Rubber Soul: 40 Albums That Defined 1965

We've already glanced back at the albums that defined 1985 and 1975.

So let's turn back the clocks another decade!

Nineteen hundred and sixty-five was when many of rock's titans began to take off creatively, transitioning from brilliant hit makers into true artists who changed the rulebook as they went along.

This was still in the era when major artists were expected to release an album every 10 months or so, meaning that many artists took not one but two enormous creative leaps in 1965.

First and foremost, of course, was the Fab Four. They began the year with the soundtrack to their whimsical classic, Help!. On Help!, you could hear the first seeds of John Lennon and Paul McCartney staking out their own, equally brilliant musical grounds, with Paul's timeless ballad "Yesterday" and John's world-weary "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away."

On Rubber Soul, they took their taste for boundary-pushing to a new level, dipping into Eastern music for the first time on Lennon's astounding "Norwegian Wood" and psychedelia on the spellbinding "Nowhere Man."

Making giant leaps with them was Bob Dylan, who abandoned acoustic protest songs for an unprecedented hybrid of folk, rock and roots music adorned with his extraordinary lyricism. In the span of five months, he released Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited, two records that, even 50 years later, sound like they don't belong on this planet.

Blues-rockers the Yardbirds also released two albums that year, both of which held clues to the future of guitar rock. The first, For Your Love, was mainstream music's first taste of a young guitarist by the name of Eric Clapton (plus a few with his replacement, Jeff Beck), while the second, Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds, was mostly Beck (with a touch of Clapton).

A brash young quartet by the name of the Who burst into the music world's consciousness with a searing indictment called "My Generation" and an equally powerful album by the same name.

The Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys were beginning to move away from their roots. The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson was leading his West Coast pop group away from the shallow surf anthems of their early days and into uncharted waters of sophisticated pop production, while the Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards honed their own songwriting chemistry.

The blues had a great year too, with the release of B.B. King's masterwork, Live at the Regal and Freddie King's Bonanza of Instrumentals.

Though it was dominated by a handful of titanic talents, 1965 was a year of major change that forever altered the face of rock music. Enjoy the photo gallery below. Remember you can click on each photo to take a closer look!

NOTE: This list is presented purely in alphabetical order, not an order of worst to best or best to worst. So there's no order of preference. Enjoy!

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