The Vinyl Issue: Essential LPs

No matter how big or ecletic your vinyl collection, these are the ten essential LPs that should be at the heart of it.


Are You Experienced (TRACK, 1967)

As Classic Rock’s Charles Shaar Murray wrote: “Are You Experienced completely changed notions of what a guitar could sound like, or indeed, what music could sound like. ”The original UK pressing, unlike the US version, was originally missing key singles Purple Haze, Hey Joe and The Wind Cries Mary. On recent reissues, however, nothing is missing./o:p


Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (PARLOPHONE, 1967)

John Lennon called it “a peak”. What The Beatles created in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was a work of dazzling brilliance in which pure songwriting craft met groundbreaking experimentation. Almost 50 years on, it remains the most iconic album in history. Its pop art cover, equally iconic, was lost on CD: further proof that vinyl rules./o:p


Sticky Fingers (ROLLING STONES, 1971)

Out went the blues, in came Staxy horns, soul, ushering in the new, sexier Stones of the 70s. A move reflected in Andy Warhol’s cover photo of a denim-clad crotch with a working zipper./o:p


The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (RCA, 1972)

The makeover that restyled Bowie as the space-age androgyne for boys and girls alike, aided by an iconic sleeve. Mick Ronson’s bearish guitar riffs and Bowie’s ear for melody and melodrama enabled Ziggy to both define and transcend glam rock./o:p


Dark Side Of The Moon [HARVEST, 1973]

Pink Floyd’s breakthrough LP was a richly textured psychedelic voyage where the elegant cover art and bleak, introspective themes dovetailed smoothly into its prismatic sonic landscapes. Absorbed through headphones, this is the quintessential vinyl experience. /o:p


Physical Graffiti (SWAN SONG, 1975)

Revered by Zeppelin connoisseurs as the band’s greatest work, double album Physical Graffiti has become a kind of monument to vinyl fetishism. Only in this format is the genius of the album’s cover design fully realised, with cutout windows revealing various and strange images. And the music was perfectly arranged by Jimmy Page across four sides, with side two an epic journey in itself: Houses Of The Holy, Trampled Under Foot, Kashmir./o:p


Never Mind The Bollocks… (VIRGIN 1977)

From its distinctly lairy artwork to its 12 scabrous, unrelenting mid-paced anthems, Never Mind The Bollocks isn’t just the greatest punk-rock album of them all, it’s a rock’n’roll masterpiece that sounds as belligerent and thrilling today as it did 38 years ago./o:p


Back In Black (ATLANTIC, 1980)

On the pitch-black cover, only the band’s logo was clearly visible, lined in white; the album’s title was embossed, black on black – a tribute to the band’s deceased singer Bon Scott. And yet, for AC/DC, Back In Black was not a wake but a rebirth. With Bon’s replacement Brian Johnson singing his ass off, the band created the perfect hard-rock record./o:p


Master Of Puppets (MUSIC FOR NATIONS/MERCURY, 1986)

A defining album for metal, Master Of Puppets was originally released in the UK on indie label Music For Nations (pressings now sell for £300), and on Elektra in the US. For pure artistry and monolithic heaviness, it’s the peak of Metallica’s career./o:p


Appetite For Destruction (GEFFEN, 1987)

The greatest debut LP in rock was named after Robert Williams’ brutal cover image. After retailers refused to stock it, later pressings were given a new skull/crucifix design. But original copies are still out there – a classic record in its full, shocking glory./o:p

Classic Rock

Classic Rock is the online home of the world's best rock'n'roll magazine. We bring you breaking news, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes features, as well as unrivalled access to the biggest names in rock music; from Led Zeppelin to Deep Purple, Guns N’ Roses to the Rolling Stones, AC/DC to the Sex Pistols, and everything in between. Our expert writers bring you the very best on established and emerging bands plus everything you need to know about the mightiest new music releases.