There isn’t a pastime quite as enjoyable as collecting vinyl records from eras long past. The rock n’ roll records that came out of the 60s and 70s are considered some of the most important albums in music history. Listening to them is a right of passage to some; owning them on vinyl is a full circle experience. Here is a list of 10 essential rock records to own on vinyl! Bear in mind, this is just the tip of the iceberg and just my personal opinion. I encourage everyone to weigh in and discuss!
The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced (1966)
I’m a devout Jimi Hendrix fan, so you can probably imagine how indecisive I was when it came to sit and think on it. Basically, Are You Experienced captures Hendrix in his prime. Hendrix spent a fair number of years on the circuit, but he only recorded three studio albums during his short time in the spotlight. There’s really no better place to start.
The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds (1966)
Believe it or not, Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys inspired the creative direction of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Brian Wilson really pushed against the grain, creatively speaking. The Beach Boys managed to set the bar by using sophisticated music production techniques, many of which were far from the norm in the mid-60s.
The Doors, The Doors (1967)
The Doors fall in line with several other psychedelic rock bands that made fantastic records. It was music that defined the sociopolitical climate and every thread connected to it. Like a few other bands on this list, The Doors broke through with a namesake album that any vinyl collector would be a fool to miss out on.
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Shocker, there’s a Beatles album on this list. I could’ve easily thrown at least two other albums from their discography. Picking just one album wasn’t an easy choice. These days, you can effortlessly find a sealed reissue at any record store…or an Urban Outfitters. Where’s the fun in that? Instead, aim for the gold! Hunt down an original copy and experience one of the hottest records from 1967,
The Who, Who’s Next (1971)
The Who is one of my favorite bands of all time, and Who’s Next belongs on this list. The record opens with the unforgettable staccato-synth lead of “Baba ‘O Riley”. What follows is a punchy collection of their best work.
Led Zeppelin (IV), 1971
Led Zeppelin is the epitome of classic rock n’ roll. Their 4th studio album is such a winner. “Going to California”, “Stairway to Heaven”, “Black Dog”, and “Rock and Roll” are a package deal on this classic LP.
The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street (1972)
You can’t collect vintage rock records without adding The Rolling Stones. Exile on Main Street and Sticky Fingers are both locked in a never-ending battle of “this album is better”. Both records are great additions to any vinyl collection.
Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
You’ve all seen it. The album cover is printed on just about every other black T-shirt. You’ve probably heard that little cryptic rumor about its strange connection with “the 2nd lion’s roar” during The Wizard of Oz. Everyone owns a copy, and yet it’s still pretty hard to find an original in-store. Dark Side of The Moon is practically a must-own symbol of the times.
Queen, A Night at the Opera (1975)
Ah, Queen. Very few bands can boast the same level of prestige. This album is pure royalty in the eyes of many purists. This is an LP I have yet to find in-store, and I long for the day I find it. It’s loaded front to back with some of Queen’s best songs. Just look at that gorgeous cover art!
Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (1977)
Last, but certainly not least, is Rumours. This multi-platinum album is Fleetwood Mac’s most celebrated and sought after record of all time. It’s beyond review and just might be the hottest album on this list.