Rock Album Classics

by Thomas H. Green

Rock Album Classics

About this playlist

It goes without saying that, for decades, a band’s most famous songs were defined by what was released as a single and played endlessly on the radio. To some degree that still applies, but online listening habits mean that whole back catalogues are now often reassessed on an equal playing field. Thus even a band as definitively famous as The Rolling Stones has a multitude of pearls hidden away as album tracks, as our playlist of album-only cuts clearly demonstrates, offering up the luminescent, gospel-scented and just plain awesome classic ‘Let It Loose’.

Iggy Pop also entirely proves the point with our playlist opener, the ironic 1980 belter ‘I’m A Conservative’, his ongoing response to the Brit punk/new wave scene, recorded with Sex Pistol Glen Matlock. In fact, sometimes these album tunes can be amongst an artist’s most-loved work. For example, The Stranglers’ ‘Hanging Around’, from the debut album, is one of their best songs, almost always in their live sets, and Pixies ‘Wave of Mutilation’ from 1989 classic ‘Doolittle’ is often quoted by fans as their greatest moment.

Some albums are so beloved that almost everything on them is well-liked. You can’t go far wrong with ‘London Calling’ by The Clash (from which we pick the sassily superb ‘The Right Profile’), while Oasis’ debut is a widely loved favourite and, even though critics at the time noted the melodic similarity between ‘She’s Electric’ and the 1971 Coca Cola advertising jingle ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony)’, the song went on to become part of their core repertoire. Sometimes album cuts gave a band the chance to let their hair down and do something unexpected but worthwhile, like Primal Scream’s eight-and-a-half minute psyche-funk instrumental ‘Struttin’’ (from 1994’s ‘Give Out But Don’t Give Up’) or Leonard Cohen in wryly upbeat humorous form on ‘The Captain’ (from 1984’s ‘Various Positions’). Meanwhile rockers can really rock out in free form fashion, as showcased by our playlist’s songs from Queen, Black Sabbath, ACDC and White Stripes.

All in all, the listener may be persuaded that it’s worth going back to all those albums and lending an ear again to see what else might have been forgotten.

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