Music

Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums 

Ranker Music
Updated March 4, 2020 27.8k votes 1.7k voters 6.5k views 133 items

List Rules Only vote up bands or artists who have released five great albums. Not good albums. GREAT albums. This only includes studio albums. No live albums. No B-side collections.

Building a successful band is tough but keeping it going is much tougher. Even some of history's biggest, best-selling bands couldn't repeat the magic more than once. Break-ups and bad musical decisions have sabotaged some of the all-time best bands and artists. Just how hard is it? The Smiths, Cream and Velvet Underground lasted just four albums. Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix? Just three. The Sex Pistols? Only one.

Sure, plenty of bands continue to release albums for years but that doesn't mean they are good. The list of artists who have released what would be considered five great albums isn't as long as you might think. Not everyone can successfully reinvent themselves like Bob Dylan or The Beatles or stay as consistent as AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. 

So which artists have gone the distance five full times? 

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26
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
oosala added Genre: Pop music, Folk music & Folk jazz; Nationality: Canada

Albums: Blue, Court and Spark, Ladies of the Canyon, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Clouds, + more

Labels: Geffen Records, Asylum Records, Reprise Records, Hear Music, Nonesuch Records

Roberta Joan "Joni" Mitchell (née Anderson; born November 7, 1943) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Drawing from folk, pop, rock, and jazz, Mitchell's songs often reflect social ...more

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#63 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #31 of 303 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters The Best Joni Mitchell Albums of All Time

27
Tom Petty and the Heartb... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: The Last DJ, Damn the Torpedoes, Into the Great Wide Open, Southern Accents, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, + more

Labels: MCA Records, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Shelter Records, Backstreet Records, American Recordings, + more

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (alternately Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) were an American rock band from Gainesville, Florida. Formed in 1976, the band originally comprised Tom Petty ...more

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#30 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #10 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Most Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About Tom Petty

28
The Kinks is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur (or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire), The Kink Kronikles, Something Else by The Kinks, Face to Face, + more

Labels: Sony Records, London Records, MCA Records, PRT Records, Universal Records, + more

The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. They are regarded as one of the most influential rock bands of the 1960s. The ...more

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#37 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #121 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Kinks Songs of All Time

29
The Police is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
moezelpg added

Albums: Synchronicity, Reggatta de Blanc, Ghost in the Machine, Zenyattà Mondatta, Every Breath You Take: The Singles, + more

Labels: A&M Records, Illegal Records, Universal Music Group, Polydor Records

The Police were a British rock band formed in London in 1977. For most of their history the line-up consisted of Sting (lead vocals, bass guitar, primary songwriter), Andy Summers (guitar) and ...more

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#24 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #27 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Police Albums of All Time

30
Rush is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: Moving Pictures, 2112, Hemispheres, Permanent Waves, Fly by Night, + more

Labels: Atlantic Records, Roadrunner Records, Moon Records (Canada), Mercury, Anthem Records

Rush was a Canadian rock band consisting of Geddy Lee (bass, vocals, keyboards), Alex Lifeson (guitars), and Neil Peart (drums, percussion). Formed in 1968, the band went through several ...more

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#29 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #10 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time

31
Talking Heads is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
Thomas Rudnicki added

Albums: Stop Making Sense, Remain in Light, Fear of Music, More Songs About Buildings and Food, Sand in the Vaseline: Popular Favorites, + more

Labels: Warner Music Group, EMI, Sire Records, Warner Bros. Records

Talking Heads were an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until 1991. The band comprised David Byrne (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Frantz (drums), Tina Weymouth (bass), ...more

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#65 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #76 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Talking Heads Albums of All Time

32
Van Halen is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: Van Halen, 1984, Diver Down, OU812, Van Halen II, + more

Labels: Interscope Records, Warner Bros. Records

Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with "restoring hard rock to the forefront of the music scene", Van Halen is known for its ...more

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#20 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #59 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time The Best Van Halen Songs of All Time

33
R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
Thomas Rudnicki added

Albums: Murmur, Green, Automatic for the People, Out of Time, Reckoning, + more

Labels: Hib-Tone, New West Records, I.R.S. Records, Warner Bros. Records

R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by drummer Bill Berry, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist/backing vocalist Mike Mills, and lead vocalist Michael Stipe. One of ...more

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#124 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #101 of 844 These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

34
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
Genre: Rock music, Experimental rock & Grunge; Nationality: Canada

Albums: Harvest, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush, Tonight's the Night, On the Beach, + more

Labels: ATCO Records, Warner Music Group, Motown Records, Geffen Records, Reprise Records

Neil Percival Young (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After embarking on a music career in the 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles, where he formed Buffalo Springfield with ...more

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#139 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #53 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time The Best Neil Young Albums of All Time

35
U2 is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: The Joshua Tree, War, Achtung Baby, Rattle and Hum, The Unforgettable Fire, + more

Labels: Island Records, CBS Records, Mercury, Interscope Records, Columbia

U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin, formed in 1976. The group consists of Bono (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), the Edge (lead guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals), Adam Clayton (bass ...more

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#13 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #299 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time The Best U2 Songs of All Time

36
Black Sabbath is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: Paranoid, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell, Vol. 4, Master of Reality, + more

Labels: Vertigo Records, Castle Communications, Epic Records, Sanctuary Records Group, Reprise Records, + more

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler and singer Ozzy ...more

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#11 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #25 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time Drug-Fueled, Sordid Tales From Black Sabbath's Heyday That Prove Just How Unhinged They Really Were

37
Frank Sinatra is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
Jdoggy added Genre: Swing music, Traditional pop music & Big band; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Christmas With the Rat Pack, In the Wee Small Hours, Christmas Songs by Sinatra, A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra, Nothing but the Best, + more

Labels: Qwest Records, Legacy Recordings, Reprise Records, Columbia, Capitol Records

Francis Albert Sinatra (; December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer, actor and producer who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is ...more

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#3 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time The Best Frank Sinatra Songs of All Timelisted on Republicans in Hollywood: Republican Celebrities List

38
Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
Genre: Americana, Blues-rock & Country; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A., The Rising, Darkness on the Edge of Town, The River, + more

Labels: Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Columbia

Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949), nicknamed "The Boss", is an American singer-songwriter who is a solo artist and is the leader of the E Street Band. ...more

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#82 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #5 of 303 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters The Best Bruce Springsteen Songs of All Time

39
Yes is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
Michael McGinnis added

Albums: Fragile, Close to the Edge, 90125, The Yes Album, Relayer, + more

Labels: JVC, Atlantic Records, Eagle Records, ATCO Records, Warner Music Group, + more

Yes are an English progressive rock band formed in London in 1968 by singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye, and drummer Bill Bruford. The band ...more
40
Fleetwood Mac is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: Rumours, Fleetwood Mac, Tango in the Night, The Dance, The Original Fleetwood Mac, + more

Labels: CBS Records, Epic Records, Sanctuary Records Group, Reprise Records, Sire Records, + more

Fleetwood Mac are a British-American rock band formed in July 1967, in London. The band have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling bands of all time. ...more

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#21 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #24 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time Fascinating Stories From Stevie Nicks’s Love Life

41
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: The Doors, L.A. Woman, Strange Days, Morrison Hotel, Light My Fire, + more

Labels: Warner Music Group, Rhino Entertainment, Elektra Records

The Doors were an American rock band formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, with vocalist Jim Morrison, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger. The band took its ...more

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#22 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time #193 of 284 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The Best Doors Albums of All Time

42
Aerosmith is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: Toys in the Attic, Pump, Permanent Vacation, Aerosmith, Get a Grip, + more

Labels: Castle Classics, Geffen Records, Columbia

Aerosmith is an American rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1970. The group consists of Steven Tyler (vocals, keyboards), Joe Perry (guitar), Tom Hamilton (bass), Joey Kramer (drums), ...more

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#24 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #907 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time The Best Aerosmith Songs of All Time

43
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
Thomas Rudnicki added Genre: Synthpop, Pop rock & Alternative rock; Nationality: England

Albums: Hounds of Love, The Dreaming, The Kick Inside, Hounds of Love, Never for Ever, + more

Labels: EMI, Legacy Recordings, Columbia, EMI Records

Catherine Bush (born 30 July 1958) is an English singer-songwriter and record producer. In 1978, aged 19, she topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks with her debut single "Wuthering ...more

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#49 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #77 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever The Best Kate Bush Songs

44
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
Genre: Christian music, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Jailhouse Rock, The Sun Sessions, From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential '60s Masters, Can’t Help Falling in Love / Rock-A-Hula Baby, Elvis Presley (Legacy Edition), + more

Labels: Sun Records, RCA Records

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known mononymously as Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th ...more

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#365 of 1,145 The Best Actors in Film History #5 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time The Best Elvis Presley Songs of All Time

45
The Monkees is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
Thomas Rudnicki added Genre: Bubblegum pop, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Then & Now...The Best of the Monkees, Headquarters, Daydream Believer / Goin' Down, Head, More of the Monkees, + more

Labels: Rhino Entertainment, Bell Records, Arista Records, Colgems Records, RCA Records

The Monkees are an American rock and pop band originally active between 1966 and 1971, with reunion albums and tours in the decades that followed. Their original line-up consisted of the ...more

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#147 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time #27 of 284 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The Best Monkees Albums of All Time

46
ZZ Top is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: Tres Hombres, Eliminator, Rio Grande Mud, Greatest Hits, Fandango!, + more

Labels: London Records, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Rhino Entertainment, American Recordings, Eagle Rock Records, + more

ZZ Top is an American rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band has, since 1970, consisted of vocalist/guitarist Billy Gibbons (the band's leader, main lyricist and musical arranger), ...more

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#39 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #78 of 277 Rank the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inductees The Best ZZ Top Songs of All Time

47
Iron Maiden is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden, Powerslave, Brave New World, Piece of Mind, + more

Labels: Harvest Records, EMI, Portrait Records, CMC International, Epic Records, + more

Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band's discography has grown to thirty-nine albums, ...more

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#42 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #323 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Iron Maiden Songs of All Time

48
Lynyrd Skynyrd is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: (pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd), Second Helping, Gold, Christmas Time Again, Nuthin' Fancy, + more

Labels: Atlantic Records, MCA Records, Universal Records, Roadrunner Records, Capricorn Records, + more

Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the southern hard-rock genre during the 1970s. Originally formed in 1966 as The Pretty Ones in Jacksonville, Florida, they ...more

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#25 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #413 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time Falling Free Bird: The Truth About The Infamous Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash Is Stranger Than Fiction

49
The Byrds is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums
Thomas Rudnicki added

Albums: Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Mr. Tambourine Man, Younger Than Yesterday, Turn! Turn! Turn!, Fifth Dimension, + more

Labels: Asylum Records, Elektra Records, Columbia

The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple lineup changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn (known as Jim ...more

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#97 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #40 of 344 The Greatest American Rock Bands The Best Byrds Albums of All Time

50
Metallica is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Albums: Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning, Metallica, …and Justice for All, Kill 'Em All, + more

Labels: Vertigo Records, Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., Universal Records, Megaforce Records, Universal Music Group, + more

Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, and has been based in San Francisco for most ...more

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#164 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time #7 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time The Best Metallica Songs of All Time