5. Rush – 2112
Kings of the prog concept Rush come in at fifth with their fourth studio album ‘2112’. I’ll no doubt receive all kinds of Canadian mail stamped death-threats for this, however I regret nothing. This is a masterpiece of an album which opens with the 20 minute epic which quite rightly lends its name to the LP as a whole. Set in a dystopian future it features Galaxy-wide warfare and the like, although you would do well to refuse that this draw you from the supreme musicianship on show.
4. Queens of the Stone Age
The Queens third album contains much to get excited about. Arguably their best album to date, a play through of this hour long album will take you on a journey from metropolis of Los Angeles to the sparseness of Joshua Tree, CA. By bridging the songs with, often lengthy, fictitious radio show cuttings- the band have added an all new dimension to their work. It’s the kind of idea that must have had every musician on the planet kicking themselves for not coming up with it first. An enchanting and exhilarating listen from A to B- it also features Dave Grohl on drums for the first time since Nirvana.
3. Pink Floyd – The Wall
An extremely famous concept album, Pink Floyds eleventh (they weren’t shy of the studio back in the day, were they?) LP deals with themes isolation and distress incurred by disaffection. Perhaps just as famous for the theatrical live tour that followed, The Wall is a piece by piece construction and eventual deconstruction of…a wall. The protagonist, Pink, is based on Roger Waters- a young man who undergoes various hardships throughout his life, closing himself off to the world behind a wall more and more gradually. I’d fill you in with the rest, but you should go and check it out yourself. Easily the most concept heavy album on this list.
2. The Beatles – Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
By 1967, The Beatles were no longer just four young gentlemen from Liverpool, England. They were the most sought after musical figures on the planet. Rather annoyed at this state of affairs, the band, already having announced their intentions to cease touring, decided to begin work under various alter-egos. Presumably in an effort to stem the massive amounts of expectation which lay on their heads as a result of their huge success in years previous, the idea grew from a single track Paul McCartney had wrote declaring involvement of the band used eventually as the title for the entire album. Although later refuted by John Lennon, there are certainly prevalent themes to be recognised within the LP- as well as some of the most ahead of its time song-writing ever committed to record.
1. The Who – Tommy
The first work of its kind, The Who’s phenomenal rock opera ‘Tommy’ tells the story of a ‘death, dumb and blind boy’ who subsequently is cured only to become a figure of guru like status- having become truly enlightened by his ordeal. The album confronts the whole idea of ‘see no evil’ etc. and at times plunges into the darkness of the likes of child-abuse and torture. As a result of this, the album received a mixed reception upon its release, with some claiming it to be a step in the right direction for rock music and others believing it to be exploitative of issues which should not be subject to judgement by such musicians. Either way it’s an intriguing album which sound-tracked some of the most prominent live performances in musical history.