30 Debut Discs Every Rock Fan Should Own

Some artists just get it right the first time. Here then some debuts that captured a musical moment in time, launched a great career, or simply rocked from front to back, over and over again.

1. Joy Division, ‘Unknown Pleasures’ (1979)

Initially a commercial flop, this album is now known as one of the more influential albums in rock.

2. REM, ‘Murmur’ (1983)

Critically acclaimed album that helped define the sound of alternative rock.

3. The Velvet Underground, ‘The Velvet Underground and Nico’ (1967)

The 13th best album on Rolling Stones “500 greatest albums” list was also doomed by poor sales after its initial release.

4. The Stooges, ‘The Stooges’ (1969)

Widely known as punk rock legends, this album was very influential in shaping the hard rock sound through its use of power chords and heavy distortion.

5. The XX, ‘The XX’ (2009)

British outfit garnered much praise for their fusion of indie pop, R&B, and post-punk sounds landing this album at the top of many best of 2009 polls.

6. Sex Pistols, ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ (1977)

The only official album to be released by the group is considered a punk rock staple and led to the development of the punk rock sound.

7. The Strokes, ‘Is This It’ (2001)

Credited as a major factor in bringing indie rock to the mainstream, this album is ranked as one of the best of the 2000’s.

8. Led Zeppelin, ‘Led Zeppelin’ (1969)

The first of four self-titled albums is overshadowed by later releases, but ‘Dazed And Confused’ and ‘Communication Breakdown’ are among their heaviest songs, and ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ and ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ among their purest blues.

9. The Smiths, ‘The Smiths’ (1984)

Established The Smiths as one of the premier bands of the 1980’s in the United Kingdom.

10. The Who, ‘My Generation’ (1965)

This album was recently selected for the National Recording Registry of the US Library of Congress due to its cultural significance.

11. Ramones, ‘Ramones’ (1976)

This album established punk rock and brought it widespread attention with classic Ramones tracks including “Blitzkreig Bop,” “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” and “Let’s Dance.”

12. The Stone Roses, ‘The Stone Roses’ (1989)

Considered one of the most important albums of all time and a major factor in the development of Britpop.

13. The Beatles, ‘Please Please Me’ (1963)

The first of many Beatles classics was recorded in just under 10 hours including several tracks that only required one take.

14. Super Furry Animals, ‘Fuzzy Logic’ (1996)

One of the first albums to mix psychedelic and glam rock was praised for its inconsistencies in leaning too heavily towards a certain genre.

15. Patti Smith, ‘Horses’ (1975)

Consistently cited as an influence of many musicians, Smith released a 30th anniversary live edition featuring Tom Verlaine on guitar and Flea on bass.

16. Captain Beefheart, ‘Safe As Milk’ (1967)

Safe As Milk serves as a roadmap to the many places the good Cap’n would visit during his eccentric career.

17. Oasis, ‘Definitely Maybe’ (1994)

Became the fastest selling album of all time in the UK upon its release and was named the greatest album of all time by NME in 2006.

18. Suede, ‘Suede’ (1993)

Considered the album that helped launch the Britpop movement, this album was the fastest selling album in the UK in nearly ten years.

19. Neu!, ‘Neu!’ (1972)

Album from former Kraftwerk members Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother is considered a major influence in electronic music.

20. The Doors, ‘The Doors’ (1967)

The entire album is an assured and accomplished run through the sound that would make this group one of the biggest acts in rock.

21. Nick Drake, ‘Five Leaves Left’ (1969)

Nick Drake sang melancholy, confessional folk songs that came from the bottom of his heart. It has much more musical accompaniment than either of the other two albums Drake would release during his short life.

22. My Bloody Valentine, ‘Isn’t Anything’ (1988)

One of the first critically acclaimed shoegaze albums has been cited as a major influence of Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins.

23. Kanye West, ‘The College Dropout’ (2004)

An album that took over four years to make has sold over four million copies worldwide since its release in 2004.

24. Bob Dylan, ‘Bob Dylan’ (1962)

With a small budget to record the album, the disc did not receive critical praise until many years after its release.

25. Guns N Roses, ‘Appetite For Destruction’ (1987)

Consistently ranked as one of the best rock and roll albums of all time was a hit with fans from the moment it was released.

26. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, ‘Are You Experienced?’ (1967)

The electric guitar would never be the same after Jimi Hendrix dropped this debut into the world.

27. Beastie Boys, ‘Licensed To Ill’ (1986)

Nine million owners of this 1986 album can’t be wrong. From the overplayed Fight For Your Right to the never-gets-old No Sleep Til Brooklyn, this album hasn’t faded with time.

28. Devo, ‘Are We Not Men? We Are Devo!’ (1978)

Initially met with mixed reviews, the album has been called a major factor in ushering in the New Wave sound.

29. Killing Joke, ‘Killing Joke’ (1980)

An underground classic that has been cited by bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Tool, Soundgarden, and Metallica as a major influence.

30. Arctic Monkeys, ‘Whatever People Say I Am…’ (2006)

The album that supplanted Oasis’ “Definitely Maybe” as the fastest selling album was one of the first albums to build a buzz from the internet.


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