Rock music has been a staple of popular music since the 1950s. From it has come countless iconic albums throughout the years. Albums that have gone on to influence future generations and become worldwide classics.
While there’s no way to cover every iconic and influential album ever made, here are 5 big ones that have changed the rock music scene.
1. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin I (1969)
From 1966 to 1968, Jimmy Page was a guitarist with the Yardbirds, a successful blues rock band. When they broke up, he saw an opportunity to move on to something with a heavier sound. He pulled together a new lineup of musicians made up of Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. The foursome completed the last leg of the Yardbirds tour before changing their name to Led Zeppelin.
Their debut album, Led Zeppelin I, was full of driving drums, throaty wails and powerful sounds. It’s widely cited as a major influence for the hard and heavy rock that followed.
The album also features tracks like “Dazed and Confused” and “Whole Lotta Love”, which would become classic rock radio staples.
2. The Who – Who’s Next (1971)
Who’s Next is the fifth album by The Who, and is one of the most iconic albums in rock history. It was originally supposed to be a rock opera called Lifehouse but the vision didn’t come to fruition. Instead, The Who went back to basics.
The album includes tracks such as “Baba O’Riley” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, which have become classic rock anthems. It also influenced future rock sensations like Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.
“I was around nine when a babysitter snuck Who’s Next onto the turntable. The parents were gone. The windows shook. The shelves were rattling. Rock & roll. That began an exploration into music that had soul, rebellion, aggression, affection. Destruction. And this was all Who music.”— Eddie Vedder
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3. Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)
Nevermind is the second album from Nirvana and is widely considered to be one of the most influential albums from the 1990s.
Featuring classic singles like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come As You Are”, Nevermind inspired a generation and helped bring alternative, punk and grunge rock to the mainstream. This opened the doors for bands like Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Green Day and more.
“[Nirvana] might have been around for a short while but whatever they recorded and released was honest and deeply intimate. Any music made with such utmost sincerity will always stand the test of time, much like Nevermind.”— Suyasha Sen of The Ganesh Talkies
4. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
The Dark Side of the Moon is Pink Floyd’s eighth album. It spoke to the darker side of human nature, delving into themes like mental illness, mortality, greed and more.
The album features classic rock singles like “Money” and “Time”, as well as the iconic Prism album cover.
The Dark Side Of The Moon was a massive success and has become one of the best-selling albums of all time. More importantly, it paved the way for even more alternative and experimental rock, with many crediting it as the forerunner of progressive rock.
5. David Bowie – The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)
Ziggy Stardust is David Bowie’s commercial breakthrough album. It includes songs such as “Starman” and “Suffragette City” and introduced listeners to a whole new style of music. It also introduced an alter ego that became more than anyone ever could have imagined … including Bowie himself.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bowie explained that the character “really grew out of proportion, got much bigger than I thought he was going to be – Ziggy just overshadowed everything”.
Ziggy Stardust is considered one of the most influential albums of all time and a crucial piece of rock history, influencing glam, punk and other rock genres.
These five iconic rock albums have changed the way we think about music, influencing generations to come. From Led Zeppelin’s I to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, these albums have had a lasting impact on the music industry and will forever be remembered for their influence and timeless sounds.