2
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By The Doors (1967); Tracks: The End, Take It As It Comes & The Crystal Ship

Producer: Paul A. Rothchild

Length (mins): 00:44:30

Genres (Music): Progressive rock, Psychedelic rock, Rock music, Blues-rock, Hard rock, + more

"Break On Through (To the Other Side)"

"Light My Fire"

"Soul Kitchen"

3
Are You Experienced is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967); Tracks: Remember, Third Stone From the Sun & Are You Experienced?

Producer: Chas Chandler

Length (mins): 00:40:02

Label: Track Record

Genres (Music): Psychedelic rock, Heavy metal, Rock music, Blues-rock, Hard rock, + more

"Foxy Lady"

"Manic Depression"

"Red House"

4
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Van Halen (1978); Tracks: Jamie's Cryin', Atomic Punk & Runnin' With the Devil

Producer: Ted Templeman

Length (mins): 00:35:35

Label: Warner Bros. Records

Genres (Music): Heavy metal, Hard rock, Glam metal

"You Really Got Me"/"Atomic Punk"

"Runnin' with the Devil"/"Eruption"

"Jamie's Cryin'"/"I'm the One"

5
Appetite for Destruction... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Guns N' Roses (1987); Tracks: Rocket Queen, Anything Goes & Sweet Child o' Mine

Producer: Mike Clink

Length (mins): 00:53:50

Genres (Music): Heavy metal, Hard rock, Glam metal

"It's So Easy"

"Welcome to the Jungle"

"Sweet Child o' Mine"

6
Boston is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Boston (1976); Tracks: Rock & Roll Band, Something About You & More Than a Feeling

Producer: John Boylan, Tom Scholz

Length (mins): 00:37:42

Label: Epic Records

Genres (Music): Heavy metal, Rock music, Hard rock, Pop rock, Classic rock

"More Than a Feeling"

"Long Time"

"Peace of Mind"

7
The Cars is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By The Cars (1978); Tracks: Good Times Roll, You're All I've Got Tonight & Moving in Stereo

Producer: Roy Thomas Baker, David McLees

Length (mins): 00:35:13

Genres (Music): Rock music, New Wave, Hard rock, Power pop

"Just What I Needed"

"My Best Friend's Girl"

"Good Times Roll"

8
(pronounced 'lĕh-'n&eacu... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Lynyrd Skynyrd (1973); Tracks: Mississippi Kid, Mississippi Kid & Things Goin' On

Length (mins): 00:43:03

Genres (Music): Blues-rock, Hard rock, Country rock, Southern rock, Boogie rock

"Gimme Three Steps"

"Free Bird"

"Simple Man"

9
Tom Petty and the Heartb... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
Bill Little added By Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1976); Tracks: Mystery Man, American Girl & Anything That’s Rock ’n’ Roll

Length (mins): 00:30:53

Genres (Music): Rock music, Rock and roll, Heartland rock

"Breakdown"

"American Girl"

"Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll"

10
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Black Sabbath (1970); Tracks: Evil Woman, Don't Play Your Games With Me & N.I.B.

Length (mins): 00:38:16

Genres (Music): Heavy metal, Blues-rock, Hard rock

"Black Sabbath"

"The Wizard"

"Behind the Wall of Sleep"

11
Please Please Me is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By The Beatles (1963); Tracks: Please Please Me, A Taste of Honey & Baby It’s You

Producer: George Martin

Length (mins): 00:32:48

Genres (Music): Rock music, Pop music, Rock and roll, Merseybeat

"Love Me Do"

"Please Please Me"

"I Saw Her Standing There"

12
High Voltage is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
Twiggsy added By AC/DC (1975); Tracks: Show Business, She's Got Balls & Stick Around

Producer: George Young, Harry Vanda

Length (mins): 00:40:42

Genres (Music): Rock music, Blues-rock, Hard rock, Rock and roll, Glam rock

"The Jack"

"Rock 'n' Roll Singer"

"Live Wire"

13
Bad Company is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
chris-dagosta added By Bad Company (1974); Tracks: Don’t Let Me Down, Ready for Love & Movin’ On

Length (mins): 00:34:52

Genres (Music): Hard rock

"Can't Get Enough"

"Movin' On"

"Bad Company"

14
Blizzard of Ozz is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Ozzy Osbourne (1980); Tracks: You Lookin' at Me Lookin' at You, You Said It All & Goodbye to Romance

Genres (Music): Heavy metal, Hard rock

"Crazy Train/You Lookin' at Me Lookin' at You"

"Mr. Crowley/You Said It All"

"I Don't Know"

15
My Generation is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By The Who (1965); Tracks: Instant Party (Circles), Much Too Much & A Legal Matter

Producer: Shel Talmy

Length (mins): 00:35:32

Genres (Music): Rhythm and blues, Rock music, Pop music, Hard rock, Protopunk, + more

"My Generation"

"A Legal Matter"

"The Kids Are Alright" / "The Ox"

16
Creedence Clearwater Rev... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968); Tracks: The Working Man, Ninety‐Nine and a Half (Won’t Do) & Susie Q

Length (mins): 00:34:03

Genres (Music): Psychedelic rock, Rock music, Blues-rock, Roots rock, Acid rock, + more

"Porterville"/"Call It Pretending"

"Suzie Q. (Part 1)"/"Suzie Q. (Part 2)"

"I Put a Spell on You"/"Walk on the 

17
Ten is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Pearl Jam (1991); Tracks: Black, Porch & Why Go

Producer: Pearl Jam, Rick Parashar

Length (mins): 00:53:27

Label: Epic Records

Genres (Music): Alternative rock, Hard rock, Grunge

"Alive"

"Even Flow"

"Jeremy"

18
Talking Heads: 77 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Talking Heads (1977); Tracks: First Week/Last Week… Carefree, Pulled Up & No Compassion

Producer: Tony Bongiovi

Length (mins): 00:39:19

Genres (Music): New Wave, Art rock, Art punk

"Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town"

"Psycho Killer"

"Pulled Up"

19
Texas Flood is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
stratopimp added By Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble and Stevie Ray Vaughan (1983); Tracks: Tell Me, Lenny & Love Struck Baby

Genres (Music): Blues-rock, Jazz, Electric blues, Texas blues

"Love Struck Baby"

"Pride and Joy"

"I'm Cryin'"

20
Eagles is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
Darian G. Burns added By Eagles (1972); Tracks: Witchy Woman, Take It Easy & Nightingale

Producer: Glyn Johns

Length (mins): 00:37:32

Genres (Music): Rock music, Folk rock, Country rock

"Take It Easy"

"Witchy Woman"

"Peaceful Easy Feeling"

21
Kill 'Em All is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Metallica (1983); Tracks: Metal Militia, Motorbreath & (Anesthesia)-Pulling Teeth

Genres (Music): Speed metal, Thrash metal

"Whiplash"

"Jump in the Fire"

"The Four Horsemen"

22
Crosby, Stills & Nas... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Crosby and Stills (1969); Tracks: Long Time Gone, Wooden Ships & Pre-Road Downs

Length (mins): 00:40:58

Label: Atlantic Records

Genres (Music): Rock music, Folk rock

"Marrakesh Express"

"Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"

"Pre-Road Downs"

23
In the Court of the Crim... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By King Crimson (1969); Tracks: 21st Century Schizoid Man (including Mirrors), Moonchild (including The Dream and The Illusion) & Epitaph (including March for No Reason and Tomorrow and Tomorrow)

Genres (Music): Progressive rock, Psychedelic rock, Hard rock, Jazz fusion, Experimental rock, + more

"The Court of the Crimson King"

"Epitaph" / "21st Century Schizoid Man"

"I Talk to the Wind"

24
Dire Straits is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By Dire Straits (1978); Tracks: Six Blade Knife, Southbound Again & Sultans of Swing

Label: Warner Bros. Records

Genres (Music): Progressive rock, Rock music, Rockabilly, Roots rock, Country rock, + more

"Sultans of Swing"

"Southbound Again"

"Down to the Waterline" / "Water of Love"

25
Pretenders is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
By The Pretenders (1979); Tracks: Mystery Achievement, Tattooed Love Boys & Stop Your Sobbing

Producer: Chris Thomas

Length (mins): 00:47:07

Genres (Music): Alternative rock, Rock music, New Wave, Punk rock

"Stop Your Sobbing"

"Kid"

"Brass In Pocket"