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1971’s Best Rock Albums

If you’re looking for the exact moment when the ’60s ended, our list of 1971’s Best Rock Albums seems like a worthy candidate.

After all, this was the year that the Doors released their last album with Jim Morrison in a valiant attempt at getting back to their roots. Elsewhere, Janis Joplin died before she could complete PearlSantana were on the cusp of a huge musical shift and Humble Pie would be changed forever with Peter Frampton‘s departure.

The Who tried to recapture the magic of their seminal ’60s-era rock opera Tommy before going in another direction entirely. The Band seemed to be at the end of their creative rope, as did King Crimson, the Beach Boys and the MC5. The first posthumous album by Jimi Hendrix only underscored this sense of transition.

But at the same time, the Rolling StonesSticky Fingers set a new template for their sound in a new decade. Joni Mitchell heralded the ’70s looming wave of singer-songwriters, while Carole King and John Prine instantly created new standards in the emerging genre. David Bowie opened the door to the brilliant career that could be found just ahead, and Rod Stewart‘s opportunity for his own outsized success had already been made clear.

Meanwhile, ZZ Top and Elton John were only just getting started.

How does it all shape up? Click through the above gallery as we count down 1971’s Best Rock Albums.

Next: Best Rock Albums of 1976

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