Guitar World's 10 Essential Classic Rock Guitar Albums
This list of Guitar World's 10 essential classic rock guitar albums is part of a much larger feature—Guitar World's 100 Essential Guitar Albums—which you'll be seeing in the weeks ahead.
For the time being, we'll start you off with these 10 masterpieces from guys named Harrison, Townshend, Hendrix and Gilmour.
And, to help you get into the spirit of the music on this list, we thought you could use some inspiration:
INSPIRATIONAL VERSE: "Pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday." — "Won't Get Fooled Again," The Who
INSPIRATIONAL LICK: "Ain't Talkin' About Love" (intro), Van Halen
THE LOOK: Then: Fluffy, long Goldilocks tresses. Now: Gray hair, big wallet. Timeless: Tight-fitting flares revealing dubious "trouser snake," flouncy shirt, fringe, cocaine-spoon neck pandant ...
TOOLS OF THE TRADE:
• Guitar: Vintage Les Pauls, Strats, etc.
• Amps: Marshall Plexis
• Effects: Echoplex, Cry Baby wah, analog phaser, flanger, fuzz and delay
03. The Who - Who's Next (1971) Having invented power pop and the rock opera, the Who went on to invent arena rock on their fifth studio album.
02. The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street (1972) The crowning achievement of the Stones' second (and some feel, greatest) lineup: the one that paired Keith Richards' five-string rhythm guitar voodoo with the incisive riffology of British blues virtuoso Mick Taylor.
04. The Doors - The Doors (1967) Their debut album mates Jim Morrison's smoldering sexual shamanism with the band's hypnotic cadences and swirling guitar-and-organ arabesques.
05. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland (1968) Hendrix's third studio album with the Experience is his masterpiece. There are sweet slices of amped-up soul, catchy flashes of pop song craft, epic blazing rock jams and sonic dreamscapes that shimmer like delicate, ornate projections from another dimension.
06. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (1973) Roger Waters' dark outlook on life found a perfect foil in David Gilmour's yearning, hopeful guitar work and the Floyd's floaty atmospheres.
07. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV (1971) The album with "Stairway to Heaven." Need we say more?
08. Deep Purple - Machine Head (1972) Beyond boasting the ultimate headbanging riff, "Smoke on the Water" documents the catastrophic fire that almost scuttled the making of this album. But Deep Purple triumphed over difficult conditions to create a milestone in classic hard rock.
10. Van Halen - Van Halen (1978) Metal guitar was never the same after this awesome debut from the Sunset Strip's most enduring gift to hard rock.
09. Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic (1975) Watershed achievement from America's greatest riff machine.
01. The Beatles - Revolver (1966) The very notion of classic rock starts with the Beatles, whether you're willing to admit it or not. Revolver was a landmark in the evolution of the classic rock album, not to mention rock guitar.