From the Sex Pistols to Buena Vista Social Club, there were one hit albums which sometimes went out in a blaze of glory, or cut short by early death, but usually, after a classic debut had been released, nothing better came after. Much commotion was made by Michael Jackson’s Thriller in the United States as well as worldwide, with a whopping 47 million certified copies sold, but we’ve compiled an accurate list of other top albums for you to check out, with help from American audiences. Music isn’t just about albums, and none of the highly influential luminaries were particularly great innovators, but they created a new musical lexicon of the styles, incorporating ideas about counterpoint and form.
1 The Velvet Underground and Nico
Though it sold poorly on its initial release, this first art-rock album included Lou Reed’s lyrics which depicted a Warholian New York where hard drugs and sexual experimentation held sway, in an utterly transfixing manner.
- WOODY GUTHRIE, DUST BOWL BALLADS
Though definitions of “frontlines” continue to mutate, this album defined the bard-on-the-scene responsibilities as the media-savvy Guthrie initiated the age of songwriter-as-messenger into a punk-folk for the New Deal. A blueprint for modern folk music, it introduced the idea of the songwriter as a personality of his own, in the very literal sense, with storms in plain-sung song.
- Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill
Songs from this record captured the post-grunge zeitgeist as she moved to LA to work on Jagged Little Pill, her first internationally released album reaching No.1 in the US and New Zealand. Alanis Morissette is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter who hasn’t released an album since 2012’s Havoc and Bright Lights. Although its follow-up was a perfectly decent record, it hasn’t survived the test of time, but this can’t be said about this album and in 2005, Alanis released an acoustic version marking Jagged Little Pill’s 20th anniversary.
- The Guitar That Changed The World!
This was a Nashville session which might as well have been called “Chet Atkins Picks on Elvis,” and the 1964 session will be of interest to Atkins fans trying to cop Moore’s licks. Scotty Moore deserves this album’s title as its big Gibson electric provided the architecture that allowed Elvis Presley’s raw talent to assume its shape.
- The Shape of Jazz To Come
What this album did in fact was a completely different set of musical signposts, both in terms of the stunningly bright melodic patterns and in beautiful compositions as well as improvisatory approach with a rough wail. We don’t know what it was about Ornette, but by the time Atlantic released this, he’d already had albums on Contemporary, although few observers of the day were bothered by the hyperbole.
- The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
In a decade defined by sweeping cultural paradigm shifts, The Fab Four’s golden years took place from approximately 1965-1969, as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr offered a way for the world to understand the radical changing of the guard.