|Joy Division- Unknown Pleasures 1979
1979 a new sound emerges from Manchester, out of the ashes of punk, as the first chords of
disorder kick in with its new sounds and samples not heard before.
Ahead of its time and with artwork to match - the synonymous soundwave cover art (It presents
exactly 100 successive pulses from the first pulsar discovered), this album is a classic ,has
influenced countless bands and should be in everyone's collection.
Martin Hannett produced the record at Strawberry Studios, Stockport, England.
The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses 1989
1989, the second summer of love is upon us, illegal raves, before the Premiership took hold,
Manchester bands are stealing a march on the UK.
One of the best debut albums of recent times capturing the moment - 'the past was yours, the future's
mine', a great selection of songs, Jackson Pollock artwork - referencing the Paris student riots of
1968', dressing how we dressed back then, a soundtrack for a generation.
The Smiths - The Queen is Dead 1986
Iconic title and cover art, and a collection of unforgetable tunes. The rousing title track complete with anti
monarchy lyrics. This was The Smiths at their height. Big Mouth struck again, made Southern Cemetry in
Chorlton, Manchester famous, and then went all romantic with the last song at every indie disco in the late
80's: 'There is a Light That Never Goes Out'
Happy Mondays - Bummed 1988
Their second album was more polished than the last - produced by Martin Hannett, with iconic artwork by
Central Station that was plastered over the factory HQ.
The album spawned a few singles, a surprise colaboration with Karl Denver (Lazyitis) & and indie dance
classic remix called Wrote For Luck, and of course a hundred copycats. The lyrics were a mix of drug
fuelled tales and nursery rhymes interspersed with Nick Roeg's cult film - Performance (Performance,
Mad Cyril and Moving In With). The Mondays do it better and they did.
The Charlatans - Tellin' Stories 1997
Made in the aftermath of the death of founding member Rob Collins, and before Britpop this album boasts
a plethora of singles - One to Another, How High, Telling Stories and North Country Boy.
Purists may prefer the 'Black album' but this is the Charlatans at their height - no longer an offshoot of
The Verve - Urban Hymns 1997
The album cover that spawned a thousand bucket hat and Clarks Wallabee purchases had the swagger
to match its followers. The Stones hook inspired Bitter Sweet Symphony, The No 1 Drugs Don't Work,
Sonnet & Lucky Man.
Urban Hymns was an emotional rollercoaster that ultimately led to the split of the band - a classic.
The Pixies - Dolittle 1989
Before Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit heralded the beginning of grunge, boston's PIXIES had
already pioneered the quiet quiet loud loud sound. insane lyrices, catchy hooks, copied tricks, cool
artwork. Much imitated -but never bettered, this was the pixies at their peak released in the same
month as The Stones Roses debut, it too was a sound of things to come.
|DJ Shadow - Endtroducing 1996
Josh Davis (DJ Shadow) released this masterpiece in 1996. it is the first album EVER to be constructed
entirely from samples. Endtroducing was made out of sampled elements, including hip hop, jazz, funk,
psychedelia, old television shows, interviews and percussion tracks.
You may not own it yet - but you will have heard a sample from it on a tv show or documentary for sure.
New Order - Power Corruption and Lies 1983
Opening with the' high tempo 'Age of Consent' this is the sound of change & new technology.
'586' was the precursor to Blue Monday, the cover artwork was by French artist Henri Fantin-latour,
and on the back is a colour wheel to unlock the colour code on the top right of the album. nowhere
on the outside sleeve does it even mention New Order- discreet and ubercool.
it also has one of the best new order lines on 'your silent face'.
|The Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique 1989
Experimental and sample heavy this was not the polished albums they were producing a couple of years
later this is raw and full of invention. There is no real stand out track the album, its is a grower and less
obvious to pigeonhole than its following efforts. Another one signposting things to come in the future.
Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back 1988
Chuck D may have hung around with a bloke who wore an oversized clock round his neck but these lads
were serious - full on political lyrics, samples and beats. This album is rammed full of big songs - 'Yeah
Boyz', they brought the noise, anger and plenty of attitude.
|Massive Attack - Blue Lines 1991
They influenced a whole host of bands & dj's with their 'trip hop' labelled sound.
But blue Lines itself was full of samples from Issac Hayes and Horace Andy.
Safe from Harm & Unfinished Symphony launched Shara Nelson's career, in the same way Ttricky came
to the fore. Genre defining and a massive influence on what was to come.
Daft Punk - Homework 1997
Two french DJ's, a video with a man with a dogs head carrying a ghetto blaster on crutches. Not your
typical french nonsense. This was gallic house at its best - new ideas, sounds & samples with innovative
videos to boot. A real stylish classic that still inspires today.
|De La Soul - Three Feet High and Rising 1989
The sound of the daisy age was upon us in 1989 as an antidote to Gangster Rap. This didn't mean the
tunes and grooves were any softer - just the lyrics. A quartet of brilliant singles are packed into the album
with familiar samples used to great effect - Hall & Oates went hip hop on 'Say No Go', Otis Redding on 'Eye
Know', not sure how many flowery shirts were sported as a result, but a great album nonetheless.
Primal Scream - Screamadelica 1991
Andrew Weatherall took a remix of 'I'm losing more than I'll ever have' off their previous album and 'Loaded'
was created complete with MC5 sample. This was the indie/dance rave crossover tune that was the
starting point for this album, which was a departure from the rock sound of their previous work.
Released in 1991 this was the album that got put on after a coming back from a rave or club- the A - Side
keeping the tempo going, & the B - Side the perfect comedown - happy days!
|The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street 1972
Often lauded as the Stones greatest work, many claim it was a miracle it was even completed.
By this point the group were actually considered old timers as they approached thirty, living in tax
exile overseas, with a chaotic mix of drugs, squabbles and hangers on a plenty, all at an alleged
haunted French Riviera mansion, it's hard to believe they produced this masterpiece.
All genres covered, edgy rock, blues and country soul tunes juxtaposed with more commercial,
familiar tunes yet altogether experimental, ahead of it's time and a favourite of Marty Scorsese too.
|The The - Soul Mining 1983
Timeless album I've grown up with, angst ridden, culturally and socially aware lyrics, part pop, part punk
with even a commercially friendly musical edge.
Released in 1983 and included the UK hit singles "Uncertain Smile" which had reached No. 68 in
December 1982 and "Perfect" which made No. 71 in September 1983 with David Johanson of the New
York Dolls playing harmonica.The album version of "Uncertain Smile" featured the piano playing of Jools
Holland. Listening to The The now Matt Johnson's intriguing and political edged lyrics have more than
stood the test of time some even more relevant today, than they were back then.
|Frank Zappa - Sheik Yerbouti 1979
An album more Representative of Zappa's comedic and satirical material, humourous and clever, and
also controversial. But also featuring some of the more obvious hits 'Dancin Fool' 'Bobby Brown Goes
Down' and 'City of Tiny Lights', this was the first album to be released on Zappa's own label after his
much publicised split with Warner Bros. This album sounds as fresh and daring today as it did thirty
years ago, a great mix of live music with involvement from Zappa's rather large ensemble backing group.
The Clash - London Calling 1980
The third studio album by British punk band The Clash represented a change in thier musical style,
featuring an eclectic mix of ska, pop, soul, rockabilly and reggae. Lyrics were socially aware tackling
issues such as unemployment, drugs, racism and conflict and the strains of adulthood in Thatchers
bleak Britain. The album cover paying homage to Elvis Presley's debut album featuring bassist Paul
Simonon smashing his Fender, was voted the best rock photograph of all time by Q Magazine in 2002.
|Radiohead - OK Computer 1997
The third album from the UK Alternative Rock band. Although most of the music is dominated by guitar,
OK Computer's expansive sound and wide range of influences set it apart from many of the Britpop and
alternative rock bands popular at the time, drawing inspirations from Miles Davis, Ennio Morricone and
modern classical composer Krzysztof Penderecki this was a concept album totally different to their
previous work The Bends.
|Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland 1968
The third and final album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the original album cover had to be replaced in
the UK, can you believe once upon a time before we could access bongo via a few clicks this was solid
gold wanking material for many a young man! Crazy to think an album that sounds this good is over forty
years old, it'll still sound cool in another forty years time for sure.
|The Specials - The Specials 1979
The best thing to come out of Coventry, ever. Edgy and multiracial - 2tone.
This is an enjoyable party album but with a real serious, politcal edge, many bands from many genres
owe a debt to the Specials, an album with classic ska covers ( Message to you Rudy) and Gangster
sampling Prince Buster's Al Capone, plus superb original tracks.
The Who - Who's Next 1971
The Who's fifth album, an age away from their early mod days, originally the brainchild of Pete
Townshend Rock Opera Lifehouse which never fully materialised, the songs written then found their way
onto the album instead. A Critical and commercial success, many claimed they knew how good they
were by this point and this was how they proved it. The famous album cover depicts the band members
having just slashed on a concrete plinth at a Durham colliery - a nod and a wink to a scene in Stanley
kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey.
Neil Young - Harvest 1972
The best-selling album of 1972. The album featured several high calibre guests, including the London
Symphony Orchestra, Linda Ronstadt, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, David Crosby and James Taylor.
Harvest hit No1 on the Billboard Music Charts (North America) pop albums chart, spawning two hit
singles, 'Old Man', which peaked at No31 on the Billboard Hot 100, and 'Heart of Gold', which peaked at
|David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust 1972
Ziggy Stardust is the definitive rock star, sexually promiscuous, wild in drug intake and with a message,
ultimately, of peace and love. But he is destroyed both by his own excesses of drugs and sex, and by the
fans he inspired. Bowies concept album launched him into the mainstream a perfect, timeless slice of
pop and rock with easy on the ears yet with a darker, deeper side.
Paul Weller Wild Wood - 1992
Paul Weller's second solo record, released in 1993. It made it to No.2 in the UK charts, and contained
two UK hits: "Wild Wood", which reached No.14 in the UK charts and "Sunflower", which reached No.16.
In 2000 Q magazine placed it at number 77 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever and was
also featured in the book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
|Marvin Gaye - What's Going On - 1971
The eighth studio album by soul musician Marvin Gaye, a unified concept album consisting of nine songs,
most of which lead into the next. It has also been categorized as a song cycle, since the album ends on a
reprise to the album's opening theme. The album is told from the point of view of a Vietnam War veteran
returning to the country he had been fighting for, and seeing nothing but injustice, suffering and hatred.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 6 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of
|Madness - One Step Beyond 1979
The 1979 debut album by the British ska band who were the most prominent of the British two tone revival
groups, the album peaked at number 2 and remained in the British record charts for over a year.
One Step Beyond has a much heavier ska influence than later Madness albums.
The title track, released as a single, was originally written and recorded by the Jamaican ska musician
Prince Buster which the album is clearly heavily influenced by.
The single "The Prince" was a tribute song to the musician.
|The Beatles - Revolver 1966
The seventh album by The Beatles, released on 5 August 1966.
Many of the tracks on Revolver are marked by an electric guitar-rock sound, in contrast with their previous,
folk rock inspired Rubber Soul. It reached Number 1 on both the UK chart and U.S. chart and stayed at the
top spot for seven weeks and six weeks, respectively.
The cover illustration was created by German-born bassist and artist Klaus Voormann, one of the Beatles'
oldest friends from their days at the Star Club in Hamburg.
Stevie Wonder - Talking Book 1972
The second of five consecutive albums referred to as Wonder's 'Classic Period'.
Released after Wonder toured with the Rolling Stones in 1972, Talking Book became an immediate hit.
The popular appeal of the recording helped destroy the myth that R&B artists were incapable of creating
music that could be appreciated by rock audiences, and marked a unique period for R&B artists
(especially Motown artists).
The cover depicts Wonder with corn rows, Indian jewelry and a velvet afghan.
The Rolling Stones - Let it Bleed 1969
The eighth album by the English rock band, released in December 1969 by Decca Records/ABKCO a
turbulant year, even by their own standards, guitarist Brian Jones quit, and then later died, a fan was
stabbed to death during the infamous Altamont gig, just days after singer Jagger was fined for
possession, this album knocked the Beatles Abbey Road off the top of the charts.
The follow up to 1968's Beggars Banquet, it appeared shortly after the band's 1969 American Tour.
Recorded under trying circumstances owing to the band having reached the final impasse with the late
Jones, the album has been called a great summing up of the dark underbelly of the 1960s.
'Before Elvis there was nothing' - a famous and often overused ( I know... ) quote from John Lennon.
This full-length debut was first ever million dollar album for record label RCA.
'The King' had let the rest of the world in on the American South's secret, a new thing called rock' n' roll.
A huge cultural icon, His novel versions of existing songs, mixing both 'black' and 'white' sounds, made
him popular and controversial, as did his uninhibited stage and television performances. His versatile
voice had unusually wide success encompassing many genres, including Rock and Roll, gospel, blues,
country and pop. To date, he is the only entertainer that has been inducted into four music halls of fame.
Talking Heads - Remain in Light 1980
The fourth album by Talking Heads, released in 1980.
A mixture of influential post punk, new wave and funk combining genre defying African polyrhythms.
The album was greeted with much critical acclaim and praise, and was the last Talking Heads album
produced by Brian Eno. Remain in Light is widely considered their finest work.
|Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison - 1968
At Folsom Prison is a live album by Johnny Cash, released on Columbia Records in May 1968. Since his
1955 song "Folsom Prison Blues", Cash drew an interest in performing at a prison.
Cash had recently controlled his drug abuse problems, and was looking to turn his career around after
several years of limited commercial success.
At Folsom Prison received good reviews upon its release and has since been considered one of the
greatest albums of all time. The ensuing popularity revitalized Cash's career, and led to a release of a
second prison album, At San Quentin.
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds - 1966
The eleventh studio album by the American rock band, released May 16, 1966, on Capitol Records.
Brian Wilson's odd perfected spiritual pop symphony, with an array of bizarre make shift instruments is
responsible for plenty of other progressive bands/artists that followed.
It has been widely ranked as one of the most influential records ever released in western pop music and
has been ranked at Number 1 in several music magazines' lists of greatest albums of all time, including
New Musical Express, The Times and Mojo Magazine.
Bob Dylan Blood on the Tracks 1975
Bob Dylan's 15th studio album, following several years of lukewarm reception for Dylan's work, was
greeted enthusiatically by fans and critics many of which regard the album as autobiographical.
In the years following its release, it has come to be regarded as one of his very best albums.
Often noted as Dylan's 'divorce' album, this coincided with his marriage break-up, lyrics of poignancy,
turmoil and fury helped take this to No 1 on the US Billboards.
|Roxy Music - Roxy Music 1972
The debut album by rock band Roxy Music, released in June 1972. With an eclectic mix of art and
progressive rock, a number of songs were thematically linked to movies. "2HB", with its punning title, was
Ferryâ€™s tribute to Humphrey Bogart and quoted the line "Hereâ€™s looking at you, kid" made famous
by the film Casablanca (1942) "Chance Meeting" was inspired by David Lean's Brief Encounter (1945).
"The Bob" took its title from Battle of Britain (1968) and included a passage simulating the sound of
gunfire. And 'If There is Something' was featured in the recent (2008) British film 'Flashbacks of a Fool'.
|The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico - 1967
The debut album by experimental rock band the Velvet Underground, consisting of Lou Reed and his
poetic lyrics, founding member and Welshman John Cale and vocal collaborator Nico a German artist,
model and Andy Warhol 'star'.
sometimes referred to as the 'Banana Album' de to it's iconic cover - a Warhol print. Early copies had an
actuall 'peeling' skin with the use of a sticker. This is a contender for the most influential yet least
purchased album ever, songs depicting death, heroin intake and sado masichism were a little
overshadowed by the 'summer of love' of the same year.
The Jam - All Mod Cons 1978
The third full-length LP by the British Punk/Mod revival band. The title, a British idiom one might find in
housing advertisements, is short for "all modern conveniences" and is a pun on the band's association
with the mod revival. The song "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" is a first-person narrative of a young
man who walks into a tube station on the way home to his wife,and is beaten by far right thugs was one of
the bands most successful hits.
Queen - A Night at the Opera 1975
At the time of its release, the most expensive album ever recorded.The album takes its name from the
Marx Brothers film A Night at the Opera, which the band watched one night at the studio complex when
recording. You may argue that Queen are ab it of a guilty pleasure, but they have their place, and anthem
Bohemian Rhapsody despite being twice as long as the average single in 1975, the song became
immensely popular, topping charts worldwide, and is now widely regarded as
one of the most significant rock songs in history.
Here we have our hand picked top 40 albums,a difficult task to pick - there's plenty
missing, some for a reason, others because they simply couldn't fit.
Altogther, it's an eclectic, varied mix, compiled by The Casual Connoisseur'
forumites Big Vern and Chas Devlin.
In no particular order...
Dexys Midnight Runners - Searching for the Young Soul Rebels1980
The debut album from Brum based Dexys is a widely acclaimed work mixing punk rock with a Northern
Soul influence. Released just two years after the band formed, this album features the hit single Geno
which topped the charts as their first number one.
An album which feels as fresh today as it did in it's initial release, the iconic cover art was the subject of
a slight reworking between ourselves and the former Curva Nord brand which featured on a t-shirt this