Tuesday, January 2, 2001


Brick One includes twenty-five of the most celebrated albums from twenty-five of the most celebrated artists in rock n' roll history. With a few unavoidable exceptions (Velvet Underground and Nico, Nation of Millions) I've gravitated towards the more accessible all-time classics in Brick One.  Brick Two will dive heavier into the edgier side of the spectrum.

Anyways, without further ado, here's the first twenty-five albums I would recommend to the beginning collector.


Why Here: Influences and forebears in every art form are fluid and open to debate, but I find it helpful within each discipline or genre to define an arbitary starting point.  For narrative film, it's First Men On The Moon and The Great Train Robbery, for modern Science Fiction, it's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  For rock n' roll, I believe, it is decidedly this - Elvis Presley's first recordings for Sam Philips and Sun Records, the moment a white man usurped a burgeoning black musical movement and made it saleable to the white masses of America and Europe.


Why Here: There was no way I was going to leave Dylan off this initial brick, and amongst all his classic releases, Highway 61 Revisited, with its knockout bookends of Like a Rolling Stone and Desolation Row, is his most quintessential.

Why Here: The crowning achievement of the best American rock n' roll band of the first half of the 1960s, a landmark advancement in layered production techniques, and though thirty-years removed, arguably the single most influential album on the music of the Aughts.

Why Here: The greatest single album instrumental advance in the history of rock 'n' roll, and one of the psychedelic 60's defining albums.

Why Here: Time has not been as kind to Sgt. Pepper's as it has to most of the other albums in this first brick, but it remains one of the most important and influential albums of all time, and no recorded release in any genre (not just rock) has ever hit with a bigger or more immediate cultural impact than this album did in back in 1967.

Why Here: The biggest single album conceptual leap rock 'n' roll has ever taken. Despite the bands limited technical chops, introduced more radically new ideas to the genre than any other album in rock history, and is often consider the most influential rock album of all time...everyone who heard it went off and formed a fantastic, interesting band.  The best sequenced album ever, and in songs like Venus In Furs, Sunday Morning, Black Angel's Death Song, and the inimitable Heroin, boasts some of the most startlingly original tracks ever put to vinyl.

Astral Weeks - Van Morrison (1968)

Why Here: The most timeless album in rock 'n' roll history, probably because it's hardly rock 'n' roll at all.  Gorgeous, soulful, mysterious, and completely unique, it's as if Morrison completely recreated the blues in his own Celtic image.


Who's Next - The Who (1970)

Why Here: As classic rock as classic rock gets.  Ironically, one of the very first rock 'n' roll albums to fully integrate the synthesizer into its sound.

What's Going On - Marvin Gaye (1971)

Why Here: Motown's finest moment, albeit one of its least typical. A protest-minded, album-long exploration of tone and groove that contains some of the most soul-stirring R&B numbers ever put to vinyl.  Unique, indispensable, and impossibly smooth!

Spotify / iTunes / Amazon

Exile On Main Street - The Rolling Stones (1972)

Why Here: The greatest blues-rock band in history's greatest blues-rock album.

Spotify / iTunes / Amazon

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