10 Classic rock albums you must own

Rock is more than just a style of music, it is a cultural movement that covers a multitude of trends and expressions that range from fashion to art and graphic design. Besides this, it is also an attitude and a way of life. Rock music has the ability to bring people together from all different types of backgrounds. In this slideshow, we will present you with a varied list of albums that you should definitely look to include in your record collection if you do not own them already.

Sgt. Pepper`s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Released in 1967, this album by The Beatles is considered by many music critics to be the best album of all time and indeed it often tops the best album lists of important publications such as Rolling Stone magazine. Sgt. Pepper’s is a cultural icon of the 1960s and it helped spearhead the psychedelic movement of the time with its musical advances and cover art. The album is also a marvel of experimental sound engineering as it was produced using revolutionary methods for recording tracks. It is also an album which has managed to withstand the test of time and it continues to inspire new waves of musicians and song writers.

Are You Experienced?

Jimmy Hendrix, perhaps the greatest guitarist of all time, released this debut album in 1967 as part of the Jimmy Hendrix Experience. It reached number two in the UK charts and was only kept off the top spot by “Sgt. Pepper`s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles. “Are You Experienced?” boasts wonderful songs such as “Hey Joe”, “Foxy Lady” and “Purple Haze” and Hendrix clearly demonstrates his desire to push the limits of what can be done with an electric guitar on this album.

Back in Black

This is Australian rock group AC/DC’s seventh album and it was the first recorded without the band’s singer Bon Scott, who had died a few months before the group was due to enter the studio in 1980. The album, homage to their former frontman, wowed both public and critics alike. The success of the record came as a relief to the band’s new singer Brian Johnson, who had initially been met with suspicion on behalf of fans of the group. Johnson silenced all critics with the incredible power of his voice which bursts into life on this record.

The Dark Side of the Moon

Released in 1973, Pink Floyd’s eighth album went onto sell close to 50 million copies and to this day it continues to feature in best album lists of music experts. The success of this record lies in its musical virtuosity, technical innovation with synthesizers and the cutting-edge recording methods used. Created as a concept album it follows a theme from the first song to the last. It is one of the band’s high points in terms of musical composition and demonstrates that rock is a popular phenomenon in which there is lots of room for experimentation.


This album released by Nirvana in 1991 can be considered as the perfect synthesis of the fury and poetic sensitivity of the grunge movement. With 30 million copies sold worldwide, its songs such as “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come As You Are” left their mark on a generation of music lovers. However, the band’s charismatic and sensitive leader Kurt Cobain could never adapt to the attention and fame the album’s success brought him. His rejection of the commercialisation of art is clear in the album cover, which features a baby swimming after a US dollar bill in a pool.

The Doors

For many people, Jim Morrison is one of the most important popular poets of 20th Century American literature. However, in 1960s America, which was being ripped apart by divisive issues such as the Vietnam War and civil rights, the music of his band, The Doors, generated as many detractors as admirers. Breaking into the cultural scene in 1967, The Doors sought with this self-titled album to act as a gateway for new forms of perception. The millions of sales which this album has generated continue to grow to this day and this success is largely down to classic songs such as "Light My Fire" and "The End".

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London Calling

The aggressiveness and irreverence which pioneering bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Ramones gave the punk rock genre found its most polished demonstration in The Clash’s "London Calling". Released in 1979, the album echoes the cosmopolitan but troubled London of the time with its variety of musical styles including jazz, ska and reggae. Much of the immediate public empathy with the album stemmed from Joe Strummer’s lyrics in songs such as "The Guns of Brixton" and "Revolution Rock", which unlike the nihilistic attitude of other punk bands, dealt with political issues related to unemployment and racial problems.

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Exile on Main Street

This Rolling Stones’ album released in 1972 is perhaps the greatest demonstration of the deep admiration that both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards felt for the musical styles, such as blues, gospel, country, and rhythm and blues, which had given rise to rock and roll in the United States of America. Recorded in the south of France, after the band had fled there to avoid high tax rates in the United Kingdom, the album contains such gems as “Shine a Light” and “Rocks Off”.

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Led Zeppelin IV

The song "Stairway to Heaven” is representative of the success and heavenly heights reached by Led Zeppelin's fourth album. The album artwork, which shows various symbols each representing a member of the group, announces the strong link between music and spirituality that the band members concentrated on during the writing and recording of this 1971 album.

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A Night at the Opera

Queen was one of the bands that helped bring about the phenomenon known as "stadium rock". Thousands of fans of the band would go to their gigs not only to listen to the hits but also to be part of a kind of massive ritual. With Freddie Mercury as the ring master, Queen’s shows oozed elegance, with extravagant costume and lighting resources creating opulence normally only seen in opera theatres. Indeed, the 1975 album "A Night at the Opera" (which takes its title from a Marx Brothers film), captures this spirit of sophistication on songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Love of my Life".

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About the Author

Lautaro Berasategui comenzó su carrera como periodista cultural en el 2006 y sus artículos sobre arte y literatura han aparecido en diferentes medios de prensa de Hispanoamérica. Tiene una Licenciatura en Letras y en el 2007 ganó la beca Reina Sofía para cursar un doctorado en la Universidad de Salamanca.