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Top 15 Rock Vinyl Records

Top 15 Rock Vinyl Records

Rock encompasses so many artists and iterations of sound that it’s tough to know where to begin narrowing down favorites. Hard rock, soft rock, folk rock, and modern rock are a few of the many categories that fall under this genre. It’s safe to say you have your fair share of rock music choices. 

There’s a perfect album for every preference, mood, and occasion. Here are fifteen top rock vinyl records to keep in mind when you find yourself browsing a record store like Victrola

#1 The Beatles - 1 (2000)

The Beatles dominated the pop rock era as soon as they debuted in the 1960s. Coined by the music industry as a leader in the “British Invasion” of sound, this quartet sold millions of albums and scored number one hits. Their compilation record, aptly titled 1, was released in 2000 to fans’ delight worldwide. 

The limited-edition double vinyl LP features every number one-single released by the band, with a digitally remastered and remixed pressing housed in a gatefold sleeve. With radio relics like “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Yellow Submarine,” and “Hey Jude” as part of this 27-song lineup, there are no skips when it comes to this record choice. 

#2 Simon & Garfunkel - Greatest Hits (1972)

Another one of the most renowned rock vinyl records is Simon & Garfunkel: Greatest Hits. Known for their folk rock sound, this duo churned out beloved songs, including “Mrs. Robinson,” “The Sound of Silence,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” 

The vinyl LP reissue of the classic 1972 collection mixes the duo’s original studio recordings with previously unreleased live recordings. It’s a must-have in any rock or folk vinyl record collection.

#3 Creedence Clearwater Revival - Chronicle (1976)

The driving guitar riffs and unique vocals stemming from rock band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, take on Southern rock or swamp rock’s subgenre, as it's sometimes known, although the band hails from California. This style of rock combines rhythm and blues, country and western, and sprinkles in Cajun and Creole musical influences.

Their rise in fame stemmed from their passionate lyrics and series of hits throughout the late 1960s and into the 1970s. This two-LP, 20-song vinyl record set includes all the CCR favorites, including “Bad Moon Rising,” “Fortunate Son,” and “Up Around the Bend.”

#4 Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA (1984)

As a seventh studio album, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA vinyl LP has been deemed the greatest album from his music collection. It’s his most successful release and embodies his signature classic pop rock sound that served as a significant part of the soundtrack of the ‘80s. 

Led by the album’s title track, other hit songs on this vinyl release are “I’m On Fire,” “Glory Days,” and “Dancing in the Dark.” 

#5 Van Morrison: Moondance (1970)

One of the top rock vinyl records of the 1970s was Van Morrison’s Moondance. The album has been remastered from the original analog master tapes. It features the soulful, rock sound that led to Morrison’s critical and commercial success. 

Moondance is frequently looked at as one of the greatest albums of all time and has been passed down through the decades as it reaches new audiences. It features the album’s title track, as well as “Into the Mystic, “Crazy Love,” and “Caravan.”

#6 Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell (1977)

The theatrics of Meat Loaf’s debut album Bat Out of Hell embraced futuristic rock as a popular subgenre in the late ‘70s. Its success spurred the creation of two sequel albums and sold over 43 million copies worldwide. Originally developed from a musical, the album delivers the feel of a rock opera. 

Songs from the iconic LP include ‘Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Heaven Can Wait.” Additionally, the album cover art is as iconic as the music itself, and the album scored a ranking on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. 

#7 Eric Clapton - Unplugged (1992)

MTV showcased artists performing stripped down versions of their performances for a hit television series in the ‘90s titled Unplugged. It’s here where Eric Clapton recorded an acoustic album that went onto become the best-selling live albums in history. It also became Clapton’s best-selling album in his collection. 

Clapton’s Unplugged vinyl LP includes “Tears in Heaven” and “Layla.” His style mixes a blend of blues with a hint of folk rock to create what is now known as one of music’s top rock vinyl records.

#8 James Taylor - James Taylor (1968)

As a leader in the folk rock world for decades, James Taylor released his self-titled debut album in 1968. James Taylor features classic hits such as “Carolina in My Mind” and “Something in the Way She Moves,” which have been revisited and cherished throughout the years. 

Since his emergence onto the music scene, this American singer-songwriter and guitarist has gone on to become a multi-Grammy award winner, and he’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Adding his debut record to any vinyl collection is a way of preserving music history from one of the greatest.

#9 Jimi Hendrix - Live at Woodstock (1999)

Jimi Hendrix’s album Live at Woodstock is an essential LP for any record collector. It embodies the Jimi Hendrix experience with sounds from his famous Woodstock performance. 

The 3-LP set includes remixed and remastered recordings and 35 minutes of unreleased music. Song selections include “Purple Haze,” “Hear My Train a Comin,” as well as his rendition of “Star-Spangled Banner.” The rock vinyl record also includes a full color, 24-page booklet to accompany the sounds of one of America’s most prolific artists. 

#10 Weezer - Blue Album (1994)

When Weezer debuted its Blue Album in 1994 it turned traditional rock on its head. Part-grunge, part-alternative, this band delivers a sound all its own. Their quirky lyrics and upbeat tempo allow them to create their own music style and stand apart from other indie rock artists.

They are notorious for their color-referenced album covers, adding a Red album and Teal album to the mix. However, it's their debut that introduced instant sing-along hits, including “Buddy Holly,” “Say It Ain’t So,” and “Undone - The Sweater Song.”

#11 - The Rolling Stones - Dirty Work (1972)

No one does rock like The Rolling Stones. Led by music icons Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, they deliver a hard rock sound meant to be amplified at sold-out stadiums worldwide. They are the epitome of what a rock band should be and have the catalog of work to back it up.

The limited vinyl LP original pressing of their 1986 album, Dirty Work, has been remastered to true fans of this iconic rock group. It was originally recorded during a tumultuous time in the band but featured all five principal members and serves as a hidden gem for record collectors.  

#12 Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - The Best of Everything (2019)

A must-have for any rock vinyl records collector is Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers: The Best of Everything LP.  The collection spans Petty’s entire career and contains 38 tracks over four records.

His iconic rock style embraced folk influence and continued to deliver hit after hit. He created a music legacy that will be relevant for years to come. Among the standouts on this vinyl anthology are “Free Fallin’,” “I Won’t Back Down,” and “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” 

#13 The Eagles - Desperado (1995)

Desperado is The Eagles second album and was released in 1973. Known for its soft rock sound, the top rock vinyl record includes signature songs, including its well-known title track. The song “Desperado” made the Rolling Stone list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004. 

Though it didn’t reach their first album’s commercial success, Desperado highlights the band’s creativity and versatility. This album goes down as one of the classic rock greats from the conceptual cover art to the lyrical composition.

#14 Madonna - True Blue (1986)

Madonna was one of the quintessential female pop rock icons of the ‘80s. She co-wrote and produced the True Blue album, which heavily featured drums and synthesizers, a significant sound of the ‘80s. 

Five singles from the album reached number one, including “Papa Don’t Preach” and “Open Your Heart,” as well as the album’s title track. This limited vinyl LP pressing is one to dance to and relive one of the industry’s most iconic record debuts and eras in music.

#15 The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)

Pet Sounds is one of those rare records that only comes around once in a lifetime. It was a significant shift from The Beach Boys’ well-known surfer rock sound under the iconic Capitol Records label. 

It featured progressive instrumentation and lyrics and delivered long-time favorites, including “Sloop John B,” “God Only Knows,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Despite its initial reception, Pet Sounds holds a place as one of the greatest albums ever released.

The wonderful thing about the rock genre is that it surpasses all rules about music. Technically, rock is classified as any music that includes an electric guitar, bass guitar, and drums. Yet, every artist has their own interpretation of what rock means to them. Just as with jazz vinyl records, there’s an endless catalog of records covering all subgenres and influences a vinyl collector to add to an ever-growing record collection.

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