2.3k voters

Bands Or Artists With Five Great Albums

Updated June 26, 2020 43.6k votes 2.3k voters 10.0k views139 items

List RulesOnly 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? 

  • 26

    The Kinks

    The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur (or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
    The Kinks are an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, in 1964 by brothers...  more

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  • 27


    The Joshua Tree, War
    U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin, formed in 1976. The group consists of Bono (lead...  more

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    The Best U2 Songs of All Time#90 of 541 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time

  • 28

    Miles Davis

    Bitches Brew, Kind of Blue
    Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991) was an American jazz trumpeter,...  more

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    The Best Miles Davis Albums of All Time#96 of 816 These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

  • 29

    Neil Young

    Harvest, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
    Neil Percival Young (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After embarking...  more

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    The Best Neil Young Albums of All Time#74 of 639 The Greatest Lead Guitarists Of All Time

  • 30

    The Beach Boys

    Pet Sounds, Surfin' USA
    The Beach Boys are an American rock and roll band. Formed in 1961, they gained popularity for...  more

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    14 Beach Boys Songs You Never Realized Are Super Dark And Depressing#82 of 219 The Top Pop Artists of the 1960s

  • 31

    Michael Jackson

    Thriller, Bad
    Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter,...  more

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    The Best Michael Jackson Songs of All TimeThe Most Bizarre Things At Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch

  • 32


    Toys in the Attic, Pump
    Aerosmith is an American rock band formed in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1970. The group...  more

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    The Best Aerosmith Songs of All Time#19 of 465 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s

  • 33

    Van Morrison

    Astral Weeks, Moondance
    Sir George Ivan "Van" Morrison OBE (born 31 August 1945) is a Northern Irish...  more

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    The Best Van Morrison Albums of All Time#94 of 227 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

  • 34


    Murmur, Green
    R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by drummer Bill Berry,...  more

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    #20 of 383 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s#87 of 279 The Greatest American Rock Bands

  • 35

    Talking Heads

    Stop Making Sense, Remain in Light
    Talking Heads were an American rock band formed in 1975 in New York City and active until...  more

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    The Best Talking Heads Songs of All Time#34 of 389 The Best Punk Bands Of All Time

  • 36


    Abraxas, Supernatural
    Santana is a Latin rock band, founded in San Francisco during the late 1960s by Carlos Santana...  more

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    #77 of 124 The Best Black Rock Bands#26 of 133 The Best Stoner Rock Bands

  • 37


    Purple Rain, Sign 'O' the Times
    Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter,...  more

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    10 Songs You Had No Idea Were Written by Prince#28 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

  • 38


    The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Genesis
    Genesis were an English rock band formed at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, in 1967....  more

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    The Best Genesis Albums of All Time#5 of 65 The Best Bands Named After Books and Literary Characters

  • 39


    Fragile, Close to the Edge
    Yes are an English progressive rock band formed in London in 1968 by singer Jon Anderson,...  more

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    #38 of 70 The Best Stoner Music#34 of 93 The Best Opening Act You've Ever Seen

  • 40

    The Police

    Synchronicity, Reggatta de Blanc
    The Police were a British rock band formed in London in 1977. For most of their history the...  more

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  • 41

    Van Halen

    Van Halen, 1984
    Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972. Credited with...  more

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    The Best Van Halen Songs of All Time#4 of 156 The Best Hair Metal Bands Of All Time

  • 42

    Jethro Tull

    Aqualung, The Jethro Tull Christmas Album
    Jethro Tull are a British rock band formed in Blackpool, Lancashire, in 1967. Initially...  more

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    The Best Jethro Tull Songs of All Time#5 of 15 The Greatest Bands Named After Real People

  • 43

    Joni Mitchell

    Blue, Court and Spark
    Roberta Joan "Joni" Mitchell (née Anderson; born November 7, 1943) is a Canadian...  more

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  • 44

    Elvis Presley

    Jailhouse Rock, The Sun Sessions
    Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known mononymously as Elvis, was...  more

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    The Best Elvis Presley Songs of All Time#131 of 162 1970s Christian Pop Artists

  • 45


    Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning
    Metallica is an American heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles by...  more

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    The Best Metallica Songs of All TimeFascinating Facts From The Making Of Metallica's 'Master Of Puppets'

  • 46

    Bob Marley

    Sun Is Shining, One Love
    Robert Nesta Marley, (6 February 1945 – 11 May 1981) was a Jamaican singer and songwriter....  more

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    18 Things Most People Don't Know About Bob Marley#69 of 489 The Best Rock Vocalists

  • 47

    Iron Maiden

    The Number of the Beast, Iron Maiden
    Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist...  more

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    The Best Iron Maiden Songs of All Time#6 of 357 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

  • 48

    Alice Cooper

    Welcome to My Nightmare, Hey Stoopid
    Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier; February 4, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter,...  more

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    The Best Alice Cooper Albums of All Time#60 of 196 The Greatest Male Pop Singers of All Time

  • 49

    Lynyrd Skynyrd

    (pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd), Second Helping
    Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band best known for popularizing the southern hard-rock...  more

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    Falling Free Bird: The Truth About The Infamous Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash Is Stranger Than Fiction#136 of 291 The Top Country Artists of All Time

  • 50

    ZZ Top

    Tres Hombres, Eliminator
    ZZ Top is an American rock band formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band has, since 1970,...  more

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    The Best ZZ Top Songs of All Time#50 of 95 The Best Trios Of All Time