527 Essential Albums in Alphabetical Order.
Below I have listed 527 absolutely essential albums.
Just because something does not appear in the list below does not automatically mean I do not like it. I have a collection of some thirty thousand albums. Cutting it down to 527 was immensely difficult. I’ve probably missed a few out that I love.
You won’t find any Gram Parsons, Queen, or Smiths in there though – because I don’t like them!
Everyone has their own taste.
This list is biased towards the 50s, 60s and 70s because that was when it was best – before the Big Labels sanitised it to death with production and playing safe!
Why not have a browse through and tell me what I’ve missed?
|AC/DC||Albert King||Al Stewart|
|For those about to Rock||Born under a bad sign||Love ChroniclesZero she flies|
|Angelic Upstarts||Aretha Franklin||Arlo Guthrie|
|Angel dust||Respect||Alice’s Restaurant|
|Arthur Alexander||Arthur Brown||Band|
|Greatest hits||Fire||Music from Big PinkThe Band|
|Beach Boys||Beatles||Bert Jansch|
|Pet Sounds||White albumSrgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts-club BandLet it bePlease Please MeRevolverWith theAbbey RoadRubber SoulHelpA hard day’s night1967-701962-66Beatles for sale||It don’t bother meBert Jansch|
|Bessie Smith||Big Bother & the Holding Company||Big Mama Thornton|
|Blue spirit blues||Cheap Thrills||The original hound dog|
|Billy Boy Arnold||Billy Bragg||Black Sabbath|
|I wish you would||Brewing up withMermaid AveBack to basics||We sold our soul for Rock ‘n’ Roll|
|Black Uhuru||Blondie||Blue Cheer|
|Bob Dylan||Bob Marley||Bo Carter|
|Bringing it all back homeThe times they are a changingHighway 61 revisitedBlonde on BlondeAnother side ofPlanet WavesDesireFreewheelin’Blood on the tracksTime out of mind||ExodusRastaman VibrationCatch a fireJammin’SurvivalKayaConfrontationUprising||Banana in your fruit basket|
|Bonzo Dod Doo-Dah Band||Bo Diddley||Booker T & the MGs|
|A dog’s body||Bo’s big 20Bo’s a gunslingerHey Bo DiddleyBo Diddley||Green Onions|
|Bruce Springsteen||Buddy Guy||Buddy Holly|
|The RiverDarkness at the edge of Town||Damn Right I got the Blues||Memorial AlbumMemorial Album Vol 2Chirping CricketsReminiscingThat’ll be the day|
|Buffalo Springsteen||Buffy St Marie||Byrds|
|Buffalo Springfield||Native North American Indian Child – an Odyssey||Notorious Byrd Brothers5th DimensionYounger than yesterdayMr Tambourine man|
|Canned Heat||Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band||Carl Perkins|
|Boogie with Canned Heat||Lick my decals offTrout Mask ReplicaSpotlight kidClear spotDrop out Boogie/Safe as MilkIce Cream for CrowDoc at the RadarBat chain pullerStrictly PersonalShiny Beast||Boppin’ Blue Suede Shoes|
|Chicken Shack||Chuck Berry||Clash|
|40 fiongers, freshly packed and ready to serve||On StageMoreChuck BerryAfter school sessionIs on topOne dozen berries||London callingSandinistaCombat RockThe Clash|
|Cliff Richard & Shadows||Coasters||Country Joe & the Fish|
|Cliff||Coasters||Electric Music for the body & mindFeel like I’m fixin’ to die|
|Aplacetofolkin||A date with Elvis||Disreali gearsWheels of fireGoodbye|
|Creedence Clearwater Revival||Crosby Stills Nash & Young||Crystals|
|Green River||Four Way StreetDéjà vuCarry on||Best of|
|Dale Hawkins||David Crosby||David Gray|
|Suzie Q||If I could only remember my name||White ladderA century ends|
|Dead Kennedys||Deep Purple||Devo|
|Fresh fruitPlastic Surgery DisasterIn God we Trust inc.Give me convenience or give me death||Smoke on the water||Q- Are we not men? A – We are Devo|
|Dick Dale||Desmond Dekker||Dire Straits|
|Surfers’ choice||Isrealites||Dire StraitsAlchemyMoney for Nothing|
|Doctor’s of Madness||Dillinger||Don & Dewey|
|Late night movies All night brainstorms||Dillinger||Jungle Hop|
|Sunshine SupermanFairy taleSutrasCatch the WindOpen Road||Sixty Minute man||Downliners Sect|
|Dr Feelgood||Doors||Dr John|
|Down at the jettyMalpracticeStupiditySneakin’ SuspicionBe Seeing youPrivate practice||Strange daysAbsolutely liveDoorsMorrison HotelWaiting for the sunSoft paradeLA Woman||Gris grisZu Zu ManAnutha Zone|
|Duster Bennett||Drifters||Eddie Cochran|
|Complete Blue Horizon||Under the boardwalk||Memorial album|
|Eddie Floyd||Edgar Broughton Band||Elmore James|
|Knock on Wood||Wasa Wasa||King of the slide guitar|
|Armed ForcesThis year’s modelGet happyMy aim is trueSpikePunch the clock||Daisies of the galaxyMeet the EelsElectro-shock bluesWonderful Glorious||Believe me when I say Rock ‘n’ Roll is here to stay|
|Everly Brothers||Elvis Presley||Fall|
|The fabulous style of the Everly BrothersEverly Brothers||Sun recordingsElvis PresleyElvisA date with Elvis||Slates50,000 Fans can’t be wrongRebellious JukeboxHex Enduction Hour|
|Family||Fairport Convention||Fela Kouti|
|Family entertainment||What we did on our holidaysUnhalfbrickingLiege & Leaf||Zombie|
|Fleetwood Mac||Fats Domino||Free|
|Fleetwood MacBlue Horizon SessionsMr WonderfulThen Play onLive in Boston||The Fat man sings||Free StoryFire & WaterLive|
|Fugs||Fred McDowell||George Harrison|
|Belle of Avenue AIt crawled into my hand honestFugs first albumGolden filthFugs 2nd album||Shake ‘em on down||All things must passLiving in the material world|
|George Thorogood||Gang of Four||Grateful Dead|
|Bad to the bone||EntertainmentA brief History of the twentieth centurySongs for the freeReturn the gift||American BeautyBlues for AllahLive/Dead|
|Hank Williams||Gil Scott Heron||Hound Dog Taylor|
|40 greatest hits||ReflectionsSmall talk at 125th and Lenox||Natural boogie|
|Howlin’ Wolf||Hawkwind||Ian Dury|
|Moanin’ in the moonlightHowlin Wolf||HawkwindX In Search of Space||New boots & pantiesJuke Box DuryDo it yourself|
|Ian Siegal||Huey ‘Piano’ Smith||Incredible String Band|
|Meat & Potatoes||Having a good time||Wee Tam & the big HugeHangman’s beautiful daughterChanging HorsesI looked up|
|Inex & Charlie Foxx||Iggy Pop||James Brown|
|Mocking Bird||Raw PowerLust for life||The wonderful world of James Brown|
|James Taylor||Jackson C Frank||Janis Joplin|
|Fire and rain||Blues run the game||I got dem old Kosmic blues againPearl|
|Jeff Beck||James Varda||Jerry Lee Lewis|
|Truth||Hunger||Great balls of fire|
|Jethro Tull||Jefferson Airplane||Jimmie Rodgers|
|This was||Surrealistic pillowVolunteersAfter bathing at Baxter’sCrown of Creation||Best of|
|Jimmy Reed||Jimi Hendrix||Joan Baez|
|Bright Lights Big City||Electric LadylandAxis bold as loveJimi Hendrix ExperienceLive at MontereyConcertsRainbow BridgeSmash hits||Farewell Angelina|
|Joe Tex||JJ Cale||John Lee Hooker|
|Greatest hits||NaturallyOkie||I’m John Lee Hooker|
|John Lennon||John Cooper Clarke||Johnny Kidd & the Pirates|
|ImaginePlastic Ono BandShaved fish||Snap Crackle and Pop||Memorial album|
|John Renbourn||John Mayall||Juicy Lucy|
|Another Monday||John Mayall plays John MayallBluesbreakers||Lie back and enjoy it|
|Junior Kimborough||Joni Mitchell||Ken Nordine|
|Sad days lonely nights||BlueLadies of the canyonBig yellow taxiSongs of a Prairie girlMingus||Son of Word Jazz|
|Kenny Brown||Keith Cross & Peter Ross||King Crimson|
|Going back to Mississippi||Bored civilians||The concise King Crimson|
|Kinks||Killing Joke||Last Poets|
|KinksKink Kontroversy||Killing Joke||The real rap|
|Larry Williams||Kokomo Arnold||Lee Dorsey|
|At his finest||Bottleneck guitar||Ride your pony|
|Leonard Cohen||Led Zeppelin||Lee Scratch Perry|
|I’m your manSongs from a roomLeonard CohenSongs of love and hateVarious positionsSongs from the roadLive in London||Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin 2Led Zeppelin 3Led Zeppelin 4Physical Graffitti||Time boom and de devil dead|
|Linton Kwesi Johnson||Leon Rosselson||Lightnin’ Hopkins|
|Dread, Beat & BloodForces of victoryBass culture||The world turned upside down||Lightnin’ Strikes|
|Loudon Wainwright||Little Richard||Little Walter|
|School daysAlbum 2A live oneCharlie Poole Project||Here’s Little RichardLittle Richard vol 2||Little Walter|
|Lovin’ Spoonful||Lou Reed||Love|
|Greatest hits||TransformerSally can’t dance||Forever ChangesDa CapoLove|
|Marvin Gaye||Malvina Reynolds||Marianne Faithful|
|What’s going on?||Sings the truth||Broken English|
|Meters||MC5||Merseybeat – This is Merseybeat|
|Cissy strut||Kick out the jams||Compilation|
|Miracles||Michael Smith||Mimi & Ricahard Farina|
|Cookin’ with the Miracles||Mi Cy-aan Believe it||Celebration for a grey day|
|Motorhead||Mose Allison||Mothers of Invention|
|No sleep til Hammersmith||Original Jazz Classics||We’re only in it for the moneyFreak outBongo furyHave I offended someone?Hot ratsApostrophe|
|Nice||Muddy Waters||Neil Young|
|Thoughts of Emmerlist Davjack||Chess mastersHard againI’m Ready||HarvestAmerican stars and barsComes a timeRust never sleepsZumaEverybody knows this is nowhereFreedomLiving with war|
|Nico||Nick Drake||Nick Harper|
|Chelsea Girls||Bryter Layter5 Leaves Left||Light at the end of the kennelSeedSmithereensBlood songsMiracles for beginnersHarperspace|
|North Mississippi Allstars||Nina Simone||Nirvana|
|Do it like we used toShake hands with Shorty||Young, gifted and black||Smells like Teen SpiritIn uteroBleachIncesticideUnplugged in New York|
|(What’s the story) Morning Glory?||Compilation||Straight outa Compton|
|Patti Smith||Otis Redding||Paramounts|
|EasterHorses||BlueDictionary of soul||Whiter shades of R&B|
|Phil Ochs||Paul Simon||Pebbles Vol.3 The Acid Gallery|
|A toast for those who are goneI ain’t marching anymoreIn concertGreatest hitsThere & Now – Live in VancouverTape from CaliforniaThe pleasures of the harbour||Paul Simon song bookGracelandThere goes Rhymin’ SimonStill crazy after all these years||Compilation|
|Pogues||Pink Floyd||PJ Harvey|
|Rum, Sodomy & the LashIf I should fall from Grace with GodRed Roses for Me||Wish you were herePiper at the gates of dawnDark side of the moonSaucer full of secretsThe WallAnimals||Rid of meDry|
|Prince Buster||Pretenders||Pretty Things|
|Fabulous greatest hits||Don’t get me wrong||Get the picture|
|Pulp||Professor Longhair||Public Enemy|
|Different Class||Rock ‘n’ Roll Gumbo||It takes a nation of millions to hold us back|
|Randy Newman||Quicksilver Messenger Service||Ramones|
|Good ole boysLittle criminalsLonely at the top||Happy Trails||Leave home|
|Richard Hell||Ray Charles||Red Guitars|
|Blank Generation||In person||Slow to fade|
|Robert Johnson||Ritchie Havens||RL Burnside|
|King of the Delta blues singers||Richard P Havens 1983Something else again||Burnside on Burnside|
|Rory Gallagher||Rolling Stones||Ronettes|
|Live in Ireland||Exile on MainstreetRolling StonesRolling Stones No. 2Get your Yay-Yas out40 LicksLet it BleedGoats Head soupTheir Satanic Majesties RequestBeggar’s Banquet||Da Doo Ron Ron|
|Rufus Wainwright||Roy Harper||Roy Orbison|
|Poses||StormcockHQLifemaskFlat Baroque and BerserkFolkjokeopusCome out Fighting Ghenghis SmithFlashes from the archives of oblivionBullinamingvaseLive in Les CousinsUnknown Soldier||Golden Days|
|Sam & Dave||Ruts||Ry Cooder|
|Soul man||London Burning||BorderlineChicken skin musicParadise & LunchGet Rhythm|
|Screaming lord Sutch||Sam Cooke||Screaming Jay Hawkins|
|Jack the Ripper||Portrait of a legend||Cow fingers and Mosquito PiePortrait of a man|
|Greatest hits||Pye Anthology||Never mind the bollocks|
|Slim Harpo||Simon & Garfunkel||Smallfaces|
|Best of||Book endsParsley Sage Rosemary & TimeBridge over troubled water||Anthology|
|Sonny Boy Williamson 2||Snooks Eaglin||Son House|
|Bring it on homeDown & out Blues||Country boy||Death letter blues|
|Singles 45’s & UnderSqueeze||I’m a man||Spirit|
|Stephen Stills||Status Quo||Steel Pulse|
|Stephen StillsStephen Stills 2||12 Gold Bars||Handsworth Revolution|
|Stiff Little Fingers||Steppenwolf||Steve Earle|
|Inflammable materialNobody’s Heroes||Born to be wild||Copperhead Road|
|Sun Rockabilly||Stone Roses||Stranglers|
|Compilation||The Stone Roses||Rattus norvegicus|
|Talking Heads||Syd Barrett||T2|
|Stop talkingSand in the vaseline||BarrettThe Madcap Laughs||It’ll all work out in Boomland|
|Water is life||Best of||Them|
|Tomorrow||Tom Robinson Band||Tommy Tucker|
|Tomorrow||Power in the darkness||Hi Heeled Sneakers|
|Townes Van Zandt||Tom Waits||Tone loc|
|Texas Troubador||SwordfishTrombonesSmall change||Loc-ed after dark|
|Teenage kicks||Tracy Chapman||TrafficDear Mr Fantasy|
|Wayne/Jayne County||Van Morrison||Velvet Underground|
|Rock ‘n’ Roll Cleopatra||Hard nose the highwayAstral weeksMoondance||Velvet Underground with NicoVelvet UndergroundWhite heat- White light|
|Being there||De StiljWhite blood cellsWhite Stripes||Who’s nextLive at LeedsMeaty Beaty Big & BouncyMy GenerationTommy|
|Wreckless Eric||Wilson Pickett||Woody Guthrie|
|Whole Wide WorldGreatest Stiffs||In the Midnight hour||Dust Bowl BalladsColombia River Collection|
|Roger the engineerOver under sideways down||Six Pack|
Rock music has informed my life. It still does.
I have written a number of books on Rock Music and Roy Harper. If you want to find out more about them you should go to the books section and look up Rock Music there.
This is a list of my favourite Rock, Blues, Folk, Reggae and Country artists so you can get an idea where I am coming from:
Roy Harper, Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, Bob Dylan, Nick Harper, Doors, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Country Joe and the Fish, Eels, R L Burnside, Woody Guthrie, Jake Bugg, Billy Bragg, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard, Cream, Tinariwen, Junior Kimbrough, Son House, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Traffic, Velvet Underground, Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Bert Jansch, White Stripes, Stiff Little Fingers, Sex Pistols, PJ Harvey, Stone Roses, Elvis Presley, Joan Baez, Stones, Who, Pretty Things, John Renbourn, Howlin’ Wolf, Free, John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac (Blues), Band, Arthur Brown, Pogues, John Lennon, George Harrison, Lee Scratch Perry, Buddy Guy, T-Model Ford, Bob Marley, Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Larry Williams, Arthur Brown, Love, Buffalo Springfield, CSN&Y, Stephen Stills, Byrds, Fugs, Jerry Lee Lewis, Arthur Alexander, Stranglers, Clash, Tommy Tucker, Booker T & the MGs, Meters, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Joe Tex, Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Cochran, Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, Bo Carter, Memphis Minnie, Bessie Smith, North Mississippi Allstars, Phil Ochs, Slim Harpo, Lonesome Sundown, Lazy Lester, Them, Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Ken Nordine, James Varda, Nick Cave, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Devo, Ruts, Buzzcocks, Cramps, Jeff Beck, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Janis Joplin, Kinks, Fall, Everly Brothers, Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, Tom Waits, Bessie Smith, Mose Allison, Loudon Wainwright, Chuck Berry, Gil Scott Heron, Elmore James, Gang of Four, Jimmie Rodgers, Doc Boggs, Billy Lee Riley, Doctors of Madness, Magic Band, Hawkwind, Deep Purple, Leonard Cohen, Incredible String Band, Ry Cooder, J J Cale, Townes Van Zandt, Red Guitars and a few thousand more………
What I detest is:
Muzac, cover bands, tribute bands, bland commercial over-produced rubbish, Pop, anything to do with Simon Cowell, Britain/America’s got talent, as well as Queen, Smiths, Gram Parsons, and Abba.
But Hey – everyone is different! I’ll respect your tastes! As long as we keep it real. It wouldn’t do for us all to like the same things, would it?
‘in search of Captain Beefheart’ and ‘intergalactic Rockstar – Starturn’ now available at Amazon.
Steve Froy thought I should say something about the various people I like – So blame him!
I first heard Roy Harper in 1967 when I was a mere lad of eighteen. I caught him in Les Cousins sandwiched between Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. I really like Bert & John but I felt an amazing affinity for Roy as soon as I heard him and Bert & John melted into insignificance. Listening to Roy was like looking in my own head. He was articulating my thoughts. I was smitten and I had to meet him. Well I did meet him and we’ve been friends ever since.
Roy is a highly creative person. He is a unique guitarist who carved out a totally new sound that is as far removed from acoustic Folk Music as you can get. He described himself as a one man Rock ‘n’ Roll band but he’s much more than that. What you get from Roy is a highly intelligent, inquisitive mind with a penchant for history and politics. Except Roy does not come at anything from the standard direction. He is not quirky; he is different. He is perceptive and applies his intelligence and unique perspective to everything he touches.
Roy is a poet who carves words into multi-layered epics full of insight and social observation in a way nobody else has ever done. His long songs are so full of vitriol, bile and barbs that some people find him hard to take. Roy is never easy listening. His love songs are achingly beautiful. His music is complex and incorporates jazz chords and changes. His voice can range from fierce to hauntingly beautiful. His musicianship is brilliant. When Roy is speaking there is usually something worth listening to. Everything about Roy engages the brain as well as the ears and heart. I enjoy listening to him talk and rant as much as play, although, sadly, many people don’t.
As far as I am concerned Roy is the full package. He has everything and is the greatest songwriter/singer to have come out of Britain. No one else comes close.
I have seen Roy play hundreds of times and never get bored. He should have been enormous but, like many other artists, always sabotaged his own career whenever he started heading for the big time.
It is a shame he can be such a cantankerous individual and piss people off!
Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band
They are undoubtedly the most original and extraordinary Rock Band there has ever been. The music is so unique and complex that you can never get bored with it and yet it is accessible and rocks. The lyrics are poems which are like nothing you have ever heard. The poems and music blend to create something that is indescribably brilliant.
The drumming and bass drive the band and provide a base for the guitars to weave in and out of each other. At first hearing it appears discordant but it isn’t; once your ears have acclimatised you find that it is intricate and fluid. It is like bird flight or a human running full pelt down a hill; always on the cusp of crashing into disorder and yet holding it together to create something exceptional. I even love the way the saxophone wails and shrieks. It is like nothing else.
The sensibilities are ecologically founded, social concern and some politics.
There is a general weirdness to it because both the lyrics and music are so extraordinary. Nobody has heard anything quite like it.
Then there is Don’s voice which is the most powerful weapon in Rock Music. It can roar.
The musicianship has been fantastic throughout the bands many incarnations (with the exception of the mid 1970’s Tragic Band) and they all exude the Beefheart magic. This is true right up to the present day – the incredible Magic Band are still producing the sound and doing justice to the music even though Captain Beefheart is no longer with us. I still marvel at talents like Zoot Horn Rollo, Rockette Morton, Denny ‘Feelers Rebo’ Walley, Winged Eel Fingerling, Gary Lucas, Drumbo and the latest extraordinary Eric Klerks.
I first saw them in Middle Earth in 1968. I was at the fantastic Rainbow show in 1973 and they have been a favourite of mine throughout. I caught the Magic Band twice last week and I’m still knocked out by their power, skill and the brilliance and originality of their songs and lyrics.