My (Brad’s) Top 101 Albums of the Rock Era

IMG_1425On Facebook, Chris McGarel posted his favorite albums of all time.  It’s an excellent list.  I’d like to do the same, and I’m hoping all of the Progarchists will as well at some point.  But, I’m not quite ready to be so definitive yet.  So, instead of a “best of,” I offer a list of 101 favorites, subject to change over time. Two weeks before turning 46. . . with a bit of humility and more than a bit of awe, I offer the following 100 in (according to group name) alphabetic order.

ABC, Lexicon of Love

Advent, Cantus Firmus

Arjen A. Lucasen, Lost in the New Real

Ayreon, Human Equation

Ayreon, Timeline

Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour

Big Big Train, English Electric (vols 1 and 2)

Big Big Train, The Difference Machine

Big Big Train, Far Skies, Deep Time

Big Big Train, Underfall Yard

Big Country, Steeltown

Blancmange, Happy Families

Bryan Ferry, Boys and Girls

Catherine Wheel, Chrome

Chris Squire, Fish Out of Water

Cocteau Twins, Heaven or Las Vegas

Cosmograf, When Age Has Done Its Duty

Cosmograf, The Man Left in Space

Echo and the Bunnymen, Heaven Up Here

Echo and the Bunnymen, Porcupine

Flower Kings, Paradox Hotel

Flower Kings, Space Revolver

Gazpacho, Night

Gazpacho, Tick Tock

Genesis, A Trick of the Tail

Genesis, Seconds Out

Genesis, Selling England by the Pound

Glass Hammer, Lex Rex

Glass Hammer, Perilous

IZZ, Darkened Room

Jethro Tull, Songs from the Wood

Kate Bush, The Hounds of Love

Kevin McCormick, Squall

Kevin McCormick, With the Coming of Evening

Kingbathmat, Overcoming the Monster

Love Spit Love (self titled)

Kansas, Leftoverture

Marillion, Brave

Marillion, Marbles

Moody Blues, Days of Future Past

My Bloody Valentine, Loveless

New Order, Low Life

Nosound, Lightdark

Oceansize, Effloresce

Peter Gabriel, Security

Peter Gabriel, So

Phish, Rift

Pink Floyd, Animals

Pink Floyd, The Final Cut

Porcupine Tree, Signify

Porcupine Tree, Lightbulb Sun

Porcupine Tree, Fear of a Blank Planet

Psychedelic Furs, Talk, Talk, Talk

Pure Reason Revolution, The Dark Third

Queen, A Night at the Opera

Radiohead, Kid A

Riverside, Out of Myself

Rush 2112

Rush, A Farewell to Kings

Rush, Grace Under Pressure

Rush, Snakes and Arrows

Sarah McLachlan, Fumbling Toward Ecstacy

Simple Minds, New Gold Dream

Sixpence None the Richer (self titled)

Spock’s Beard, The Light

Spock’s Beard, Snow

Steven Wilson, Insurgentes

Talk Talk, The Colour of Spring

Talk Talk, The Spirit of Eden

Talk Talk, Laughing Stock

Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair

The Cure, Disintegration

The Cure, Pornography

The Cure, Head on the Door

The Cure, Bloodflowers

The Doors (self titled)

The Fierce and the Dead, Part I

The Reasoning, Dark Angel

The Reasoning, Adventures in Neverland

The Smiths, Queen is Dead

The Stone Roses (self titled)

3RDegree, The Long Division

The Tangent, Le Sacre Du Travail

The Tangent, Not as Good as the Book

The Tangent, The Music That Died Alone

The The, Dusk

Thomas Dolby, Golden Age of Wireless

Thomas Dolby, The Flat Earth

Tin Spirits, Wired to the Earth

Tori Amos, Under the Pink

Traffic, John Barleycorn Must Die

Traffic, Mr. Fantasy

Transatlantic, SMPT: e

U2, The Joshua Tree

Ultravox, Lament

World Party, Goodbye Jumbo

XTC, Skylarking

XTC, Nonesuch

Yes, Close to the Edge

Yes, Drama

Yes, Fragile

14 thoughts on “My (Brad’s) Top 101 Albums of the Rock Era

    1. Ha. We love you guys, Robert. And, I’m not surprised at all that we have the same tastes. I know I’m a bit older than you, but I’m sure being of roughly the same generation and Americans–we probably a very similar background. For me, though, growing up in Kansas, prog was the accepted form of rock in the 1970s and first half of the 1980s. I don’t think I realized how unusual this was at the time.


  1. Pingback: Yet Another Top Albums List | Progarchy: Pointing toward Proghalla

  2. How can you not mention King Crimson, considered by many as the greatest prog rock group of all time and particularly “In the Court of the Crimson King”? Also, there is no mention of ELP or “666” by Aphrodites Child. Plus, many of the groups listed here aren’t even prog rock.


    1. James, thanks much for the comment. Please know–this was a subject list. If I had to write a history of prog (which, I’d love to do), my choices would be quite different. KC just never grabbed me, though I appreciate them immensely. Again, thanks!


    1. Eric, yes, I’m not a huge KC fan, though I definitely appreciate what they’ve done. If you forced me to pick one, I’d pick “Discipline” “Beat” or “Thrak” as my favorites.


      1. Eric

        Disciplinen’ll do fine. Although many would argue that Larks’ Tongues In Aspic is the greatest rock album of all time…so far.

        And while these things can go on forever, you also exclude Zappa. Which is a bit odd as well.


  3. carleolson

    Wow, a Tori Amos sighting! That was a great album; she’s has some moments since, but what a weird career. Of course, she specialized in weird. No Soundgarden? Hmmm. 😉 Great list!


  4. Magical Mystery Tour over Revolver? Chrome over Adam and Eve? Other than that, I think you’ve put together a nice list. It’s interesting how much one’s listening habits can reveal about oneself…


    1. Tad, I did agonize a bit over MMT or Revolver, and Revolver made the initial list. In the end, though, I realized if I pick up a Beatles album casually, I pick up MMT. Still, “Tomorrow Never Knows” is one of my favorite Beatles songs. But, every single song on MMT means something to me. Chrome over Adam and Eve–ONLY because of the lyrics. Musically, A&E is probably the better choice.


  5. It seems to me that if you like early Yes that you would like early King Crimson. You don’t care for “In the Court of the Crimson King” (a truly iconic album), “In the Wake of Poseidon” or “Islands”?


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