The Sound Vinyl Countdown List

Album #21

Crime of the Century (1974)
by Supertramp

Following two failed albums and an unsuccessful tour, Supertramp had broken up leading Rick Davies and Rodger Hodgson to recruit three new members - drummer Bob Siebenberg (at the time credited as Bob C. Benberg), brass and woodwind player John Helliwell and bassist Dougie Thomson. 

The album was dedicated 'To Sam', which was a nickname for a Dutch millionaire, Stanley August Miesegaes, who helped finance the band throughout 1969 - 1972.

The album had sold more than 20 million copies, many thanks to the hit songs, 'Dreamer' and 'Bloody Well Right'. Both Davies and Hodgson had stated that communication within the band was at a peak when recording this album, while drummer Siebenberg believes that the band had hit its "artistic peak" during recording.

Track list:

  1. School
  2. Bloody Well Right
  3. Hide in Your Shell
  4. Asylum
  5. Dreamer
  6. Rudy
  7. If Everyone Was Listening
  8. Crime of the Century
Image credits to Michael Putland/Getty Images

Album #20

Making Movies (1980)
by Dire Straits

British rock band Dire Straits released Making Movies on 17th October 1980. Co-founder, Mark Knopfler, spent almost six months writing songs for Making Movies and co-produced the album with Jimmy Iovine. Iovine was known for producing the fantastic Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen track, 'Because the Night' and worked on Springsteen's 'Born to Run' and 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' albums.

Halfway through recording, Knopfler's brother who co-founded the band with him, David, left the band. His guitar tracks were almost complete for the album, but Mark had re-recorded them. David made appearances on video playing 'Solid Rock' and 'Les Boys' live in concert, but the performances preceded the recording.

Tracklist:

  1. Tunnel of Love
  2. Romeo and Juliet
  3. Skateaway
  4. Expresso Love
  5. Hand in Hand
  6. Solid Rock
  7. Les Boys

Album #19

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
by David Bowie

David Bowie recorded his masterpiece Ziggy Stardust album in November 1971, just a month before his previous album Honky Dory was released in December. Released in June 1972, the iconic album was recorded just under three weeks with the majority of the vocals and performances were first takes, according to engineer Ken Scott.

Bowie noted that a direct influence on the loose concept album was English singer, Vince Taylor, who took the 'rock star' persona to the extreme, calling himself Mateus and declared himself the son of God. However, Taylor only served as the blueprint for the Ziggy Stardust character. Other notable influences included Legendary Stardust Cowboy, and Kansai Yamamoto (He also designed Bowie's tour costumes).

The album is heavy on glam rock influences and explores social taboos using a fictional androgynous, bisexual rock star who acts as a messenger for extraterrestrial beings.

"The time is five years to go before the end of the earth. It has been announced that the world will end because of a lack of natural resources. Ziggy is in a position where all the kids have access to things that they thought they wanted. The older people have lost all touch with reality, and the kids are left on their own to plunder anything," Bowie explained the story of Ziggy. "Ziggy was in a rock and roll band, and the kids no longer want rock and roll: there's no electricity to play it. Ziggy's adviser tells him to collect news and sing it, 'cause there is no news. So Ziggy does this, and there is terrible news. All The Young Dudes (Recorded by Mott the Hoople, produced by Bowie) is a song about this news."

Fun fact, in June 2017, an extinct species of wasp was named Archaeoteleia astropulvis, after Ziggy Stardust (astropulvis is Latin for stardust).

Tracklist:

  1. Five Years
  2. Soul Love
  3. Moonage Daydream
  4. Starman
  5. It Ain't Easy
  6. Lady Stardust
  7. Star
  8. Hang On to Yourself
  9. Ziggy Stardust
  10. Suffragette City
  11. Rock 'n' Roll Suicide

Album #18

Appetite for Destruction (1987)
by Guns N' Roses

Released on 21st July 1987, Appetite for Destruction is the debut studio album by hard rockers, Guns N' Roses. The album didn't receive an overwhelming success until a year later after the band had a tour and received more airplay for their hit singles, 'Welcome to the Jungle', 'Paradise City' and 'Sweet Child o' Mine'. The album went on to become the best-selling debut album of all time, topping the Billboard 200 chart and is currently the 7th best-selling album in America. The album received an 18x Platinum certification with an estimate of 18 million copies sold in the States, and 30 million copies sold worldwide.

At the time, the band were competing with mainstream bands like Aerosmith's comeback hit 'Permanent Vacation', Def Leppard's 'Hysteria' album and U2's dominance in spiritual rock on MTV. However, in due time, 'Appetite for Destruction' became the 63rd most ranked record on critics' all-time lists. The album also features the classic band lineup of Axl Rose (vocals), Duff McKagan (bass), Slash (guitar), Steven Adler (drums) and Izzy Stradlin (guitar).

Tracklist:

  1. Welcome to the Jungle
  2. It's So Easy
  3. Nightrain
  4. Out ta Get Me
  5. Mr. Brownstone
  6. Paradise City
  7. My Michelle
  8. Think About You
  9. Sweet Child o' Mine
  10. You're Crazy
  11. Anything Goes
  12. Rocket Queen

Album #17

Led Zeppelin II (1969)
by Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin II marks the second album released by English rockers Led Zeppelin. It was also the first album on which famed Eddie Kramer served as engineer.

The album had often been described as one of their heaviest albums, with their ever-evolving musical style derived from the blues and guitar riff-based soundscape. Out of the nine tracks, six were original songs while the other three were the group's rendition of Chicago blues songs by Willie Dixon and Howlin' Wolf.

The band had obtained their first No.1 on the UK and US charts with Led Zeppelin II and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package in 1970 for the album cover. It peaked at No.1 in various other countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain and Germany.

In November 1999, the album was certified 12x Platinum by RIAA for surpassing 12 million sold copies.

The album cover was designed by David Juniper, who had full creative freedom. He based the design on a World War I photograph of the Jagdstaffel 11 Division of the German Air Force - The Flying Circus led by the Red Baron. He manipulated the photograph by replacing all the faces with other people, including four of the bandmates.

Tracklist:

  1. Whole Lotta Love
  2. What Is and What Should Never Be
  3. The Lemon Song
  4. Thank You
  5. Heartbreaker
  6. Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)
  7. Ramble On
  8. Moby Dick
  9. Bring It On Home
Photo credits to Chris Walter/WireImage/Getty Images

Album #16

Hysteria (1987)
by Def Leppard

Def Leppard's 4th studio album, Hysteria, was released on 3rd August 1987 via Mercury Records. To date, the album marks the English hard rock band's best-selling album, selling over 25 million copies worldwide. In America alone, the album was certified 12x platinum for selling 12 million copies. It reached No.1 on the New Zealand Albums chart as well as in US, UK and Australia.

The album title came from drummer Rick Allen, referring to his 1984 car accident where he lost control of his Corvette C4. He was thrown from the car because his safety belt was not fastened properly, causing his left arm to be severed. Doctors initially reattached his arm but had to re-amputate it later due to an infection. The band took a hiatus until 1986 from live gigs to give Allen time to recover. The album took three years (1984-1987) to record.

Hysteria also marks the last album to feature guitarist Steve Clark before his death from alcohol poisoning in 1991, although some of the songs he co-wrote would appear on the band's follow-up album, Adrenalize. The band lineup included Joe Elliot (vocals), Steve Clark (guitar), Phil Collen (guitar), Rick Savage (bass), Rick Allen (drums).

Produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, the album follows the band's 1983 breakthrough album, Pyromania. Lange's goal for the album was to produce a hard rock version of Michael Jackson's iconic Thriller album, where every track was a potential hit single. Fun fact, all the drum sounds in the songs were samples recorded by Lange and the engineers and played via a digital synthesizer, Fairlight CMI.

The hit single, Pour Some Sugar on Me was the last song to be written and was done within two weeks whereas the final version of 'Animal' took a full three years to be developed, but did not achieve as much success.

Tracklist:

  1. Women
  2. Rocket
  3. Animal
  4. Love Bites
  5. Pour Some Sugar on Me
  6. Armageddon It
  7. Gods of War
  8. Don't Shoot Shotgun
  9. Run Riot
  10. Hysteria
  11. Excitable
  12. Love and Affection

Album #15

Back in Black (1980)
by AC/DC

Back in Black marks the seventh studio album by Australian rockers, AC/DC. Released in mid 1980 via Atlantic Records, this fantastic album is the first AC/DC album featuring Brian Johnson on vocals, following the death of the previous lead singer, Bon Scott.

AC/DC was planning on a follow-up album after their commercial breakthrough record, Highway to Hell before Scott passed away from alcohol poisoning after a drinking binge in February 1980. The remaining bandmates were considering disbanding the group, but friends and family persuaded them to carry on, leading them to recruit Johnson (previous frontman for Geordie).

Recorded over seven weeks during tropical storms in the Bahamas with producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange (also produced for Def Leppard's Hysteria), majority of the songs were composed by Johnson, Angus and Malcolm Young. None of Scott's writings were used for the album tracks as the group felt it would seemingly profit from his passing. The album's all-black cover was designed as a "sign of mourning" for their previous frontman.

Estimated to have sold over 50 million copies worldwide, it was considered to be one of the best-selling albums in music history. In December 2019, the album was certified 25x platinum for selling 25 million copies in the US alone and 12x platinum in Australia.

Tracklist:

  1. Hells Bells
  2. Shoot to Thrill
  3. What Do You Do for Money Honey
  4. Given the Dog a Bone
  5. Let Me Put My Love into You
  6. Back in Black
  7. You Shook Me All Night Long
  8. Have a Drink on Me
  9. Shake a Leg
  10. Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Album #14

Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
by Bruce Springsteen

American rocker Bruce Springsteen released the iconic Born in the U.S.A. album on 4th June 1984. Written by The Boss himself and recorded with his E Street Band, the album produced seven top-10 hit singles and was promoted with a global concert tour.

Born in the U.S.A. featured a livelier mainstream sound compared to his previous six albums with progressive themes and values. However, Springsteen explained that the record was still as "dark" as the previous album 'Nebraska'. "If you look at the material, particularly on the first side, it's actually written very much like Nebraska – the characters and the stories, the style of writing – except it's just in the rock-band setting," he once told Rolling Stone magazine.

Inspired by the title track, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz photographed Springsteen's backside against the backdrop of an American flag, which was used as the album cover.

The landmark album was also the very first compact disc manufactured in the States for commercial release. Previously, Columbia Records' CDs were imported from Japan.

The Grammy-Award winning album was Springsteen's most commercially successful album to date and is one of the highest-selling records ever with over 30 million copies sold by 2012. It topped the album charts in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. It hit No.2 in the UK, and after 34 weeks, it finally achieved No.1 for five non-consecutive weeks. Born in the U.S.A. was certified 15x platinum in the States (15 million copies sold), 17x platinum in New Zealand and 13x platinum in Australia.

Tracklist:

  1. Born in the U.S.A.
  2. Cover Me
  3. Darlington County
  4. Working on the Highway
  5. Downbound Train
  6. I'm on Fire
  7. No Surrender
  8. Bobby Jean
  9. I'm Goin' Down
  10. Glory Days
  11. Dancing in the Dark
  12. My Hometown
Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Album #13

A Night at the Opera (1975)
by Queen

The 1975 album, A Night at the Opera marks the fourth studio album by Queen.

Deemed one of the most expensive records ever recorded at the time of its release, the album was produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen and was recorded across four months in various studios. The album title is taken from a film of the same name by the Marx Brothers.

Previously, Queen had received almost none of the money they earned from their previous albums due to management issues, leading them to terminate their contract with Trident Studios. They went on to employ a complex production that extensively used multi-track recording. All of the songs on this record featured a wide variety of musical styles and influences from ballads, dixieland, music hall, hard rock, pop, heavy metal, avant-pop, folk, skiffle, opera and progressive rock. 

Queen spent three weeks writing and rehearsing in a rented house near Kington, Herefordshire before the recording sessions. Each member wrote at least one song, five were contributed by frontman Freddie Mercury, four by guitarist Brian May, and one song each by Roger Taylor and John Deacon.

The album topped the UK charts for four non-consecutive weeks and peaked at number 4 on the US charts, which led them tom receive their first platinum-certified album in the States.

Tracklist:

  1. Death on Two Legs (Dedicated to...)
  2. Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon
  3. I'm in Love with My Car
  4. You're My Best Friend
  5. 39
  6. Sweet Lady
  7. Seaside Rendezvous
  8. The Prophet's Song
  9. Love of My Life
  10. Good Company
  11. Bohemian Rhapsody
  12. God Save the Queen

Album #12

Abbey Road (1969)
by The Beatles

Released on 26th September 1969 is The Beatles' eleventh studio album, 'Abbey Road' via Apple Records.

The title comes from the location of EMI Studios in London, with the iconic album cover featuring the bandmates crossing the street's the zebra crossing.

The commercially successful album was produced by George Martin, who decided to return on the condition that the band adhere to the discipline of their earlier records. All personal issues aside, the band found the recording sessions more enjoyable than the 'Get Back' sessions. The closing track, The End, marked the very last time John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr recorded together. Lennon had privately left the band just six days prior to the album's release.

Ranked as one of their best-selling albums with an estimate of 31 million copies sold worldwide, it peaked at No.1 in Australia, Canada, Sweden, Spain, U.K. and U.S., among others. It reached No.8 on the New Zealand Albums Chart.

EMI Studios was later renamed Abbey Road Studios in honour of the album.

Tracklist:

  1. Come Together
  2. Something
  3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer
  4. Oh! Darling
  5. Octopus's Garden
  6. I Want You (She's So Heavy)
  7. Here Comes the Sun
  8. Because
  9. You Never Give Me Your Money
  10. Sun King
  11. Mean Mr. Mustard
  12. Polythene Pam
  13. She Came In Through the Bathroom Window
  14. Golden Slumbers
  15. Carry That Weight
  16. The End
  17. Her Majesty (hidden track)

Album #11

The Joshua Tree (1987)
by U2

The Joshua Tree album marks the fifth studio album by Irish rock band U2. Released on 9th March 1987, the album had a harder-hitting sound compared to their previous ambient experimentation album, 'The Unforgettable Fire'.

Inspired by American experiences, literature and politics, U2 chose to focus on America as the core theme to the album. The band had toured up to five months per year during the first half of the '80s. Just before they started the recording sessions, Bono was reading up on the works of American writers like Norman Mailer, Flannery O'Connor and more.

Initially, guitarist the Edge was more interested in European sounds like the previous album and was reluctant to follow Bono's lead into exploring the American sound. However, he was convinced after discovering blues and country artists like Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson and others.

For a long time, the album had placeholder titles like 'The Desert Songs' and 'The Two Americas'. The group had decided early on that they would do a photoshoot in the States. They asked their photographer, Anton Corbijn, to hunt for a suitable location in US to capture their ideas. One evening, Corbijn told them about Joshua trees (yucca brevifolia) which were hardy and twisted plants that grew in the deserts of the American Southwest, suggesting the band should use it for the album cover. Frontman Bono was extremely pleased to find the religious significance of the plant - according to Mormon legend, early settlers named the plant after the Old Testament prophet Joshua because the trees reminded them of Joshua raising his hands in prayer. The very next day, Bono declared the album should be named The Joshua Tree. Despite shooting in the desert, U2 members had to deal with the cold weather which Bono explained, "it was freezing, and we had to take our coats off so it would at least look like a desert. That's one of the reasons we look so grim."

Ranked as the band's best-selling album with an estimate of 25 million albums sold worldwide, The Joshua Tree was certified 14x platinum in New Zealand, 9x platinum in the UK and Diamond in the US.

In 2017, U2 embarked on a 30th-anniversary tour in North America, Europe and Latin America. The band also came to New Zealand for a two shows in 2019 as part of the tour, playing at Mt. Smart Stadium in early November.

Tracklist:

  1. Where the Streets Have No Name
  2. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
  3. With or Without You
  4. Bullet the Blue Sky
  5. Running to Stand Still
  6. Red Hill Mining Town
  7. In God's Country
  8. Trip Through Your Wires
  9. One Tree Hill
  10. Exit
  11. Mothers of the Disappeared
Photo credits to Peter Carrette Archive

Album #10

Bat Out of Hell (1977)
by Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf's debut album, Bat Out of Hell, was released on 21st October 1977. Influenced by the likes of Richard Wagner, Phil Spector, Bruce Springsteen and The Who, the album marked the first collaboration between composer Jim Steinman and producer Todd Rundgren.

Rundgren explained that Steinman was highly influenced by the "rural suburban teenage angst" of Bruce Springsteen. According to the band's manager, "Jim would always come up with these great titles and then he would write a song that would try to justify the greatness of the title."

The album title comes from the Greek playright Aristophanes' work titled The Birds that was released in 414 B.C. that had a reference to a bat out of Hell.

Estimated to have sold over 43 million copies worldwide, the album was Meat Loaf's best selling album of all time with 25x platinum certification in Australia, 17x in New Zealand, 14x in U.S. and 11x in the U.K. The album peaked at No.1 on the music charts for Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. The album was so successful; it spawned two sequel albums - Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell and Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose.

Tracklist:

  1. Bat Out of Hell
  2. You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)
  3. Heaven Can Wait
  4. All Reved Up with No Place to Go
  5. Two Out of Three Ain't Bad
  6. Paradise by the Dashboard Light
  7. For Crying Out Loud

Album #9

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
by The Beatles

The Beatles' eight studio album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, was released on 26th May 1967 during the defining moment in the '60s pop culture.

The album was loosely conceptualised as a performance by the fictional band in the title track, incorporating musical styles like the blues, piano jazz, vaudeville, music hall, circus, avant-garde, Western and Indian classical music. Sir Paul McCartney was highly impressed by the "harmonic structures" on the Beach Boys album, 'Pet Sounds', and remained his main musical inspiration for the Sgt. Pepper album. Indian music was also cited as the key inspirations to the album, particularly for John Lennon and George Harrison. In an interview, Harrison explained, "We can do things that please us without conforming to the standard pop idea. We are not only involved in pop music, but all music."

The album was the very first rock album to win the Album of the Year at the Grammys, among three other awards. It topped the UK charts for 23 consecutive weeks and sold 250,000 copies in UK during the first week. The album was certified 17x platinum in the UK (5.3 million copies sold), 11x platinum in US, and 6x platinum in New Zealand.

Tracklist:

  1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  2. With a Little Help from My Friends
  3. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  4. Getting Better
  5. Fixing a Hole
  6. She's Leaving Home
  7. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
  8. Within You Without You
  9. When I'm Sixty-Four
  10. Lovely Rita
  11. Good Morning Good Morning
  12. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
  13. A Day in the Life

Album #8

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
by Elton John

On 5th October 1973, Elton John released his seventh studio album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. The 76-minute-long album is widely regarded as John's best album to date, with an estimate of more than 30 million copies sold worldwide. The 17-track album produced massive hit songs like 'Bennie and the Jets', 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', 'Candle in the Wind', 'Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding', 'Harmony' and 'Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting'.

Initially, the album had several working titles like Vodka and Tonics, Talking Pictures and Silent Movies. Songwriter and longtime collaborator and friend, Bernie Taupin, wrote the lyrics in two and a half weeks. More impressively, John composed most of the music in three days while staying at the Pink Flamingo Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica.

Producer Gus Dudgeon said that the album was not planned as a double album. The power duo composed a total of 22 tracks for the album and was enough to release as a two-record collection. 

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road had a huge success, peaking at No.1 on the charts for Australia, Canada, UK and the US. The iconic album was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame 30 years after its release in 2003.

Tracklist:

  1. Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
  2. Candle in the Wind
  3. Bennie and the Jets
  4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
  5. This Song Has No Title
  6. Grey Seal
  7. Jamaica Jerk-Off
  8. I've Seen That Movie Too
  9. Sweet Painted Lady
  10. The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909-34)
  11. Dirty Little Girl
  12. All the Girls Love Alice
  13. Your Sister Can't Twist (But She Can Rock 'n Roll)
  14. Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting
  15. Roy Rogers
  16. Social Disease
  17. Harmony

Album #7

Wish You Were Here (1975)
by Pink Floyd

On 12th September 1975, Pink Floyd released their ninth studio album, Wish You Were Here. Most of the material was composed when the band was performing in Europe and was recorded at London's Abbey Road Studios. The core themes of the album include criticism of the music business, alienation and a tribute to their founding member, Syd Barret, who left seven years prior. 

On 5th June 1975, Barret visited the band while they were completing the mix of the tribute song to him. At the time, Barret had gained a lot more weight and shaved his head and eyebrows. He entered the studio while carrying a plastic bag, and none of the bandmates recognised him. Gilmour presumed he was an EMI staff member while keyboardist Richard Wright presumed he was a friend of Roger Waters. When David Gilmour later identified Barret, the group sat down together for a chat. Barrett indicated that he was ready to help with the recording but showed no signs of the relevance of the song to him when he heard the mix of 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'. It is said that his surprise visit may have influenced the final version of the song, with a subtle refrain performed by Wright from 'See Emily Play' can be heard towards the end of the song.

The album also features two guest singers - Roy Harper, who provided lead vocals for 'Have a Cigar' and Venetta Fields, who provided backing vocals on 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'.

WYWH hit No.1 in New Zealand, Australia, UK, US, Spain, and the Netherlands. With over 13 million copies sold worldwide, the album received 7x platinum in Australia, 6x in US, 3x in Canada, 2x in UK.

Tracklist:

  1. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 1-5)
  2. Welcome to the Machine
  3. Have a Cigar
  4. Wish You Were Here
  5. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 6-9)

Album #6

Brothers in Arms (1985)
by Dire Straits

Released on 13th May 1985 is Dire Straits' fifth studio album, Brothers in Arms.

The Grammy Award-winning album marked one of the very first albums to ever be recorded on a Sony 24-track digital tape machine. The move to digital recording came from co-founder Mark Knopfler's constant striving for better sound quality. The co-producer of the album, Neil Dorfsman, said that he respected Knopfler for his "interest in technology as a means of improving his music. "He was always willing to spend on high-quality equipment," he once said.

The album also features two drummers - the longtime permanent drummer, Terry Williams, and jazz session drummer, Omar Hakim. The reason was that Williams was considered unsuitable for the desired sound of the album and was replaced temporarily by Hakim, who re-recorded the album's drum parts during a two-day stay. Williams was credited for the improvised crescendo at the beginning of 'Money for Nothing'. He later joined in for the music videos and promotional concert world tour.

Knopfler's 1937 14-fret National Style "O" Resonator is featured on the album cover, photographed by German artist, Thomas Steyer. The rare guitar comes from a line of guitars that was introduced in 1930 and was discontinued in 1941. 

Brothers in Arms achieved a huge commercial success, topping the charts in New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US. The album spent a total of fourteen non-consecutive weeks at No.1 on the UK Albums chart and received 24x platinum certification in New Zealand, 17x in Australia, 14x in the UK, and 9x in the US.

Tracklist:

  1. So Far Away
  2. Money for Nothing
  3. Walk of Life
  4. Your Latest Trick
  5. Why Worry
  6. Ride Across the River
  7. The Man's Too Strong
  8. One World
  9. Brothers in Arms

Album #5

Hotel California (1976)
by Eagles

Eagles released their fifth studio album, Hotel California, on 8th December 1976.

The best-selling album of all time also marks the first album to feature guitarist Joe Walsh, who replaced founding member, Bernie Leadon, and the last album to feature bassist Randy Meisner.

Drummer and lead vocalist Don Henley once explained the album's core themes include loss of innocence, the cost of naiveté, the perils of fame, and of excess. It also explores the dark underbelly of the American dream and others. Henley explained that the 'California' word carried a variety of connotations that "fires the imaginations of people in all corners of the globe." He told Dutch magazine ZigZag, "This is a concept album, there's no way to hide it, but it's not set in the old West, the cowboy thing, you know. It's more urban this time (…) It's our bicentennial year, you know, the country is 200 years old, so we figured since we are the Eagles and the Eagle is our national symbol, that we were obliged to make some kind of a little bicentennial statement using California as a microcosm of the whole United States, or the whole world if you will, and to try to wake people up and say 'We've been okay so far, for 200 years, but we're gonna have to change if we're gonna continue to be around.'"

The band made a conscious decision to move on from country rock after the departure of Leadon and delved into rock and roll with prominent songs like 'Victim of Love' and 'Life in the Fast Lane'.

The iconic album cover features a photograph of The Beverly Hills Hotel in a sunset setting by David Alexander.

Hotel California achieved a massive commercial success, winning the 'Record of the Year' and 'Best Arrangement For Voices' (New Kid in Town) at the Grammys in 1978. It was also nominated for 'Album of the Year' but lost to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. It topped the charts in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, and the US. With over 32 million copies sold world wide, the album was certified 26x platinum in the US, 9x in New Zealand and 8x in Australia.

Tracklist:

  1. Hotel California
  2. New Kid in Town
  3. Life in the Fast Lane
  4. Wasted Time
  5. Wasted Time (Reprise)
  6. Victim of Love
  7. Pretty Maids All in a Row
  8. Try and Love Again
  9. The Last Resort
Photo credits to RB/Redferns/Getty Images

Album #4

Rumours (1977)
by Fleetwood Mac

Rumours, the eleventh studio album by British-American rock band, Fleetwood Mac was released on 4th February 1977.

The band had a goal of expanding on the commercially successful 1975 self-titled album and was recorded with the intentions of making a "pop album" while featuring pop-rock and soft-rock sounds.

Stemming from the success of the previous album, the band spent six months of non-stop touring and ended with the McVies divorced, which lead to certain awkwardness within the group. Christine and John McVie stopped speaking to each other and only interacted in music discussions within the band. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks who were still relatively new to the band were another couple that had an on/off relationship and constantly fought with each other. However when it came to working on songs together, the couple would stop arguing. Mick Fleetwood also had domestic issues during the same time after discovering his wife had an affair with his best friend. Yikes! Fleetwood explained that each bandmate made "tremendous emotional sacrifices" to attend the six-month studio work.

Almost all the songs were written about the lyricists' love lives and were worked on individually with the exception of 'The Chain'. McVie wrote 'You Make Loving Fun' about her boyfriend after her split with John and 'Oh Daddy' was about Fleetwood and his wife who had just got back together. Nicks wrote 'Dreams' as a hopeful message and detailed her breakup with Buckingham while he wrote a slightly more pessimistic song, 'Go Your Own Way'. He also wrote 'Never Going Back Again' about a short fling he had with a New England woman.

The 20th Grammy Awards' 'Album of the Year' was sold over 40 million copies worldwide, topping the charts in New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK and the US. Rumours was certified 13x platinum in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

Tracklist:

  1. Second Hand News
  2. Dreams
  3. Never Going Back Again
  4. Don't Stop
  5. Go Your Own Way
  6. Songbird
  7. The Chain
  8. You Make Loving Fun
  9. I Don't Want to Know
  10. Oh Daddy
  11. Gold Dust Woman

Album #3

Untitled fourth album (1971)
by Led Zeppelin

The untitled fourth studio album, most commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV, by Led Zeppelin, was released on 8th November 1971.

Produced by guitarist Jimmy Page, the band spent three months recording in the country house, Headley Grange, which inspired the band to try different arrangements of material and created music in a variety of styles. Page explained the decision, "We needed the sort of facilities where we could have a cup of tea and wander around the garden and go in and do what we had to do." Keyboardist John Paul Jones said relaxed setting helped the band focus on the music without any distractions of a bar or any leisure facilities.

The band chose not to name the album nor include their band name and used four symbols to represent each member instead. The record company was strongly against the idea, but the band stood their ground and refused to hand over the master tapes until their decision had been agreed to.

Unlike the previous two albums, the band featured two guest musicians including vocalist Sandy Denny and Rolling Stones pianist, Ian Stewart. Out of all the songs on the album, 'When the Levee Breaks' is the only one that wasn't an original Led Zeppelin song. The song was written by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929 reflecting their experiences during the upheaval caused by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Over the years, an LA-based rock band called Spirit had repeatedly sued Led Zeppelin for copyright infringement over the song's opening guitar arpeggios that bore a close resemblance to their 1968 instrumental track, Taurus. On 9th March 2020, Led Zeppelin finally won the lengthy court battle.

Their best-selling album to date had an estimation of 37 million copies sales worldwide.

Tracklist:

  1. Black Dog
  2. Rock and Roll
  3. The Battle of Evermore
  4. Stairway to Heaven
  5. Misty Mountain Hop
  6. Four Sticks
  7. Going to California
  8. When the Levee Breaks

Album #2

The Wall (1979)
by Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd's eleventh album titled The Wall was released on 30th November 1979. 

The 80-minute-long rock opera explores isolation and abandonment, symbolised by a wall. The main character, a jaded rockstar called Pink, based on their ex-member Syd Barrett (and partly Roger Waters), had just lost his father to World War II and had begun building a metaphorical wall around himself. Listeners would go on a flashback journey with Pink from his infancy in 'In the Flesh?', to his mother raising him alone in 'The Thin Ice' and after the death of his father, he begins building the metaphorical wall (Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1).

As he grew older, Pink is tormented in school by tyrannical, abusive teachers (The Happiest Days of Our Lives), and memories of these traumas turn into the metaphorical bricks in the wall (Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2). When Pink reaches adulthood, he remembers his oppressive and overprotective mother in the track 'Mother', and his upbringing during the Blitz, the German bombing campaign, in 'Goodbye Blue Sky'. 'Empty Spaces' is about Pink's marriage and his near-completion of his wall. He toured in America and turned to a willing groupie in 'Young Lust'. Upon learning his wife's infidelity, he brought the groupie back to his hotel room, only to trash the place in a violent fit of rage, leaving the groupie terrified (One of My Turns). A depressed Pink then felt trapped in his room in 'Don't Leave Me Now', dismissing all the traumatic experiences he has ever had in (Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3). With a complete wall, he has now completed his total isolation from any human contact (Goodbye Cruel World).

In 'Act Two', aka disc 2, he questions his decisions in 'Hey You' and locking himself in the hotel room (Is There Anybody Out There?). As his depression grows stronger, he turned to his possessions for comfort in 'Nobody Home' and yearns for the idea of reconnecting with his personal music roots, British singer Vera Lynn, in 'Vera'. He flashes back to World War II when citizens were demanding soldiers to return home in 'Bring the Boys Back Home'.

Returning to the present, Pink's manager and roadies breaks into his hotel room to find a drugged and unresponsive Pink. A paramedic injects him with more drugs to enable him to perform 'Comfortably Numb', resulting in a hallucinatory on-stage performance 'The Show Must Go On' where he thinks he is a fascist dictator and that his concert is actually a Neo-Nazi rally. He exhorts his fans to show their devotion by throwing undesirables "up against the wall" in 'In The Flesh', ending the song with 'If I had my way, I'd have all of you shot!". In the next song, 'Run Like Hell', he begins attacking ethnic minorities and holds a rally in London, symbolising his descent into insanity (Waiting for the Worms). As his hallucinations stops, he begs for everything to stop (Stop). Later, he begins feeling tormented with guilt and places himself on trial (The Trial) with his inner judge ordering him to "tear down the wall", opening him up to the outside world (Outside the Wall).

The album comes into a full circle with the closing lyrics, "Isn't this where..." which completes the first lyric of the first song on the album that starts with "... we came in?", which hints a cyclical nature of Waters' theme to the album.

Deemed one of the bes-known concept albums of all times, it had sold more than 24 million copies worldwide. There's also an adapted 1982 feature film of the same name.

The Wall made it to No.1 in New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Spain and the US. Although the band originated from the UK, it only made it to No.3 on the album charts.

Tracklist:

  1. In the Flesh?
  2. The Thin Ice
  3. Another Brick in the Wall, Part 1
  4. The Happiest Days of Our Lives
  5. Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2
  6. Mother
  7. Goodbye Blue Sky
  8. Empty Spaces
  9. Young Lust
  10. One of My Turns
  11. Don't Leave Me Now
  12. Another Brick in the Wall, Part 3
  13. Goodbye Cruel World
  14. Hey You
  15. Is There Anybody Out There?
  16. Nobody Home
  17. Vera
  18. Bring the Boys Back Home
  19. Comfortably Numb
  20. The Show Must Go On
  21. In The Flesh
  22. Run Like Hell
  23. Waiting for the Worms
  24. Stop
  25. The Trial
  26. Outside the Wall

Album #1

The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
by Pink Floyd

The iconic 'The Dark Side of The Moon' by Pink Floyd was released on 1st March 1973.

The concept album is built around concepts of conflict, greed, death, insanity and the passage of time. Each side of the album is a continuous piece of music that reflects a variety of stages in life, beginning and ending with a heartbeat.

Recorded in Abbey Road Studios, the album is the first album to feature Roger Waters as its sole lyricist. The bassist adhered to a cohesive single concept to feature more lucid and direct lyrics compared to what the band had previously done. "That was always my big fight in Pink Floyd," Waters said in Mark Blake's Comfortably Numb – The Inside Story of Pink Floyd. "To try and drag it kicking and screaming back from the borders of space, from the whimsy that Syd [Barrett, the band's original leader, who had written the bulk of the material on Piper at the Gates of Dawn] was into, to my concerns, which were much more political and philosophical."

The biggest hit on the album, Money, was very much influenced by Booker T and the MGs. According to David Gilmour, he was a massive Booker T fan, and he wanted to incorporate the sounds of 'Green Onions' album without anyone noticing where the influence originated.

The Dark Side of The Moon had massive commercial success and was also the first Pink Floyd album to reach the Top 40s in the US. Engineer Alan Parsons (who later went on to succeed as a recording artist with the Alan Parsons Project) won Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical for the album at the Grammys. In 2013, the album was also selected for preservation in the United States National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Tracklist:

  1. Speak to Me
  2. Breathe
  3. On the Run
  4. Time
  5. The Great Gig in the Sky
  6. Money
  7. Us and Them
  8. Any Colour You Like
  9. Brain Damage
  10. Eclipse