5 Albums That Unexpectedly Changed Rock History

Which album changed your perspective of rock and metal?

Ultimate Guitar

One of the most appealing charms of the rock and metal domain is definitely the element of surprise.

Over the past six decades, fresh rock acts kept changing the genre's face, unexpectedly revolutionizing the same pattern with new layers of emotions, sounds and overall vibe. So join us as we scratch the surface of some of ultimate rock game changers below.

King Crimson - "In the Court of the Crimson King"

Back in the mid to late '60s, there was no such thing as progressive rock. The style's nuances could've been felt in different genre's, but it wasn't until Robert Fripp and co. dropped a bomb called "In the Court of the Crimson King" that the idea was truly defined.

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "Are You Experienced"

Guitar's always been a prominent rock instrument, but it wasn't until Jimi Hendrix arrived on the scene that a term "Guitar God" was actually coined. During his brief musical journey, the late guitar hero defined what we today consider as a rockstar axeman. And that journey began with 1967's "Are You Experienced."

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Black Sabbath - "Black Sabbath"

We're now reaching the birth of metal. Once again, a group of passionate young guys, this time around from the city of Birmingham, got together and did their thing. And that thing is now one of the world's most popular music styles listened to by millions of devoted fans from around the globe. And to think that it all began with that gloomy three-note riff off 1970's "Black Sabbath."

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Metallica - "Kill 'Em All"

Black Sabbath gave birth to metal, but it's Metallica who perfected it. The band's 1983 effort "Kill 'Em All" stands out as possibly the very first notable thrash metal effort. Four stubborn teenagers taking shots against all adds and surprisingly enough - making it to unprecedented heights.

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Nirvana - "Nevermind"

Arguably the last album that made a truly massive global impact, Nirvana's "Nevermind" returned rock to where it's supposed to be - raw, gritty, unpredictable surrounding.

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As said, this is just a surface-scratcher. Can you think of any other notable game changers? And what are some of the records that changed your perspective of the guitar-driven sound?

95 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is a good list, but...it's too short. 5 albums? I'd go with 10. Others have already listed some excellent choices. Side note: I definitely agree with haifisch234's picks.
    Led Z - Physical Graffiti Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation Pink Floyd - Dark Side… Clash - London Calling Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers Van Halen - Van Halen I Black Sab - Paranoid
    I'd say Master of Reality for Sabbath since it basically invented Doom Metal and it's derivatives, since it was the first album where Sabbath tuned down to C# standard.
    Velvet Underground and Nico, too. One of the most influential albums of all time.
    It only sold 30,000 copies during its first five years but that “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.”
    Damn right. What the **** is wrong with whoever made this list? I mean, seriously Jimi Hendrix? Five albums in no particular order: *The Velvet Underground and Nico - The Velvet Underground and Nico *Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation *Pixies - Surfer Rosa *The Stooges - Fun House *... Yeah, I guess you can keep In the Court of the Crimson King.
    To name a few: Deep Purple - In Rock Pink Floyd - Meddle Motörhead - Overkill Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power
    Nevermind The Bollocks? Anyone??
    I love the sex pistols a lot, but musically they didn't do anything new that the stooges or the Ramones hadn't done already. Stylistically they made a huge impact but as far as sound, I wouldn't say they did much.
    I would say the ramones' self titled album if we're talking about punk rock
    I agree, the Ramones we're very influential. One of my favorite punk rock albums of all time is For the Punx by the Casualties. It was very influential to my friends in High School lol
    daydream nation by sonic youth
    Sonic youth for sure, although I can think of loads of other indie/punk records that could go on this list. 'Repeater' - Fugazi, 'Entertainment' - Gang of Four and 'The shape of punk to come' by Refused. Still only scratching the surface though.
    Apple - Mother Love Bone - there would be no Soundgarden Pearl Jam, etc. with out these guys
    Bob Dylan -- Bringing It All Back Home The Clash -- The Clash The Clash -- London Calling Jimi Hendrix -- Are You Experienced The Modern Lovers -- The Modern Lovers Joy Division -- Unknown Pleasures Led Zeppelin I Led Zeppelin IV Nirvana - Nevermind Nirvana -- In Utero Pixies -- Surfer Rosa Rage Against the Machine -- Rage Against the Machine The Ramones -- The Ramones The Rolling Stones -- Exile On Main St. (If not most of their albums before.) The Smiths -- Hatful of Hollow The Smiths -- The Queen is Dead The Stooges -- Raw Power Vampire Weekend -- Vampire Weekend Van Halen -- Van Halen The Velvet Underground -- The Velvet Underground & Nico The Velvet Underground -- White Light/White Heat Van Morrison -- Astral Weeks Weezer -- Pinkerton The Who -- Tommy The Who -- Live in Leeds
    Great albums most of it. But Vampire Weekend? I don't think so - Arctic Monkeys are IMHO not only better songwriters and performers, but also their debut album really started the invasion of young indie rock bands.
    Dookie and Enema of the State helped shape what 90% of the kids from my area listen to these days, Enema probably more, whether you like it or not.
    Van Halen's debut changed the way the guitar was played and introduced most of the world to new styles of playing. Anyone over 40 who doesn't have Eddie as an influence is only kidding themselves.
    For various reasons these were also highly influential in some way... Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon Alice in Chains - Facelift Radiohead - The Bends Slipknot - Slipknot Stone Roses - Stone Roses Def Leppard - Hysteria Carcass - Heartwork Faith No More - The Real Thing Beastie Boys - Check Your Head Prodigy - Fat of the Land Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine Metallica - Ride the Lightning & Black Album Slayer - Reign in Blood Pantera - A Vulgar Display of Power Rage Against the Machine GnR - Appetite for Destruction Death - Scream Bloody Gore
    sgt pepper by the beatles!! it completely changed how rock music was recorded and was a revolution ahead of its time!
    Television - Marquee Moon How the hell has this not been posted yet
    Meat Puppets - II Pixies - Doolittle Iron Maiden - Killers/Number of the Beast Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted Alice in Chains - Facelift Not that these are my definitive 5... but a few from the top of my head. It's a fun topic.
    I'd say that Surfer Rosa was a little more influential than Doolittle. That album was an influence to pretty much everyone in the alternative scene of the 90s. +1'd you anyways, great choices.
    I agree with you but I prefer Doolittle.
    Yeah, I prefer Doolittle too. They're both 5 star albums for me, but I think Doolittle is more consistent. Surfer Rosa, however, is deffinetely more influential.
    I believe 'Facelift' is a masterpiece album. Someone should think about weaving this outstanding piece of work into a 'Rock Opera'! The song are almost perfectly arranged. All it needs is a cohesive story. Just my take on this amazing album.
    Boston - Boston Van Halen 1 - Van Halen Reign in Blood - Slayer (Most of) Ride The Lightning - Metallica Rust in Peace - Megadeath New American Gospel - Lamb of God (Sorta listed in order from past to present. I could list 200 more, but you get the idea)
    Say what you want, but Korn's self titled should be up there, it changed everything.
    True. That album had as big an impact as any really. Rock radio completely shifted after that.
    Epi g-310
    American Idiot, now come tell me I'm wrong so I can destroy you.
    you're not wrong, American Idiot was a pretty big album.
    But did it really change music anywhere close to as much as the five mentioned? Don't get me wrong, It's an amazing album and the first album I ever played guitar with the whole way, but it didn't change the world like Nevermind or Kill 'Em All did.
    If we're talking Green Day, Dookie was a bigger deal. Yes, American idiot is a great album, and it did have a big impact, but Dookie should have been on this list!
    Well it means more to me than Nevermind or Kill 'Em All ever will. It and Appetite for Destruction were the two big albums that got me interested in playing guitar. So it might seem more personally important to many people, but I guess Metallica and Nirvana's efforts were more culturally significant. It's easy for feelings to cloud your judgement.
    there's no denying it was brilliant but i don't know if it really changed rock history
    there's no denying it was brilliant but i don't know if it really changed rock history
    Would have liked to see something from the beatles on the list. Nevertheless, pretty sweet list. It's hard to pick just five.
    Slanted and Enchanted by Pavement. Pretty much single handily invented Indie Rock and Lo-fi
    I have to say that bands like Velvet underground, Sex P's etc although weren't publicly huge, made a massive impact on people writing music.
    All Nevermind (and Nirvana overall) did was make it cool to suck at guitar. I think that was a sufficient enough change to music history to warrant being on the list.
    Guys, guys. You're being pretty stupid. This list is of albums that directly changed music history. All these bands like the the clash and pixies and such influenced nirvana, but that wasn't the giant impact that changed music. Nevermind was the first game changing alt rock album. Also, a lot of you are naming albums that you say, "was so much better than (inset listed album here)". That's not what the list is about.
    The Who's Tommy and My Generation. I can't get over how there is Nirvana but not The Who.
    The Who's Tommy and My Generation. I can't get over how there is Nirvana but not The Who.
    I'm sorry, but Cowboys from hell was way more influential than Kill em' all. If you're going to put a metal album in there, do it right.
    Jeff Beck - Truth Beatles - Sgt Pepper Hendrix - Are You Experienced Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon Guns N Roses - Appetite for Destruction Influenced me anyhow
    I'd add atleast add a Beatles album and Green Day's Dookie. Maybe even Sublime's 40oz to Freedom, but that's just me. Oh, Tommy by The Who, as well.