527 Essential Albums in Alphabetical Order.

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/DCAlbert KingAl Stewart
For those about to RockBorn under a bad signLove ChroniclesZero she flies
Angelic UpstartsAretha FranklinArlo Guthrie
Angel dustRespectAlice’s Restaurant
Arthur AlexanderArthur BrownBand
Greatest hitsFireMusic from Big PinkThe Band
Beach BoysBeatlesBert Jansch
Pet SoundsWhite albumSrgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts-club BandLet it bePlease Please MeRevolverWith theAbbey RoadRubber SoulHelpA hard day’s night1967-701962-66Beatles for saleIt don’t bother meBert Jansch
Bessie SmithBig Bother & the Holding CompanyBig Mama Thornton
Blue spirit bluesCheap ThrillsThe original hound dog
Billy Boy ArnoldBilly BraggBlack Sabbath
I wish you wouldBrewing up withMermaid AveBack to basics We sold our soul for Rock ‘n’ Roll
Black UhuruBlondieBlue Cheer
LiberationDenisSummertime Blues
Bob DylanBob MarleyBo 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’SurvivalKayaConfrontationUprisingBanana in your fruit basket
Bonzo Dod Doo-Dah BandBo DiddleyBooker T & the MGs
A dog’s bodyBo’s big 20Bo’s a gunslingerHey Bo DiddleyBo Diddley Green Onions
Bruce SpringsteenBuddy GuyBuddy Holly
The RiverDarkness at the edge of TownDamn Right I got the BluesMemorial AlbumMemorial Album Vol 2Chirping CricketsReminiscingThat’ll be the day 
Buffalo SpringsteenBuffy St MarieByrds
Buffalo SpringfieldNative North American Indian Child – an OdysseyNotorious Byrd Brothers5th DimensionYounger than yesterdayMr Tambourine man 
Canned HeatCaptain Beefheart & the Magic BandCarl Perkins
Boogie with Canned HeatLick 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 ShackChuck BerryClash
40 fiongers, freshly packed and ready to serveOn StageMoreChuck BerryAfter school sessionIs on topOne dozen berries London callingSandinistaCombat RockThe Clash
Cliff Richard & ShadowsCoastersCountry Joe & the Fish
CliffCoastersElectric Music for the body & mindFeel like I’m fixin’ to die
AplacetofolkinA date with ElvisDisreali gearsWheels of fireGoodbye
Creedence Clearwater RevivalCrosby Stills Nash & YoungCrystals
Green RiverFour Way StreetDéjà vuCarry onBest of
Dale HawkinsDavid CrosbyDavid Gray
Suzie QIf I could only remember my nameWhite ladderA century ends 
Dead KennedysDeep PurpleDevo
Fresh fruitPlastic Surgery DisasterIn God we Trust inc.Give me convenience or give me death Smoke on the waterQ- Are we not men? A – We are Devo
Dick DaleDesmond DekkerDire Straits
Surfers’ choiceIsrealitesDire StraitsAlchemyMoney for Nothing
Doctor’s of MadnessDillingerDon & Dewey
Late night movies All night brainstormsDillingerJungle Hop
DonovanDominoesDownliners Sect
Sunshine SupermanFairy taleSutrasCatch the WindOpen Road Sixty Minute manDownliners Sect
Dr FeelgoodDoorsDr John
Down at the jettyMalpracticeStupiditySneakin’ SuspicionBe Seeing youPrivate practice Strange daysAbsolutely liveDoorsMorrison HotelWaiting for the sunSoft paradeLA Woman Gris grisZu Zu ManAnutha Zone
Duster BennettDriftersEddie Cochran
Complete Blue HorizonUnder the boardwalkMemorial album
Eddie FloydEdgar Broughton BandElmore James
Knock on WoodWasa WasaKing of the slide guitar
Elvis CostelloEelsEsquirita
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 BrothersElvis PresleyFall
The fabulous style of the Everly BrothersEverly BrothersSun recordingsElvis PresleyElvisA date with ElvisSlates50,000 Fans can’t be wrongRebellious JukeboxHex Enduction Hour 
FamilyFairport ConventionFela Kouti
Family entertainmentWhat we did on our holidaysUnhalfbrickingLiege & LeafZombie
Fleetwood MacFats DominoFree
Fleetwood MacBlue Horizon SessionsMr WonderfulThen Play onLive in Boston The Fat man singsFree StoryFire & WaterLive
FugsFred McDowellGeorge Harrison
Belle of Avenue AIt crawled into my hand honestFugs first albumGolden filthFugs 2nd album Shake ‘em on downAll things must passLiving in the material world
George ThorogoodGang of FourGrateful Dead
Bad to the boneEntertainmentA brief History of the twentieth centurySongs for the freeReturn the gift American BeautyBlues for AllahLive/Dead
Hank WilliamsGil Scott HeronHound Dog Taylor
40 greatest hitsReflectionsSmall talk at 125th and LenoxNatural boogie
Howlin’ WolfHawkwindIan Dury
Moanin’ in the moonlightHowlin WolfHawkwindX In Search of SpaceNew boots & pantiesJuke Box DuryDo it yourself
Ian SiegalHuey ‘Piano’ SmithIncredible String Band
Meat & PotatoesHaving a good timeWee Tam & the big HugeHangman’s beautiful daughterChanging HorsesI looked up 
Inex & Charlie FoxxIggy PopJames Brown
Mocking BirdRaw PowerLust for lifeThe wonderful world of James Brown
James TaylorJackson C FrankJanis Joplin
Fire and rainBlues run the gameI got dem old Kosmic blues againPearl
Jeff BeckJames VardaJerry Lee Lewis
TruthHungerGreat balls of fire
Jethro TullJefferson AirplaneJimmie Rodgers
This wasSurrealistic pillowVolunteersAfter bathing at Baxter’sCrown of Creation Best of
Jimmy ReedJimi HendrixJoan Baez
Bright Lights Big CityElectric LadylandAxis bold as loveJimi Hendrix ExperienceLive at MontereyConcertsRainbow BridgeSmash hits Farewell Angelina
Joe TexJJ CaleJohn Lee Hooker
Greatest hitsNaturallyOkieI’m John Lee Hooker
John LennonJohn Cooper ClarkeJohnny Kidd & the Pirates
ImaginePlastic Ono BandShaved fishSnap Crackle and PopMemorial album
John RenbournJohn MayallJuicy Lucy
Another MondayJohn Mayall plays John MayallBluesbreakersLie back and enjoy it
Junior KimboroughJoni MitchellKen Nordine
Sad days lonely nightsBlueLadies of the canyonBig yellow taxiSongs of a Prairie girlMingus Son of Word Jazz
Kenny BrownKeith Cross & Peter RossKing Crimson
Going back to MississippiBored civiliansThe concise King Crimson
KinksKilling JokeLast Poets
KinksKink KontroversyKilling JokeThe real rap
Larry WilliamsKokomo ArnoldLee Dorsey
At his finestBottleneck guitarRide your pony
Leonard CohenLed ZeppelinLee 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 GraffittiTime boom and de devil dead
Linton Kwesi JohnsonLeon RosselsonLightnin’ Hopkins
Dread, Beat & BloodForces of victoryBass cultureThe world turned upside downLightnin’ Strikes
Loudon WainwrightLittle RichardLittle Walter
School daysAlbum 2A live oneCharlie Poole Project Here’s Little RichardLittle Richard vol 2Little Walter
Lovin’ SpoonfulLou ReedLove
Greatest hitsTransformerSally can’t danceForever ChangesDa CapoLove
Marvin GayeMalvina ReynoldsMarianne Faithful
What’s going on?Sings the truthBroken English
MetersMC5Merseybeat – This is Merseybeat
Cissy strutKick out the jamsCompilation
MiraclesMichael SmithMimi & Ricahard Farina
Cookin’ with the MiraclesMi Cy-aan Believe itCelebration for a grey day
MotorheadMose AllisonMothers of Invention
No sleep til HammersmithOriginal Jazz ClassicsWe’re only in it for the moneyFreak outBongo furyHave I offended someone?Hot ratsApostrophe 
NiceMuddy WatersNeil Young
Thoughts of Emmerlist DavjackChess mastersHard againI’m ReadyHarvestAmerican stars and barsComes a timeRust never sleepsZumaEverybody knows this is nowhereFreedomLiving with war 
NicoNick DrakeNick Harper
Chelsea GirlsBryter Layter5 Leaves LeftLight at the end of the kennelSeedSmithereensBlood songsMiracles for beginnersHarperspace 
North Mississippi AllstarsNina SimoneNirvana
Do it like we used toShake hands with ShortyYoung, gifted and blackSmells like Teen SpiritIn uteroBleachIncesticideUnplugged in New York 
(What’s the story) Morning Glory?CompilationStraight outa Compton
Patti SmithOtis ReddingParamounts
EasterHorsesBlueDictionary of soulWhiter shades of R&B
Phil OchsPaul SimonPebbles 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 harbourPaul Simon song bookGracelandThere goes Rhymin’ SimonStill crazy after all these yearsCompilation
PoguesPink FloydPJ Harvey
Rum, Sodomy & the LashIf I should fall from Grace with GodRed Roses for MeWish you were herePiper at the gates of dawnDark side of the moonSaucer full of secretsThe WallAnimalsRid of meDry
Prince BusterPretendersPretty Things
Fabulous greatest hitsDon’t get me wrongGet the picture
PulpProfessor LonghairPublic Enemy
Different ClassRock ‘n’ Roll GumboIt takes a nation of millions to hold us back
Randy NewmanQuicksilver Messenger ServiceRamones
Good ole boysLittle criminalsLonely at the topHappy TrailsLeave home
Richard HellRay CharlesRed Guitars
Blank GenerationIn personSlow to fade
Robert JohnsonRitchie HavensRL Burnside
King of the Delta blues singersRichard P Havens 1983Something else againBurnside on Burnside
Rory GallagherRolling StonesRonettes
Live in IrelandExile 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 WainwrightRoy HarperRoy Orbison
PosesStormcockHQLifemaskFlat Baroque and BerserkFolkjokeopusCome out Fighting Ghenghis SmithFlashes from the archives of oblivionBullinamingvaseLive in Les CousinsUnknown Soldier Golden Days
Sam & DaveRutsRy Cooder
Soul manLondon BurningBorderlineChicken skin musicParadise & LunchGet Rhythm 
Screaming lord SutchSam CookeScreaming Jay Hawkins
Jack the RipperPortrait of a legendCow fingers and Mosquito PiePortrait of a man
ShadowsSearchersSex Pistols
Greatest hitsPye AnthologyNever mind the bollocks
Slim HarpoSimon & GarfunkelSmallfaces
Best ofBook endsParsley Sage Rosemary & TimeBridge over troubled waterAnthology
Sonny Boy Williamson 2Snooks EaglinSon House
Bring it on homeDown & out BluesCountry boyDeath letter blues
SqueezeSpencer DavisSpirit
Singles 45’s & UnderSqueezeI’m a manSpirit
Stephen StillsStatus QuoSteel Pulse
Stephen StillsStephen Stills 212 Gold BarsHandsworth Revolution
Stiff Little FingersSteppenwolfSteve Earle
Inflammable materialNobody’s HeroesBorn to be wildCopperhead Road
Sun RockabillyStone RosesStranglers
CompilationThe Stone RosesRattus norvegicus
Talking HeadsSyd BarrettT2
Stop talkingSand in the vaselineBarrettThe Madcap LaughsIt’ll all work out in Boomland
Water is lifeBest ofThem
TomorrowTom Robinson BandTommy Tucker
TomorrowPower in the darknessHi Heeled Sneakers
Townes Van ZandtTom WaitsTone loc
Texas TroubadorSwordfishTrombonesSmall changeLoc-ed after dark
UndertonesTracy ChapmanTraffic
Teenage kicksTracy ChapmanTrafficDear Mr Fantasy
Wayne/Jayne CountyVan MorrisonVelvet Underground
Rock ‘n’ Roll CleopatraHard nose the highwayAstral weeksMoondanceVelvet Underground with NicoVelvet UndergroundWhite heat- White light
WilcoWhite StripesWho
Being thereDe StiljWhite blood cellsWhite StripesWho’s nextLive at LeedsMeaty Beaty Big & BouncyMy GenerationTommy 
Wreckless EricWilson PickettWoody Guthrie
Whole Wide WorldGreatest StiffsIn the Midnight hourDust Bowl BalladsColombia River Collection
YardbirdsZZ Top 
Roger the engineerOver under sideways downSix 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!

Roy Harper

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.

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