Best Albums to Own On Vinyl: 40 Must-Have Records for Your Collection
Best Albums to Own On Vinyl: 40 Must-Have Records for Your Collection
It’s always difficult to know where to start when you’re building a vinyl collection, as when you have decades of classic records to draw upon, it’s difficult to know where to start. To help you embark on a sonic odyssey, we’ve decided to unveil the crème de la crème of vinyl albums, meticulously curated to present the Top 40 indispensable LPs that are essential for any discerning music enthusiast to own.
Whether you’re into a psychedelic kaleidoscope of sounds or a soulful symphony of emotions, the enduring power of music knows no bounds. The best albums to own on vinyl transcend the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary, redefine genres, challenge conventions, and leave an indelible mark on the fabric of popular culture. With this in mind, let’s get ready to immerse ourselves in the top 40 best albums to own on vinyl, each of which succeed in achieving sonic perfection.
40) Beyoncé - Lemonade (2016)
Beyoncé's culture-shaking album 'Lemonade,' released in 2016, is an audacious modern classic that gracefully blends raw vulnerability with feminist-inspired messages of empowerment. The multifaceted songstress, known for her powerhouse vocals and commanding stage presence, takes her artistry to sublime heights here. With its unique blend of R&B, soul, and hip-hop, 'Lemonade' paint vivid portraits of resilience, strength, and unapologetic black womanhood while championing the power of self-reliance and femininity. From the sultry confessions of ‘Hold Up’ to the empowering anthem of female unity in ‘Formation’, 'Lemonade' more than deserves a spot on our list of best albums on vinyl.
39) Eagles - Hotel California (1976)
Journeying through a sonic oasis, the 1976 LP ‘Hotel California’ by Eagles is a golden-hued snapshot of Southern California, where the sun-drenched guitars intertwine with ethereal vocal harmonies. With the title track acting as a haunting reflection on the dark underbelly of the American Dream, the album’s intricate guitar solos and haunting lyrics perfectly highlight the band’s skill at poetic storytelling. From the country-tinged balladry of ‘New Kid in Town’ to the infectious rock anthem ‘Life in the Fast Lane’, 'Hotel California' showcases the Eagles' masterful songcraft, blending rock, country, and folk influences into an indelible musical portrait. Having sold more than 32 million copies worldwide, 'Hotel California' as a must-have album in any vinyl collection.
38) Bob Marley & The Wailers - Exodus (1977)
Emerging as a sonic pilgrimage to the realm of spiritual liberation, Bob Marley & The Wailers’ 1977 LP ‘Exodus’ saw the Jamaican songwriter craft a cultural manifesto. Harnessing his revolutionary spirit and unparalleled talent, Marley’s advocacy of peace and unity is just as impassioned as the day it was recorded, all wrapped up in tight reggae rhythms and infused with the soulful vibrations of rebellion and hope. Marley's poignant lyrics, delivered with raw passion and unwavering conviction, resonate like a rallying cry for justice and emancipation. From the biblical ‘Jamming’ to the world peace anthem ‘One Love/People Get Ready’, 'Exodus' immerses listeners in a world where every note becomes a vessel of collective consciousness. Without a doubt, Exodus' an indispensable gem in any vinyl enthusiast's collection, and captures the indomitable spirit of Bob Marley at his most powerful.
37) Van Halen - Van Halen (1978)
Unleashing a tornado of electrifying energy and virtuosic talent, Van Halen’s self-titled debut album in 1978 ignited a revolution in rock music. Led by guitar wizard Eddie Van Halen, the band burst onto the scene with a ferocious force, fusing blistering guitar solos, thundering drums, and infectious hooks into a sonic firestorm that resonated with audiences worldwide. From the iconic opening riff of ‘Runnin' with the Devil’ to the lightning-fast fretwork on ‘Eruption’, this album showcases Van Halen's innovative blend of hard rock and heavy metal, redefining the boundaries of sonic possibility. Perfectly capturing the band's unyielding spirit, ‘Van Halen’ is an essential listen among the best vinyl albums to own for any fan of rock ’n’ roll and will forever remind us why Van Halen were such a force to be reckoned with.
36) Queen - A Night at the Opera (1975)
A grandiose symphony of rock that imbued it with near-operatic heft, Queen’s 1975 album ‘A Night at the Opera’ was arguably their artistic high point. Led by the enigmatic frontman Freddie Mercury, Queen's larger-than-life production and unparalleled musicianship converge into an album that is a triumph of sheer bloody-minded ambition. 'A Night at the Opera' is an audacious tapestry of genres, blending elements of rock, opera, vaudeville, and more. From the eccentric masterpiece ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, with its flurry of bismillahs and figaros, to exuberant pop-rock confections like ‘You're My Best Friend’, this album showcases Queen's boundless creativity and fearless experimentation. As the album that truly earned Queen's place among the pantheon of rock legends, ‘A Night at the Opera’ is an essential gem and more than worthy of a place in any vinyl aficionado's collection.
35) Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
Elton John's double LP 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,' released in 1973, is a dazzling display of fantastical showmanship that highlights the songwriter’s impact on the music world. It’s a joy to imagine the enigmatic piano maestro and consummate entertainer tucking Toto under his arm and embarking on an enchanting journey through a glam-rock kaleidoscope of musical styles. 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' is essentially a sonic panorama, where Elton's masterful piano skills and Bernie Taupin’s heartfelt lyricism take off like a tornado in Kansas. From the infectious rock 'n' roll swagger of ‘Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting’ to the eulogy for Marilyn Monroe on ‘Candle in the Wind’, this album showcases Elton's versatility and ability to craft melodies that linger in the memory. As one of the best albums to own on vinyl, no record collection would be complete without Elton John, and there’s no better place to start than ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’.
34) Dr. Dre - 2001 (1999)
As a founding father of the West Coast sound and a driving force behind the rise of gangsta rap, Dr. Dre showcases his unparalleled production prowess on his 1999 album ‘2001’. Crafting a sonic landscape that is at once gritty and grandiose, this album fuses relentless beats, David Axelrod-style grooves, and cinematic orchestrations to create a sonic experience that is as captivating as it is immersive. From the iconic opening piano notes of ‘Still D.R.E.’ to the pulsing energy of tracks like ‘Forgot About Dre’ and ‘The Next Episode’, Dr. Dre's meticulous attention to detail and knack for crafting hip-hop anthems are on full display. Thanks to its rich bass sound, intricate samples, and layered production, ‘2001’ is best heard on vinyl and is a must-have addition to any record collector’s arsenal.
33) Daft Punk - Random Access Memories (2013)
With their ground-breaking 2013 LP 'Random Access Memories’, Daft Punk took listeners on a celestial odyssey to redefine electronic music. The enigmatic French duo, known for their innovation and iconic robot personas, recreated their electronic sound with live session musicians, investing a staggering $1 million to achieve its million-dollar quality. This audacious fusion of disco, funk, and electronic elements makes for an otherworldly sonic experience where shimmering synthesisers, motorik bass lines, and soulful melodies bleed into one another. From the euphoric party anthem ‘Get Lucky’ to the Julian Casablancas collaboration of ‘Instant Crush’, Daft Punk's meticulous production transports listeners to a parallel universe where disco never died. A transcendent masterpiece that will push your sound system to its very limits, the way 'Random Access Memories' pushes the boundaries of electronic music is awe-inspiring and it will remain a treasure for vinyl enthusiasts for years to come.
32) The Who - Who's Next (1971)
As perhaps the most potent expression of The Who’s explosive energy and innovative hard rock sound, their 1971 LP ‘Who’s Next’ channelled their larger-than-life stage presence and rebellious spirit to earth-shaking effect. From the anthemic rallying cry of ‘Baba O'Riley’ to the infectious call of rebellion of ‘Won't Get Fooled Again’, The Who's unyielding passion and youthful commentary vividly expressed the thoughts of a generation on the precipice of social change. With Pete Townshend’s resounding guitars and Keith Moon's frenetic drumming, 'Who's Next' is an indisputable rock masterpiece among the best vinyl albums to own, reminding us why The Who’s impact on the world of rock is everlasting.
31) Tears for Fears - Songs from the Big Chair (1985)
Unlike most new wave and synth-pop acts of their day, it was always apparent that Tears for Fears were considerably more intelligent and cerebral than their peers. Hailing from Somerset, England, the band’s 1985 LP ‘Songs from the Big Chair’ is a brilliant exploration of the human condition in the Cold War era. Their biggest hit, ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’, seems to reflect upon living life under the threat of nuclear war posed by the Soviet Union. Full of haunting melodies and poignant lyricism, the album plumbs depths of emotions with shimmering synths and infectious hooks, such as on the desperate cry of exasperation on ‘Shout’. By giving weight to thought-provoking themes, ‘Songs from the Big Chair’ invites the listener to immerse themselves in a world where melancholy and hope coexist in perfect harmony, making it a unique sonic journey that stays with you long after the needle leaves the record.
30) The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers (1971)
The Rolling Stones' seminal album 'Sticky Fingers,' released in 1971, distils the essence of rock 'n' roll to its sleaziest essence, offering up a salacious and gritty masterpiece that cemented the band’s status as rock legend. The British band, led by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, exudes a rebellious spirit that reverberates through every track on this sonic triumph. 'Sticky Fingers' is a sonic fever dream, where blues-infused riffs, swaggering rhythms, and Jagger's electrifying vocals glisten like sweat on the brow. From the timeless anthem ‘Brown Sugar’ to the country-tinged ballad ‘Wild Horses’, this album is a gleeful hodgepodge of desire and depravity. As one of The Rolling Stones’ finest albums, it would be remiss not to add ‘Sticky Fingers’ our list of best vinyl albums to own for those occasions when you want to surrender to rock ’n’ roll at its most raw and confrontational.
29) AC/DC - Back in Black (1980)
Unleashing a sonic behemoth upon the world in 1980, AC/DC's thunderous opus 'Back in Black’ is pure unadulterated rock 'n' roll. The Australian hard rock band are an indomitable powerhouse, led by the immortal schoolboy Angus Young, serving up lashings of no-nonsense naughtiness and an unapologetic attitude. With its relentless barrage of crunchy guitar riffs, pounding drums, and Brian Johnson's wailing vocals, 'Back in Black' defines their iconic sound more than any other. From the legendary riff of the title track to the stadium-shaking anthem ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’, each song showcases AC/DC's mastery of rock's primal urges like rabble rousers on the loose. Long regarded as essential cornerstone of rock 'n' roll history, ‘Back in Black’ is quite simply an unbeatable classic, which invites fans to unleash their primal instincts and surrender to its unrelenting power.
28) Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
A visceral and unapologetic journey into the depths of one of hip-hop's most complex and compelling minds, Eminem’s ground-breaking album 'The Marshall Mathers LP’ is his greatest achievement. Born Marshall Mathers, this Detroit-bred wordsmith shattered the boundaries of lyrical prowess with his raw and cartoonish playfulness, offering up an artistic tour de force where his razor-sharp wordplay, relentless flow, and darkly introspective narratives run riot. From the psych-horror character piece of ‘Stan’ to probing his psyche on ‘The Way I Am’, each track unveils a new layer of Eminem's troubled upbringing, confronting societal norms and personal demons head-on. Not only a cultural touchstone but an enduring masterpiece, it’s vital we add 'The Marshall Mathers LP' to the best vinyl albums to own to understand why Eminem’s place in the annals of hip-hop history are assured.
27) Amy Winehouse - Back to Black (2006)
Hailing from London, the enigmatic songstress Amy Winehouse possessed a voice that effortlessly channelled the spirit of Motown and jazz with a contemporary flair. On her 2006 LP ‘Back to Black' Winehouse bares her heart and exposes her vulnerabilities through haunting melodies and soul-stirring lyrics, with impeccable production by Mark Ronson. From the haunting desperation of ‘Rehab’ to the tender vulnerability of ‘Love Is a Losing Game’, Winehouse's voice quivers with an emotional depth that leaves a lingering impact. Sadly, this would prove to be her final album, as she died age 27 in 2011, leaving 'Back to Black' to cement Winehouse’s legacy as a truly transcendent talent, making it an essential addition to any vinyl fan’s wish list.
26) R.E.M. - Automatic for the People (1992)
Buttressed by introspective lyrics and wistful melodies, R.E.M.'s 1992 masterpiece 'Automatic for the People' saw them scale greater commercial heights than ever before and fully established themselves as the leading purveyors of alternative rock. Hailing from Athens, Georgia, the album captivated listeners worldwide with Michael Stipe's enigmatic poetry and Peter Buck's resonating guitar riffs, all the while exploring themes of mortality, love, and the human experience with profound solemnity. From the haunting melancholy of 'Everybody Hurts' to the ode to SNL comedian Andy Kaufman 'Man on the Moon', 'Automatic for the People' saw R.E.M. craft a timeless gem that still shines all these years later, making it a must-have in any vinyl collection for those who love to contemplate, dream, and find solace in melody.
25) Metallica - Metallica (1991)
Metallica's eponymous fifth studio album, widely known as 'The Black Album,' struck thunder in the hearts of rock enthusiasts in 1991. Originating from California, the iconic heavy metal band, led by James Hetfield's hellhound growl and Kirk Hammett's clawing guitar solos, broke through to the mainstream with a powerhouse of sonic fury and melodic prowess. With blistering riffs and thunderous drums colliding in a symphony of emotions, 'The Black Album' is fury-laden yet compellingly accessible. From the nightmarish dream-weaving of 'Enter Sandman' to the monastic reverberations of 'Nothing Else Matters', each track brilliantly showcases Metallica's ability to crowbar sonic nuances into an unyielding force blast of trash-indebted noise. An essential cornerstone of heavy metal history, if you wish to surrender to the thunderous roar of Metallica's unparalleled artistry, Metallica's 'The Black Album' will soundtrack many a sleepless night.
24) Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against the Machine (1992)
A seminal influence on the rise of nu-metal, Rage Against the Machine emerging as a revolutionary force in the musical landscape in 1992 with their self-titled debut LP. With frontman Zack de la Rocha leading the charge, the LA quartet sparked a sonic revolution with their potent fusion of rap, metal, and political activism. Unleashing a sonic onslaught, their debut album's Led Zeppelin-esque guitar riffs, brontosaurus-sized basslines, and de la Rocha's explosive social commentary converge with a ferocity that knocks you off your feet. From the politically charged anthem 'Killing in the Name' to the Russian roulette of 'Bullet in the Head', each song pulses with a rebellious spirit and unrelenting energy. With its sonic manifesto, of resistance and defiance, the 'Rage Against the Machine' LP is a must-have in any vinyl collection for those who appreciate the primal power of music as a catalyst for change.
23) Michael Jackson - Thriller (1982)
An enthralling journey into pop perfection that coronated the King of Pop's reign, Michael Jackson's 1982 LP 'Thriller' needs no introduction. Born in Gary, Indiana, Jackson's extraordinary talent and unmatched showmanship propelled him to unimaginable levels of fame. Blending infectious grooves, impeccable vocals, and groundbreaking production in a streamlined bid for crossover appeal, the success of 'Thriller' saw Michael Jackson take over the airwaves of MTV and it rapidly became one of the best-selling albums of all time. From the irresistible funk of 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'' to the ambling bass notes of 'Billie Jean', Jackson's magnetic charisma truly shines from start to finish. As a cultural phenomenon, it's only by hearing 'Thriller' on vinyl that you will truly understand how Michael Jackson earned his crown and why no-one came close to stealing his throne.
22) Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
Opening the floodgates for the alternative rock revolution, Nirvana's ground-breaking 1991 LP 'Nevermind' kicked open the door for grunge and spawned a modern rock classic. Fronted by the enigmatic Kurt Cobain, Nirvana emerged from the Seattle punk scene, fusing a noisy DIY ethos with the melodicism of classic rock to invigorate the music world with their blend of angst, vulnerability, and distorted guitar riffs. From the explosive grunge anthem 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' to the sense of doom that pervades 'Come As You Are', 'Nevermind' captured the tumultuous spirit of Generation X and remains a cathartic journey into one of the last great rock 'n' roll stars. An essential entry to our list of best vinyl albums to own, 'Nevermind' reminds us that amidst the darkness, music has the power to heal and transcend, and it's easy to see why it remains an immovable cultural touchstone.
21) Joni Mitchell - Blue (1971)
Hailing from Alberta, Canada, the folk-rock icon Joni Mitchell's ethereal voice and impeccable songwriting on her 1971 masterpiece LP 'Blue', which fully established her as a visionary of her craft. Offering listeners a soul-bearingly introspective journey, Mitchell's profoundly feminine lyrics bore many poetic gems, spelling out her melancholic yearning on 'River' and reflecting with bittersweet reverie on 'A Case of You'. As an intimate confessional, the lyrical exploration of love, heartache, and self-discovery on 'Blue' remains a must-have for any vinyl collection, and it will remain so for as long Mitchell's poetic musings resonate with enduring grace and authenticity.
20) Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (1959)
Miles Davis's seminal album 'Kind of Blue' is an eternal testament to the genius and innovation of the jazz maestro. Without a doubt, Davis redefined jazz with his pioneering approach and his insatiable creativity, with 'Kind of Blue' standing out as a transcendent masterpiece, where Davis and his ensemble, including luminaries like John Coltrane and Bill Evans, navigate improvisation with sublime grace. Each track reveals sonic revelations, with Davis's languid trumpet melodies floating effortlessly over hypnotic rhythms and harmonic explorations. As far as poetic meditations go, even if you're a newcomer to jazz it's well-worth adding 'Kind of Blue' to your vinyl collection. As a musical art form that acts as a vessel for profound introspection, it's always worth reminding ourselves of the boundless possibilities of jazz and the enduring legacy of Miles Davis.
19) Stevie Wonder - Innervisions (1973)
From the funky foot-stomper of 'Higher Ground' to the howls of protest on 'Living for the City', Stevie Wonder's 1973 classic 'Innervisions' was one of his many sonic odysseys that showcased his genius and artistic depth. A prodigious talent, Wonder captivated audiences throughout the 1970s with his unparalleled musicianship and soulful voice. His masterful songwriting and innovative arrangements truly came into their own on 'Innervisions', coalescing into a dizzying display of funk, soul, and social commentary. If you want to immerse oneself in the sonic wonderland crafted by a true musical luminary, it's imperative to give 'Innervisions' by Stevie Wonder a spin on your turntable. You won't regret it.
18) Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (1971)
Marvin Gaye's ground-breaking album 'What's Going On,' released in 1971, is a soulful masterpiece encapsulating the social consciousness and artistic brilliance of this iconic Motown legend. Born in Washington, D.C., it's easy to see how Gaye's unique voice and emotive delivery have made him an enduring figure in the realm of soul and R&B. 'What's Going On' is his most poignant and introspective record, where heartfelt lyrics and rich melodies weigh heavy on complexities of the human struggles and the social issues of the early 1970s. Full of orchestration and intricate vocal harmonies, this album occupies a lush sonic universe, where heartfelt crooning and passionate performances truly come alive. A testament to Gaye's artistry, 'What's Going On' gives us a timeless exploration of love, unity, and the human condition that transcends generations, making it an indispensable addition to our list of best albums on vinyl to own.
17) Bjork - Vespertine (2001)
Diving into avant-garde pop, the Icelandic icon Björk's singularly surreal 2001 LP 'Vespertine' is a sonic journey into uncharted territory. Known for her haunting vocals and boundary-pushing experimentation, Björk has crafted an album that unfolds like a mystifying dreamscape, showcasing her extraordinary artistic vision with delicate melodies and intricate electronic textures. Björk's evocative lyrics and emotive vocal quirks immerses the listener in a rich sonic panorama, where every delicate whisper and evocative sound comes to life with breath-taking clarity. It's one of the best vinyl albums to own if you want to lose yourself in the ethereal realms of Björk's enchanting musical universe and appreciate her artistic fearlessness and her willingness to defy convention.
16) Prince and The Revolution - Purple Rain (1984)
A dazzling tour de force that brought the musical visionary to greater renown, the 1984 LP 'Purple Rain' saw the Minneapolis maverick Prince effortlessly bring together funk, rock, and R&B into a MTV-conquering formula, yielding career-making hits such as 'When Doves Cry' and 'I Would Die 4 U'. The album's flashy fusion of musical genres shone a spotlight on Prince's ability to transcend artistic boundaries, showcasing his virtuosic guitar playing and supernova-inducing vocals before coalescing into a spellbinding constellation of sound. Long been regarded by critics as a timeless classic, 'Purple Rain' is an essential gem for any vinyl enthusiast for the way it immerses you in the purple-hued opulence of Prince's captivating sonic universe from start to finish.
15) Miles Davis - Bitches Brew (1970)
For years Miles Davis had been regarded as a boundary-pushing jazz maestro, but nobody expected him to forever alter the course of the genre with his ground-breaking 1970 LP 'Bitches Brew'. Taking listeners on a psychedelia-inspired odyssey, 'Bitches Brew' saw Davis assemble a formidable ensemble of musical visionaries to dabble in sprawling improvisations and hypnotic rhythms in a progressive and forward-thinking blend of jazz, rock, and avant-garde experimentalism. Defying conventions and shattering expectations, it's an audacious masterpiece of sheer alchemy, where Davis's brooding trumpet solos and pulsating grooves possess the senses and bewitch you with enigmatic charm. A must-have purchase for any collector, 'Bitches Brew' is one of the best albums on vinyl to own if you appreciate the untamed beauty and restless spirit of Miles Davis's musical genius.
14) My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1991)
Released in late November 1991, 'Loveless' by My Bloody Valentine is a swirling tempest of ethereal melodies, cascading layers of distorted guitar effect, and otherworldly vocals that promise to transport the listener to a realm of dreamlike beauty. Leaving an indelible mark on the shoegaze genre, the band were led by the musical visionary Kevin Shields, who set the band on a path of exploration and experimentation. With lush textures and hypnotic dissonance, My Bloody Valentine's pioneering spirit and unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of sound is truly inspiring. An invitation to lose oneself in the beguiling landscapes of guitar pedal effects, 'Loveless' is an album worth buying on vinyl to envelope yourself on a morass of noise in a unique dreamscape of Kevin Shields' own making.
13) The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)
Few albums have left a mark on musical history as profoundly as 'Pet Sounds' by The Beach Boys. Released in 1966, the California band's magnum opus is a work of boundless creativity spearheaded by the artistic vision of Brian Wilson, the band's leader. A true sonic marvel, its dreamy vocal harmonies, cleverly composed arrangements, and self-reflective lyricism captures the essence of melancholy and joy with child-like playfulness. From the rays of sunshine pop on 'Wouldn't It Be Nice' to the heavenly harmonies on 'God Only Knows', every song is a mini-symphony, fusing orchestral flourishes and heart-rending melodies to life-changing effect. Showcasing Brian Wilson's willingness to explore uncharted territories, 'Pet Sounds' remains an enduring masterpiece of the 1960s era, a testament to The Beach Boy's legacy as pioneers of the American sound. Owning this album on vinyl is like possessing a gateway to a bygone era, an opportunity to embark on a journey filled with nostalgia, introspection, and beauty.
12) The Beatles - Revolver (1966)
From the psychedelic exploration of 'Tomorrow Never Knows' to the baroque pop beauty of 'Eleanor Rigby', 'Revolver' offers a treasure trove of delights that saw The Beatles embrace the unlimited possibilities of studio-based experimentalism for the very first time. Released in August 1966, it marks The Beatles transcendence from their early pop sensibilities into more avant-garde techniques such as tape looping, dipping their toes into the surreal whimsy of 'Yellow Submarine' and dabbling with Indian music on 'Love You To'. Now regarded as a classic record in its own right, 'Revolver' marks The Beatles' ascendancy into the realm of creative genius, making it an essential purchase among the best vinyl albums to own.
11) Radiohead - Kid A (2000)
When 'Kid A' was first released in October 2000, it seemed like Radiohead were at risk of committing career suicide. Instead, the album represented a seismic shift in the sonic landscape, wrenching Radiohead free from the strictures of alternative rock and firmly establishing them as trailblazers of experimental rock. Departing from guitar-driven soundscapes, the album saw the band delve into the furtive terrain of IDM, ambient music, and fringe electronica. With doom-laden lyrics pondering dystopian futures and pondering technological calamity, Thom Yorke's vocals soar above glitchy beats and eerie soundscapes, as hauntingly beautiful as they are unsettling. With 'Everything in Its Right Place' and 'Idioteque' showcasing Radiohead's aptitude for taking creative risks, 'Kid A' is an otherworldly and yet deeply human listen, easily making it one of the best vinyl albums to own by virtue of its audaciousness alone.
10) Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (1977)
Emerging out of the emotional trauma surrounding the dissolution of romantic relationships within the band, Fleetwood Mac's 1977 LP 'Rumours' is a dramatic soap opera packaged as a pop-rock opus. Upon its release, it became a commercial juggernaut, launching Fleetwood Mac into the mainstream thanks to Stevie Nicks' bohemian vocals and Lindsey Buckingham's passionate guitar licks. Each spin of 'Rumours' on vinyl is a journey through a resentful outpouring of heartbreak and interpersonal conflicts, with tracks like 'Go Your Own Way' and 'Dreams' imbued with great psychological weight. All in all,'Rumours' is not just a collection of songs; it's a window into the lives and emotions of the band members, immortalised into the grooves of the vinyl and etched into the annals of musical history. If that's not a reason to consider it one of the best albums on vinyl to own, we don't know what is.
9) Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
From the teeth-bearing riff of ‘Black Dog’ to the enchanting mysticism of ‘Stairway to Heaven’, Led Zeppelin’s self-titled LP from 1971 (commonly referred to as ‘Led Zeppelin IV’) stands as their towering achievement. Masterminded by the virtuosic guitarist Jimmy Page and fronted by the charismatic Robert Plant, it’s an album imbued with age-old English magic and a fable-like mythos that billows like the mists of Avalon. Carving a unique path in the realm of hard rock, it’s as if Led Zeppelin had concocted their own elixir to intoxicating effect. With its explosive energy, intricate musicianship, and timeless appeal, 'Led Zeppelin IV' is an essential addition to any vinyl collection, etching Led Zeppelin's legendary status in the annals of rock 'n' roll history.
8) Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
With a discography that already cemented him as a visionary hip-hop artist, Kanye West's fifth studio album ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ solidifies his status as a creative force to be reckoned with. Through his introspective lyrics and bold musical arrangements, Kanye turns in a musical tour de force delves deep into his psyche, baring his soul with unflinching honesty. Blending genres seamlessly and yo-yoing between grandiosity and intimacy, the album is a fearlessly imaginative display of Kanye’s supreme production prowess that demands repeat listens. From the eerie piano-based minimalism of ‘Runaway’ to the prog-sampling energy of ‘Power’, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ is Kanye West’s magnum opus that elevated his artistic genius to unparalleled heights as he pushed the boundaries of contemporary rap music. Truly deserving a place in every vinyl collection, this is an album that will continue to inspire and challenge listeners with its boundless creativity and emotional resonance for decades.
7) The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Surfacing in the Summer of Love in 1967, 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' by The Beatles captured the imagination of a whole generation, and it’s easy to see why. With John Lennon and Paul McCartney taking a huge leap in their artistic evolution as songwriters as well as testing the limits of 1960s recording technology, the album is a kaleidoscope of child-like wonder and playful tenacity, dabbling in a myriad of experimental sounds that transport listeners to a whimsical realm of musical enchantment. From the trippy wordplay of ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ to the psychedelic orchestral pop of ‘A Day in the Life’, the album truly redefined what was thought possible in the realm of popular music. With Peter Blake’s pop art inspired LP cover, 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' deserves pride of place among the best vinyl albums to own and worth cherishing for the seismic impact The Beatles had on popular culture.
6) Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here (1975)
Crafted as a heartfelt tribute to their former bandmate Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd’s ethereal masterpiece ‘Wish You Were Here’ was released in 1975 and ponders notions of sanity and alienation. From the hauntingly beautiful opening guitar riff of the title track to the progressive-rock odyssey of ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’, the album is a portal to Pink Floyd’s unique sonic universe, full of introspective lyrics and immersive soundscapes that engender reflection and contemplation. As the needle glides along the grooves of this vinyl gem, one can't help but be captivated by the bold and audacious tapestry woven by Pink Floyd's innovative genius on 'Wish You Were Here’. Without a doubt, it’s a timeless masterpiece that continues to captivate audiences today, making it an essential addition to any vinyl connoisseur's collection.
5) Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)
A rousing opus of poetic brilliance, Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 LP ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ is a masterclass of cultural exploration and societal critique. It was on this album the Compton-born rapper truly came into his own as a visionary wordsmith, running through poignant verses delivered with mesmerising flow and lyrical dexterity. Musically, the songs flirt with jazzy and funk-infused melodies in a hallucinogenic swirl of genre-bending soundscapes, resulting in an audacious sonic experience that breathed new life into hip-hop. From the protest anthem ‘Alright’ to the exhortation of self-love on ‘i’, each song unfolds like a chapter in a profound and moving narrative which established Kendrick Lamar as the voice of his generation. As a modern masterpiece that challenges society and pushes the boundaries of artistic expression, Kendrick Lamar's ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ is a vital work of art that quite simply begs to be heard on vinyl.
4) David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
David Bowie, the enigmatic chameleon of rock, took on the guise of an alien visitor on his brilliantly cosmic 1972 LP 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.' Presenting Bowie’s androgynous alter ego as a messianic rock star, the album explores themes of alienation, self-expression, and the fragility of human existence. Taking us through a kaleidoscope of sonic textures, Mick Ronson's guitar-driven rock anthems and Bowie's extraterrestrial crooning oscillates between vulnerability and flamboyance. With its interstellar melodies, poetic lyrics, and striking visual aesthetics, 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' captures the essence of Bowie's otherworldly charisma and to this day it remains one of the best vinyl albums to own for any self-respecting music fan.
3) Radiohead - OK Computer (1997)
By the late 1990s, Radiohead had already carved a niche for themselves in the alternative rock scene. However, it was with 'OK Computer' that they solidified their status as musical innovators, astonishing fans and music critics with a groundbreaking sonic masterpiece. Released during a time of technological advancement and existential unease, this album served as a prophetic reflection of millennial dread. As you are engulfed by the haunting landscapes of ethereal guitars, lush synthesisers, and Thom Yorke's evocative vocals, ‘OK Computer’ prompts us to question societal norms and the dehumanising effects of technology. A sonic master-stroke that capturing the complexities of the human experience, listening to ‘OK Computer’ on vinyl is an experience like no other, plunging you head-first into the enigmatic depths of Radiohead's musical universe with not a single second going to waste.
2) The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)
In the autumn of 1969, The Beatles graced the world with their magnum opus, 'Abbey Road.' As their swansong, it was the culmination of their artistic evolution and amply demonstrates their creative genius. Released only a matter of months before their official breakup, the album showcases the band's mastery of studio technology, incorporating innovative production techniques and tackling a symphonic rock suite on Side B. From the infectious melodies of ‘Come Together’ to the medley that seamlessly weaves together a tapestry of musical vignettes, ‘Abbey Road’ showcases The Beatles at the pinnacle of their songwriting prowess and fizzles with the brilliance of their collective spark. Remaining as fresh and vital today as it was upon its release, if you truly appreciate the legacy of The Beatles and their unrivaled impact on the world of music, ‘Abbey Road’ is indispensable.
1) Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
Released in March 1973, 'The Dark Side of the Moon' by Pink Floyd stands as an enigmatic masterpiece that blended rock, jazz, and experimental soundscapes to become one of the biggest-selling albums of all time. The British progressive rock band, led by the visionary lyricist Roger Waters, embarked on a sonic exploration that delves into the depths of human existence, tackling themes of time, mortality, and the human condition. From the eerie heartbeat that opens the record to the celestial voices that close it, 'The Dark Side of the Moon' continues to inspire awe with with its haunting melodies and thought-provoking lyrics, with standout moments like the metronomic chimes of ‘Time’ and the bouncing bass riffs of ‘Money’. Remaining a triumph of Pink Floyd's artistic vision, ’The Dark Side of the Moon’ continues to resonate on a deep, emotional level, and that’s why it tops our list of the best albums on vinyl to own.
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