The last couple of years has seen an explosive re-emergence of vinyl, and rightly so. There is something so aesthetically pleasing about vinyl records, and they easily lift the listening experience of albums due to their superior audio quality. A large collection of vinyl is one of the best investments one can make, both from a musical perspective and also the artistic standpoint. However, what makes a good vinyl collection? Of course, this is a very subjective topic, as everyone’s taste is different, but make no mistake every collection of vinyl has to have a few classics. As such we have rounded up the best classic albums to get your vinyl compendium up and running.
Let It Bleed-The Rolling Stones
Brought out in 1969, this is one of the Stones’ finest albums. Synonymous with ‘Gimme Shelter’, Let It Bleed was a reflection of the crumbling societal trends that had persisted throughout the 1960s and offered up some of The Rolling Stone’s most famous songs. The blues infused rock that The Rolling Stones have always pursued is very evident throughout Let It Bleed, especially in 'Midnight Rambler' and 'Country Honk'. And do we even need to mention the brilliant vinyl artwork? That’s reason enough to buy this brilliant album!
Kind of Blue-Miles Davis
Possibly one of the greatest jazz albums ever produced, Davis was able to put together a stellar line up in producing the album, with John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley, Jimmy Cobb and Paul Chambers all contributing to the best-selling jazz album of all time. The musicianship on this album is fantastic and made all the more brilliant by the pure spontaneity of it, as Davis just laid down the basic outlines of each track and let the musicians improvise. Thus, allowing the true heart of jazz to be present in each track. Not only that, but it is a commonly known fact that jazz sounds absolutely phenomenal on vinyl.
The debut album from New York rapper Nas is an essential and was one of the crucial works in developing the rap scene for years to come. A story telling masterpiece, with the majority of the beats being an infusion of soul jazz samples, over hard-hitting boom bap beats. The jazz-rap fusion on Illmatic is so subtle, and this is another facet to the album that makes it so pivotal in the development of the rap genre. The lyricism from Nas on Illmatic is second to none, and brilliantly expressive. A pioneering work, that deserves a spot in any vinyl collection.
Electric Ladyland-The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Jimi Hendrix needs little introduction. Without doubt the greatest, most pioneering and versatile guitarist to have lived, his four years in super-stardom before his untimely death transformed guitar playing forever. Electric Ladyland is perhaps his most experimental work, and one of the most important in his discography. The use of pedals was widespread across the album, with Wah-Wah and Flanger being used time and again to produce an incredibly unique sound that is almost unrepeatable. This was best demonstrated on the hard rock driven ‘Voodoo Child (Slight Return)’ and the psychedelic, dreamy ‘1983…(A Merman I Should Turn to Be)’. This has to be one of the most important albums in music, both in terms of driving forward the genre of Rock and Roll but also the development of alternative guitar playing techniques.
Many would say that Revolver is the best Beatles album ever produced. With both artistic and technical innovation that was unmatched by any other group or musician at the time, Revolver was The Beatles at their absolute prime. The album took a staggering 300 hours studio time and the result is unmatched. The album was developed at their own pace, due to producer George Martin starting his own label, thus allowing the group to have autonomy over their production time and Revolver demonstrates the outcome of this decision. ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ is the final piece on the project and is an ode to the psychedelic rock drive of the time and illustrates how The Beatles were at the forefront of shaping the musical landscape.
A Love Supreme-John Coltrane
A Love Supreme is Coltrane’s best work and represent the sound he was trying to create across his career. The album was recorded in one single session and is widely regarded as one of the best jazz sessions to have been recorded. A mixture of hard bop and free jazz, the album is a perfect representation of the way Coltrane was able to mix various facets of jazz to create a completely individual and unique sound. The properties that are evident in the album all combine to make this a perfect record for vinyl, it certainly will not leave your disappointed.
This is one of hip hop’s most important albums to date, and at the time was the most highly anticipated project in rap. The combination of Madlib and the recently passed MF DOOM was a powerhouse in hip hop. A once in a lifetime collaboration between two of the greatest artists in hip hop/rap proved to be an overwhelming success. With the consistent influence of jazz orientated beats, coupled with the brilliant lyrics and flow from DOOM, Madvilliany was instantly a classic. Couple this with the iconic album cover, and it is an irresistible buy for any vinyl lover.
Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)-Wu-Tang Clan
This is one of the most important works that reaffirmed the East Coast rap scene’s importance in music. A rough and ready approach to rap, the lo-fi, lyrical work of art from the Wu-Tang Clan, Enter The Wu-Tang was created before the fame and the widespread reverence of rap as a genre. This album is an essential for any lover of rap, and it certainly demonstrates that you know your history about rap music and its roots.