Back a couple of weeks ago, I posted a Top Nine: Favorite Albums. This is the rest of the list, which finishes my top 25 albums. Again, as a few people commented on, it’s so hard to pick 9, let alone 25 favorite albums. But based on my personal preferences and how often I listen to some of the records, these are the ones that made the rest of my top 25 list.
- Alice In Chains: MTV Unplugged
The first time I heard Alice In Chains, it was 1990 and they had just released “Facelift” I really wasn’t that into it. It only took a short time before their sound grabbed me and I became a fan. But the album of theirs that I listen to most is “MTV Unplugged” from 1996. The raw and stripped down sound is so clean and fresh. Plus it’s one of the last time’s Layne performed with the band. Just try and listen to this version of “Down in a Hole” without feeling goosebumps.
- U2: The Joshua Tree
The music released in 1987 was tops. An excellent year for many bands. U2 was already becoming a household name, but this album made sure no one mistook the band for the military plane. Songs like “With Or Without You” and “Bullet The Blue Sky” forever changed the status of this Irish band. This album is still in constant rotation in my CD player on on my iPod.
- Prince: Purple Rain
I found Prince’s music when he released the album 1999. But it was seeing the movie Purple Rain that helped me get more into this funk master’s mindset and his grooves. Even the backwards masking controversy could not stop people from embracing this album. “Darling Nikki” will always bring a smile to my face, and “Let’s Go Crazy” starts off any party with a blast.
- Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy
I’ve been a Zeppelin fan since the beginning of their career. And I like pretty much all of their music. This album, released in 1973, came out on top and stayed there. Even missing the title track (which showed up on their next album, “Physical Graffiti”), it still didn’t take away from the tracks like “Dancing Days” and “No Quarter”. In fact, this album contains my favorite Zep song – “The Rain Song” which is almost eight minutes of pure enjoyment.
- The Eagles: Hotel California
Even with their country infused sound, the Eagles forever changed the landscape of rock with this 1976 album. Hearing “Life In The Fast Lane” on the radio that year, wiped out any stereotype I had from their previous work. And although I prefer the version of “Hotel California” from their album “Hell Freezes Over”, the original studio version still stands up in its classic format.
- Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
If you have ever read the story of the making of this album, you will be amazed that it actually got made. To date, it has sold over 30 million copies and is considered one of the best rock albums ever made. And with songs like “The Chain” (which is my favorite), it’s hard not to keep playing this album over and over. This is the album that gets put on when I leave for a camping trip, driving down the highway and backroads.
- Sex Pistols: Nevermind The Bullocks
“God Save The Queen/Her Facist Regime” Opening lyrics that became glued to every punk kid’s memory. Released in 1977, it is the first and only album recorded by the Sex Pistols. It’s also the one that everyone turns to when they think of the start of the punk rock revolution. Raw, unapologetic and dirty, this album has stood the test of time and inspired many followers over the years.
- Marilyn Manson: Antichrist Superstar
Not too many people know what a huge fan of Marilyn Manson I am. I’ve seen him twice in concert (2001 and 2008) and have always considered his music misunderstood by most. Most people may remember all of the odd things he’s done over the years, but it’s this 1996 release that will remain one of his best works. Produced by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), it tells a story of a misguided rock star looking for whatever it can find to satisfy any desire in life. Besides the well-known “The Beautiful People”, songs like “Little Horn” and the title track make this album one I never get tired of hearing.
- Rolling Stones: Exile On Main Street
I can’t tell you how many great albums were released in the 70’s. Today most are known as classic rock. Eight years into their career, the Rolling Stones came out with this album. Except for “Tumbling Dice”, there wasn’t a lot of well-known radio hits, but that wasn’t the point of this record. Playing it from start to finish is much more what Mick & Keith and Co. had in mind. Eighteen songs long, it’s easily my favorite, and with many music critics, as well.
- Tears For Fears: Songs From The Big Chair
How many times do you hear an album for the first time and think, “This is going to be huge” Tears For Fears second release from 1985 was one of those albums that I heard and uttered the above phrase. “Shout” and “Head Over Heels” were heard everywhere. You couldn’t escape them if you wanted to. And now 23 years later, I enjoy them just as much as when they were in heavy rotation on pop radio.
- Notorious B.I.G.: Life After Death
I don’t like too many rap artists. In fact, I can only name four or five that I really count as musicians that matter in the music industry. One had his life cut short, just days before the release of this album. Christopher “Biggie” Wallace knew how to rap. Just listen to “Hypnotize” and “Going Back To Cali” and you’ll hear someone who really spent time perfecting his talent. And to have one of the best selling double albums, it’s a 1996 release that you should really check out.
- Pink Floyd: Dark Side Of The Moon
Who knew that in 1973, an long time jazzy blues band was going down a more creative route musically. They had several albums that resulted in their efforts, but it was this album that sticks in most people’s minds as the definitive crown. Spending over 12 years on the Billboard Top 200 list, it’s the one album that most people own and play often. It’s meant to be played from start to finish and you can listen to tracks like “Money” and still be blown away at how well this sounds.
- Black Sabbath: Paranoid
The start of the 70’s found the a band from England releasing one of their best selling and most popular albums. “War Pigs”, “Faries Wear Boots” and “Iron Man” are some timeless classics, you can’t help but listen each and every time they are played. They would go on to release six more albums with Ozzy Osbourne at the helm, but Paranoid remains the one that most people know and love.
- The Cars: The Cars
An odd lead singer with an even odder name, Ric Otcasek (later changed to Ocasek) helped start this Boston band on its road to success. Their first album is yet another one that must be played from the beginning to the end. And with no gaps between the tracks on each side of the album, it flows perfectly. It’s very common for me to play all of side 2 (which is the final three songs) for a lot of people, just to show how well it sounds. “Good Times Roll” and “Best Friend’s Girl” are the stand out tracks that makes this record a keeper.
- The Cure: Pornography
Long considered a goth band, The Cure was always a favorite of mine. In 1982, they released the first of the trilogy of albums [Disintegration (1989) and Bloodflowers (2000) were the other two] that would define their drastic and dread-like sound. “One Hundred Years” and “Hanging Garden” are classic alternative songs that make you want to mosh and sway.
- Nine Inch Nails: The Fragile
A double album is not something that’s easy to release, let alone expect the buying public to embrace. Bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Peter Frampton made them work. And so did Nine Inch Nails in 1999. The album is broken up into two: Left and Right. While I prefer the Left side (another one that is great from start to finish), the Right side contains the Grammy-nominated song “Starfuckers Inc.”, which is not only a killer song, its lyrics tell a sordid tale about torn friendships.
So there you have it. I guess I could go on with my favorites, which could fill countless blog posts. But we’ll stop a the Top Nine and the rest of the top 25 favorites. Comment away if you have anything to add to this or add your favorites or suggestions.