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Guitar World's (Readers Choice) Greatest 100 Guitar Albums Of All Time

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I picked up the latest issue of Guitar World, and their readers voted on the greatest 100 guitar albums of all time. Noting that the word “rock” isn’t in that title, I couldn’t help but notice some glaring omissions. I mean, I’ve always known that Guitar World’s target audience is mostly made up of rock and metalheads, but how did Prince’s PURPLE RAIN get shutout? And I keep telling myself that I missed AC/DC’s BACK IN BLACK while I typed this list out, but believe it or not, it’s nowhere to be found.

I didn’t see one album from Funkadelic, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Television, Muddy Waters, B.B. King., My Bloody Valentine, Black Flag, Velvet Underground, or Kings X, yet STP’s PURPLE, one of the most unoriginal pieces of guitar wankery that I’ve ever heard, is there at #73.

On the plus side, many of these albums would make my personal list, and that top 10 ain’t too shabby, with the exception of NEVERMIND, but I don’t want to turn this could be-discussion into a Nirvana hatefest. I just don’t find that album to be particularly moving or creative on the guitar side of things. But I shouldn’t be surprised that it made the list, and I’m not.

The list:

1. LED ZEPPELIN IV (1971) - Led Zeppelin
2. APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION (1987) - Guns N’ Roses
3. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED (1967) - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
4. MASTER OF PUPPETS (1986) - Metallica
5. DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (1973) - Pink Floyd
6. PARANOID (1970) - Black Sabbath
7. VAN HALEN (1978) - Van Halen
8. NEVERMIND (1991) - Nirvana
9. PHYSICAL GRAFFITI (1975) - Led Zeppelin
10. REVOLVER (1966) - The Beatles
11. COWBOYS FROM HELL (1990) - Pantera
12. …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL (1988) - Metallica
13. BLIZZARD OF OZZ (1980) - Ozzy Osbourne
14. AENIMA (1996) - Tool
15. TEN (1991) - Pearl Jam
16. THE ESSENTIAL STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN AND DOUBLE TROUBLE (2002) - Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble
17. THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST (1982) - Iron Maiden
18. BLOOD SUGAR SEX MAGIK (1991) - The Red Hot Chili Peppers
19. EXILE ON MAIN ST. (1972) - The Rolling Stones
20. SURFING WITH THE ALIEN (1987) - Joe Satriani
21. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE (1992) - Rage Against The Machine
22. WISH YOU WERE HERE (1975) - Pink Floyd
23. WHO’S NEXT (1971) - The Who
24. RISING FORCE (1984) - Yngwie J. Malmsteen
25. PEACE SELLS…BUT WHO’S BUYING? (1986) - Megadeth
26. ALIVE! (1975) - Kiss
27. MOVING PICTURES (1981) - Rush
28. OK COMPUTER (1997) - Radiohead
29. REIGN IN BLOOD (1986) - Slayer
30. PASSION AND WARFARE (1990) - Steve Vai
31. MAFIA (2005) - Black Label Society
32. BRITISH STEEL (1980) - Judas Priest
33. TOXICITY (2001) - System Of A Down
34. THE JOSHUA TREE (1987) - U2
35. 1984 (1984) - Van Halen
36. VULGAR DISPLAY OF POWER (1992) - Pantera
37. ELEPHANT (2003) - The White Stripes
38. MELLON COLLIE AND THE INFINITE SADNESS (1995) - The Smashing Pumpkins
39. DISRAELI GEARS (1967) - Cream
40. ELECTRIC LADYLAND (1968) - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
41. HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED (1965) - Bob Dylan
42. FOLLOW THE LEADER (1998) - Korn
43. PRONOUNCED LEH-NERD SKIN-NERD (1973) - Lynyrd Skynyrd
44. HATE CREW DEATHROLL (2003) - Children Of Bodom
45. BADMOTORFINGER (1991) - Soundgarden
46. METALLICA (1991) - Metallica
47. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA (1975) - Queen
48. BOSTON (1976) - Boston
49. ASHES OF THE WAKE (2004) - Lamb Of God
50. THE DOORS (1967) - The Doors
51. MACHINE HEAD (1972) - Deep Purple
52. ASCENDENCY (2005) - Trivium
53. RED (1974) - King Crimson
54. GHOST REVERIES (2005) - Opeth
55. DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM (2003) - The Mars Volta
56. TOYS IN THE ATTIC (1975) - Aerosmith
57. DIARY OF A MADMAN (1981) - Ozzy Osbourne
58. AT FILLMORE EAST (1971) - The Allman Brothers Band
59. SLIPKNOT (1999) - Slipknot
60. DESTROYER (1976) - Kiss
61. DIRT (1992) - Alice In Chains
62. LAYLA AND OTHER ASSORTED LOVE SONGS (1970) - Derek And The Dominos
63. CITY OF EVIL (2005) - Avenged Sevenfold
64. STRICTLY COMMERCIAL: THE BEST OF FRANK ZAPPA (1995) - Frank Zappa
65. THE WALL (1979) - Pink Floyd
66. ENEMA OF THE STATE (1999) - Blink-182
67. CLOSE TO THE EDGE (1972) - Yes
68. HIGHWAY TO HELL (1979) - AC/DC
69. GOOD APOLLO I’M BURNING STAR IV, VOL. 1: FROM FEAR THROUGH THE EYES OF MADNESS (2005) - Coheed And Cambria
70. LONDON CALLING (1979) - The Clash
71. RUST NEVER SLEEPS (1979) - Neil Young & Crazy Horse
72. ABRAXAS (1970) - Santana
73. PURPLE (1994) - Stone Temple Pilots
74. AMERICAN IDIOT (2004) - Green Day
75. GOO (1990) - Sonic Youth
76. PINKERTON (1996) - Weezer
77. SING THE SORROW (2003) - AFI
78. CHAOSPHERE (1998) - Meshuggah
79. AH VIA MUSICOM (1990) - Eric Johnson
80. CLAYMAN (2000) - In Flames
81. SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (1983) - Motley Crue
82. HUMAN (1991) - Death
83. LED ZEPPELIN II (1969) - Led Zeppelin
84. THE COMPLETE RECORINGS (1990) - Robert Johnson
85. CAT SCRATCH FEVER (1977) - Ted Nugent
86. THE WAR WITHIN (2004) - Shadows Fall
87. BLOW BY BLOW (1975) - Jeff Beck
88. THIS GODLESS ENDEAVOR (2005) - Nevermore
89. ELIMINATOR (1983) - ZZ Top
90. BLUES BREAKERS WITH ERIC CLAPTON (1966) - John Mayall
91. 10,000 YEARS (2006) - Tool
92. EXTREME II: PORNOGRAFFITTI (1990) - Extreme
93. BLACK METAL (1982) - Venom
94. RELATIONSHIP OF COMMAND (2000) - At The Drive-In
95. SCENES FROM A MEMORY (1999) - Dream Theater
96. BRIDGE OF SIGHS (1974) - Robin Trower
97. LOVE AT FIRST STING (1984) - The Scorpions
98. NO MORE TEARS (1991) - Ozzy Osbourne
99. BAND OF GYPSYS (1970) - Jimi Hendrix
100. THE SOUTHERN HARMONY AND MUSICAL COMPANION (1992) - The Black Crowes
post #2 of 37
Thread Starter 
Other things of note off the top of my head:

1) Led Zeppelin’s IV and PHYSICAL GRAFFITI should swap places.

2) Pearl Jam’s TEN isn’t as ambitious or interesting when it comes to guitar virtuosity as VS. or VITALOGY, but, frankly, all of their albums display stellar guitar chops.

3) LET IT BLEED is my fave Stones album notably because of the guitar work, and it didn’t make the list.

4) Sleater-Kinney’s THE WOODS would make my top 50.

5) R.E.M. always seems to get shortchanged when it comes to lists like these, specifically MURMUR.

6) No Oasis. There’s some hope left for mankind after all.
post #3 of 37
No Mark Knopfler? Feh.
post #4 of 37
Enema of the State is in front of Highway to hell.
post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Ripoll
Enema of the State is in front of Highway to hell.
And like I mentioned before: no BACK IN BLACK. Still. In. Shock.
post #6 of 37
I'm glad they included Death (#82). "Suicide Machine" is still one of my favorite songs.
post #7 of 37
Death's Human is a great album, but I'm surprised there is no Death Angel on the list, and Nevermind shouldn't be that high up on the list. It's not a good guitar album, Kobain's guitar playing wasn't that good.
post #8 of 37
Agreed that no Mark Knopfler is a problem. And I prefer Led Zeppelin II to IV, though Physical Graffitti is tops. U2's Achtung Baby deserves to be on there somewhere. Edge's playing on "Mysterious Ways" alone was fantastic.
post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by BubWilliams
Death's Human is a great album, but I'm surprised there is no Death Angel on the list, and Nevermind shouldn't be that high up on the list. It's not a good guitar album, Kobain's guitar playing wasn't that good.
Oh shit I totally forgot about Death Angel! NICE!!
post #10 of 37
Metallica's black album?

Really?

While it's nice to see Opeth's Ghost Reveries on there, it seems like including albums just a year or two removed from today is a mistake.

Also, there's several albums on the list that don't even represent the best guitar albums of the band in question...I suppose the basic popularity of those albums chosen supercedes the actual playing in some cases.

I gotta say I dislike using "greatest hits" albums for this, too...

Then again, no one ever agrees on lists like this anyways. Though add me to the list of folks happy to see Death on there.
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndianSummerSky
5) R.E.M. always seems to get shortchanged when it comes to lists like these, specifically MURMUR.
Name me an R.E.M. song with a memorable guitar solo. Not to short-change the guitar work at all, but you don't see the flashy, attention-grabbing moments that these lists seem to crave.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Dickson
Name me an R.E.M. song with a memorable guitar solo. Not to short-change the guitar work at all, but you don't see the flashy, attention-grabbing moments that these lists seem to crave.
The list isn't Lead Guitar albums though, and Peter Buck's jangle style influenced a huge amount of the bands you hear today. The same could be said for why Nevermind is on there. Also, Kobain and Buck aren't (or weren't) flashy, but they definitely had their own style that broke molds in rhythm guitar playing.
post #13 of 37
Notable exclusions, for me, include:

Al Di Meola: 'Elegant Gypsy' or 'Casino'. Almost all guitar shredders point to these two jazz/fusion albums as a critical influence. That neither of them is on this list is a CRIME.

King's X: 'Gretchen Goes to Nebraska' or 'Dogman'.

Dixie Dregs: 'California Screamin'. Steve Morse is a god.

Dire Straits: 'Making Movies'. Pretty much any album of theirs should be on here.

Liquid Tension Experiment: 'LTE 2'. Much more focused than the first album.

Opeth: 'Blackwater Park' instead of 'Ghost Reveries'.

Queensryche: 'Operation: Mindcrime'.

The Cult: 'Electric'

Dream Theater: 'Awake'. I would have also moved their album 'Scenes from a Memory' into the top ten, but that's just me.

Apart from matters of personal taste, it's not a bad list.
post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Judas Booth
Notable exclusions, for me, include:

The Cult: 'Electric'
Having any AC/DC album on that list make this inclusion redundant. Angus Young should receive royalties for how Rick Rubin helped Billy Duffy rip off every facet of his sound.

"Sonic Temple" was where Billy Duffy really found his own sound, and he started just paying homage to classic rock (a lot of Zeppelin on that record) rather than ripping it off wholesale.
post #15 of 37
Some of the rest of the list is obviously what younger kids happen to like now with little to no awareness of guitar history.

I mean Trivium? Children of Bodom? Avenged Sevenfold? The latest Black Label Society record? Nevermore?

It's like any metal band that still has a shredder in it these days made the list simply by virtue of that.
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah Robinson
Having any AC/DC album on that list make this inclusion redundant. Angus Young should receive royalties for how Rick Rubin helped Billy Duffy rip off every facet of his sound.

"Sonic Temple" was where Billy Duffy really found his own sound, and he started just paying homage to classic rock (a lot of Zeppelin on that record) rather than ripping it off wholesale.

That's a fair assessment of 'Electric', guitar sound wise. Still, I'd consider it the best AC/DC album not made by AC/DC, and I prefer Ian Astbury's vocals over either AC/DC singer...once again, personal taste.

My fav album by the Cult is 'Love', which came out right before 'Electric'. They still had a nouveau goth sound, and Duffy's guitar really melded well with the overall production. 'Electric' and 'Sonic Temple' are far more guitar oriented, though.
post #17 of 37
2. APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION (1987) - Guns N’ Roses
3. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED (1967) - The Jimi Hendrix Experience


Oh, come on! I understand Zep IV takes the top spot. I understand that most of the people voting don't go for Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth or Television. I understand that Zappa votes probably get dilluted over a bunch of albums, because he doesn't have that ONE album that everyone has.

But how does that GnR album, which...look, I love that album, but it's just a pastiche of old AC/DC, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Foghat moves. How the hell does that beat out Hendrix (or even Van Halen)?
post #18 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Dickson
Name me an R.E.M. song with a memorable guitar solo. Not to short-change the guitar work at all, but you don't see the flashy, attention-grabbing moments that these lists seem to crave.
Since this list isn't solely based on guitar solos, I don't think R.E.M.'s exclusion is warranted, though the reason they're not included probably has to do with what you said. Much of R.E.M.'s discography (especially their '80s albums) is wrapped around Buck's driving, chiming, poppy guitar riffs, so much so that the band usually follows him while laying down tracks. It's those incessant, masterful blasts of riff-rock that really has earned him a nice distinction of being one of rock's most creative and essential guitarists. And like Chris Miller said, his influence on legions of bands can't be ignored.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Z-Man
2. APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION (1987) - Guns N’ Roses
3. ARE YOU EXPERIENCED (1967) - The Jimi Hendrix Experience


Oh, come on! I understand Zep IV takes the top spot. I understand that most of the people voting don't go for Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth or Television. I understand that Zappa votes probably get dilluted over a bunch of albums, because he doesn't have that ONE album that everyone has.

But how does that GnR album, which...look, I love that album, but it's just a pastiche of old AC/DC, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Foghat moves. How the hell does that beat out Hendrix (or even Van Halen)?
APPETITE passes the Guitar World Readers 101 with flying colors:

Is the album loud, even in a perverse way? Check.

Can you play the album while having sex? Check.

Will the album piss off your neighbors? Check.

Does the album makes a great soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas? Check.

Do you want to be as cool as Slash in another lifetime after listening to the album? Check.
post #19 of 37
Thus is why I no longer subscribe to or read Guitar World. It is craptacular.
post #20 of 37
Oh, and also, though I know it's been mentioned before, this:
Quote:
66. ENEMA OF THE STATE (1999) - Blink-182
67. CLOSE TO THE EDGE (1972) - Yes
68. HIGHWAY TO HELL (1979) - AC/DC

70. LONDON CALLING (1979) - The Clash
71. RUST NEVER SLEEPS (1979) - Neil Young & Crazy Horse
72. ABRAXAS (1970) - Santana

75. GOO (1990) - Sonic Youth

79. AH VIA MUSICOM (1990) - Eric Johnson

83. LED ZEPPELIN II (1969) - Led Zeppelin
84. THE COMPLETE RECORINGS (1990) - Robert Johnson
85. CAT SCRATCH FEVER (1977) - Ted Nugent

87. BLOW BY BLOW (1975) - Jeff Beck

89. ELIMINATOR (1983) - ZZ Top
90. BLUES BREAKERS WITH ERIC CLAPTON (1966) - John Mayall
91. 10,000 YEARS (2006) - Tool

95. SCENES FROM A MEMORY (1999) - Dream Theater
96. BRIDGE OF SIGHS (1974) - Robin Trower

99. BAND OF GYPSYS (1970) - Jimi Hendrix
100. THE SOUTHERN HARMONY AND MUSICAL COMPANION (1992) - The Black Crowes
Makes me weep big sloppy tears. Fucking Enema of the State, are you FUCKING SHITTING ME?!?!?!? I wonder if they had to decide between that and an insync album.
post #21 of 37
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, I have a real weak spot for lists and all things guitar. If it wasn't for Kirk Hammett's obnoxious mug making the cover every month, I might've even subscribed. So thanks to Kirk Hammett for doing something of worth in the last 15 years.
post #22 of 37
I used to have a subscription to Guitar World and Guitar Player, and I will very occasionally grab an issue of either if I browse through one at a book store and like 80% of the content. If either covered more gear review stuff, I'd probably read more, but as it's generally one or two pages mixed within fifty thousand ads and tons of lessons I'll never use (I'm not planning on becoming the next Petrucci apparently), I tend to stear clear. I will say however, as similar as the two pulications can be, I imagine Guitar Player would have a more comprehensive list.
post #23 of 37
Another album that should have been on this list is Mastodon - Leviathan, that has some really good guitar work on it SeaBeast, Naked Burn, Heart's Alive among others. At yet it has Blink-182, Coheed & Cambria and Dream Theater. What are you gonna do.
post #24 of 37
I love the Pumpkins but Siamese Dream should have been on the list, higher than Mellon Collie, maybe even in the top 20. I would have loved to see Zwan's one CD (Mary Star of the Sea) on there, now thats a guitar driven album.
post #25 of 37
the complete absence of the dead and phish is horrible, as well as the lack of any jazz. its a rock list, they should have just said it in the title
post #26 of 37
the complete absence of the dead and phish is horrible, as well as the lack of any jazz. its a rock list, they should have just said it in the title
post #27 of 37
the complete absence of the dead and phish is horrible, as well as the lack of any jazz. its a rock list, they should have just said it in the title
post #28 of 37
the complete absence of the dead and phish is horrible, as well as the lack of any jazz. its a rock list, they should have just said it in the title
post #29 of 37
the complete absence of the dead and phish is horrible, as well as the lack of any jazz. its a rock list, they should have just said it in the title
post #30 of 37
the complete absence of the dead and phish is horrible, as well as the lack of any jazz. its a rock list, they should have just said it in the title
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrebleInTrouble
the complete absence of the dead and phish is horrible, as well as the lack of any jazz. its a rock list, they should have just said it in the title
that's very true; many genres are not represented. but it is readers' picks, which i guess shows guitar world's reader's biases.

p.s. maybe you should delete a few of those re-posts.
post #32 of 37
blah, its not letting me delete them, unless im just doing it wrong?
post #33 of 37
Phish was a horrible band.
post #34 of 37
What a farce. 'Shout at the Devil' isn't anyone's best anything. It's interesting how the occasional progressive album is given the nod but all the rest fall short of the guitar chops present on albums like 'Shout at the Devil' (which received more votes for best guitar album than any Zappa album despite being completely generic, which tells me all I need to know about the voters) and some Korn album.

Korn.

Whatever.
post #35 of 37
Always subjective and never remotely accurate, these kinds of lists. If you're going to have Dream Theater on there, as someone above said, make it 'Awake' and put it in the top 10. As much as I LOVE Coheed & Cambria's "Good Apollo . . . " album, and I mean LOVE IT, even I can't justify it being on a top 100 of all time list in any way, shape or form. Them, Avenged Sevenfold (fucking WHO?!) and several othe rbands listed is just the usual "hot new things" included because they have alot of young fans who buy this mag.

It's been that way since Day One. I know I tread on dangerous ground when I say this, but I remember the readers poll results for 1997 - Dimebag Darrel beat John Petrucci in Best Guitarist (1st and 2nd place, respectively). Now, Dime was a fantastic guitarist, at what he did - but there is no way on God' green earth you could EVER justify him as being a better all-round guitarist than Petrucci. Ever. Number of fans says so, though.

Actual ability, influence and the like rarely come into the equation on these polls. It can't, when everyone voting is only thinking in the here and now.
post #36 of 37
its like the whitest list ever.
post #37 of 37
So where are albums featuring Joe Messina, Eddie Willis, Matt Murphy, Albert King, Robert Johnson, Buddy Guy, Ry Cooder, Mark Knopfler, Clarence Brown, Chet Atkins, Junior Brown, Leo Kottke etc.
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