2. Led Zeppelin // Led Zeppelin, 1969
There are so few bands as closely associated with rock as Led Zeppelin are, and even fewer that are as unique. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham all fortuitously came together in 1968 London, and a year later the band’s eponymous debut would be released. It peaked at ten on the Billboard charts and at six in the United Kingdom and was met with reviews that critiqued the writing abilities of the band and nominated them as a placeholder for the demised Cream.
But what puts the album second on this list is that is undeniably and unabashedly Led Zeppelin. Part of the power that Led Zeppelin hold is the artful combining of rhythmic blues, lumbering riffs and psychedelic overtures, coupled craftily with Plant’s powerful, diverse vocals and Bonham’s prowess.
Few bands elect to be this varied in style, and to do it on debut is as brave as could be – all the while maintaining the subtle elegance of British folk music. ‘Communication Breakdown’ and ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ seem so distinct, yet hold onto enough of a semblance of similarity to provide a consistent thread of thought to the album. The band would, of course, go onto become nothing short of legendary, perhaps only comparable in classic rock mythology to Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix.