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The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked

Updated July 13, 2020 143.1k votes 6.7k voters 36.9k views257 items

List RulesOnly 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.

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  • 1
    Led Zeppelin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    2,284
    1,251

    Led Zeppelin

    Led Zeppelin

    Release Date1969

    TracksBabe I’m Gonna Leave You, You Shook Me, How Many More Times

    LabelAtlantic Records

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

    "Good Times Bad Times"

    "You Shook Me"

    "Dazed and Confused"

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  • 2
    Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    1,827
    954

    Van Halen

    Van Halen

    Release Date1978

    ProducerTed Templeman

    TracksJamie's Cryin', Atomic Punk, Runnin' With the Devil

    Length (mins)00:35:35

    LabelWarner 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"

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  • 3
    Boston is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    1,884
    895

    Boston

    Boston

    Release Date1976

    ProducerJohn Boylan, Tom Scholz

    TracksRock & Roll Band, Something About You, More Than a Feeling

    Length (mins)00:37:42

    LabelEpic Records

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

    "More Than a Feeling"

    "Long Time"

    "Peace of Mind"

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  • 4
    The Doors is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    1,971
    1,002

    The Doors

    The Doors

    Release Date1967

    ProducerPaul A. Rothchild

    TracksThe End, Take It As It Comes, The Crystal Ship

    Length (mins)00:44:30

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

    "Break On Through (To the Other Side)"

    "Light My Fire"

    "Soul Kitchen"

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  • 5
    Appetite for Destruction is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    2,129
    1,305

    Release Date1987

    ProducerMike Clink

    TracksRocket Queen, Anything Goes, Sweet Child o' Mine

    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"

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  • 6
    High Voltage is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    735
    340

    Release Date1975

    ProducerGeorge Young, Harry Vanda

    TracksShow Business, She's Got Balls, Stick Around

    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"

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  • 7
    Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    833
    431

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

    Release Date1976

    TracksMystery 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"

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  • 8
    Are You Experienced is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    1,766
    1,084

    Are You Experienced

    The Jimi Hendrix Experience

    Release Date1967

    ProducerChas Chandler

    TracksRemember, Third Stone From the Sun, Are You Experienced?

    Length (mins)00:40:02

    LabelTrack Record

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

    "Foxy Lady"

    "Manic Depression"

    "Red House"

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  • 9
    The Cars is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    1,504
    930

    The Cars

    The Cars

    Release Date1978

    ProducerRoy Thomas Baker, David McLees

    TracksGood Times Roll, You're All I've Got Tonight, Moving in Stereo

    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"

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  • 10
    Lynyrd Skynyrd is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    1,466
    845

    Lynyrd Skynyrd

    Lynyrd Skynyrd

    Release Date1973

    TracksMississippi 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"

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  • 11
    Creedence Clearwater Revival is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    786
    437

    Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Creedence Clearwater Revival

    Release Date1968

    TracksThe 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

    "Porterville"/"Call It Pretending"

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

    "I Put a Spell on You"/"Walk on the 

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  • 12
    Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    1,494
    1,041

    Black Sabbath

    Black Sabbath

    Release Date1970

    TracksEvil 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"

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  • 13
    Bad Company is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    922
    506

    Bad Company

    Bad Company

    Release Date1974

    TracksDon’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"

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  • 14
    Blizzard of Ozz is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    961
    614

    Blizzard of Ozz

    Ozzy Osbourne

    Release Date1980

    TracksYou 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"

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  • 15
    Please Please Me is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    1,421
    909

    Please Please Me

    The Beatles

    Release Date1963

    ProducerGeorge Martin

    TracksPlease Please Me, A Taste of Honey, Baby It’s You

    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"

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  • 16
    Texas Flood is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    592
    307

    Texas Flood

    Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughan

    Release Date1983

    TracksTell Me, Lenny, Love Struck Baby

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

    "Love Struck Baby"

    "Pride and Joy"

    "I'm Cryin'"

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  • 17
    Eagles is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    660
    364

    Eagles

    Eagles

    Release Date1972

    ProducerGlyn Johns

    TracksWitchy Woman, Take It Easy, Nightingale

    Length (mins)00:37:32

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

    "Take It Easy"

    "Witchy Woman"

    "Peaceful Easy Feeling"

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  • 18
    Ten is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    1,453
    1,090

    Ten

    Pearl Jam

    Release Date1991

    ProducerPearl Jam, Rick Parashar

    TracksBlack, Porch, Why Go

    Length (mins)00:53:27

    LabelEpic Records

    Genres (Music)Alternative rock, Hard rock, Grunge

    "Alive"

    "Even Flow"

    "Jeremy"

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  • 19
    My Generation is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    1,052
    636

    Release Date1965

    ProducerShel Talmy

    TracksInstant Party (Circles), Much Too Much, A Legal Matter

    Length (mins)00:35:32

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

    "My Generation"

    "A Legal Matter"

    "The Kids Are Alright" / "The Ox"

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  • 20
    Talking Heads: 77 is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    617
    491

    Talking Heads: 77

    Talking Heads

    Release Date1977

    ProducerTony Bongiovi

    TracksFirst Week/Last Week… Carefree, Pulled Up, No Compassion

    Length (mins)00:39:19

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

    "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town"

    "Psycho Killer"

    "Pulled Up"

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  • 21
    Kill 'Em All is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    733
    557

    Kill 'Em All

    Metallica

    Release Date1983

    TracksMetal Militia, Motorbreath, (Anesthesia)-Pulling Teeth

    Genres (Music)Speed metal, Thrash metal

    "Whiplash"

    "Jump in the Fire"

    "The Four Horsemen"

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  • 22
    Crosby, Stills & Nash is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    780
    535

    Crosby, Stills & Nash

    Crosby, Stills

    Release Date1969

    TracksLong Time Gone, Wooden Ships, Pre-Road Downs

    Length (mins)00:40:58

    LabelAtlantic Records

    Genres (Music)Rock music, Folk rock

    "Marrakesh Express"

    "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"

    "Pre-Road Downs"

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  • 23
    Pretenders is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    616
    484

    Pretenders

    The Pretenders

    Release Date1979

    ProducerChris Thomas

    TracksMystery Achievement, Tattooed Love Boys, Stop Your Sobbing

    Length (mins)00:47:07

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

    "Stop Your Sobbing"

    "Kid"

    "Brass In Pocket"

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  • 24
    Chicago Transit Authority is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked

    Release Date1969

    TracksSomeday (August 29, 1968), Introduction

    LabelColumbia

    Genres (Music)Progressive rock, Rock music, Hard rock, Jazz fusion

    "Questions 67 and 68"

    "Beginnings"

    "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?"

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  • 25
    Foreigner is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Debut Albums of All Time, Ranked
    838
    442

    Foreigner

    Foreigner

    Release Date1977

    TracksI Need You, The Damage Is Done, Fool for You Anyway

    Length (mins)00:39:29

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

    "Feels Like the First Time"

    "Starrider"

    "Cold as Ice"

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