There comes a time in every serious artist's career when they make their masterpiece – the album that would define them and set their legend for future generations.

Sometimes, they stumble upon these records early, releasing a debut album that they'd never quite live up to; sometimes, they strive their entire career to get to that point. Our list of Masterpieces: The Very Best Albums From More Than 100 Classic Rock Acts includes artists from both sides of the spectrum, and everything in between.

These are the greatest records from rock music's biggest bands. The Beatles are here. So are the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and dozens more.

Often, these artists' best albums are their most popular. (There's a reason everyone owns Zeppelin's fourth record, after all.) But just as often, a commercial bomb may actually be the greatest work you've never heard.

Either way, all of the artists on this list achieved that rare balance of art and commerce. Everyone here has either racked up No. 1 hits or has influenced generations of others who followed them.

We're not saying every single record found in our list of Masterpieces: The Very Best Albums From More Than 100 Classic Rock Acts belongs in your collection. We're not even sure if your tastes are as wide-ranging as ours. But these are excellent places to start, whether you've worn out your copy of The Dark Side of the Moon or find yourself exploring The Velvet Underground & Nico for the first time.