What are the best rock records of the 1960s?
That's was we asked UG readers on Wednesday. It's a tough question - some of the most influential artists of all time emerged in this decade among a cultural explosion of drugs and political awareness, and it's hard to rank their awesome releases against each other.
But your votes rolled in, and we've got the results right here. There were a lot of great nominations that didn't quite make it to the final top 10, but still deserve a nod for being so influential. The Rolling Stones' "Let it Bleed" missed out on the top 10 by only a handful of votes; the Velvet Underground and the Who could easily have had more luck on another day and made the chart, and jazz hero John Coltrane did remarkably well for a non-rock musician by reaching no. 15 with his masterpiece "A Love Supreme."
So which albums stood the test of time, and more importantly, earned your votes this week? Read on and hit play to enjoy our run down of the top 10 albums of the 1960s.
10. Jefferson Airplane "Surrealistic Pillow" (1967)
Jefferson Airplane were the first band from San Fransisco to break out and make a name for the city's bohemian musical landscape. Their fusion of folk and psychedelic rock put them in line with the likes of Bob Dylan and the Beatles.
09. Bob Dylan "Highway 61 Revisited" (1965)
Dylan's sixth studio album was his debut with a rock backing band, to the distain of his old folk following. It didn't matter; a new hoard of fans loved his new direction, which layered his rocking new sounds with the same genius poetry that marked him out as a prodigy in his previous acoustic years.
We're sorry to say that the full album isn't available online that we can see, but you can get a taster of it right here:
08. Pink Floyd "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" (1967)
The first single from this psychedelic experiment was rejected by London radio stations who refused to air a song about kleptomaniac transvestites. Who would have guessed? Singer Syd Barrett led the direction of this album, presumably influenced by his experiments with LSD.
07. Johnny Cash "At Folsom Prison" (1968)
Cash always wanted to record a live show in a prison, and a new boss at Columbia Records granted his wish in 1968. Several prior years of drug abuse had almost stalled his career, but this live record put him back at the top of the US charts and kickstarted the next phase of his remarkable life.
06. Cream "Disraeli Gears" (1967)
"Disraeli Gears" was the record that helped Cream break into the US conscience. Apparantly the name came from a friend who wrongly pronounced "derailleur gears" from a racing motorbike, which the band found hilarious.
05. King Crimson "In The Court Of The Crimson King" (1969)
One of the defining progressive rock albums of any decade, and perhaps the most influential. It's been remastered more times than might be dignified, and often from tapes which were several generations removed from the original recordings, but in 2003 the original tapes were found for a much improved version in time for its 40th anniversary. Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson also had a go at a remaster in 2010.
04. The Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1967)
You might be surprised not to see this rocking the top spot in this week's chart. But that's not to say the Beatles aren't among the most important acts of the 1960s, let alone the entire 20th century. In fact, if we had room to post more than one album per artist in the top 10, they'd appear four times with "Abbey Road," "Revolver" and "The White Album." UG readers have voted "Sgt. Pepper's..." their favorite Beatles album from the '60s this time.
03. The Doors "The Doors" (1967)
This stunning debut sounded like nothing before it, but has been emulated by wannabes a million times since. It was recorded at the legendary Sunset Studios by producer Paul Rothchild and engineer Bruce Botnick, who layered their music to a straightforward four-track recorder. Or rather, three-tracks, because the forth was saved for occasional overdubs. Then again, most albums on this list were recorded on relatively simple rigs - which puts our modern digital systems to shame, eh?
02. The Jimi Hendrix Experience "Are You Experienced" (1967)
Jimi Hendrix didn't invent rock music, but he certainly showed the world how a real rockstar should play the guitar. As his debut, Hendrix was still a newcomer to the studio and spent relatively little time experimenting on this record compared to later years when he saw studios and their equipment as yet another instrument in his arsenal. In this case, the results were straight-up rock 'n' roll from a stunning lineup of musicians - and it became a classic.
The only YouTube copy of the album comes in two parts, played back from a vinyl copy of the album:
01. Led Zeppelin "Led Zeppelin" (1969)
When Zeppelin fans look back at their entire discography, it's their forth album that earns most attention. But when you zoom in on their 60s repertoire, their debut record stands out as an earth-shattering moment in music history - and not just because of John prove themselves to be a force of nature which modern bands could never rival.
"Led Zeppelin II" would also have charted in the top 10 today, according to UG voters, but today it's their debut that wins as your favorite album of the 1960s. Great choice!
That's the end of our roundup of top 10 rock records from the 1960s. What are your personal favorites, and how would you tweak the final results? Let us know in the comments.