Top 10 Albums – Here’s Mine, What Are Yours?

We’ve covered our Top 100 alternative and independent albums, Top 10 debut albums and also compiled lists of our favourite folk and psychedelic albums. But I thought for a change I’d take away the restrictions of time and genre and present a list of my top ten albums as a way of finding out what your Top 10 Albums are. It’s a trickier task than you may think. I have constant nagging doubts that I should have included Lou Reed’s Transformer or Blondie’s Parallel Lines. You will face similar dilemmas. Feel free to tell us your Top 10 albums of all time in the comment box below.

10. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989)


Following their huge debut album Licensed to Ill the Beastie Boys second album went in a more experimental direction under producers The Dust Brothers and became one of the best ever examples of sampling. From Public Enemy to The Beatles through to Curtis Mayfield and film soundtracks there are hundreds of snippets that make up each track. The end product is a tribute to music and modern culture and an outstanding album from start to finish. To find out more about the songs and riffs featured on the album click here.

9. Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Gorilla (1967)


As a child, back when there were record players and cassettes and MP3s were the stuff of a mad man’s dreams, this was one of a handful of albums I used to beg my parents to play. This debut by art college psychedelic 1920s jazz mash up specialists is fun thanks to the humour of songwriter and vocalists Vivian Stanshall. But above all its got great tunes thanks to the involvement of Neil Inness, who went on to form the Rutles and has an outstanding ear for a good pop song. With tracks such as Cool Britannia, the Intro and the Outro and I’m Bored regularly used in advertising, TV and film this obscurity from a silly age will be surprisingly familiar.

8. The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree (2005)


There are autobiographical albums and then there’s The Sunset Tree by The Mountain Goats and its frontman and songwriter John Darnielle. Here he lays bare an adolescence in the shadow of domestic abuse where he escapes into music, romance, drink and drugs. Its an album about survival and must have taken a huge amount of courage to write. Final track Pale Green Things, recalls the death of his step father and is so emotional and personal he can’t even play it live anymore. It is an impressive piece of work that shows the courage of young people and led me to become a fan of Darnielle and his band ever since. For more about The Mountain Goats read our Top Ten Bands That Changed Our Lives article here.

7. Fairport Convention- Liege and Lief (1969)


A running theme of the albums I’ve selected is an admiration of the effort that has gone into their writing and production. Fairport Convention Liege and Lief’s was written and recorded following a tragic motorway accident in which their drummer Martin Lamble died and guitarist Richard Thompson’s girlfriend Jeannie Franklin also lost her life. What emerged was one of the most influential folk albums of all time as their mourning, painstaking research into traditional English folk and rock roots came together to create an outstanding set of songs. From Tam Lin to Crazy Man Michael this album is to this day one of the most exciting of any genre.

6. Highway 61 Revisited (1965)


I came late to Bob Dylan. It was something about the voice, the Christianity and whole 1980s rock star image that put me off. Then I saw Martin Scorcese’s documentary centred around his mid 1960s albums and the time he went electric. From Bringing It All Back Home to Highway 61 revisited to Blonde on Blonde it remains my favourite period of Dylan’s music. Of the three Highway stands tallest, just. Like a Rolling Stone is its most well known track but the power of Ballad of a Thin Man and Desolation Row are among those that keep me coming back to this album time and again.

5. The B-52s – The B-52s (1977)


When Rock Lobster, one of the singles from this debut from the Athens based band, was re released in the mid 1980s, I had no idea just how talented they were. I loved Rock Lobster but after getting this debut album I was awestruck. Ricky Wilson’s guitar playing is unique and in they were also blessed with three incredible vocalists, with Ricky’s sister Cindy particularly standing out. Her emotion on Dance This Mess Around and Hero Worship alone are worth the cover price alone. For more about The B-52s read our Top Ten Artists That Changed Our Lives feature here.

4. XTC – English Settlement (1982)


On a monthly basis I kick myself for not including this in our Top 100 Indie and Alternative Albums list. Our XTC album of choice was the excellent Drums and Wires. But as the years have gone by it is English Settlement that I now believe was the Swindon band’s masterpiece. Sure it has the singles Sense Working Overtime and Ball and Chain, but it’s the lesser known tracks such as No Thugs in Our House and English Roundabout that really shine here. It was to have opened the door to fame and fortune, but sadly coincided with a chronic bout of stage fright for song writer Andy Partridge who was unable to tour following its release or indeed since. For more about XTC read our Top Ten Bands That Changed Our Lives article here.

3. The Clash – London Calling (1979)


Of all The Clash albums none are so perfectly executed as their third London Calling. Steeped in Caribbean and US influences this manages to expertly show The Clash for what they were a London punk band with a global outlook. This topped our Top 100 Indie and Alternative Albums list and remains one of my favourite albums thanks to superb lyrics on tacks like Lost in the Supermarket and instant pop appeal of tracks such as Train in Vain. Listening again it barely ages and remains a timeless classic. Read our full review of London Calling here.

2.  David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971)


Last year I detailed my surprise discovery that David Bowie wasn’t just a silly man dancing in his pyjamas wth Mick Jagger. He was in fact the coolest man in music as albums such as Low, Heroes and this pre-Ziggy album clearly show. Of all his albums that I’ve recently discovered this is my favourite due to its sheer quantity of classic, inventive pop songs. Any album that has the tracks Changes and All You Pretty Things is deserving of a place on this list. But to add in Life on Mars, Queen Bitch and Quicksand as well makes this album one of the best pop albums of all time..

1. The Beatles – Revolver (1966)


Hey what about Sgt Peppers, Joe? Well, what about it? This seventh UK studio album from the Fab Four is by miles and miles of old George Martin infused studio tape the best Beatles album and in my view the best album of all time. You want pop? It’s got it in Taxman and Dr Robert. You want stunning orchestral melodies? Well, why not check out Eleanor Rigby. Or maybe awesome rock rifts are your thing, in that case She Said She Said will appeal. It’s even got the children’s classic Yellow Submarine, and on Tomorrow Never Knows a track that quite rightly is used to herald the start of counter culture. And then there’s the production with Martin’s backwards loops redefining music. Sgt Peppers is good, but this was the real game changer for modern music.

by Joe Lepper



  1. 1 – Peter Wyngarde – When Sex Leers It’s Inquisitive Head (just the oddest, but also musically rich, bizarre record ever – total flight of fancy)
    2 – The Beach Boys – Smile (untouchable songwriting and arrangements)
    3 – Integrity – Those Who Fear Tomorrow (best hardcore/metal crossover album of all time)
    4 – Dudley Moore – Bedazzled soundtrack (amazing easy listening/jazz soundtrack, which shows off Moore’s not inconsiderable skills)
    5 – The Tubes – Remote Control (my favourite album of theirs overall, v difficult to pick though)
    6 – The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour (technically a compilation, I know – but has my favourite songs on it)
    7 – Youth Of Today – We’re not in this alone (total whirlwind of angry, heartfelt hardcore)
    8 – The Monks – Black Monk Time (utterly unique, years ahead of its time)
    9 – Blossom Toes – We are ever so clean (prob the best UK psych album of all time)
    10 – Happy Mondays – Pills’n’thrills and bellyaches (soundtrack to my youth, just a bloody great record)

  2. I find it so hard to commit to a top 10. And my ten changes all the time. I bet that if I was to do this tomorrow I’d have a slight different 10, but here goes:

    1. The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs
    2. The Violent Femmes – The Violent Femmes
    3. Guided By Voices – Alien Lanes
    4. The Monkees – Head
    5. Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings And Food
    6. Sparklehorse – Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot
    7. Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker
    8. Camper Van Beethoven – Key Lime Pie
    9. The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema
    10. The Auteurs – New Wave

  3. Some great stuff on there. Know most of those and love them but not heard that Dudley Moore one- that sounds great.

  4. Definitely tricky. Today I’m going with this lot, might be different tomorrow

    1 After Murder Park – The Auteurs
    2 Eat to the Beat – Blondie
    3 The Specials – The Specials
    4 Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
    5 Cold Fact – Rodriguez
    6 Searching for the Young Soul Rebels – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
    7 Hunky Dory – David Bowie
    8 Dog Man Star – Suede
    9 Forever Changes – Love
    10 Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen

  5. This is my top 10 today, as others have said, this might change tomorrow, (probably to include the likes of Guano Apes, Neuro Dubel, Byzantine, and EkV).

    1 Raw Power – Iggy Pop and the Stooges
    2 Diamond Dogs – David Bowie
    3 Radio Ethiopia – Patti Smith Group
    4 Fool Metal Jack – Os Mutantes
    5 Flesh Wounds – Skin
    6 Volk – Laibach
    7 Hard Attack – The MX80 Sound
    8 New Wave – Various Artists
    9 Murder Ballads – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
    10 New Clear Days – The Vapors

  6. 1. Marilyn Manson – AntiChrist Superstar.
    2. Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral.
    3. The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness.
    4. Tom Waits – Bone Machine.
    5. PJ Harvey – Rid of Me.
    6. Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible.
    7. Brand New – The God And Devil Are Raging Inside Me.
    8. At The Drive-In – Relationship of Command.
    9. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures.
    10. La Dispute – Wildlife.

  7. 1. Planxty – After the Break
    2. Funkadelic – America Eats it’s Young
    3. Love – Forever Changes
    4. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
    5. Roxy Music – Stranded
    6. Giant Sand – Ramp
    7. David Grisham Quartet – Hot Dawn
    8. David Bowie – Hunky Dory
    9. Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St
    10. Lo’jo – Au Cabaret Sausage

    Can I have another ten… Left loads out!

  8. Another great bunch of top tens. Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures was another to narrowly miss out on my list.

  9. I feel guilty already about the ones I left out. I need to present an alternative top 10.

    1. The Dead Milkmen – Beelzebubba
    2. Prefab Sprout – Steve McQueen
    3. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer?
    4. Guided By Voices – Isolation Drills
    5. Go Sailor -Go Sailor
    6. The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society
    7. Neko Case – Blacklisted
    8. The Fatima Mansions – Viva Dead Ponies
    9. Josh Rouse – Under Cold Blue Stars
    10. The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow

  10. 1. Various Artists – Drum & Bass Selection 1
    2.Pixies – Come On Pilgrim
    3. P.J Harvey – Dry
    4. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
    5. Various Artists – Classic House Mastercuts Vol. 1
    6. Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band – Doc At The Radar Station
    7. Bob Dylan – Highway ’61 Revisited
    8. Burial – Untrue
    9. John Coltrane – Giant Steps
    10. Tricky – Maxinquaye

  11. i have 2 unsurprisingly……….these would be different yesterday and different tomorrow, this is for today…
    The best of…..Bowie
    The best of…..Dean Friedman
    The best of…..XTC
    The best of…..Sabrina
    The best of….. The Ramones
    The best of …..John Martyn
    The best of……Gary Glitter
    The best of……Barry Manilow
    The best of……Howlin Wolf
    The best of…… Rizzle Kicks

    or this one/
    ..XTC ….Mummer
    ..Patti Smith ..Horses
    ..Bunnymen….Heaven up here
    ..Can ……..Future day..Pink Fairies…Never never land
    ..Mark Kozelek …Benji
    ..Black Sabbath …Master of reality
    ..The Fall …Dragnet
    ..Hendrix….Band of gypsies
    ..Comsat Angels…Sleep no more
    ..Pink Fairies…Never never land

  12. A very difficult task and probably the first time I’ve focused in on my fave top ten albums.Loads more out there

    1.John Grant – Queen of Denmark
    2.Deaf School- 2nd honeymoon
    3.Porcupine Tree – The Sky Moves Sideways
    4.Midlake- The Courage of Others
    5.Rodrigues- Searching for Sugerman
    6.King Creosote & John Hopkins- Diamond Mine
    7.Alan Hull-Pipedream
    8.Low – The invisible way
    9.Iggy Pop – Raw Power
    10.The Adverts – Crossing The Red Sea

  13. More excellent selections. Good to see another Highway 61 fan, and John Grant make a deserved appearance.

    Also nice to see the Rizzle Kicks get the acclaim they deserve as well. 😉

  14. 1. Revolver – The Beatles
    2. Who’s Next – The Who
    3. Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan
    4. Peter Gabriel (“Melt”) – Peter Gabriel
    5. Low – David Bowie
    6. Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) – Brian Eno
    7. Sticky Fingers – The Rolling Stones
    8. More Songs About Buildings and Food – Talking Heads
    9. Black Sea – XTC
    10. Entertainment! – Gang of Four

  15. – Abbey Road – The Beatles
    – Lizard – King Crimson
    – The Seeds of Love – Tears for Fears
    – Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
    – Nursery Cryme – Genesis
    – Deadwing – Porcupine Tree
    – Black Sea – XTC
    – The Beatles (White Album)
    – Heroes – David Bowie
    – Hunky Dory – David Bowie

    (not necessarily in that order)

  16. 1. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention – Roxy and Elsewhere
    2. Camper Van Beethoven – Telephone Free Landslide Victory
    3. Cracker – Kerosene Hat
    4. The Negro Problem – Welcome Black
    5. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
    6. They Might Be Giants – Severe Tire Damage
    7. XTC – English Settlement
    8. Adrian Belew – Twang Bar King
    9. Be Bop Deluxe – Sunburst Finish
    10. Blur – Modern Life is Rubbish

  17. Is this thread still open
    Any list that includes XTC, the most undeservedly ignored geniuses in pop history, is fine by me!
    Impossible to make a best of list isn’t it? So this is the best of what I’ve been pulling off the shelves this week, in no particular order really!
    1. Nonsuch-XTC
    2. Spilt Milk-Jellyfish
    3. Hot Rats-Zappa
    4. The King is Dead-The Decemberists
    5. King Strut-Peter Blegvad
    6. Remain in Light-Talking Heads
    7. Never Home-Freedy Johnston
    8. Sailing the Seas of Cheese-Primus
    9. Village Green Preservation Society-The Kinks
    10 Come and Get It-Eli Paperboy Reed
    Oh, and one more:
    11. Strangeitude-Ozric Tentacles

  18. 1.End of Silence – Rollins Band
    2.Bandwagonesque – Teenage Fanclub
    3.Slanted and Enchanted – Pavement
    4. Appetite for Destruction – Guns n Roses
    5. Buhloone Mindstate – De La Soul
    6. Let Love In – Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
    7. Song of Leonard Cohen – Leonard Cohen
    8. The Low End Theory – A Tribe Called Quest
    9. Under The Bushes Under The Stars – Guided By Voices
    10. It’s A Shame About Ray – The Lemonheads

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