Nineteen hundred and seventy-two is one of those rare years -- like, say, 1967, 1969, 1971 and 1991 -- that saw the release of several seminal rock and modern-blues albums.
As we wrote last year in our 1971 roundup, "Even for a year that falls squarely in the heart of the 'classic rock' era, it was a particularly classic year."
It was the year of Exile On Main St., Thick As a Brick and Close To the Edge, albums that are so renowned that we don't have to name the bands that created them (But, just in case, it was The Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull and Yes). Tull actually outdid themselves that year, also releasing Living In the Past.
On the heavier side of things, while Led Zeppelin took the year off from vinyl, Deep Purple released what is perhaps the Deep Purple album, Machine Head, plus the live classic Made in Japan. Black Sabbath followed up 1971's Master of Reality with Vol. 4 -- and Scorpions, Wishbone Ash and Uriah Heep chimed in as well.
In the world of blues, all three ax-wielding Kings released albums -- Texas Cannonball by Freddie King, Guess Who by B.B. King and I'll Play the Blues For You by Albert King -- not to mention Eat A Peach by The Allman Brothers Band, Rio Grande Mud by ZZ Top, and Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive by John Lee Hooker.
With that in mind, below is our list of 50 classic albums celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2012. Remember: Life begins at 40!