5. The Smiths – The Smiths (1984)
In 1984 this Manchester based indie rock four-piece released their debut album, 3 years later they split up. Despite this sad, sad fact however, The Smiths maintain their rightful place in the upper echelons of rock and roll importance to this day. This album has a lot to do with that, featuring the likes of ‘Reel Around The Fountain’, ‘Hand In Glove’ and ‘What Difference Does It Make’; this was a release which marked the beginning of the group’s cult status. Showcasing a song-writing partnership described by the press at the time as the best since Lennon/McCartney- The Smiths remain a British institution.
5. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)
I’ll admit that the inclusion of this album took much deliberation on my part, mostly due to the fact that it’s from a band who are still surfing a wave of commercial success. I decided to include it finally on several grounds. Firstly, the songs are simply fantastic- well-crafted upbeat indie raucous which documents with much detail exactly what growing up in the north of England in the 2000’s was like, and secondly because of the tender age of the band during the production of this album. When this album was released (to huge acclaim both sides of the Atlantic) the bands lead singer Alex Turner had only just turned 20, meaning that he wrote these songs throughout his teens- an astonishing feat by anyone’s standards.
3. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures (1979)
This seminal groups first offering arrived during a time when loud and angry took preference over all. By maintaining the same anti-establishment morals of punk rock but simultaneously adding their own dark and subdued edge- Joy Division created an unmistakable sound. Though their success as a functioning band was eventually short lived (I’m sure we all know the story), the Manchester group has kept an unthreatened place amongst the great bands of the 20th century, all as a result of that sound, which may I add has been imitated countless times since- yet never matched.
2. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction (1987)
Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard in the 1980’s was a cut throat place, with thousands of wannabe rockstars swarming all over the place trying to draw attention to their, usually make-up adorned, bands. Despite being an un-steady time for sleazy old classic rock n’ roll; several acts did emerge from this time and place that proved it was all worthwhile. One of these bands was Guns N’ Roses, whose debut caused major waves amongst rock fans worldwide upon its highly anticipated release. Although carrying all of the characteristics of a glam band, GNR had something else- predominantly good tunes. In the years leading up to the album’s release, the band had been carving out their own place amongst the other Hollywood bands- leading the way with their dirty and aggressive yet extremely credible snarl.
1. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (1969)
Despite only having met a few month’s previous to this albums release in early 1969, Led Zeppelins debut carries the confident bluesy swagger of a band in their 10th year. Incredibly, the album was recorded in around 36 hours over numerous sessions- with the track list including several of the group’s interpretations of arrangements by the likes of Willie Dixon and Anne Bredon. It was to be the first of many, with Zeppelin going on to pretty much dominate rock music throughout the 1970’s. Despite being famously dismissed by critics (much of the bands work was) the LP was still a success, announcing them to a world of fans eager to move on from the now over-saturated 60’s sounds. Many would attribute this album as being the first of a genre which would go on to become heavy metal, that however is a discussion for another day.