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100 best albums from the ’60s

100 best albums from the '60s

Few people would dispute the claim that the 1960s produced a generous crop of influential albums. But few people would likely agree on exactly which albums deserve such a claim.

Stacker compiled the top 100 albums according to Best Ever Albums, which ranks albums according to their appearance and performance on 40,000 editorial and data-based charts such as Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and Billboard. The rankings are up-to-date as of January 28, 2021.

It should come as no surprise that the Beatles topped the list with 11 albums, from their first to their last, followed by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan with seven albums. Other artists with respectable showings were the Beach Boys, the Doors, Simon & Garfunkel, the Band, the Rolling Stones, and The Who.

Slightly offbeat musicians like Leonard Cohen and the Kinks made the list, as did more offbeat musicians like Frank Zappa. So did not terribly well-known bands like Small Faces and the Pretty Things, utterly obscure psychedelic artists like United States of America and 13th Floor Elevators, and often-overlooked bands like the Velvet Underground, the Zombies, and King Crimson.

Jazz albums made a strong showing, especially albums by John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Women did not fare nearly as well, with artists like Aretha Franklin and Janis Jopln picking up just seven of the 100 spots.

The Best Ever Albums score is derived from a formula that weighs how many charts an album has appeared on and how high it was on each of those charts, and awards points accordingly. For a more in-depth methodology, click here.

So where were stalwarts like Joni Mitchell and Judy Collins? The Grateful Dead? Elvis Presley? Frank Sinatra? Take a look and see if your favorite albums from the 1960s made the cut.

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#100. 'Sweetheart Of The Rodeo' by The Byrds

- Best Ever Albums score: 1,990
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #22
- Rank all-time: #949
- Year: 1968
- Country: United States

"Sweetheart Of The Rodeo" was a commercial failure when it was released. Rock fans were not happy with its country sound that featured steel guitar and banjo. The Byrds made the album’s debut at the Grand Ole Opry, but country music fans didn’t think much of it either. It was the band’s sixth album.

#99. 'The Beach Boys Today!' by The Beach Boys

- Best Ever Albums score: 1,991
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #9
- Rank all-time: #947
- Year: 1965
- Country: United States

“Today!” was the eighth album by the California band and marked a turning point as the Beach Boys moved away from their surfing sound. The production showed band member Brian Wilson’s creativity as the group expanded into orchestration, unusual instruments like harpsichord and cello, and much more percussion. It featured such songs as “Help Me, Ronda” and “Do You Wanna Dance?”

#98. 'Townes Van Zandt' by Townes Van Zandt

- Best Ever Albums score: 1,996
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #28
- Rank all-time: #944
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

Townes Van Zandt was the third studio album by the Texas singer-songwriter who died in 1997 after years of battling alcoholism. Artists like Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, and Willie Nelson credit the creative influences of Van Zandt on their own music.

#97. 'Wheels Of Fire' by Cream

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,021
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #21
- Rank all-time: #935
- Year: 1968
- Country: England

Cream released the double album “Wheels of Fire”—one disc live, the other recorded in a studio—that showcases the band's hits like “White Room” and “Crossroads.” The album features Eric Clapton’s stand-out guitar work on “Sittin’ On Top of the World” and “Toad,” which also features a distinctive drum solo by Ginger Baker.

 

#96. 'John Wesley Harding' by Bob Dylan

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,021
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 78
- Rank in year: #20
- Rank all-time: #933
- Year: 1967
- Country: United States

American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan put out the pared-down, rustic album “John Wesley Harding” at a time when fellow musicians were experimenting with expansive psychedelic sounds. The album, which includes the song “All Along the Watchtower,” was released a year after Dylan was in a serious motorcycle crash.

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#95. 'Songs From A Room' by Leonard Cohen

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,047
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #27
- Rank all-time: #920
- Year: 1969
- Country: Canada

Leonard Cohen’s “Songs From A Room,” his second album, was not as well received by critics as his debut album had been in 1967. The work by the deep-throated Canadian singer-songwriter includes tracks that would become favorites, such as “Bird on a Wire,” which began as a poem he wrote while living on a Greek island.

#94. 'Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake' by Small Faces

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,057
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #20
- Rank all-time: #915
- Year: 1968
- Country: England

“Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake” was a psychedelic concept album by the English quartet Small Faces, and most of the tracks reference hallucinogenic drug trips. Inspiration for the album title came from a brand of tinned tobacco called Ogdens’ Nut Brown Flake.

#93. 'S.F. Sorrow' by The Pretty Things

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,059
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #19
- Rank all-time: #914
- Year: 1968
- Country: England

“S.F. Sorrow” was a conceptual rock opera by The Pretty Things that never reached the acclaimed heights of The Who's “Tommy,” released a few months later. Loosely a narrative about a character named Sebastian F Sorrow, the album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, where the band made use of Ringo Starr’s drum set.

#92. 'Goodbye And Hello' by Tim Buckley

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,061
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 78
- Rank in year: #19
- Rank all-time: #913
- Year: 1967
- Country: United States

Tim Buckley fused folk and psychedelic sounds in “Goodbye And Hello,” an album clearly influenced by the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,” released a few months earlier. Buckley’s later work faltered, and he died of a heroin overdose at age 28 in 1975.

#91. 'At Last!' by Etta James

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,063
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 78
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #912
- Year: 1960
- Country: United States

“Heart-wrenching and haunting,” “At Last” was the debut album of Los Angeles-born Etta James, whose given name was Jamesetta Hawkins. Beyonce sang the song “At Last” at President Barack Obama’s first inaugural ball as he and first lady Michelle Obama danced. James was very critical of the performance.

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#90. 'Face To Face' by The Kinks

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,098
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #9
- Rank all-time: #900
- Year: 1966
- Country: England

“Face To Face” by The Kinks marked a breakthrough for Ray Davies’ literary and lyrical social commentary. It consisted entirely of songs written by Davies, who with his brother Dave Davies formed the core of the English band.

#89. 'Nashville Skyline' by Bob Dylan

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,124
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #26
- Rank all-time: #885
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

Considered an influential cross-over of country and rock, Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” features the memorable tunes “Girl from the North County” and “Lay Lady Lay.” Most of the album was recorded in just four days.

#88. 'Cheap Thrills' by Big Brother And The Holding Company

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,133
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #18
- Rank all-time: #878
- Year: 1968
- Country: United States

A month after the release of “Cheap Thrills,” singer Janis Joplin left Big Brother And The Holding Company to go solo. The album’s original cover, nixed by the record label, showed the band naked in bed together. The label, CBS Records, also rejected the band’s proposed album title—"Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills."

#87. 'With The Beatles' by The Beatles

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,186
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 76
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #856
- Year: 1963
- Country: England

“With The Beatles'' was the second album released in Britain by the Fab Four, recorded amid their busy appearance schedule—including a performance before Queen Elizabeth—in the Beatlemania that followed their debut album. Its black-and-white cover photo was used on their first album in the United States for Capitol Records, "Meet The Beatles.” Copies of the British version by Parlophone are collector’s items.

#86. 'Liege & Lief' by Fairport Convention

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,216
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #25
- Rank all-time: #848
- Year: 1969
- Country: England

Folk-rockers Fairport Convention’s “Liege & Lief” reflects their British Isles roots, with ballads, harmonies, and traditional instrumentation. The album was recorded after a tour van crash that killed 19-year-drummer Martin Lamble and band member Richard Thompson's girlfriend Jeannie Franklyn, and left others severely injured.

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#85. 'Scott 4' by Scott Walker

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,229
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #24
- Rank all-time: #845
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

Scott Walker was a member of the Walker Brothers, an English rock band, before making “Scott 4,” a soft-rock commercial failure of folk and ballads. He went on to become an unconventional avante-garde composer.

#84. 'Santana' by Santana

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,274
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #23
- Rank all-time: #829
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

“Santana” was the first album by the band of the same name. Led by guitarist Carlos Santana, the group introduced a Latin flair to the San Francisco music scene of the late 1960s. The album includes the band’s distinctive “Evil Ways” and “Soul Sacrifice.”

#83. 'Out To Lunch!' by Eric Dolphy

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,341
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #811
- Year: 1964
- Country: United States

“Out to Lunch” was an innovative jazz record made by Eric Dolphy, who played bass clarinet, alto saxophone, and flute. The album also included Bobby Hutcherson on vibraphone and Freddie Hubbard on trumpet. Dolphy died of complications from diabetes at 36 before the album was released.

#82. 'The United States Of America' by The United States Of America

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,368
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 78
- Rank in year: #17
- Rank all-time: #802
- Year: 1968
- Country: United States

“The United States of America” was a psychedelic, electronic album by the band of the same name, that dismantled after about two years and never made another album. A cult favorite, it was the work of Joseph Byrd, an ethnomusicology expert. Its track "The American Metaphysical Circus" mixes marches by John Philip Souza, circus calliopes, crooning vocals, and police sirens.

#81. 'The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators' by 13th Floor Elevators

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,413
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #790
- Year: 1966
- Country: United States

“The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators'' was the debut album by 13th Floor Elevators, led by Roky Erickson, who was considered the father of psychedelic rock ’n’ roll. The album was heavily influenced by the band’s heavy use of hallucinogens, and famously features Tommy Hall playing a reverberating electrified jug.

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#80. 'Pastel Blues' by Nina Simone

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,431
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #777
- Year: 1965
- Country: United States

On “Pastel Blues,” singer Nina Simone performs a haunting rendition of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” a song describing a Southern lynching. She also sings Bessie Smith’s "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" and the gospel-infused “Sinnerman” that runs more than 10 minutes.

#79. 'Beatles For Sale' by The Beatles

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,444
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 75
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #775
- Year: 1964
- Country: England

“Beatles For Sale,” which featured “Eight Days a Week,” “Honey Don’t,” and “I’ll Follow the Sun,” was released in Britain a mere 21 weeks after “A Hard Day’s Night,” and it was the band’s fourth album release in under two years. Songs from “Beatles For Sale” were released in the United States on albums “Beatles ’65” and “Beatles VI.”

#78. 'The Notorious Byrd Brothers' by The Byrds

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,537
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 78
- Rank in year: #16
- Rank all-time: #752
- Year: 1968
- Country: United States

“The Notorious Byrd Brothers” was released early in 1968, after the band had lost three members including David Crosby. Its songs include “Goin’ Back,” by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and “Wasn't Born to Follow,” which was used in the movie “Easy Rider.”

#77. 'David Bowie (Space Oddity)' by David Bowie

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,554
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 75
- Rank in year: #22
- Rank all-time: #746
- Year: 1969
- Country: English

The album “David Bowie” is known by what became one of the musician’s best-known songs, “Space Oddity.” Bowie said the song was inspired by the 1968 science-fiction movie "2001: A Space Odyssey.”

#76. 'Karma' by Pharoah Sanders

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,687
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #21
- Rank all-time: #713
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

The innovative jazz album “Karma” by tenor saxophone player Pharoah Sanders has just two tracks. “The Creator Has a Master Plan,” a spiritual and mystical piece, runs more than 32 minutes, and the joyful “Colours” is more than five minutes long.

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#75. 'Lady Soul' by Aretha Franklin

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,696
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #15
- Rank all-time: #711
- Year: 1968
- Country: United States

Aretha Franklin’s “Lady Soul” opens with “Chain of Fools” and features "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," written for her by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The gospel-trained singer also delivers unique versions of James Brown’s "Money Won't Change You" and Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready.”

#74. 'Os Mutantes' by Os Mutantes

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,882
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #14
- Rank all-time: #667
- Year: 1968
- Country: Brazil

“Os Mutantes,” which means “The Mutants,” was an influential album by a Brazilian pop/rock trio of the same name that was involved in the Tropicália cultural movement of music, film, theater, and art. Artists in the movement were threatened and put under pressure by Brazil’s military government.

#73. 'My Favorite Things' by John Coltrane

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,900
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #662
- Year: 1961
- Country: United States

“My Favorite Things” introduced the general public to the artistry of John Coltrane, and his reworking of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway work proved to be a creative masterpiece and a commercial hit. Coltrane’s version was released four years before Julie Andrews’ unforgettable rendition in the movie “The Sound of Music.”

#72. 'My Generation' by The Who

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,959
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #652
- Year: 1965
- Country: England

The Who made their debut with “My Generation,” which was originally popular in Britain but not so in the United States. It includes the now-classic hits “The Kids Are Alright” and “I’m a Man.” The song “My Generation” had one of rock’s first bass guitar solos, by John Entwhistle.

#71. 'Waiting For The Sun' by The Doors

- Best Ever Albums score: 2,974
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #13
- Rank all-time: #646
- Year: 1968
- Country: United States

“Waiting for the Sun,” the Doors’ third album, featured the stand-outs “Hello, I Love You” and “Spanish Caravan.” It was the only one of the band’s albums to make it to the top of the musical charts, but critics said it paled in contrast to their self-titled debut album released a year earlier.

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#70. 'Chelsea Girl' by Nico

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,102
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 78
- Rank in year: #18
- Rank all-time: #622
- Year: 1967
- Country: Germany

“Chelsea Girl” was the solo debut by German-born singer Nico after she left the Velvet Underground. Its songs were written by such artists as Lou Reed, Jackson Browne, John Cale and Bob Dylan.

#69. 'Dusty In Memphis' by Dusty Springfield

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,126
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #20
- Rank all-time: #620
- Year: 1969
- Country: England

“Dusty in Memphis” was English singer Dusty Springfield’s fifth album. It did not sell well when it was released, but its “Son of a Preacher Man” became Springfield’s best-known hit. Also on the album are songs written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Randy Newman, and Burt Bacharach.

#68. 'A Saucerful Of Secrets' by Pink Floyd

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,167
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #12
- Rank all-time: #615
- Year: 1968
- Country: England

“A Saucerful of Secrets,” Pink Floyd’s second album, was distinctive for the departure of Syd Barrett, who wrote most of the songs on the band’s debut album but had fallen into serious drug use. The arrival of guitarist and singer David Gilmour heralded the band’s path to the more conceptual work that would emerge later.

 

#67. 'Willy And The Poor Boys' by Creedence Clearwater Revival

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,303
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #19
- Rank all-time: #586
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

“Willy And The Poor Boys” was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s third album in 1969, along with “Bayou Country” and “Green River.” Led by songwriter and guitarist John Fogerty, the California band’s sound has been described as a mix of rock and swamp pop. Top tracks on this album were “Down On The Corner” and “Fortunate Son.”

#66. 'We're Only In It For The Money' by The Mothers Of Invention

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,342
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #11
- Rank all-time: #576
- Year: 1968
- Country: United States

“We’re Only In It For The Money” affirmed the creative genius that was Frank Zappa, the leader of the Mothers of Invention. The outrageous album was darkly comic, lampooning the social and cultural times with biting compositions. On the inside cover of the double album was a parodied version of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper” cover, and the liner notes recommended reading Franz Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony.” Zappa would make more than five dozen albums before dying at age 52 of prostate cancer in 1993.

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#65. 'Stand!' by Sly & The Family Stone

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,419
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #18
- Rank all-time: #566
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

“Stand!” marked the best of Sly and the Family Stone, who melded lively R&B, rock ’n’ roll, and flashy funk with results like "Everyday People," "I Want to Take You Higher," "Sing a Simple Song,” and “You Can Make It If You Try.” The group was led by Sly Stone, a former radio disc jockey in San Francisco.

#64. 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme' by Simon & Garfunkel

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,592
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #535
- Year: 1966
- Country: United States

Nearly every track on Simon & Garfunkel’s “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme” has become a beloved classic—“Homeward Bound,” “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” and “The Dangling Conversation.” “Scarborough Fair/Canticle,” the lyrics of which provided the album’s title, earned its place in Hollywood as one of the duo’s songs used on the soundtrack of the movie “The Graduate.”

#63. 'The Times They Are A-Changin'' by Bob Dylan

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,908
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #498
- Year: 1964
- Country: United States

The title track of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’” has become a time-tested anthem of protest and hope. Other songs on the album are no less political—“With God On Our Side,” “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll,” and “Only A Pawn in Their Game,” about the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers.

#62. 'Sketches Of Spain' by Miles Davis

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,967
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #491
- Year: 1960
- Country: United States

Trumpeter Miles Davis’ “Sketches Of Spain” fused jazz, classical, and traditional Spanish styles from folk to flamenco in a genre coined the Third Stream. It was a highly acclaimed collaboration between Davis and composer and arranger Gil Evans.

#61. 'Safe As Milk' by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band

- Best Ever Albums score: 3,992
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #17
- Rank all-time: #489
- Year: 1967
- Country: United States

Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band introduced themselves with the experimental and bluesy “Safe As Milk.” The band was led by singer-songwriter Don Van Vliet as Captain Beefheart. Appearing on the album were guitarist Ry Cooder and, as a guest artist, percussionist Taj Mahal.

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#60. 'The Who Sell Out' by The Who

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,108
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #16
- Rank all-time: #478
- Year: 1967
- Country: England

The Who’s third album, “The Who Sell Out,” took aim at consumer culture, mixing facetious commercials with its musical tracks. The cover shows Pete Townshend with a giant stick of deodorant and Roger Daltrey sitting in a bathtub filled with Heinz baked beans. Daltrey claimed to have gotten pneumonia because the beans were frozen. “I Can See For Miles” became a top hit single.

#59. 'Giant Steps' by John Coltrane

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,164
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #466
- Year: 1960
- Country: United States

“Giant Steps” was the first album by saxophonist and composer John Coltrane that consisted entirely of his own compositions. The title track is known for his complex chord progressions and key changes. The album in 2004 was named to the Library of Congress’s National Recording Preservation Board’s National Recording Registry.

#58. 'Green River' by Creedence Clearwater Revival

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,204
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #17
- Rank all-time: #461
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

“Green River” is celebrated for three outstanding tracks—the title song, “Lodi,” and the timeless “Bad Moon Rising.” The band would undergo an angry breakup three years later that left singer-songer John Fogerty in a drawn-out legal battle with his former label.

#57. 'Sounds Of Silence' by Simon & Garfunkel

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,319
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #451
- Year: 1966
- Country: United States

The New York duo of Simon & Garfunkel entitled their second album “Sounds Of Silence,” a slightly confusing variation on the name of its single “The Sound of Silence.” Other classic tracks were “Richard Cory,” “A Most Peculiar Man,” “April Come She Will,” and “I Am A Rock.”

#56. 'Freak Out!' by The Mothers Of Invention

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,328
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #450
- Year: 1966
- Country: United States

“Freak Out!” marked the sarcastic and outlandish debut by the Mothers of Invention, led by the incomparable Frank Zappa. In the liner notes, the musician wrote of himself: “When he does show up he performs on the guitar. Sometimes he sings. Sometimes he talks to the audience. Sometimes there is trouble.” Tracks include “Who Are the Brain Police?” and “Wowie Zowie.”

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#55. 'Aftermath' by The Rolling Stones

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,343
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 79
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #448
- Year: 1966
- Country: England

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote every song on the Rolling Stones’ “Aftermath.” The British version of the album by the then-3-year-old band opens with “Mother’s Little Helper,” and the U.S. release opens with “Paint It Black.” Brian Jones played a sitar, and Bill Wyman pounded the bass pedals of a Hammond B3 organ with his fists. The track “Goin’ Home” ran more than 11 minutes, a long-running move previously only made by Bob Dylan.

#54. 'Something Else By The Kinks' by The Kinks

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,354
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #15
- Rank all-time: #447
- Year: 1967
- Country: England

Tracks on “Something Else By The Kinks” include “Death of a Clown” and “Waterloo Sunset,” considered by many to be their best work. The album was recorded while the Kinks were banned for four years from touring in the United States after a backstage brawl during an appearance on Dick Clark’s “Where the Action Is” in 1965.

#53. 'The Stooges' by The Stooges

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,539
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #16
- Rank all-time: #433
- Year: 1969
- Country: United Sates

The Stooges, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, with Iggy Pop on vocals, made their debut with their self-titled album. Pioneers of punk, the band played raucous, raw garage rock. One of the album’s singles was “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

#52. 'Please Please Me' by The Beatles

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,663
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 77
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #427
- Year: 1963
- Country: England

“Please Please Me” was the Beatles’ debut album in Britain, and nothing was the same in music ever again. It opens with “I Saw Her Standing There,” which the band had been playing in clubs and dance halls, includes the melodious “PS I Love You” and “Do You Want To Know A Secret,” and closes with John Lennon’s raucous vocals on “Twist And Shout.”

#51. 'I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You' by Aretha Franklin

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,665
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #14
- Rank all-time: #426
- Year: 1967
- Country: United States

“I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You” was Aretha Franklin’s 10th album but her first with Atlantic Records, which sent the Detroit vocalist to record in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The title track became a huge hit and established her as the Queen of Soul. The album also includes “Respect” and “Dr. Feelgood.”

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#50. 'Crosby, Stills & Nash' by Crosby, Stills & Nash

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,794
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #15
- Rank all-time: #412
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

David Crosby of the Byrds, Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield, and Graham Nash of the Hollies joined together to create Crosby, Stills & Nash. Their self-titled debut album of sophisticated lyrics and harmonies produced a remarkable number of hits—“Wooden Ships,” Marrakesh Express, “Guinnevere,” “Helplessly Hoping,” and “Long Time Gone.”

#49. 'Getz/Gilberto' by Stan Getz & João Gilberto

- Best Ever Albums score: 4,823
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #410
- Year: 1964
- Country: United States/Brazil

Saxophonist Stan Getz teamed up with Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim on piano to record the bossa nova album “Getz/Gilberto” in New York. Gilberto’s wife, Astrud, was invited to sing vocals on “Girl from Ipanema,” which became an overwhelming success. Just 34 minutes long, the album won Grammys including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

#48. 'Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire)' by The Kinks

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,034
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #14
- Rank all-time: #390
- Year: 1969
- Country: England

Songs on “Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire)” explore British history in the early 20th century, touching on the Victorian era, the two World Wars, and Winston Churchill. It was inspired by Ray Davies’ brother-in-law Arthur Anning, a disillusioned war veteran. Davies has described it as a “documentary album.”

#47. 'Otis Blue / Otis Redding Sings Soul' by Otis Redding

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,269
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #376
- Year: 1965
- Country: United States

“Otis Blue” showcased the singer doing his renditions of Sam Cooke’s "Wonderful World" and “Change Gonna Come,” B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby," the Temptations’ “My Girl,” and the Rolling Stones “Satisfaction.” Otis Redding is said to have had never heard the Stones’ legendary version when he created his own.

#46. 'Days Of Future Passed' by The Moody Blues

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,680
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 80
- Rank in year: #13
- Rank all-time: #350
- Year: 1967
- Country: England

The Moody Blues lucked out when their label Decca Records wanted to promote use of new stereo recording equipment, popular with classical listeners, among a rock audience. Decca proposed the band mix classical and rock sounds, and they created the orchestrated “Days of Future Passed” with the stand-out hit "Nights in White Satin."

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#45. 'Surrealistic Pillow' by Jefferson Airplane

- Best Ever Albums score: 5,987
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #12
- Rank all-time: #328
- Year: 1967
- Country: United States

“Surrealistic Pillow” was the first Jefferson Airplane album with stand-out singer Grace Slick. It produced two indelible classics—“Somebody To Love,” with Slick’s powerful vocals, and the Lewis Carroll-inspired “White Rabbit.”

#44. 'Bookends' by Simon & Garfunkel

- Best Ever Albums score: 6,169
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #10
- Rank all-time: #320
- Year: 1968
- Country: United States

“Bookends” by Simon & Garfunkel is filled with haunting images of lost innocence and unfulfilled dreams. Its tracks include “America,” “Old Friends,” “A Hazy Shade Of Winter,” and “Mrs. Robinson.” The album cemented Paul Simon’s reputation as a great songwriter and Art Garfunkel’s skills as an ethereal vocalist.

#43. 'Music From Big Pink' by The Band

- Best Ever Albums score: 6,874
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #286
- Year: 1968
- Country: Canada

“Music From Big Pink” by the Band, which included Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, and Rick Danko, was a mix of country, blues, and rock that posed a stark contrast to the wilder psychedelic sounds of the times. The album is renowned for “The Weight” as well as “I Shall Be Released,” written by Bob Dylan. “The Weight,” populated with real-life characters like Anna Lee and Crazy Chester, was originally written as a back-up tune in case others on the album didn’t work out. The album got its name from a salmon-colored house, known as the Big Pink, that the Band found in upstate New York.

#42. 'Strange Days' by The Doors

- Best Ever Albums score: 7,733
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #11
- Rank all-time: #260
- Year: 1967
- Country: United States

“Strange Days” was the follow-up to the hugely successful debut album by the Doors, a group of former drama students at UCLA with the sultry Jim Morrison as their vocalist frontman. Its best-known tracks are “Love Me Two Times” and “When the Music’s Over.”

#41. 'Disraeli Gears' by Cream

- Best Ever Albums score: 7,771
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #10
- Rank all-time: #258
- Year: 1967
- Country: England

Cream’s “Disraeli Gears” contains the band’s mega-hits "Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love.” The name of the album is said to come from a roadie’s mistaken reference to “Disraeli Gears” when guitarist Eric Clapton was talking about buying a bicycle with derailleur gears.

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#40. 'A Hard Day's Night' by The Beatles

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,113
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #245
- Year: 1964
- Country: England

“A Hard Day’s Night,” the soundtrack to the Beatles’ movie debut, was their first album of entirely original material and the only one with all the songs written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Its stand-out “Can’t Buy Me Love” provided the musical background to scenes in the movie including a frantic getaway of the Beates trying to flee frenzied fans. Other tracks are “If I Fell,” “And I Love Her,” “Things We Said Today,” and “You Can’t Do That.”

#39. 'The Band' by The Band

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,218
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #13
- Rank all-time: #242
- Year: 1969
- Country: Canada

The Band recorded “The Band” in a Los Angeles mansion once owned by Sammy Davis Jr., where they lived together, rehearsed, and recorded such stellar tracks as “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” Years later, band members Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson tangled in angry legal battles over songwriting royalties.

#38. 'Axis: Bold As Love' by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,325
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #9
- Rank all-time: #240
- Year: 1967
- Country: United States

“Axis: Bold As Love'' followed the commercial and critical success of guitarist Jimi Hendrix’ debut “Are You Experienced.” It was recorded amid live appearances in Europe and the band’s historic performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. The title track closes with an acclaimed solo by the guitar virtuoso.

#37. 'Help!' by The Beatles

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,425
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #237
- Year: 1965
- Country: England

“Help!” contains the soundtrack to the Beatles’ second movie, after “A Hard Day’s Night.” It debuted at the top of the British charts, knocking off “The Sound of Music.” It features Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday,” believed to be the most covered song ever, recorded by thousands of musicians.

#36. 'Tommy' by The Who

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,821
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 81
- Rank in year: #12
- Rank all-time: #222
- Year: 1969
- Country: England

The Who’s “Tommy” was a groundbreaking rock opera created about a blind, deaf, and mute child who becomes a pinball sensation. The musical allegory spawned such hits as “Pinball Wizard,” “I’m Free,” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

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#35. 'In A Silent Way' by Miles Davis

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,879
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 86
- Rank in year: #11
- Rank all-time: #220
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

The tracks on jazz trumpeter Miles Davis’ acclaimed “In a Silent Way” are intense, extended jams, such as “Shhh/Peaceful.” Appearing on the album are Herbie Hancock on piano, Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, and Joe Zawinul on organ.

#34. 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere' by Neil Young With Crazy Horse

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,892
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #10
- Rank all-time: #219
- Year: 1969
- Country: Canada

At the core of “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” are the songs "Down by the River," "Cinnamon Girl," and "Cowgirl in the Sand.” Neil Young has said he wrote the three pieces in one afternoon when he was suffering from a high fever.

#33. 'Trout Mask Replica' by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band

- Best Ever Albums score: 8,995
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 75
- Rank in year: #9
- Rank all-time: #217
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

Members of Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band moved into a house in Southern California for months of intense marathon sessions creating “Trout Mask Replica,” an unconventional double album with 28 tracks. Its sounds range from freewheeling jazz, folk, the spoken word, and vocals recorded over a telephone.

#32. 'Hot Rats' by Frank Zappa

- Best Ever Albums score: 9,394
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 83
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #201
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

Mostly instrumental, “Hot Rats'' was Frank Zappa’s first solo album. The production is considered a landmark fusion of jazz and rock by the musician, who plays guitar on each of the tracks, joined by such talent as violinist Jean Luc Ponty and drummer John Guerin. Tracks include the jazzy “Peaches En Regalia,” “Son of Mr. Green Genes,” and the guitar-heavy “Willie The Pimp.”

#31. 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan' by Bob Dylan

- Best Ever Albums score: 10,378
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #183
- Year: 1963
- Country: United States

Bob Dylan wrote and sang about everything from romantic heartbreak to war on “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” his second album. It produced such classics as “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary released their single version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” three weeks after the album’s release.

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#30. 'Five Leaves Left' by Nick Drake

- Best Ever Albums score: 11,034
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 85
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #169
- Year: 1969
- Country: England

Created when singer-songwriter Nick Drake was just 21 years old, his debut “Five Leaves Left” featured “Way To Blue,” “Time Has Told Me,” and “River Man.” The album’s title was derived from a manufacturer reminder inserted inside packages of Rizla cigarette papers. Drake died of a drug overdose at age 26.

#29. 'The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society' by The Kinks

- Best Ever Albums score: 11,428
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #161
- Year: 1968
- Country: England

“The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society” was a critical but not commercial success, and it is now considered a masterpiece by the innovative English band. Released amid the political and cultural tumult of 1968, the songs address growing old and cultural decline.

#28. 'Beggars Banquet' by The Rolling Stones

- Best Ever Albums score: 11,514
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #159
- Year: 1968
- Country: England

The Rolling Stones’ “Beggars’ Banquet” followed “Their Satanic Majesties Request,” a critical flop blamed on their effort to emulate the Beatles after “Sgt. Pepper.” With the Stones’ unique mix of rock, blues, and country, the album featured “Street Fighting Man” and “Sympathy for the Devil.”

#27. 'The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' by Pink Floyd

- Best Ever Albums score: 11,586
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 82
- Rank in year: #8
- Rank all-time: #158
- Year: 1967
- Country: England

Pink Floyd’s debut “The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” took its name from a chapter in the children’s classic “The Wind in the Willows.” The psychedelic masterpiece was led by singer and guitarist Syd Barrett. The band recorded it at Abbey Road Studios at the same time that the Beatles were there making “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

#26. 'Songs Of Leonard Cohen' by Leonard Cohen

- Best Ever Albums score: 11,907
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 85
- Rank in year: #7
- Rank all-time: #156
- Year: 1967
- Country: Canada

“Songs Of Leonard Cohen” was the stunning debut album of the Canadian artist, who was a poet and novelist before becoming a professional songwriter. It opens with “Suzanne,” which would become his signature work, and also includes “Sisters of Mercy” and “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye.”

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#25. 'White Light/White Heat' by The Velvet Underground

- Best Ever Albums score: 12,806
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 84
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #139
- Year: 1968
- Country: United States

Described by musician Lou Reed as “the quintessence of articulated punk,” the Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat” never found a huge fan following. The album raged against the softer sounds of the Summer of Love in San Francisco. On the track “The Gift,” Reed destroyed a cantaloupe to create the sounds of a skull being cut open, a suggestion made by Frank Zappa, who was recording in the same studio.

#24. 'The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady' by Charles Mingus

- Best Ever Albums score: 15,494
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 87
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #106
- Year: 1963
- Country: United States

“The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady” was an avant-garde jazz masterpiece composed by Charles Mingus. It consists of a single work: a six-part ballet. The 11-member group rehearsed extensively, but Mingus relied heavily on overdubbing technology to perfect the complex sound he wanted. The album includes liner notes by Mingus’ psychologist Edmund Pollock, who wrote of the artist: “Inarticulate in words, he is gifted in musical expression which he constantly uses to articulate what he perceives, knows and feels.”

#23. 'Bringing It All Back Home' by Bob Dylan

- Best Ever Albums score: 15,875
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 86
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #101
- Year: 1965
- Country: United States

Recorded in just three days, “Bringing It All Back Home” showcased Bob Dylan’s poetic lyrics. The album was Dylan’s first to use electric instruments, and it was released just a few months before the musician’s groundbreaking and controversial appearance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, where he was booed by the audience for his electric performance.

#22. 'The Velvet Underground' by The Velvet Underground

- Best Ever Albums score: 16,338
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 86
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #97
- Year: 1969
- Country: United States

“The Velvet Underground,” the group’s third album, marked the departure of musician and composer John Cale and the ascendance of songwriter and guitarist Lou Reed. Critics described it as a cleaned-up departure from decadence, but Reed’s raw lyrics shine through in such hits as “Candy Says” and “Pale Blue Eyes.”

#21. 'Odessey And Oracle' by The Zombies

- Best Ever Albums score: 17,330
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 85
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #89
- Year: 1968
- Country: England

The tracks on “Odessey And Oracle” are mostly dark, literary, and dramatic except for the single "Time of the Season.” The Zombies, an English band, broke up right after the album was recorded.

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#20. 'Magical Mystery Tour' by The Beatles

- Best Ever Albums score: 18,372
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 86
- Rank in year: #6
- Rank all-time: #86
- Year: 1967
- Country: England

“Magical Mystery Tour” was created as the soundtrack for a television show the Beatles made for the BBC that aired at Christmastime. It unfolds with such hits as "Hello, Goodbye,” "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Penny Lane," "All You Need Is Love," “The Fool on the Hill,” and "Baby, You're A Rich Man.” The same year, the Beatles’ longtime manager Brian Epstein died at 32.

#19. 'A Love Supreme' by John Coltrane

- Best Ever Albums score: 19,860
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 87
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #76
- Year: 1965
- Country: United States

John Coltrane recorded “A Love Supreme” as a testament to his spiritual faith after years of struggling with drugs and alcohol. Playing on the album are pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and bass player Jimmy Garrison. The four-part, 33-minute suite is done in all 12 possible musical keys.

#18. 'Electric Ladyland' by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

- Best Ever Albums score: 20,712
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 86
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #73
- Year: 1968
- Country: United States

The last album recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was “Electric Ladyland.” Along with “Voodoo Child” and “All Along the Watchtower,” it contains a 15-minute blues jam with Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Steve Winwood. Gospel singer Cissy Houston, the mother of the late Whitney Houston, sang backup vocals on “Burning of the Midnight Lamp.” On “Watchtower,” Hendrix used a cigarette lighter as a guitar slide, and on “Crosstown Traffic,” he played a makeshift kazoo constructed from a comb and piece of cellophane.

#17. 'Forever Changes' by Love

- Best Ever Albums score: 20,734
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 85
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #72
- Year: 1967
- Country: United States

Led by singer-songwriter Arthur Lee, Love made “Forever Changes” in sharp contrast to the Southern California blissed-out music scene, focusing on political and social ills and the Vietnam War. Neil Young originally was supposed to have produced it but dropped out of the project. A commercial flop, the album has come to be considered enormously influential.

#16. 'Let It Bleed' by The Rolling Stones

- Best Ever Albums score: 23,126
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 86
- Rank in year: #5
- Rank all-time: #61
- Year: 1969
- Country: England

“Let It Bleed” opens and closes with two of the best Rolling Stones songs ever—“Gimme Shelter,” with vocals by Mary Clayton, and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Mick Jagger has described how the band was mixing the album late at night in Los Angeles, decided “Gimme Shelter” needed some strong vocals, and enlisted the gospel singer who showed up with her hair in curlers.

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#15. 'Astral Weeks' by Van Morrison

- Best Ever Albums score: 23,449
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 85
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #59
- Year: 1968
- Country: Northern Ireland

“Astral Weeks,” by Belfast-born Van Morrison, is a mystical masterpiece with jazz influences, strings, and stream-of-consciousness lyrics. It was an unconventional follow-up to the musician’s Top Ten hit “Brown Eyed Girl.” Morrison made it while living and playing in Boston.

#14. 'Led Zeppelin' by Led Zeppelin

- Best Ever Albums score: 23,451
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 86
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #58
- Year: 1969
- Country: England

“Led Zeppelin” was the English band’s debut album. Their name is said to have come either from Keith Moon or John Entwhistle of the Who, who said plans by guitarist Jimmy Page and bass player John Paul Jones to form a band would “go over like a lead balloon.”

#13. 'Led Zeppelin II' by Led Zeppelin

- Best Ever Albums score: 29,207
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 87
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #44
- Year: 1969
- Country: England

“Led Zeppelin II” marked the band’s move away from the blues of their first album into harder rock. Guitarist Jimmy Page said the group hastily wrote the songs in hotel rooms while touring to promote their first album, and had just three weeks to record it in between concert appearances.

#12. 'Are You Experienced' by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

- Best Ever Albums score: 31,195
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 87
- Rank in year: #4
- Rank all-time: #37
- Year: 1967
- Country: United States

The masterful debut of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Are You Experienced” is filled with an abundance of hits on its U.S. version—“Foxy Lady,” “Hey Joe,” “Purple Haze,” and “The Wind Cries Mary.” People close to Hendrix have said “Purple Haze” was not about an acid trip but was based on a dream the guitarist wrote into a song. The band had been together just a few weeks before recording the historic album.

#11. 'Blonde On Blonde' by Bob Dylan

- Best Ever Albums score: 34,602
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 88
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #31
- Year: 1966
- Country: United States

Bob Dylan filled the double album “Blonde on Blonde” with a mix of rock, blues, folk, country, and even brass bands. Featuring guitarist Robbie Robertson of the Band, its tracks include "Just Like a Woman," "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands,” and "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.”

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#10. 'The Doors' by The Doors

- Best Ever Albums score: 37,269
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 87
- Rank in year: #3
- Rank all-time: #29
- Year: 1967
- Country: United States

The Doors recorded their self-titled debut album after being fired from their gig as house band at Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles due to a particularly profanity-laden performance. “Light My Fire” was the first song that guitarist Robby Krieger, then 20, ever wrote. Elektra Records promoted the album with a giant billboard on Sunset Strip.

#9. 'In The Court Of The Crimson King' by King Crimson

- Best Ever Albums score: 38,530
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 89
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #28
- Year: 1969
- Country: England

The intricate, symphonic “In The Court Of The Crimson King” was the only album made by the original members of King Crimson. Two band members—Michael Giles and Ian McDonald—quit as the band was promoting the album on a U.S. tour. The front cover and spine of the progressive rock album famously had no printed words—neither its title nor the band’s name—written anywhere.

#8. 'Rubber Soul' by The Beatles

- Best Ever Albums score: 38,789
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 88
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #26
- Year: 1965
- Country: England

The album title of the Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” was derived from a description of the Rolling Stones as “plastic soul.” The group’s elongated faces on the cover were accidental when a projected image of the photograph tipped slightly backwards. It was their first album not to have the Beatles name on the front. “Norwegian Wood” had George Harrison playing sitar for the first time on a Beatles song.

#7. 'Highway 61 Revisited' by Bob Dylan

- Best Ever Albums score: 40,883
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 89
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #23
- Year: 1965
- Country: United States

With his masterpiece “Highway 61 Revisited,” Bob Dylan cemented his shift from folk artist to hard-edged social commentator. Among its timeless tracks are "Desolation Row,” "Tombstone Blues," and "Like a Rolling Stone.”

#6. 'The Beatles (The White Album)' by The Beatles

- Best Ever Albums score: 54,718
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 89
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #14
- Year: 1968
- Country: England

The Beatles,” known as “The White Album,” is a cornucopia of hits like “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Rocky Raccoon,” Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird,” and “George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” It was the band’s first album recorded on the Apple label. Many of the songs were composed during a Transcendental Meditation sojourn in India.

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#5. 'Pet Sounds' by The Beach Boys

- Best Ever Albums score: 57,782
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 88
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #13
- Year: 1966
- Country: United States

“Pet Sounds” is legendary for its progressive creativity and artistic sophistication. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “Sloop John B,” and “God Only Knows” are among the band’s most popular tracks. Some band members were concerned about using the word “God” in a song, and a few radio stations did refuse to air it.

#4. 'The Velvet Underground & Nico' by The Velvet Underground & Nico

- Best Ever Albums score: 60,874
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 89
- Rank in year: #2
- Rank all-time: #10
- Year: 1967
- Country: United States

Emerging from New York’s counterculture world of Andy Warhol, The Velvet Underground and Nico featured the talents of John Cale and Lou Reed. The recording was bankrolled by Warhol, who had proposed that a built-in crack be included in the song “I’ll Be Your Mirror” so that record player needles would get stuck and repeat the chorus over and over.

#3. 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' by The Beatles

- Best Ever Albums score: 70,212
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 90
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #6
- Year: 1967
- Country: England

The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” became a major hit, with its energetic mix of rock ’n’ roll, psychedelic sounds, Western classical, and traditional Indian music. Prior to its release, some observers had suggested that the Beatles were finished, having stopped touring and stepped back from the spotlight. Among the historic figures positioned on the album’s iconic collage cover are Mae West, Carl Jung, Edgar Allen Poe, Aldous Juxley, Karl Marx, Lewis Carroll, Marlene Dietrich, Bob Dylan, and Stuart Sutcliffe, a musician known as the Fifth Beatle who died of a brain hemorrhage in 1962.

#2. 'Revolver' by The Beatles

- Best Ever Albums score: 75,657
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 91
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #4
- Year: 1966
- Country: England

“Revolver” was released just ahead of the Beatles’ final tour in the United States, but the group played none of its songs, deciding that the works were too complex for live performances. Two of the album’s songs, “I’m Only Sleeping” and “Tomorrow Never Knows,” feature recordings played backward, including lead guitar parts. The group originally wanted to call the album Abracadabra.

#1. 'Abbey Road' by The Beatles

- Best Ever Albums score: 82,680
- Best Ever Albums user rating: 92
- Rank in year: #1
- Rank all-time: #3
- Year: 1969
- Country: England

“Abbey Road,” with its iconic cover of the Beatles on a crosswalk, was the last album the group would make. Photographer Iain Macmillan set up a stepladder in the middle of Abbey Road, and a policeman stopped traffic long enough for him to take six shots. In three of them, the Beatles were walking right to left, toward their recording studio, and in three, including the cover shot, they were walking away. “Abbey Road” debuted at No. 1 on the British album chart, where it would stay in the top spot for 17 weeks. John Lennon told the other Beatles of his intention to leave the group less than a month after the album was finished.

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