When it comes to rock and roll, style and attitude are just about everything. And these ten albums are full of killer hooks and riffs that have truly stood the test of time.
The Clash rolled the dice by injecting London Calling with a heavy dose of then-popular ska and reggae. But the payoff was tremendous, whether due to the instant-classic title track or the fresh basslines throughout the album.
The Ramones were the original New York punks and their first album remains one of the best distillations of the fast, catchy and loud riffs that made early punk music so listenable.
The math class nerds of this whole bunch, David Byrne & company brought sharp guitar melodies and funky basslines to their unique brand of rock music and influenced generations to come. Nostalgia-inducing last song "This Must Be the Place" can still be heard at closing time in bars around the world.
From the opening riot of "Search & Destroy" to the rabid guitars finishing "Death Trip, Raw Power" crashes through the gates for a full 33 minutes. Iggy’s wild onstage antics fueled the fire running through all their work, but Raw Power saw The Stooges at their rowdiest.
Often considered one of the best albums by a band that needs no introduction, Revolver saw the boys from Liverpool experimenting with a ton of new recording styles and effects at a time when their sound was changing drastically. The result was a diverse and progressive LP, apparent in the harrowing synthesizers of "Tomorrow Never Knows" and the acid psychedelia of "Love You To."
Foreboding and gloomy, Black Sabbath created such a distinct sound on their second album that it eventually defined a whole new strain of rock music–metal. Well, maybe not metal as we know it now, but Paranoid’s drudge, sludge and super catchy hooks make it extremely listenable even today.
With his solo debut the late Lou Reed stepped into the spotlight as a supreme ambassador of style and cool. Sounding even more effortless than the Velvet Underground’s breeziness, songs like "Vicious" and "Walk on the Wild Side" never get old.
Rock's most convincing chameleon played louder and faster as Ziggy Stardust than on anything else in his broad discography. Listen to his album Live Santa Monica ‘72 for a taste of the off-the-rails concerts he was putting on during this same era.
Seriously, there’s not an LP by the Rolling Stones that would be out of place on any top rock and roll albums list. But Sticky Fingers might be their best for its balance of ballads like "Wild Horses" and "Moonlight Mile" with heavy-hitters like "Brown Sugar" and "Can’t You Hear Me Knocking."
A progressive concept album owing more to ‘roll’ rather than ‘rock,’ the modest yet epic The Dark Side of the Moon shattered sales records and stayed on Billboard’s Top 200 for a bonkers 17 years. Timeless.
Dig deeper into the style of some of rock’s best stars by Googling Mick Rock. He was Bowie’s official photographer and had a knack for capturing the spirit of the music in the 1970s. His new show, On the Record with Mick Rock, features the man behind the lens telling stories about Bowie, Iggy, Reed and a ton of other rock icons, while hanging with modern acts and seeing the sights and sounds that inspire them. Check out the preview below and then the premiere on Ovation on August 2 at 8 p.m. ET.