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

    Eclectic Lizard
    Queensryche-Operation Mindcrime Mastodon-Leviathan Bruce Springsteen-Born To Run Iron Maiden-Seventh Son of a Seventh Son Not sure if this counts but Master of Puppets has a recurring concept of control
    Dream Theater-Metropolis Pt 2: SFAM Iron Maiden-Seventh Son of a Seventh Son Karnivool-Sound Awake Queensryche-Operation Mindcrime
    Pink Floyd- The Wall The Who- Tommy The Beatles- Sgt Pepper Green Day- American Idiot Rush- 2112
    Coheed and Cambria - Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV part I: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. Or Second Stage Turbine Blade. Such an interesting conceptual story told over all their albums
    You UG people just keep coming back to the same old bands. Think outside the box! IMO, the best concept album ever made was Emerald Forest and the Blackbird by Swallow the Sun. Finnish doom metal at its best, the entire album is about the range of pain and sadness following of the death of a child. It is all about cruelty and torment, worked in to one of the best metal productions I have ever heard.
    My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing The Dear Hunter - Act I, II, III, IV, V, VI and if Blink 182's album Neighborhoods is a concept album, then that too.
    1. Pink Floyd's The Wall 2. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon 3. The Beatles - Sgt Pepper 4. David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust 5. The Mars Volta - Deloused in the Comatorium 6. My Chemical romance - The Black Parade (Their only good record)
    I'm kinda surprised by a lot of the backlash against NIN on this one. Seen very few Year Zero posts, which would be my vote, but many more saying the Downward Spiral isn't a concept album. I'm fairly certain it is and was conceived as a concept album. I would argue that just because it wasn't spoonfed doesn't invalidate it, same story with Sgt. Pepper, which got a bit of flak as well. Also have been fairly impressed with Stone Sour's new concept album.
    The Wall - Pink Floyd Dark side of the moon - Pink floyd. Animals - Pink Floyd Crack the skye - Mastodon Leviatn - Mastodon 10000 days - Tool Quadrophenia . The Who
    The Wall Pink Floyd Lateralus Tool Cereal Killer Green Jelly Dark side of the Moon Pink Floyd Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band The Beatles Downward Spiral Nine inch Nails
    Between the Buried and Me: Colors: Some might dispute it's not a concept album. Parallax 2, Future Sequence. Pink Floyd: Animals and The Wall. Radiohead: Kid A. The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's
    Dream Theater: Metropolis Pt. 2- Scenes from a Memory Dream Theater: Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence Tool: 10,000 Days Green Day: American Idiot Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon
    The thing is... it's accepted as such today in certain respects (and we're asking opinion of what WE think). Wiki: In fact, as pointed out by many critics since its original reception, Sgt. Pepper is a concept album only by some definitions of the term. There was, at some stage during the making of the album an attempt to relate the material to firstly the idea of aging, then as an obscure radio play about the life of an ex-army bandsman and his shortcomings. These concepts were lost in the final production. While debate exists over the extent to which Sgt. Pepper qualifies as a true concept album, there is no doubt that its reputation as such helped inspire other artists to produce concept albums of their own, and inspired the public to anticipate them. Lennon and McCartney distanced themselves from the "concept album" tag as applied to that album. Based on the above, and it's influence on future concept albums, it deserves some recognition as a concept album, even if classified in a limited respect.
    Referring to Sgt. Peppers by the Beatles and someone suggesting that it is not a concept album.
    Queensryche- Operation: Mindcrime. If that doesn't make the list, then the list has no credibility.
    Parkway Drive: Deep Blue and Atlas Pink Floyd: The Wall Rush: 2112 Iced Earth: Dark Saga In Flames: Whoracle
    Rush: 2112- I don't care what you say, half the album is the greatest concept ever recorded. Pink Floyd: The Wall Metallica: Ride The Lightning...every song has to do with death, in one form or another.
    Not sure if they could be considered among the greatest of all time, but I absolutely loved: Epica and The Black Halo from Kamelot (the Faust inspired story) and The Human Equation from Ayreon
    Explosions in the Sky - Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever
    Dream Theater. What about the greatest band ever Queen? Many of their albums are concept album? David Bowie had a few but Dark Side of the Moon is one of the best concept albums ever. Joe Satch had a really good one that I forgot the name to...
    Alice in Chains - Dirt Probably one of the best. Dont know how nobody said it yet.
    The Sword - Warp Riders Iron Maiden - Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son Mastodon - Crack The Skye Ogre - Plague Of The Planet (link below)
    The Kinks - Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire) The Moody Blues - Days Of Future Past Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans Dream Theater - Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory
    Mastodon - Crack The Skye Weezer - Pinkerton John Frusciante - The Empyrean Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea Hope one of them gets on the list this time
    You copied that from wikipedia right? I read that as well, yet I have my doubts... I guess it's not the death of anybody if one considers it a concept album, but I think it's a very "forced" and loose concept compared to other albums which you can instantly recognize as conceptual. Supposedly, in Metallica's "Ride The Lightning" all songs are different ways of death, yet I wouldn't consider it a concept album for example.
    In no particular order: Devin Townsend - Ziltoid the Omniscient A Perfect Circle - Thirteenth Step Pink Floyd - The Wall Kaizers Orchestra - Ompa Til Du Dr
    In after classic rock. Coheed and Cambria - From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness (Not my favorite Coheed album, but it shows off all aspects of the band effortlessly) Protest the Hero - Kezia In Flames - Whoracle The Fall of Troy - Phantom on the Horizon Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness Bumblefoot - Normal