The B List: Underrated Classic Rock Albums

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2. Rolling Stones: Some Girls

It’s hard to say that a Stones album doesn’t get enough love. But with Exile, Sticky Fingers and Let it Bleed getting most of the attention, Some Girls can get lost in the shuffle. The disco-ed out Miss You opens the album, but gives way to the rolling When the Whip Comes Down and a cover of the Temptations’ Motown hit Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me). The title track, a bouncy tribute to some of Mick Jagger’s floozies, features some wailing harmonica. Beast of Burden and the frenetic yet catchy Shattered bolster the second half of the album.

3. Bob Dylan: New Morning

Dylan has enough albums to keep you busy for months, but New Morning, an acoustic and mellow collection, deserves more attention than the other non-essential Dylan albums. Everyone has Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks, Highway 61 Revisited and Desire in their collection. But not everyone has heard New Morning beyond The Man in Me, which was featured prominently in The Big Lebowski.

If Not For You, with it’s twangy glory, opens the album and offers a hint of the mellow morning feel to come. Winterlude, New Morning and Three Angels highlight an album that features Dylan at his acoustic best.

4. The Kinks: Lola Vs. the Powerman and the Money Go-Round Pt. I

Most people, rightfully, look to the Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society for the band’s best work. But Lola vs. Powerman offers such a diverse taste of the Kinks that it has to be recognized. The Kinks take on the music business in tracks like Contenders, Get Back in Line, Top of the Pops and Moneygoround, while offering some comic relief in the form of the catchy yet political Apeman. With the powerful and emotional Strangers, which was recently covered on the newest Golden Smog album and featured in The Darjeeling Limited, the timeless Lola (that’s L-O-L-A) and the straight ahead rock chops of Powerman, this album offers much insight into the Kinks and their music.

5. Pink Floyd: Animals

I think this album has something to do with George Orwell’s Animal Farm which has something to do with animals allegorically running our country. Roger Waters has always had a political agenda to his music but on Animals, you’ll be more impressed with David Gilmour’s soaring guitar and the scorching marathons that comprise the album’s middle three tracks – Dog, Pigs and Sheep – than the lyrical barnyard. The calmness of the intro/outro Pigs on the Wing combination belies the aggressiveness in between. A great concept album from start to finish.

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18 thoughts on “The B List: Underrated Classic Rock Albums

  1. Oliver Reply

    Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs can never be rated highly enough, and is therefore underrated by definition. I would put that at #1. The definition of “classic” IMO.

    Some underrated: Dead Workingman’s Dead; Neil Young Rust Never Sleeps; Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy; Pink Floyd Meddle; Traffic, Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys

  2. Derek Reply

    Moving Pictures and Animals are both up there with Quadrophenia as my favorite classic rock albums, just amazing.

  3. neeko Reply

    im a huge zeppelin fan, and i get shit all the time for saying Presence is my favorite LZ album

  4. Russ Reply

    Nice list.

    I discovered New Morning from Lebowski, and it’s been at the top (or near the top) of my Dylan rankings ever since. What a beautiful piece of music.

    Animals definitely slips through the cracks during the DSOTM->WYWY->Animals->The Wall era of Floyd. I’m a fan of the precursor to that epicness, Meddle, but Animals is certainly every bit as great as any album Floyd put out.

    I’m gonna go listen to that Kinks album now…

  5. Lib4 Reply

    Youve got to be crazy
    Gotta have a real need
    Gotta sleep on your toes
    When your on the streets
    Got to be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed….

    Animals is hands down one of the greatest ALBUMS released …it is THE quintessential concept album….

  6. Rupert Reply

    Glad to see the Kinks on there. I think a lot of our generation actually doesn’t realize how much they like the Kinks. They have a lot of “I love this song, who sings it?” type of songs.

  7. Reply

    Interesting list, lesser loved albums from loved groups/artists.

  8. nazz nomad Reply

    fucking a!
    I agree wholeheartedly… The Kinks Lola vs Powerman is the beez freakin kneez.
    And Animals? That’s the best Floyd album.

  9. phairmount Reply

    Gots to agree on the Animals pick, one of the greatest albums from “The Floyd,” IMO…

  10. Dusty Reply

    I love the Kinks and that album is a great one. I also think The Allman’s Eat a Peach should get more credit.

  11. aoguitars Reply

    Nice list, B. Along with everyone else, Animals is the diggity. Along with Quadrophenia, I would have to throw Tommy up there with one of the best ever. Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs also can’t be talked about enough. And then Are You Experienced? Talk about a debut album. Or my favorite Jimi album, Electric Ladyland.

    I could go on for days about greatest albums (Dire Straits: Dire Straits), but I think an album that slipped through the cracks for almost 30 years and went straight to the top of my desert-island must haves…Paul Pena’s New Train. How does an album that incredible come out in ’73 and no one knows about it until ’00-’01? Not exactly classic rock, but totally underrated.

  12. Lucas Reply

    I love Lola – but how about Village Green Preservation Society?

    And what about some stuff that digs deeper into lost classics like

    NRBQ – Boppin’ the Blues
    Creedence – Cosmo’s Factory
    Small Faces – Ogden’s Nutgone
    Thirteen Floor Elevators – Easter Everywhere
    The Replacements – Let It Be
    Jeff Beck – Beck ola
    T-Rex – Electric Warrior

    – Just because you don’t necessarily hear these albums on the classic rock stations doesn’t mean they’re not classic

  13. R.e. Reply

    good stuff,but you must have some humble pie-humble pie,ry cooder-ry cooder,j.geils-alive,steve miller band-5,and how about little feat-little feat.I think if these so called “classic” rock stations would dig a little deeper people would actually tune in again.thanks

  14. Josh Reply

    One of my all-time favorite albums that’s horribly under-rated is Dire Straits’ “Love Over Gold.” Check it out!

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  16. waltz Reply

    Cool list. New Morning is easily one of Bob Dylan’s greatest albums. Highway 61 Revisited is probably his greatest, but New Morning is the Dylan album I have played the most over the years. Also Moving Pictures is (IMO) the greatest hard/progressive rock album of the 1980’s along with Nothingface by VoiVod. Both these albums blow away Appetite for Destruction!

    Here are 10 more underrated albums.

    1. Hoboken Saturday Night – The Insect Trust

    2. D.I. Go Pop – Disco Inferno

    3. Comin Right At Ya – Asleep At The Wheel

    4. Another Green World – Eno

    5. Dazzle Ships – OMD

    6. Sulk – Associates

    7. Under the Western Freeway – Grandaddy

    8. Joy of a Toy – Kevin Ayers

    9. Volume Two – Soft Machine

    10.The Colour of Spring – Talk Talk

  17. Cecily Reply

    Regarding #4: YES! YES! YES!!!

    The Kinks don’t get nearly as much credit as they deserve. Great album.

  18. Pat Madden Reply

    ok, here’s my list: some of these bands nobody may have heard of , unless theyre from northeast ohio:

    1/ michael stanley band/stagepass
    3/led zeppelin/III
    4/blue oyster cult/spectres
    5/”artful dodger”
    7 uriah heep/demons and wizards
    8 “yes album”
    9/david bowie/hunky dory
    10 “angel”

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