The Greatest Rock Albums Ever

Led Zeppelin - (IV)

9. Led Zeppelin - (IV)

Of course, you can’t name great rock albums without bringing Led Zeppelin to the table. Of course, picking the album will also be difficult, but their 1971 album IV is what sets them apart.

This was most definitely Led Zeppelin’s magnum opus, with all of the sound and lyrical quality that made them who they were. And of course: Stairway to Heaven is Led Zeppelin’s most famous song, with a guitar solo that stands up the rests of time.

Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells a Story

10. Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells a Story

Another name in the genre of rock and roll that can never be forgotten, Rod Stewart’s 1961 album is one that really showcases the power of his rock and roll skills.

Every Picture Tells a Story is Rod Stewart’s third solo album, though it welcomed appearances from his fellow members of The Faces, which made the album absolutely irresistible in terms of sound.

All in all, one of the greatest rock albums to ever grace the scene.

The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main

11. The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main

How can you pick one of the best Rolling Stones albums? Even though Mick Jagger has nothing nice to say about the band’s 1972 album, Exile on Main has some of the best Rolling Stones classics that still stand up today.

This double album really encapsulates The Rolling Stones at their best, filled to the brim with the sound of blues, folk music and rock and roll.

While there are no smash hits to be found on Exile on Main, it’s still an amazing album that really speaks to what kind of music The Rolling Stones could produce.

David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars

12. David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars

David Bowie’s 1972 album was something that came entirely out of left field. No one was prepared for it, but the album made its way into people’s hearts and lodged there until the ends of time.

This album had everything that rock and roll was about: politics, sex and drugs. The lyrics and sound redefined the face of rock, and Bowie more than delivered. No one could have expected this album, which makes it one of the greats.

Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon

13. Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon

After their first album, Pink Floyd struggled to find their footing through the next six that followed. There were some hits, but nothing compared to the absolute success that their 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon, would produce.

This album was something that had never been done before, and something that everyone wanted more of. In fact, after it’s release, the album stayed on the Billboard charts from 1973 to 1988 - that’s 741 weeks!

Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies

14. Alice Cooper - Billion Dollar Babies

Alice Cooper had already been made famous before the release of their 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies. The album itself was a testament to all of the horrific things that people do, and that no one talks about.

What better way to explore those themes than with rock and roll? Billion Dollar Babies was provocative in a new way, with song lyrics that unabashedly covered everything from necrophilia to the fear of dentists.

Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

15. Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

This 1973 album was Elton John at his best. His 7th album in four years, Elton John wrote the music for almost all 17 songs in just three days. Truly, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was Elton John at the peak of his rock and roll days. Even the audience knew that this was something special, because it would go on to become his best selling album.

Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic

16. Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic

Though it may seem hard to pick an Aerosmith album that deserves recognition above the others, their 1975 release of Toys in the Attic was Aerosmith’s real commercial success.

Truly, Toys in the Attic was rock and roll at it’s very best, with a mix of sound inspired by the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Although Aerosmith had two good albums before this one, Toys in the Attic was what really launched them off to be well known, and is undoubtedly one of the best rock albums ever.

Queen - A Night at the Opera

17. Queen - A Night at the Opera

Queen’s 1975 album A Night at the Opera was a follow up to their already spectacularly successful album Sheer Heart Attack - and what a follow up it was.

A Night at the Opera was nothing less than a monumental success, with songs that were written by all four members, sung by three, and styles and sounds that had never been touched on before.

Of course, A Night at the Opera contains the classic Bohemian Rhapsody.

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run

18. Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run

Honestly, a list of the greatest rock albums ever couldn’t exist without including Bruce Springsteen - and nothing less than his breakthrough album, Born to Run, in 1975 could compare.

Even though Born to Run took a staggering 14 months to record, it was well worth the wait, considering that the songs, sounds and lyrics all resonated with it’s audience - and still do to this day.

The Eagles - Hotel California

19. The Eagles - Hotel California

In 1976, the Eagles recorded an album that would deal with the heavy theme of America’s decline into materialism and it’s neverending thirst for decadence.

And that theme struck a chord with audiences, and the title track became one of the most famous songs ever recorded. The album itself sold well over 32 million copies worldwide, and that number is still going up to this day.

Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell

20. Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell

This unique album took years to record and was rejected by label after label. When Meat Loaf was finally able to get someone to back the album in 1977, it was initially hated by audience and fans.

But still, something about Bat Out of Hell was entirely irresistible, considering that the album became a classic hit. The sound and lyrics are absolutely thrilling, and maybe that's why the album ended up selling over 43 million copies, despite the initial backlash and hatred.

Van Halen - Van Halen

21. Van Halen - Van Halen

This self-titled debut album in 1978 was what rocketed Van Halen onto the rock and roll scene. While David Lee Roth played his part with his lyrical genius and the sound of his voice, it would have been all for naught if it weren’t for Eddie Van Halen’s guitar playing that redefined what it meant to play rock and roll. Of course, the self-titled Van Halen album includes the infamous Eruption - a song that’s all solo, and all Eddie Van Halen.

AC/DC - Highway to Hell

22. AC/DC - Highway to Hell

Once more, a rock album list couldn’t exist without mentioning AC/DC’s 1979 album Highway to Hell. This album was the final act of former and original AC/DC singer Bon Scott.

It was a phenomenal album that still holds up today, with Highway to Hell being one of the most famous songs to hit rock music to this date. It really became their breakthrough record, with 10 tracks of pure rock and roll.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Rust Never Sleeps

23. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Rust Never Sleeps

Half electric and half acoustic, Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s 1979 album was recorded mostly live at the San Francisco’s Boarding House, as well a during a tour run.

Perhaps it’s the creation of the album that makes it so unforgettable. All the same, Neil Young hit his magnum opus with Rust Never Sleeps, and all nine songs showcase his lyrical genius, hands down.

Journey - Escape

24. Journey - Escape

Journey is a band that everyone loves to pretend that they hate, but when Don’t Stop Believin’ comes on from their 1981 album Escape, everyone knows the lyrics and can’t help but sing along.

That’s what makes this album one of the greats. Journey’s style and sound had changed a lot by the time they got to Escape, their eighth album, but it was well worth the wait to get to this type of sound.

Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms

25. Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms

Some folks might dismiss Dire Straits as not quite rock and roll enough. However, their 1985 album Brothers in Arms made an entirely new statement for them.

After all, this album sold well over 30 million copies. Brothers in Arms was a mix of rock and roll and pop sound that resonated with audiences everywhere.

Heart - Heart

26. Heart - Heart

Finally, a feminine touch to the list. Rock and roll has a serious problem with being overpowered by male voice and male sound, but Heart came onto the scene to prove that women were capable of rocking just as hard.

Heart’s 1985 self-titled album was their eighth, and it contained at least five hit singles that make it one of the greatest rock albums, ever.

Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet

27. Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet

How could we not talk about Bon Jovi and his 1986 album Slippery When Wet? His first two albums really rocked the scene, but with Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi went for an entirely new rock and roll sound that really became an international hit right away.

After all, this album contained some of his most well-known hits, including Livin’ On a Prayer and Dead or Alive.

Whitesnake - Whitesnake

28. Whitesnake - Whitesnake

The 1980s self-titled album from Whitesnake was a true powerhouse when it came to changing the game for rock and roll. Whitesnake is truly a wild ride from start to finish, including fantastic vocals, unforgettable lyrics, and top-chart hits like Here I Go Again and the unforgettable power ballad, Is This Love.

Def Leppard - Hysteria

29. Def Leppard - Hysteria

Def Leppard’s 1987 album Hysteria is a triumph for a number of reasons, one of which being that the drummer, Rick Allen, was in a car accident and lost his arm before recording began - and after he recovered, Def Leppard went on to record, arguably, their biggest and most successful album. Hysteria is filled to the brim with exciting, heart pumping rock anthems that still stand the test of time today.

Green Day - American Idiot

30. Green Day - American Idiot

Fastforwarding to the early 2000s, Green Day was already had 20 years of success under their belt before the Bush war-era album American Idiot debuted in 2004.

It was what catapulted Green Day into the mainstreet, despite their already successful albums.

American Idiot was a rock opera that spoke to a generation of war-torn young adults in ways that rock music hadn’t quite reached before.