The Top 25 Albums That Changed The Face of Rock Music

By Trevor Idle

Music is subjective, but its impact isn't. We've seen many incredible rock albums come and go over the years, but it's rare to find an album that really made a lasting impact.

Here, we've listed a cracking list of rock, hard rock, and heavy metal albums that shook the world. Not only were these albums great in their own right, but they also helped change and define the rock landscape as we know it.

25 Van Halen - Van Halen (1978)

Van Halen is the debut studio album by American rock band Van Halen. Released on February 10, 1978, the album peaked at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100. This album is widely regarded as Van Halen's best, and one of the strongest rock albums of the late '70s. 

24 The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland (1968)

Electric Ladyland is the third and final studio album by English-American rock band the Jimi Hendrix Experience, released in October 1968 by Reprise Records. The double album was the only record from the band produced by Jimi Hendrix. This epic piece gave us an idea of what could be achieved using a guitar.

23 Aerosmith - Permanent Vacation (1987)

Permanent Vacation is the ninth studio album by American rock band Aerosmith, released in August 1987 by Geffen Records. The album marks a turning point in the band's career, setting them up to be one of the most successful rock bands of its era. You could say that this album is the most underrated on this list.

22 Whitesnake - Whitesnake (1987)

Whitesnake is the self-titled seventh studio album by British rock band of the same name, released in 1987. The album produced a major power ballad hit, "Is This Love", in an ever-changing era of rock music. This more mainstream sound put lifted the band to new heights, and cemented their legacy as one of the most innovative hard rock bands of the '80s.

21 Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power (1992)

Vulgar Display of Power is the second major label and sixth overall studio album by the American heavy metal band Pantera, released on February 25, 1992 through Atco Records. Pantera played a key role in the heavy metal scene during the 90s, and this album is regarded as one of the best of its era.

20 Def Leppard - Hysteria (1987)

Hysteria is the fourth studio album by English hard rock band Def Leppard, released on 3 August 1987 through Mercury Records and reissued on 1 January 2000. Hysteria was the album that set Def Leppard apart from their competitors during a hugely competitive time in the rock industry, and shot them to stardom. Hysteria is still the band's best selling album, and one of the top hits of the '80s.

19 Motorhead - Ace of Spades (1980)

Ace of Spades is the fourth album by English rock band Motörhead, released in November 1980. It peaked at No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart and reached Gold status by March 1981. To this day, Ace of Spades is one of the more influential heavy rock albums of all time.

18 Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz (1980)

Blizzard of Ozz is the debut solo album by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne, released on 12 September 1980 in the UK and on 27 March 1981 in the US. The album was Osbourne's first release following his 1979 firing from Black Sabbath.It is still regarded as Ozzy's greatest work.

17 Korn - Korn (1994)

Korn is the eponymous debut studio album by the American nu metal band Korn. It was released on October 11, 1994, through Immortal/Epic Records. Korn exploded into the rock scene in the 90s, creating a new genre in itself, playing a key part in the emergence of nu-metal. 

16 Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar (1996)

Antichrist Superstar is the second full-length studio album by American rock band Marilyn Manson. Released on October 8, 1996 in the US through Nothing and Interscope Records, the album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 which launched the band into mainstream success. This was noted as the more important album by Marilyn Manson, with a whole new extended audience that shot them to unrivalled heights.

15 Deep Purple - Machine Head (1972)

Machine Head is the sixth studio album released by the English hard rock band Deep Purple. It was recorded through December 1971 in Montreux, Switzerland, and released in March 1972. Many believe Deep Purple peaked with Machine Head, paving the way for how the rock industry would become in the '70s.

14 Iron Maiden - Fear of the Dark (1992)

Fear of the Dark is the ninth studio album released by English heavy metal band Iron Maiden. Released on 11 May 1992, it was their third studio release to top the UK albums chart. With an array of huge heavy metal hits on the much loved Fear of the Dark album, many Iron Maiden fans saw this album as an important piece of the band's legacy, during a time when heavy metal was under threat by the emergence of grunge and industrial rock.

13 Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet (1986)

Slippery When Wet is the third studio album by American rock band Bon Jovi. It was released on August 18, 1986 through Mercury Records in North America and Vertigo Records internationally. With huge hits like Livin' on a Prayer and You Give Love a Bad Name, Slippery When Wet shot Bon Jovi to true global status.

12 Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970)

Paranoid is the second studio album by English rock band Black Sabbath. Released in September 1970, it was the band's only LP to top the UK Albums Chart until the release of 13 in 2013. This masterpiece was a real game changer, Setting the bar for what would later come, the heavy metal revolution.

11 The Who - Who's Next (1971)

Who's Next is the fifth studio album by English rock band The Who. It developed from the aborted Lifehouse project, a multi-media rock opera written by the group's Pete Townshend as a follow-up to the band's 1969 album Tommy. The records show that Who's Next was the most popular album of this amazing band's collection, and it certainly influenced a wide variety of brands in the '70s and '80s.

10 Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (1969)

Led Zeppelin is the eponymous debut studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was recorded in October 1968 at Olympic Studios in London and released on Atlantic Records on 12 January 1969. This was a truly epic album by one of the most successful rock bands of all time. Forget II, IV or Physical Graffiti, this was the band's most important album.

09 Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)

Nevermind is the second studio album by the American rock band Nirvana, released on September 24, 1991. Produced by Butch Vig, Nevermind was the group's first release on DGC Records. Nirvana changed the way we looked at rock music in the '90s, setting itself apart from the glam rock of the '80s, Nevermind was an album that inspired a whole new musical genre throughout the 90s and beyond.

08 The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main St. (1972)

Exile on Main St is a double album by English rock band the Rolling Stones, released on 12 May 1972 by Rolling Stones Records. It was their tenth studio album released in the United Kingdom. Exile on Main St. played a key role in the evolution of rock to hard rock during the early '70s.

07 Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory (2000)

Hybrid Theory is the debut album by the American rock band Linkin Park, released on October 24, 2000 through Warner Bros. Records. Hybrid Theory was possibly the most influential album of its kind during an era when the rock music was changing dramatically.Nu-metal was in full swing, and Linkin Park were ahead of the pack.

06 Metallica - Metallica (1991)

Metallica is the eponymously titled fifth studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was released on August 12, 1991, through Elektra Records, received widespread critical acclaim and became the band's best-selling album. There's no question, Metallica gained much of their respect as a heavy rock band with the release of this epic album, which showed they had much more depth to their sound than many believed possible.

05 Queen - A Night at the Opera (1975)

A Night at the Opera is the fourth studio album by the British rock band Queen, released in November 1975. Co-produced by Roy Thomas Baker and Queen, it was the most expensive album ever recorded at the time of its release.It is still widely regarded as the band's strongest work.

04 AC/DC - Back in Black (1980)

Back in Black is the seventh studio album by Australian rock band AC/DC. Produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange, the album was released on 25 July 1980 by Albert Productions and Atlantic Records. Statistically, AC/DC are the most successful band of all time, and Black in Black album came at a time when the band were recovering from the tragic death of frontman, Bon Scott. The circumstances of this album made it even more remarkable. 

03 Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

The Dark Side of the Moon is the eighth studio album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd, released on 1 March 1973. With so many epic albums, Pink Floyd could have had a number of them in the top three of this list. Pink Floyd, as a band, were in a genre of their own, and The Dark Side of the Moon is regarded as one of the greatest music albums ever made.

02 The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)

Abbey Road is the 11th studio album by the English rock band the Beatles, released on 26 September 1969 in the United Kingdom and on 1 October 1969 in the United States. Again, The Beatles released a number a relevant albums during their years of dominance, but we believe Abbey Road was their strongest work.  This album caught the band as they matured, and produced some of their deepest work. 

01 Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (1987)

Appetite for Destruction is the debut studio album by American hard rock band Guns N' Roses. It was released on July 21, 1987, by Geffen Records to massive commercial success. Labelled as the most dangerous band in the world, Appetite for Destruction set Guns N' Roses on their way to world dominance with a gritty type of hard rock that no one had ever heard before. Out went the glam rock in one big, screeching, guitar trashing explosion of badass rock and roll!

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