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Top 15 Albums of the Sixties

Rock journalism has never recovered from the sixties. Many institutions, such as the eternally sixties-tied Rolling Stone, have never recovered from the romanticized ecstasy of the decade. While future decades produced a greater quantity of great music (the seventies mostly), the highlights of the sixties stand with any other. Here is what this writer finds to be the best 15 albums of this often misunderstood decade.

15. Led Zeppelin II Led Zeppelin Wikipedia

15. Led Zeppelin Ii

Led Zeppelin II is the blueprint for every heavy metal album to follow it. The album is the band’s first real showing of songwriting, and the songwriting is stellar. Whole Lotta Love (besides the borrowed lines from Willie Dixon) stands as one of the greatest riffs ever written, and Plant contributes some great lyrics to “What Is And What Should Never Be” as well as “Thank You.” This album is one of the bands most consistently great works, which no one would have guessed; the album was recorded in dozens of studios while the band was on tour.

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14. S.F. Sorrow The Pretty Things Wikipedia

14. S.F. Sorrow

S.F. Sorrow was rock opera before the term was coined. While Tommy is widely considered to be the first true rock opera (it certainly was the first successful rock opera), S.F. Sorrow was released a year prior. Despite being neglected all these years, some great treasures are on this album. While the story is not as interesting as Tommy’s, it is still quite good, and this album is a must for anyone wanting to hear great music of the sixties that they haven’t heard a million times before.

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13. Surrealistic Pillow Jefferson Airplane Wikipedia

13. Surrealistic Pillow

One of the key albums of the summer of love, Surrealistic Pillow contains, if nothing else, one of rock’s biggest and most recognizable choruses. Seriously, who in this day and age has not heard in some form “Don’t you want somebody to love…” Surely almost everyone has, and that song, “Somebody To Love,” sums up the ideals of the time perfectly. It’s not the real highlight, however, for that honor belongs to “White Rabbit.”

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12. Let It Bleed The Rolling Stones Wikipedia

12. Let It Bleed

Let It Bleed finds the Rolling Stones in a state of transition. Early during the recording session, Stones founder and lead guitarist Brian Jones was jettisoned from the group in favor of the more stable and equally capable Mick Taylor. It also comes at time when the band was re-embracing their blues roots, yet expanding to include gospel and other influences. As such, the album contains songs form all over the spectrum (an idea brought to an extreme on 1972’s Exile On Main Street). Album highlights include the title track, “Love In Vain,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and possibly the band’s best song, “Gimme Shelter.”

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11. Highway 61 Revisited Bob Dylan Wikipedia

11. Highway 61 Revisited

This album is most famous for having Bob Dylan’s biggest song, “Like A Rolling Stone.” However, few if any albums in his catalog are as consistently brilliant as this. Refining the electric progressions of Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited takes Dylan and his backing band to great places, like the fantastic title track, “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry,” “Desolation Row,” and the epic “Ballad Of A Thin Man.” With few exceptions (Blonde On Blonde, Blood On The Tracks, and The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan), no Dylan album is as famous as Highway.

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10. The Doors The Doors Wikipedia

10. The Doors

The Doors are the most famous band to emerge from the late sixties psychedelic scene in California. This is in large part due to their self titled debut, which for most people who had never heard of the band Love before had never heard a band like this. Frontman Jim Morrison’s poetic reflections and illusions, whether you like them or not, are as influential lyrically as anything this side of Bob Dylan. The songs are great, too, and “Break On Through,” “Light My Fire,” “Soul Kitchen,” and “The End” rank among rock’s best songs.

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9. Forever Changes Love Wikipedia

9. Forever Changes

While modern belief holds Forever Changes at or near the top of the heap of great albums, it really isn’t more than a minor masterpiece. However, it is still a great piece of west coast music, and includes some great unknown songs. “A House Is Not A Motel” easily could have been a top 5 hit in the hands of the Doors, and the same goes for “The Red Telephone.” What is lost on many modern Love fans that learned of the band through Forever Changes is how much of a change the album was from their trademark sound. The band was heavy, as their two hits “Seven And Seven Is” and “My Little Red Book” attest to, while Forever Changes is mainly acoustic. If you haven’t heard this album yet, which many haven’t, it is well worth your time.

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8. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band The Beatles Wikipedia

8. Sgt. Pepper

While the opinion of this writer is that Sgt. Pepper receives more credit than it rightfully deserves, there is no understating the quality of the songs. The band never stretched farther for abstraction than on this album, with the highlights all coming out of the proverbial left field. “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” is as psychedelic as its acronym, “Within You Without You” was the first successful pop interpretation of eastern music, and few if any of classic rock’s most famed bands came as close to Sinatra as the Beatles did with “When I’m 64.” While the album represents the band at the height of their pretensions, it represents them at the height of their genius as well.

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7. Tommy The Who Wikipedia

7. Tommy

So popular was this album that for many years it overshadowed the band. Famously, the Who were billed on several gigs as “Tommy the Who” due to a misunderstanding of the album cover. Regardless, Tommy is a masterstroke of guitarist Pete Townshend, who fully brought his brand of rock music into maturity with this effort. Tommy’s immense influence continues to reappear at times, such as its important role in Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous” as fortune teller. While the story may seem a bit strange, which it is, the idea of rock as a serious form of music was never made clearer than on this album. While the Who have had better albums, in many ways Tommy is their most important statement.

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6. Pet Sounds The Beach Boys Wikipedia

6. Pet Sounds

Brian Wilson composed some of the most beautiful arrangements of any genre of music with this masterpiece. Pet Sounds shows the band in top form. At the time, the Beach Boys were still considered equal rivals to the Beatles; the Pet Sounds album provided the inspiration for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. While the album was a moderate flop at the time in the US, it has since grown in popularity to the point where an entire box set has been devoted to the album’s recording sessions. While it is a great shame that “Good Vibrations,” a song written at the time of the albums recording, was not included on the album, the band’s best song is included, that being “God Only Knows.”

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5. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin Wikipedia

5. Led Zeppelin

With few exceptions, no album shaped the seventies more than Led Zeppelin’s debut. At first listen, it is instantly better produced and played than almost anything else going on at the time. Blues was never this heavy before, such as “You Shook Me,” “How Many More Times,” and “Dazed And Confused.” And yet, there were lighter touches, such as the beautiful “Black Mountain Side” and “Your Time Is Gonna Come.” Punk rock is even predicted here with the charging “Communication Breakdown.” However, the real triumph of light and shade is “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You,” which features some of the best vocals ever put to tape.

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4. Are You Experienced? The Jimi Hendrix Experience Wikipedia

4. Are You Experienced

Jimi Hendrix’s most famous album is his debut, which contains more great guitar work than some bands produce in their entire careers. This was a band though, and Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell are masters of bass and drums respectfully. Are You Experienced? is commonly thought to be one of the first places where the guitar becomes symphonic in rock, although this is disputed. Regardless, the album contains some of Hendrix’s best songs, such as “Fire,” “Foxy Lady,” and “Purple Haze.”

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3. Bringing It All Back Home Bob Dylan Wikipedia

3. Bringing It All Back Home

Remember the cries of “Judas” aimed at Dylan’s decision to turn electric? This album was the catalyst. Bringing It All Back Home contains some of Dylan’s best songs, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Maggie’s Farm” for example, as well as some blistering blues guitar from his backing band. Some of the songs date back to as early as the period in which Dylan wrote for Another Side Of Bob Dylan. Such songs include “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Gates Of Eden.” However, the highlight of the album might be the super-abstract “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” which has inspired everyone from the Beatles to writer Joyce Carol Oates.

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2. Revolver The Beatles Wikipedia

2. Revolver

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is constantly heralded as the best album of both the sixties, and all time. Not only is that not the opinion of this writer, but Revolver holds a more lofty position. Revolver was where all the doors were truly broken down, not on Sgt. Pepper. This is where we get our first taste of George Harrison as a real songwriter; his brilliant Taxman opens up the album. But Paul McCartney and John Lennon are also in great shape, bringing some of their best songs to the table. McCartney went into a new level of sophistication with “Eleanor Rigby,” which included nothing but strings playing the melody and his voice; a great departure from the guitar pop/rock they were known for. Lennon not only gave us the mellow “I’m Only Sleeping” (a college anthem for sure), but the absolutely spellbinding “Tomorrow Never Knows” which is every bit as brilliant as “A Day In The Life” is billed to be.

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1. The Who Sell Out The Who Wikipedia

1. The Who Sell Out

By 1967, The Who were stagnating. Despite the success of their early singles, as well as decent showings with both their My Generation and A Quick One LPs, the Who were showing signs that they could not turn a profit. The band were spending money at huge rates, partially due to their tendency to destroy their equipment after live performances, and because they were being ripped off by their first producer, Shel Talmy. In an attempt to right the ship, guitarist Pete Townshend worked on his most connected and intricate batch of songs to date. These songs were connected by a loose concept that paid tribute to pirate radio, as well as mocking the jingles associated with it. Townshend also flipped his ace in the hole, the revolutionary “I Can See For Miles,” which was hailed at the time as being the heaviest song ever written. Once released, sales were less than flattering. Townshend, who expected it to reach the number one spot, famously decreed “To me it was the ultimate Who record yet it didn’t sell. I spat on the British record buyer.” In recent years, the album has become recognized as one of the great albums of the sixties.

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Contributor: Jason Hirschhorn

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  • bucslim

    Can't wait to read the comments on this list. Someone with the bollocks to say Sgt. Pepper wasn't the greatest, I mean, WOW! Not only that, but that the Who Sell Out was better? Refreshing and scandalous at the same time. I love the Who so this isn't lost on me, but I can't wait for the fireworks to come. I just hope the boss doesn't expect me to work today.

    • Madhouse on Madison

      Sgt Peppers can suck my dick! The only legit Beatles albums are the White Album and Abbey Road. The other albums are rubbish.

    • random guy

      agreed

  • AnotherEngine

    OK, I guess the backlash can begin here. As great as it is to see the Pretty Things & Love on here I have to ask, where’s the Velvet Underground?

  • Stephen

    No Velvet Underground?

    Revolver is an album I have never been a huge fan of. I actually prefer quite a few Beatles albums to the two on this list. Abbey Road, the White Album and Rubber Soul are all more enjoyable listens for me.

    I would have had Electric Ladyland ahead of Are you Experienced also. Still though, an excellent list and I am in the process of obtaining the several albums I have never heard before on this list.

  • Travis

    Love’s album isn’t any more than a minor masterpiece?
    This list isn’t any less than a farce.

    This list hardly scratches the surface of sixties music.

    Velvet Underground, Fairport Convention, Small Faces, Kinks, Mothers of Invention, Little Feat, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Silver Apples, Pink Floyd, Simon and Garfunkel, The Band, Lovin Spoonful, Miles Davis blah blah.
    This list isn’t going to be slaughtered because its wrong it going be slaughtered because it lacks thought.

  • bucslim

    Travis – I think that’s a bit harsh. Be honest, it’s simply an impossible task. What possible criteria are you going to use? Most influential? Most artistic? Most popular? Progressive? Favorite? Everyone is going to have an opinion, and sometimes these lists are put out there to get people talking. Your suggestions are equally valuable as the one submitted. But who’s to say what’s better?

    Also – genre is not really catagorized here so it is a bit of a stretch not to have MIles Davis mentioned. Maybe it should have been catagorized Best Rock list.

  • cristian

    i think you have to add “live dead” by the grateful dead to the list. if you like the dead or not, this record showcased the san fran sound better then any airplane record or big brother or anything.
    also i think the reason sgt pepper gets better press then revolver is because so many of their contemporaries have said it pushed them to be better. plus i think it’s kind of cool that the beatles went home to england cuz it was too crazy over here & said we’re all done with america & touring. america said “ok we dont need ya, we can make our own beatles” & the monkees were born. meanwhile the beatles said hey america, we’ll take your interpertation of popular music & your monkeys & raise you 1 sgt pepper & while we’re at it, redefine what is pop music.

  • sakul

    yeah I thought rubber soul was ten times the album as revolver.

  • soonerproud

    I agree that Led Zeppelin had a heavy influence on Hard Rock/Metal. The album from the 60’s that literally created the genre of Heavy Metal was Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath. You ask almost any Hard Rock/Metal band who had a bigger influence on their sound and it is almost universal it is Black Sabbath and not Zeppelin.

    • Da Cuntstabber

      because Sabbath were only that: sound and fury, Zeppelin was harder but they were more than a metal band (the most overrated music ever done baby!) they could go through different styles and still sound great, if you feel it's not the truth let me know and I knife you good in da real world baby!!!

  • Evan

    How could you leave out the White Album by the Beatles?

  • travis

    I agree that I was harsh, but this list doesn’t even scratch the surface of sixties music. There is so more to it, yet people are determined to list the same old crap. In my opinion that’s laziness and put up so more people will digg the list. And yes that’s probably harsh too, but I would much prefer to come to this list and think mmm I’ve never heard of that album I’ll think I check it out.

  • Yarr

    Travis, Bucslim is right. It’s impossible to make a “Best Of” list regarding music and make everyone (anyone?) happy. Just add your own favorites so that we the readers might find out about something maybe we haven’t heard before.
    I for one absolutely despise The Who and feel they shouldn’t be on any best of anything. But… I didn’t write the list.

  • bilhat

    soonerproud – Black Sabbath didn’t release their first album until May of 1970.

  • rp

    Was hoping Piper at the Gates of Dawn would be included, but nobody’s perfect. ;)

  • soonerproud

    bilhat:

    I got when the band formed (1968) mixed up with the date of the first album. You are a little off on the date. So I guess Sabbath would qualify for one of the most influential 70’s bands.

    “Black Sabbath, released on Friday the 13th, February, 1970”

  • Late O’Day

    Regarding “S.F. Sorrow The Pretty Things”. I’m not clear how a Top 15 album can be “neglected all these years” providing 60’s fans music “that they haven’t heard a million times before”. Two Zeppelin albums? Two Beatle albums? Two Dylan albums? Two Who albums? Naw. There WERE other bands, ya know. Where’s Janis Joplin? Hell, I’d put Mama’s & Papa’s on it. And “Hair” had much more impact than “Forever Changes — Love”.

  • travis

    Yarr- fair enough and I admit I’m not a nice person, but if you are going to make money from writing lists and then publish them you should be providing a little more insight than this.

    I’m sorry as someone who has earns there living writing for publications on the internet I’m sick of being overlooked for lame shite like this. There is little knowledge of the period and unforgivably no evidence of research. Believe me I can accept anyone’s opinion if I think I know what they going on about.

  • soonerproud

    travis:

    Nowhere does anyone on this site say these list are definitive. These list are based on the opinions of the authors (which is always subjective) and do not make any claim to being a consensus on the issue. It is purely for entertainment purposes and is not intended to be taken as serious journalism.

    I highly doubt that jfratter or any other person involved with this site makes their living exclusively publishing to this site. They do it because it is fun and it leads to some great conversations with others.

    If you do not like the opinions of the author of any list on this site, just submit your own. If it is well written and researched they will pay you $20 to publish it. You also are free to express your opinion in the comments.

    There is no need in being rude and slamming the authors of these list just because you disagree with their conclusions. There are more than enough ways on this site to express your own opinion about what you think the list should look like if you wrote it.

    btw:

    Before you claim you make a living writing publications to the internet, please check your post for spelling and punctuation errors. There are a few in your last post. People will not take you seriously in making such claims with these types of errors.

    (No, I do not write for a living nor do I claim to. So if I have spelling and punctuation errors in this post, please excuse my lack of experience in writing.)

  • christian

    And how many here on the list have tribute bands dedicated in their honor?

  • Kafnut

    “Tomorrow Never Sleeps”? Last time I checked it was “Tomorrow Never Knows”. Oh well…

  • Late O’Day

    How old is jfratter? I can’t imagine he actually lived through this era. “Led Zeppelin” was a great bad, no doubt — but they didn’t release their first album until 1969 fer chrissakes.

  • Travis

    Sorry I type quickly

  • haveacigar

    Well, ya know if you want to get into the serious Rock list what you need to do is skip the round numbers and do something like 66 to 76 because that’s basically the history of rock right there. Before sixty six you’re still in the era where Rock was basically just a sub-genre of Country and after 76 you’re getting into punk which was the celebration of the death of the music industry. And the punks did it in the end because I tell ya what, the majority of the downloading anarchist computer geeks came straight out of the punk scene. You could argue it was techno geeks, but I’d say techno has more shared heritage with punk than any other genre.

    But this list, it could have been re-phrased. Instead of baiting people by emphasizing The Who as number one and some of the other goofie stuff it could have been presented as a list of underappreciated bands of the sixties. The Who was more of an eighties band and that’s a sad thing to say. They really didn’t work in the early years aside from some of the gender bending stuff that attracted a loud, aggressive and outspoken following. Tommy was merely passable as a rock opera. There were a lot of great rock operas and Tommy does not top the list.

  • pocoloco

    And King Crimson, Janis Joplin, Traffic…?

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  • Late O’Day

    The more I read this list, the more I’m convince that the people who had a hand in compiling it did not live through that era. It’s something a teenager would guess after listening to a 20 year old on MTV quoting a 25 year old music critic who couldn’t even name the four Beatles because he only listens to heavy-metal music. (And even there, he left “Steppenwolf” off the list — and they invented the term!) It’s sloppy revisionism proffered by someone who’s never actually seen an 8-track tape cartridge, doesn’t know Mr. Natural from Robert McNamara, and thinks a headshop is where you buy hats. It really should be quietly pulled.

  • heavybison

    hey…what about blind faith…

  • brownstudy

    This list reads like the playlist from an oldies station. boring! What about:

    The Kinks: Village Green Preservation Society and Something Else
    Joni Mitchell: Ladies of the Canyon
    Laura Nyro: New York Tendaberry AND Eli & The Thirteenth Confession
    Van Dyke Parks: Song Cycle
    The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground

    And I won’t even begin to list Motown artists that aren’t here… but where is The Four Tops’ “Reach Out”?? Or Otis Redding’s “The Dock of the Bay”??

  • lando

    pretty good list…..don’t think the who should have been on the top of it……..and you forgot to include Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde or Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

  • Punjar

    Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn should be on this list.

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  • Slammerworm

    ‘Velvet Underground And Nico’. It contains multitudes.
    Rolling Stones: ‘Beggar’s Banquet’. The definitive ‘bad guy’ Stones album.
    Pink Floyd: ‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ colourful psyche with a blue-green lining of psychotic.
    To be brutally honest, mention of the Who automatically makes me think of Wicked Uncle Peter and his adventures on the Net, and not the band’s place in musical history. Sad, but that’s the way it is.

  • Fergy

    Why is Cream not on this list?!? Without Cream there is no Zeppelin …

  • Bobby the K

    i think jeff beck’s ‘truth’ is an under rated album.

  • Pippa

    Why is Revolver only at Number 2??? Anyway, pretty good list :-).

  • Sarah At The Disco

    YAY!!
    2 beatles albums!!
    revolver shoulda been first though…
    oh well.
    the beatles are amazing.
    im only 13 and i listen them, and tons of my friends do too, so thats just how amazing they are :]

  • melinahh

    psh…i hate the who. I think it’s because roger daultry is a total shmuck..but yeah f them. wheres van morrison? and pink floyd?? duh. how does the who outrank jimi and floyd is just out sick???. makes no sense. and poor old zappa & the mothers overlooked.. of course.

  • Hashpipe

    In all honesty, I don’t think great albums of the sixties can be narrowed down to only 15.
    :]

  • archer

    Maybe you’ll think I’m just another beatlesfan (which I am) when I say at number one there should be an album like Sgt. Peppers, the White album, or even Revolver.
    Especially Sgt. Peppers, the most influential album of all times, one of the best albums of all times (check Rolling Stone’s list. You can’t put that on 8. o.0
    You’re list was good, but by seeing that number one I see you didn’t research the albums enough :p

  • melina

    ok no offense but i despise the who. i think they’re terrible main;y because of roger daultry if thats how u spell it. they aren’t as good as ppl make them out to be.

    • Da Cuntstabber

      Yes, they're THAT good but they're more like the goons or Monty Python, if you don't get their glorious stupidity and sense of humour you don't get them now go listen to your goth baby!

  • drencrom68

    “stens to heavy-metal music. (And even there, he left “Steppenwolf” off the list — and they invented the term!”

    Er,…..no.

    It was a term in “Naked Lunch” by William S. Burroughs.
    So was Steely Dan.

  • matt

    this is the best list for this ive seen props for not putting beatles at 31 i dont belive any of theyre albums deserve number 1 but theyre by far the most consistent band in coming out with top albums.

  • Andrew

    There were other genres besides rock in the 60’s…some great Soul and Jazz albums came out of that decade as well…

  • Mark

    Love the list, especially the placement of the Zeppelin albums. I like II, but I lurve I and I think that I was a lot more influential. Good list.

  • LSD.chaos

    dude I think you lacked thought to some of this, Zeppelin is one of the most overated bands of all time in my opion, i’m not saying they arn’t good just not good enough. Where is Velvet Underground? However I do agree completly with the Doors, Beatles and Hendrix. I am glad that Grateful dead isn’t on there; yuck. Bob Dylan are you kidding me? Yeah he is ok,but not worthy of top 15 sorry. I say i’m 50, 50 with this list, but think about all of your options next time.

    • Da Cuntstabber

      Where's velvet Underground? Oh you ignorants how you disgrace me! relax girl you're not the only one that knows Da Velvet don't come and tell me your sacred stupidity of not liking da Mighty Zeppelin you just wanna look smart, how 'bout looking smart with a knife in your testicles?

  • Mark

    LSD.chaos: Zeppelin are not overrated bro, their later stuff maybe, but the albums here I and II changed the way people looked at heavy rock and the blues. I actually think that there is a good arguement for a Grateful Dead album here. Why doesn’t Dylan deserve to be on this list?

  • LSD.chaos

    Because Dylan’s way of singing his songs just sounded so… whats the word i’m looking for??, damn i need a thesaurus. Anyway his album just wasn’t what i expected when i heard it.

  • Mark

    Well if it makes you feel any better I don’t actually think that Bringing It All Back Home was that great. I think this list is more like Top 10 Artists of the 60’s, because I think that based purely on merit Highway 61 Revisited was a much more solid album in my opinion. To me it looks like the author has just picked some famous 60’s artists and chose the albums he liked the best. I don’t think that was such a bad way to do it, but I do agree with you that maybe some other albums could’ve been considered.

  • Bobby the K

    ~
    Mark, I can’t help but to respectfully disagree. I think ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ is a fabulous record. The lyrics alone are some of the best written in popular music.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bringing_it_all_back_home

    Check out the track listing. Songs like this hadn’t been written before.
    And have had a big influence on popular culture.

    I can’t help but ask why you don’t think it’s that great.

  • Mark

    Bobby the K: You can’t put an album that high on a list like this solely based on the lyrics and Highway 61 Revisited was a much better album musically (not to mention that if we were going based so heavily on lyrics, neither of these albums would win this). Now to explain, lyrics are essentially poems, agreed? Well I can think of, oh, about, >1,000 poets who wrote poems before Dylan took the time to put them to music. Don’t get me wrong, I think Dylan was, and still is to a lesser extent, a great musician. But even he himself preferred Highway 61 Revisited, who are we as mere mortals to argue?

  • 61, Revisited

    I think a list of the “Top Albums of the British Invasion” would be better.

    That said, there are many great albums that were given the shaft because, and let’s face it, this was an impossible task.

    -The Band
    -Blind Faith
    -Buffalo Springfield
    -The Byrds
    -Cat Stevens
    -Cream
    -Crosby, Stills, and Nash
    -Free
    -Harry Nilsson
    -The Hollies
    -Jackson Browne
    -John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers
    -Joe Cocker
    -Join Mitchell
    -The Kinks
    -Little Feat
    -The Mamas and the Papas
    -Neil Young
    -Nick Drake
    -Nico
    -Simon and Garfunkel
    -Pink Floyd
    -13th Floor Elevators
    -The Rolling Stones
    -Santana
    -Tim Buckley
    -Van Morrison
    -Velvet Underground
    -Yardbirds

    and many others all deserve to be on this list in their own right.

    For what it’s worth, I love The Who Sell Out. And I think that “Good Vibrations” is the most over-rated songs ever not by a band named “Journey, Bon Jovi, or Bruce Springsteen.”

  • matt55

    robert cs. take on this list the who sell out a+ sgt.pepper a

  • matt55

    thats robert christgau by the way . and quote from allmusic – There’s no discernable theme behind these songs, yet this album is stronger than Tommy, falling just behind Who Sell Out as the finest record the Who ever cut. my opinion is that who sell out is the who’s best but the best of the 60’s I guess is an opinion.

  • blablah

    Where the hell is the Rolling Stones’ Aftermath and the debut of the Who? And the White Album…?

  • bassbait

    totally agree with the who at number one, but here’s a question:

    What about Black sabbath? The revolution of rock music and the invention of metal music started in 1969 because Black sabbath debuted. Sure, Paranoid was the true defining album, but Black sabbath’s debut deserves a mention!

  • grainwetski

    My issue is with the title. Since the genre is static, shouldn’t the title reflect that? So exclusively American as well. The Guess Who’s ‘Canned Wheat’ usurped the Beatles and focused eyes north. Jazz? Hello? Great albums in the 60’s that changed music came from all over the world, in various disciplines.

  • Mark

    @bassbait (52): Wasn’ the album “Black Sabbath” released in 1970…?

  • Amanda Buttfuk

    @Mark (54), yup it was. It was also addressed in comments 12 & 14, but I guess bassbait (52) is too lazy to read stuff before posting. Oh, and you, too, I guess.

    Anyway, why isn’t Velvet Underground on this list and why is it filled with so much crap?

  • lilya2013

    THE WHO SELL OUT?

    I am a huge Who fan, and this is my LEAST FAVORITE album by them!!! Really, what is so fantastic about this album?

    On a lighter note, I’m glad to see that my favorite band (jefferson Airplane) made it on the list, even though I don’t think Surrealistic Pillow is their best album. The Doors was a very nice choice, as was Sgt. Pepper’s and Tommy. Overall, good job, but what is with The WHo Sell Out?

  • Mark

    @Amanda Buttfuk (55): I know full well when Black Sabbath was released, I was being sarcastic.

  • therush

    “lilya2013
    October 27th, 2009 at 8:42 pm
    THE WHO SELL OUT?

    I am a huge Who fan, and this is my LEAST FAVORITE album by them!!! Really, what is so fantastic about this album?”

    Everything.

  • Will Trame

    The 60s were the best decade for rock, as it advanced from the Motown sound through the girl group era, folk rock, the British Invasion, acid rock, bubblegum (ok, I’m stretching it here) to the beginnings of hard rock and country rock.

    “The Who Sell Out” is an odd choice for Number One. The band made far better albums with “Tommy” and “Who’s Next”.

    “Led Zeppelin II” and “The Doors” should have been higher up on the list.

    It was nice to see Love’s “Forever Changes” on this list as it was an excellent record. Also worth searching out is the band’s second album “Da Capo”.

    “Revolver” was a much better Beatles album than “Sgt Pepper” as it was indeed their cultural zeitgeist, the first to feature an eclectic palette of musical styles ranging from pop to classical to down-and-out psychedelia.

    Brian Jones was the Stones rhythm guitarist (not lead), as well as being proficient on instruments exotic as the dulcimer, marimba, sitar, mellotron and tambura. This added a unique tonal coloring to the band’s musical palette conspicuously absent following Jones’ departure. “Let It Bleed” is the Stones’ best, although “Aftermath” and “Beggars Banquet” deserve mention.

    Notable omissions:
    “Strange Days”, The Doors
    “Abbey Road”, The Beatles
    “The Velvet Underground and Nico”
    “Freak Out!”, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
    “Hot Rats”, Frank Zappa
    “The White Album”, The Beatles
    “Trout Mask Replica”, Capt. Beefheart (an acquired taste)
    “Incredible!”, Kaleidoscope (premier example of world music)

  • Punty

    To me if you had to have one Bob Dylan album it has to be "Blonde on Blonde" The third in "the trilogy" (the other two mentioned in the list) its as if Dylan was trying to make it to that "Blonde on Blonde" sound, and once he got there, its like he was satisfied and could relax for awhile. I believe he said himself, to paraphrase perhaps, "its the closest I have ever got to achieving that sound I hear in my head – that thin wild mercury sound." My personal favourite album.

    The other album I was expecting to see was "Disraeli Gears" (Cream). Three amazingly gifted musicians at their peak. Has some catchy and/or unique songs and zero filler.

    Im happy to see "Are You Experienced" favoured over "Electric Ladyland." Not that the latter isnt great, but AYE has many more catchy singles and doesnt alienate as much against the non-tripping.

  • OutOfBounds

    Most people won’t understand Sell Out being number one, but it definitely deserves it

    Tommy was to Who standards but it didn’t stand out as much as people claimed. Sell Out is one of the greatest albums ever, with or without ‘I Can See For Miles’.

    I’ve heard every item on this list in my fifteen years of life, several times. And, this is quite similar to the order I’d rank them. Great list.

    By the way, the reissued version of Sell Out is fantastic, people. ‘Glow Girl’ is terrifyingly brilliant for such a short tune.

    If you remember the sixties, you weren’t there. So, I guess it’s a good thing I wasn’t.

  • stephen @Moyers Online Audio Video Equipment

    This list hardly scratches the surface of sixties music. this list isn’t going to be slaughtered because its wrong it going be slaughtered because it lacks thought.

  • Ruben

    this list is so biased, Sgt.peppers should have won

    • Oliver

      Bias? Whilst I agree that it is a great album, if you had authored this list and put Sgt. Pepper’s as no. 1, wouldn’t that also have been bias? Ultimately, all lists are subjective and won’t please everyone…

  • Michelle

    You gotta be kidding man you know damn right the doors are first not the freaking who not even!!!

  • G. Kesten

    Brilliant, simply brilliant. You put words to my long-felt sentiments.

  • Eli and the Thirteenth Confession……..Laura Nyro

    68 Comeback Special ….Elvis Presley

    two omissions

  • Theuglyhobo

    The problem with this list is that you’re just choosing the albums that sold the most. I totally agree with The Doors, Sgt Peppers, and Tommy- those three had real influence on the rock genre- but the only logical expaination for you not including Piper At The Gates of Dawn near the top is that you’ve never heard it. Go buy the 3 disc 40th anniversary bundle RIGHT NOW, it’s dirt cheap on Amazon.

  • Gee, No Kinks Album. hmmmmmm. I also remember a little known rock band with psychadelic overtones in their music. The band was a self entitled album entitled Frijid Pink. I want to say that album came out in the very late 60’s. I would also like to add the MC5.

  • And lets not forget Steppenwolf with “Born To Be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride”

  • Oliver

    Great list. Agree with others that many of my favourites have been left out but hey, you had limited space and picked a great handful. I have to admit to having never heard S.F. Sorrow before, and I’ve got it lined up on Spotify. Can’t wait!

  • Oliver

    Disagree. I concede that Abbey Road is my favourite, not Sgt. Peppers, but feel that some of the Beatles earlier stuff was great. I adore their take on Rollover Beethoven and Please Mr. Postman… Yet at the same time I love to follow their progression throughout all their albums. As a massive Beatles fan, I’m slightly bias, but I don’t think there’s a ‘bad’ Beatles album, but hey, that’s subjective.

  • peter8172

    There was a Detroit Based Band called Frijid Pink. They formed in 1967 and lasted until 1975. In the autumn of 1969 they did a guitar distorted cover version of Eric Burdon and the Animals’ “House Of The Rising Sun” which was released as a single in the autumn of 1969, but their debut album was not released until very early of 1970, so I am hoping that my comment here doesn’t go against the rules of the 60’s. If anything, if you want to listen to a definitive album of “Acid Rock” then get this album (CD). It will almost lure you to your medicine cabinet filled with oxycontin (just joking of course)

  • Dan

    Very Pop list.

    What about all the great rediscovered Bluesmen- Gary Davis – at Newport, Fred McDowell – MIssissippi Delta Blues, Lightnin Hopkins – Mojo Hand, Anything by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee or Bukka White?

    What about the hey day of electric Chicago Blues – Muddy Waters- the London Sessions, Buddy Guy – A Man and The Blues, BB King – Live at The Regale?

    What about Folk – Freewheelin Bob Dylan, Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley – The Folksway sessions?

    What about Miles Davis and John Coltrane?

    And as has been mentioned by other posters – Blonde on Blonde is clearly missing and belongs on any list of the best albums of the 1960s

  • Hess

    Abbey Road and The White Album are both better than Revolver. I was surprised that Abbey Road wasn’t the #1 pick because almost everybody knows that that album is nearly flawless.

  • Psychedelicpiper

    Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland > Are You Experienced
    Jefferson Airplane: After Bathing at Baxter’s > Surrealistic Pillow

    Glad you included S.F. Sorrow, but I don’t agree with the way you downplayed it in the review.

    Also Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is missing.

    But hey, you can’t round off so many albums with just a top 15.

  • Glaritz

    It’s a crime to not include any Zappa

  • The Dude

    I really didn’t expect Sell Out to be on this list. Great album. I would have loved to see In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson or Days of Future Passed by The Moody Blues on here though.

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