Wednesday Question: Greatest Concept Albums

What is the greatest concept album of all time? Place your nominations and votes here, and we'll post the results on Friday.

Ultimate Guitar

In an era of digital downloads and hit singles, the album is becoming a second-rate citizen in the world of music.

Albums are more than just a classic music format. They capture the artist at a moment in time in a way photographs never could.

Concept albums take this to the next level. They are the result of hundreds of hours of work between musicians, producers and engineers, all working towards one goal.

A great concept album becomes more powerful than the sum of its parts. To take one popular example, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" will always, always sound better as an album than as individual singles.

That's why this week's question is:

What is the greatest concept album of all time?

Don't limit yourself to just progressive rock albums (though to be fair, that genre is ripe for the picking). The album could be from any genre, as long as it's intentionally tied together with an overarching theme or story. Maybe your choice is exclusively about the woes of drug addiction, or perhaps it's one of those brilliant classical versions of a metal record. If it doesn't seem like a clear concept album, feel free to justify your choice in the comments too.

Post your nominations in the comments, and remember to upvote other nominations you agree with. As usual, we'll stack up the results for a post this weekend.

Hit 'like' and 'tweet' to push the poll to your friends on social networks too - we think this could be one of the most definitive polls yet.

643 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Pink floyd-animals but also wish you were here, the wall, and the dark side but animals in the first place
    Rush - 2112
    great album, but it's not a true concept album. the second side of the album had nothing to do with the 2112 story
    Well, I suppose that comes down to your definition of concept album. If you mean a start-to-finish storyline that does not deviate in any way for the entire album, then the vast majority of the suggestions people have offered would not qualify. Is 2112 a concept album that spans both sides of a record - nope. Is 2112 still a killer concept, linking a bunch of songs in a linear storyline - yep. Thus, I propose 2112 and let the people vote.
    fair enough. i wouldn't mind at all if that gets voted to the top ten as it is an amazing album
    I'm fairly sure I've heard the members of Rush call 2112 a concept album numerous time, so I'll upvote.
    The Who - Quadrophenia will probably always be my favourite.
    Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. 2 : Scenes from a Memory.
    YES!!! I can't believe i had to scroll so far to find this Mastodon's "Crack the Skye" was an epic album, but in my opinion comes second to Dream Theater's epic story of love, loss, and mad shredding in madness time signatures!
    Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles The Wall, Dark Side of The Moon - Pink Floyd Quadrophenia, Tommy - The Who The Suburbs - Arcade Fire
    man i ****in hated the suburbs and i honestly did try to enjoy it
    "Sgt. Pepper's..." is NOT a concept album. None of the songs even have the same central concept.
    The concept was that it wasn't supposed to be an album by "the Beatles". It was some guy named Sgt Pepper, who was backed by the LHCB.
    I think, "The Wall" by Pink Floyd will be on the 1st place - but I actually prefer "Animals".
    Another great concept (or about it) albums (in my opinion): Gojira - "From Mars To Sirius" Burzum - "Daui Baldrs" [Great concept!] Neurosis - "A Sun That Never Sets" Fantmas - "Delrium Crdia" Mastodon - "Leviathan" Tiamat - "Wildhoney" Bethlehem - "Schatten Aus Der Alexander Welt"
    De-Loused in The Comatorium - Mars Volta
    Frances the Mute is also very good. I personally prefer De-Loused as single songs and Frances as the whole album.
    Frances was a great album too. To me most, if not all, Mars Volta albums are best when you just listen to them straight thru.
    Blackwater Park - Opeth.
    Not sure if trolling... how exactly is that a concept album again? The only concept albums from Opeth were MAYH, Still Life, and Ghost Reveries (to some degree)
    Concept doesn't necessarily mean convoluted storyline. BWP has been stated by Mikael Akerfeldt that the songs are centered around one universal theme and concept, not entirely sure what it is though. It fits what UG states as being a concept album, so no bull from you.
    Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon Porcupine Tree- Fear of a Blank Planet Dream Theater - Scenes of a Memory Queensryche - Operation Mindcrime Mastodon - Crack the Skye
    Marylin Manson = Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals, and Holy Word ( Trilogy ) Rush = 2012 Iron Maiden = Powerslave Pink Floyd = The Wall or Darkside of the Moon Tool = 10,000 Days Metallica = And Justice For All Ministry= Houses of the Mole, Rio Grand Blood, & The Last Sucker ( Trilogy) The Cure = Pornography, Disintegration, Bloodflowers ( Trilogy) Danzig = Black Aria This is just a few I could come up with that stand out.
    Crack the Skye - Mastodon
    Although I love Crack the Skye, I personally think that Leviathan is a better Concept Album. I mean to honestly make a kick ass breakthrough album based on Moby Dick is amazing.
    I agree with you. Btw, anyone knows if Baroness's albums have concepts?
    aside from the colours and matching seasons leading the overall theme and feel of the albums, there is no overlying story in any of them.
    Coheed And Cambria - From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness Mastodon - Crack The Skye AND Leviathan The Who - Tommy Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. II I would say Rush 2112, but it doesn't count.
    Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. II: Scenes From a Memory Devin Townsend - Ziltoid the Omniscient Pink Floyd - The Wall/Dark Side/Wish You Were Here Protest the Hero - Kezia and although I feel the hate coming in from afar; BTBAM - Colors and The Parallax II: Future Sequence
    BTBAM's latest stuff has been weird, but not in a bad way. Colors will always be my favorite album of all time. It's just so damn good, like listening to a metal symphony.
    I don't think I'd consider Colors a concept album, especially lyrically. Every song is different lyrically
    Tool - Lateralus
    Lateralus is great but it's not a concept album.
    I'd say it was, if you believe all the fibonacci stuff about it. Particularly how the songs can be reordered.
    I understand that many people dont consider their albums to be conceptual but I really think the strong theme of alchemy and Hermetics make Lateralus stand out as such... I get that it isnt as hugely noticeable as others though and maybe fanboys like myself are just clinging to something, but its certainly more conceptual than say something Foo Fighters have done (not that that is neccesarily a good/bad thing)
    As much as I love Tool none of the four records are concept albums.
    10,000 days in unarguably a concept album. It's about his (Keenan) mom dying.
    Just because two songs (Wings and 10000 Days) relate to that doesn't mean the rest of the album does. I don't think The Pot has anything to do with his mother dying.
    Any one of Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, The Wall, The Final Cut and Animals (yes, I like Pink Floyd...) OK Computer - Radiohead Absolution - Muse In Absentia - Porcupine Tree
    some people need to learn their stuff they are voting for to be "concept" albums or not. that being said. only ones that come to mind are The Wall by Pink Floyd and Crack the Skye by Mastodon. Mastodon is great.
    Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral Dream Theater - Metropolis 2: Scenes from a Memory Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet Mastodon - Drack the Skye The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute, De-Loused in the Comatorium, and Bedlam in Goliath (I dont know if Nine Inch Nails Ghosts I-IV counts as a concept album but if it does then i would be on the top of my list)
    Pink Floyd - Animals Pink Floyd - The Wall Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon Jethro Tull - Acqualung Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells (since it's one big song!) The Who - Tommy The Who - Quadraphenia
    Aqualung is a bunch of songs... not a concept album!
    From Wikipedia... "regarded as a concept album featuring a central theme of 'the distinction between religion and God.'"
    Aqualung wasn't written as a concept album, it just came about that way. Anderson has mentioned it a number of times, and states that the reception of Aqualung drove the band to complete Thick As A Brick as a concept album.
    So? It wasn't written as such (intentionally done as such), but it turned out as such... and it is regarded as such today. THEREFORE, put your case to Wikipedia, have them change it, then I will take back my recommendation.
    It's even got a bunch of songs that have nothing to do with that earlier mentioned overall theme. Cheap Day Return, Mother Goose, Wond'ring Aloud, Up to Me...
    David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
    Pink Floyd - Animals Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes from a Memory Between the Buried and Me - Colors Mastodon - Crack the Skye Opeth - Still Life Devin Townsend - Ziltoid The Omniscient
    The Perfect Element, Remedy Lane, BE, and Scarsick - Pain of Salvation Fear of A Blank Planet - Porcupine Tree Lateralus - Tool That's all I can think of now...
    Karn Evil 9
    The Who - Quadrophenia Pink Floyd - The piper at the gates of dawn Radiohead - Kid A The Mars Volta - De-Loused in the comatorium
    I know this is UG, but I thought Radiohead was still very popular here, surprised this is their first mention, though I guess they are not the first to think of when it comes to concept albums
    Karn Evil 9
    You're right about that. I think that the only reason is that most people here listen to metal, hard rock and classic rock so they'd first think of the who, the beatles, pink floyd and so on. oh, and i forgot to mention neutral milk hotel's aeroplane, brainsalad surgery by elp, yoshimi by the flaming lips and sea change by beck.
    Pink floyd - The Wall Mars Volta - De-loused in the comatorium Dream Theater - Metropolis pt.2 Green Day - American Idiot Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet
    Dream Theater - Metropolis pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory Dream Theater - Octavarium Protest the Hero - Kezia Tool - Lateralus BTBAM - Colors (I haven't listened to Parralax 2 enough yet) ^these albums make my world go round Mastodon - Blood Mountain Devin Townsend - Deconstruction Alcest - Voyages de l'Ame Muse - The 2nd Law Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse ^i love these ones too Concept albums are my one true love, it's a shame to see how uncommon they are outside of prog. My one life goal is to make a cohesive record with a concept or story.
    Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Vol. 1 by Coheed and Cambria The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails Antichrist Superstar by Marilyn Manson Fas-Ite, Maledicti, in ignem aeternum by Deathspell Omega Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory by Dream Theater
    My Chemical Romance - Black Parade, three cheers for sweet revenge Daft Punk - Discovery Jay Z - American Gangster Pendulum - Immersion Pink Floyd - The Wall, DSOTM, WYWH Porcupine Tree - Fear of a blank planet, the incident Protest the hero - Kezia Tool - 10,000 Days Titus Andronicus - The monitor Kanye West - MBDTF
    MCR, Jay Z and Kenye West in the same post as Pink Floyd, Potcupine Tree and Tool? I'm confused...
    Bad Brain
    Green Day - American Idiot Haters coming at twelve o'clock
    Epi g-310
    I think you're absolutely right. If nothing else, it's one of the most popular concept albums of all time, and it actually wasn't half bad. I think it certainly deserves a spot in the top 10.
    Dang, I was going to post, "Nobody hit me...American Idiot."
    Bad Brain
    Haha I don't understand all the hate. I enjoy a Green Day record just as much as some Black Flag record for example. It's just fun poppy music
    American Idiot was a great concept, some people just can't get past the poppy sound.
    I think you guys mean "poopie" sound. Don't get me wrong though, I'm actually a big fan of Green Day and their poopie sound.
    I bet I can make them hate me more My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade Top that.
    this was actually a good one. Fuck all the haters here, I hate on the people who can't get past the same old few bands
    If any one knows anything about Green Day, they know this is a fantastic concept album.
    Devin Townsend - Deconstruction BTBAM - Colors BTBAM - The Great Misdirect BTBAM - The Parallax II Opeth - My Arms, Your Hearse Opeth - Still Life Porcupine tree - The Incident