Contact Us

Top 10 Double Albums

Releasing a double album in the ’60s and ’70s was a rite of passage. Even if an artist had no reason, let alone the material, to put out a two-record album, it was something that just needed to be done sometime during a career. The best double albums don’t leave you picking out half of the songs you’d think would work better on a single LP. For the most part, there’s nothing disposable on the records that made our list of the Top 10 Double Albums. Every single one of them belongs in your collection.


Fleetwood Mac Tusk
10

'Tusk' (1979)

 
 

Fleetwood Mac followed up the gazillion-selling 'Rumours' with one of the weirdest records ever released by a superstar band. It cost more than $1 million to make -- a record number back in 1979. And, like the Beatles' 'White Album' (see No. 3 on our list of the Top 10 Double Albums), it plays like several solo records by various members with their bandmates serving as the backing musicians. But it's a triumph of style and substance, and a wonderfully nuanced record that earns its long length.

 
The Who Tommy
9

'Tommy' (1979)

 
 

Pete Townshend called the Who's fourth album a rock opera, and it opened the gates to a whole bunch of messy, pretentious records over the next several decades. But the Who's sprawling, ambitious story about a kid's awakening (sexual and otherwise) is told through a battering of guitars, drums and rock-god vocals. No one else even came close.

 
Pink Floyd The Wall
8

'The Wall' (1979)

 
 

Like 'Tommy' (see No. 9 on our list of the Top 10 Double Albums), 'The Wall' grabs much of its inspiration from the World War II childhood of its creator. In Pink Floyd's case, mastermind Roger Waters charts his own rise, ego and psyche in a crushing narrative about an emotionally damaged rock star bottoming out with issues, including the all-purpose mommy one.

 
Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti
7

'Physical Graffiti' (1975)

 
 

Zeppelin's most gargantuan album is made up of thunderous new tracks and leftovers from previous albums. It's not always a seamless mix (the recent songs are easy to pick out), but the band manages to pull it together with massively epic songs that bridge Eastern and Western music. Possibly the most Zep-like album of their career.

 
Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
6

'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' (1973)

 
 

Elton John was at the point in 1973 where he could release a double album of show tunes recorded in the shower with his cat handling half of the vocals and it would be a worldwide smash. But 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' contains his best songs: epics, rockers, pop hits and old-fashioned standards retrofitted for electric guitars. And it all falls together as one of the best-sounding records of the decade.

 
Derek and the Dominos Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
5

'Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs' (1970)

 
 

The ultimate song cycle of love in all its complicated shades -- from unrequited to spurned to brokenhearted. Eric Clapton brainstormed the project in light of his complicated relationship with pal George Harrison and Harrison's wife, whom Clapton pined for. Through a sturdy mix of originals and covers, Clapton and band -- including Duane Allman -- soar through the hole in his heart.

 
Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland
4

'Electric Ladyland' (1968)

 
 

Hendrix's third album is his most aurally rich experience, an overload of musical ideas from the outer spaces of his mind. The patterns and textures layered throughout the album remain among rock's most visionary. 'Electric Ladyland' is a blend of rock, blues, jazz, soul, funk and folk that filters the '60s through a futuristic fever dream.

 
Beatles White Album
3

'The Beatles' (1968)

 
 

More than any other record on our list of the Top 10 Double Albums, the Beatles' 'White Album' is the one that still reveals new insights with each listen. The Fab Four basically played backing band to each other's solo recordings on the record, and the songs unfurl like their past and present histories. It's the Beatles at their most splintered, personal and ambitious.

 
Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde
2

'Blonde on Blonde' (1966)

 
 

Dylan capped 12 months of tremendous output -- starting with 'Bringing It All Back Home,' quickly followed by 'Highway 61 Revisited' -- with the two-record 'Blonde on Blonde,' recorded in New York and Nashville with members of the Band and session musicians. From sweet pop to bluesy rockers to 11-minute epics, 'Blonde on Blonde' is Dylan's most sprawling record. Song for song, it could be his best.

 
Rolling Stones Exile on Main St.
1

'Exile on Main St.' (1972)

 
 

From the muddy production to the grimy guitars to the snapped-together songs, 'Exile on Main St.' is the sound of drugs, fatigue and egos sinking in. And it wouldn't work any other way. Nobody could touch the Stones at this point, and this audacious work -- bluesy, doped-up tracks that barely hide the hedonism that fuels them -- stands as their life's masterpiece. No wonder it took them more than five years, and almost as many albums, to recover from the high. Double albums don't get better than this.

 

Best of the Web

More From Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://ultimateclassicrock.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!