Here is a real threat for all music aficionados, the classics of rock music. The golden age of music when everything felt better, there was a huge positive energy in the air, young people had hope in the future, and that resulted in great music, which we still listen today. It was a great time to be alive, and listen to this amazing music and here we are going to reminisce about all that.
7. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
Label: Atlantic Records
Nothing was ever the same after Led Zeppelin hit the shelves in the beginning of 1969. This monster album was the first album by one of the greatest rock groups of all times. The album opens with lots of guitar rhythm section exchanges in the song “Good Times Bad Times”, followed by the very soft “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” with some nice fingerpicking on acoustic guitar, very neatly played by the founder of the band Jimmy Page.
After that, we have the track “You Shook Me” with Plant’s echoed vocals, and Page’s fuzzy guitar. The most representative song on this album is the track “How Many More Times” with a jazzy beginning that compliments Plant’s shouting vocals. Every song on this album is perfect and it has its own place and meaning. When you hear that pounding riff of “Communication Breakdown”, it just blows you away.
You can also hear a really powerful solo in this song by Page. We can’t forget to mention this hauntingly beautiful song, “Dazed and Confused” with that opening bass line and great powerful beat by John Bonham, spiced up with a sweet solo from Jimmy Page. This is an absolute must-have for all music lovers, especially with their Remastered Version.
6. Purple Rain – Prince
Label: Rhino/Warner Bros.
In 1984 Prince released his brilliant, sixth album called Purple Rain. This was a huge hit and their best seller album as well. This album was also a soundtrack to the movie (also Purple Rain) based on Prince’s early days in his career.
The album reached number 1 on the lists right away, and it sold 20 million copies to this date. We could say that “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy” were the biggest hits on the album. This album is very genre diverse so you will hear elements of pop, funk, jazz, rock and everything in between. The album opens with “Let’s Go Crazy” which starts with some preaching lyrics, then moves in this amazing funky synths and hard rock guitar playing.
Then we have “Take Me With U”, a sweet rock duet with Apollonia, his costar in the film. “The Beautiful Ones”, which is the next track featuring very heavy synths and drums, closed by great guitar shredding. A very nice track is “Darling Nikki” with very raw guitars, lyrics, and backward vocals. “When Doves Cry” is a very funky song without bass. It has great synth riff and a very emotional story about a young man and his fears.
After that, we have a proper dance track “I Would Die 4 You”, a real dance funk podium song. And to close, of course, with “Purple Rain” but what exactly to say about this song? It’s an absolute classic, instantly recognizable by most people around the World. A song that works as a love song and a religious allegory at the same time.
5. The Best Of Simon & Garfunkel – Simon & Garfunkel
Here we have a very generous collection with the Best Of Simon & Garfunkel including the most memorable songs of their whole career. This duo achieved a lot during the 60’s, as they were praised by everybody. Their songs were both intellectual and meditative while being very sensual at the same time.
Their first hit and the first song on this compilation, “The Sounds of Silence” appeared in 1964 but it became a hit in 1965 when a newly-dubbed electric backing was added. This song has a strong melody, simple harmony, and fantastic lyrics. The song “America” was a big step forward in their songwriting and it expresses a picture of their restless, paved America.
Also, a great tune from this period was “Mrs. Robinson” that gives off a cynical vibe with its general loss of faith and innocence in the American spirit. We also must mention “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, which sounded so beautifully on their Central Park Concert. It’s an ultimate Simon & Garfunkel hit and probably the best singing Garfunkel did. It has great echoes and strings through the song, followed up with a fantastic melody. Anyway, this compilation is a must-have.
4. The Doors – The Doors
This debut self-titled album named The Doors came out in the beginning of 1967, and right away it brought some fresh air, to the stale music scene at the time. It came out at the same time as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and they were both psychedelic masterpieces, but The Doors were more mysterious and dark with songs in minor keys and contemplating death, sex and getting high.
The band’s leader was Jim Morison, a weird, Dionysian type character, with his poetry and the rest of the band, coming up with some crisp, melodic playing. Also, it’s worth to point out that The Doors didn’t have a bass player. They draw attention with their first single “Break on Through (To the Other Side)” which is a short taunting song.
“The End” is an 11 minutes song which they always played on the end of their live sets. The song is the best example of Morison’s poetry and drug-fueled vocals. Their most famous live set was the Live At The Hollywood Bowl ’68 with most of their greatest hits. Overall, this is an important landmark in the history of rock music.
3. Deepest Purple – Deep Purple
Label: Deep Purple (Overseas)
Their Deepest Purple album is a fine introduction to the music of this classic rock band and it certainly represents some of their best work. It sounds great, but it also shows that this is without a doubt one of the best hard-rock groups of all time.
Of course, everybody knows “Smoke on the water”, one of the most recognizable guitar riffs of all time, actually most people who play guitar learn this riff first. But also, there are many other songs that we must mention. We have the song “Fireball”, which was released as their second single. This song has a bass solo instead of a guitar solo and in the beginning, you can hear the air conditioner on that simulates the sound of a machine.
A very cool song that we want to point out is the song “Speed King” with the heavy use of whammy bar by Ritchie Blackmore. And then, in the end, he plays a solo consisting of the same lick played in a different key. They played it many times on live performances and actually every single time on their Around The World tour.
2. My Generation – The Who
With a little bit more than 30-minute length, My Generation was the debut album of The Who, a quintessential English rock group that came out in 1965. It was recorded in London with Shel Talmy acting as a producer, and the majority of the songs were written by Pete Townshend, the main guitarist.
The song that stands out the most is “My Generation”, which Townshend wrote on the train. It represents the anger of being a teenager as well as a nod to the mod culture. This song also features the first bass guitar solo on a rock record. At the same time, what makes this song specific is Daltrey’s frustrated stutter vocal.
Another song that immediately draws attention, is “The Kids Are Alright”, with standard blues chord progression in the key of D. Also a must have for all music lovers.
1. Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin
Label: Atlantic Records
This band is so big and important that it deserves to have two albums on this list. Physical Graffiti was a double album recorded in 1975 and it represents the crown of this rock band. The style of the album includes hard rock, acoustic, funk and it also consists of love ballads.
“The Rover” first started as a mellow acoustic song, but then it turned in a heavy rock composition with several overdubs, played by Jimmy Page. “Kashmir” is one of their finest songs with a great beat by Bonham, followed by the hypnotic guitar plays of Page who actually layers the chords. This gives a very edge and a special vibe to this song, which is the reason why it was always included in their live set and even on their concert film, Celebration Day which was filmed in London, 2007.
A beautiful ballad is also included on this album and it’s called, “Down by the Seaside”. It features Page’s guitar play that switches between soft and hard rock parts, with some tremolo effects included. There is almost an hour and a half of music featured on this album, so you will get a very intense listening experience. This album also features an instrumental track called “Bron-Yr-Aur”.
This is indeed a beautiful piece where Page experimented with open tunings and created a very relaxed composition. Later on, they added this as the shortest song in the band’s repertoire. It was occasionally played live on concerts and the name comes from a cottage that was owned by Page’s parents.
So here we tried to bring closer some of the classic albums from the golden age of rock music. This music brought joy to the generations of people, and it is continuing to do so to this day. We hope that you are going to enjoy this beautiful, diverse and powerful music.