The 20 best British albums ever, according to Lemmy

Lemmy in 2011
(Image credit: Rob Monk/Classic Rock Magazine)

Back in 2006, we compiled the definitive, impossible-to-refute breakdown of the 100 Greatest British Rock Albums Ever. To do so, we consulted a panel of experts renowned in the field of rock: rock DJs, rock critics, rock photographers, rock singers, rock musicians, rock promoters, rock stars. 

We asked everyone to compile their Top 20. No live albums, no 'best-of's, and bands qualified for inclusion if the core members were British-born. Which, before you ask, is why Lemmy was able to have AC/DC in his selection.


1. Dave Edmunds – Subtle As A Flying Mallet (1975)
“I was recording the first Motörhead album [On Parole] when he was doing this. It’s incredible. He was even using a broomstick with bottle tops to get a drum sound!”

2. Pink Floyd – Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)
“It was so odd. The band were never the same again once Syd Barrett left."

3. Hawkwind – Hall Of The Mountain Grill (1974)
“For me, this was when the band were at their height. Oh, and I was in the band at the time.”

4. Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced? (1967)
“Sorry, for me this is a British album. He had two Brits in the band [bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell]. Every song is a classic.”

5. The Damned – Damned, Damned, Damned (1977)
“I always loved what this band did. They’re my boys. And this, their debut, was brilliant.”

6. Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols (1977)
“What an attitude. The playing and songs are amazing. It’s excellent rock’n’roll.”

7. The Pretenders – The Pretenders (1980)
“I used to jam with Chrissie Hynde, but I never thought she’d make it. The usual problem of chicks in rock. So this proved Chrissie had the balls.”

8. Skunk Anansie – Post Orgasmic Chill (1999)
“Skin’s got an incredible voice. And the songs are both well-written and brilliantly arranged.”

9. Jeff Beck – Truth (1968)
“Unfortunately, he was always overshadowed by Led Zeppelin. But what a supreme guitarist. There’s some wonderful playing here.”

10. Downliners Sect – The Sect (1964)
“From 1964. And I love this. Great songs. Before they went a bit off the rails.”

11. The Beatles – With The Beatles (1963)
“I was torn between this and Revolver. Everything The Beatles did broke new ground. Where would we be without them?”

12. The Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones (1964)
“Their ’64 debut. I never understood why you had to choose between the Stones and The Beatles. To me, this album is equally as important in breaking new ideas as the early Beatle stuff.”

13. The Who – Who’s Next (1971)
“They were at their peak with this record. Just listen to what they were doing. Amazing."

14. King Crimson – In The Court Of The Crimson King (1969)
“It was very clever, musically, but also not as twiddly as other prog rock bands. It kinda sucked you in.”

15. Deep Purple – In Rock (1970)
“You have to include this one, because it really started everything as far as heavy rock goes.”

16. AC/DC – Highway To Hell (1979)
“It was either this one or High Voltage. AC/DC with Bon Scott – just an incredible band. The songs are all stunning.”

17. The Yardbirds – Roger The Engineer (1966)
“This is an album from towards the end of their career, and it’s very overlooked. But the band were doing some very innovative things."

18. Thin Lizzy – Bad Reputation (1977)
“I would have gone for Live & Dangerous, if I could have included live albums. What a band. They were so exciting. I always liked them.”

19. Gary Moore – Still Got The Blues (1990)
“Most white guys who attempt to play blues sound so soft. Gary’s the real deal.”

20. Humble Pie – As Safe As Yesterday Is (1969)
“The first Humble Pie album from ’69… actually, any record with the late Steve Marriott would have done. He was brilliant – and is much missed.”

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.