Top 10 Debut Rock Albums

What are the best debut albums of all time? Find out the results of this weeks poll here, and let us know what you think of the results.

Ultimate Guitar

What are the best debut rock albums of all time?

That's what we asked Ultimate Guitar readers this week, and it proved to be one of our most popular polls all year.

While many bands take two or three albums to really hit their stride, some of these artists managed to make a mark on both history and the wider music culture with these stunning debut records. Whether you like the band or not, it's hard to deny that every entry in this list has had a huge impact on popular culture - and many of them still sound brand new.

Let's dive into this week's playlist, and let us know what you think of the results in the comments. Enjoy!

10. System of a Down "System of a Down"

Before 1998, the nu-metal sound was all about Ross Robinson and his work with the likes of Korn. But amid any previous genre-defining work, System of a Down dived in and smashed apart any pre-conceptions about the new genre with a refreshingly barmy take on what metal could be.

9. The Beatles "Please Please Me"

It's fruitless to describe the legacy that the Beatles went on to leave in popular music and beyond, but it's fair to say that their debut shook the foundations of pop music and what it meant to be a rock band. Before this album, performers and songwriters were two very different things - the Beatles were among the first to make the world see them as one and the same.

8. Jimi Hendrix Experience "Are You Experienced?"

Jimi Hendrix was making all kinds of waves in the London underground before recording this debut album, but it took a collaboration with producer Chas Chandler to take his immense new rock ideas to tape. Along with his fellows in the experience - drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding - Hendrix invented the sleaziest rock sound to date.

7. The Doors "The Doors"

The Doors were originally signed to Columbia to record this debut, but found it difficult to secure a producer and moved on to Elektra where they finally found producer Paul Rothchild and engineer Bruce Botnick who helped shape their timeless recordings. They found room to innovate too; the album was released in both stereo and mono mixes at its launch.

6. Alice in Chains "Facelift"

The first grunge album to be certified platinum. Alice in Chains were perfectly primed to ride the '90s grunge wave - in fact, they pretty much co-invented it. What's more amazing is that drummer Sean Kinney reportedly recorded all his parts with a broken hand.

5. Metallica "Kill 'Em All"

Metallica remain one of the most authentically metal bands in existence, but this album almost wasn't to be. Tensions in the band could have forced the band apart, with guitarist Dave Mustaine reportedly at the center of many disputes - but he was replaced with Kirk Hammet, and they went on to write a definitive thrash metal record. Mustaine's contribution to their early songs was still credited, and he went on to form the equally-influential Megadeth.

4. Guns N' Roses "Appetite for Destruction"

In a world where glam rock and hair metal was becoming an unsightly parody of itself, Guns N' Roses were a welcome addition to the canon of musician stereotypes. They were young, brash, wore torn jeans and best of all played great rock music that had never been heard before. It was a collaboration of great minds, and to this day reminds of us what a great lineup the early Gn'R could be.

3. Pearl Jam "Ten"

Pearl Jam's debut album was a slow burner - it didn't take off in the same way that their grunge counterparts did. But by 1992, word of mouth and college radio helped propel it to number 2 on the Billboard charts, and went on to sell a stunning 10 million albums world wide, putting its members like Stone Gossard and Eddie Vedder among the most respected musicians in modern rock.

2. Led Zeppelin "Led Zeppelin"

Say what you like about the rampant theft of black blues musicians on this record - the end result is a triumph. Whether it's John Bonham's stampede of drums, Robert Plant's soaring vocals or Jimmy Page's timeless guitar licks, there's something for everyone on this album - and if you'd rather listen to a grainy old recording which Page reportedly stole riffs from, then go ahead. We'll be turing the volume to 11 with this incredible rock debut.

1. Rage Against the Machine "Rage Against the Machine"

Rap and metal can go awfully wrong, and there's plenty of examples in music history where that's been the case. But one band, more than any other, showed how it could be marries into not only an original style of rock but an explosive and politically charged force that would echo for decades. It's a remarkable 20 years since this album was released, and yet it sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday - maybe that's why it still manages to resonate with today's angst-charged youth as much as it used to.

That's the end of our top 10 debut albums list. Do you agree with the results? How would you tweak them, and what is your personal favorite of all time? Let us know in the comments, and hit 'like' to share this awesome playlist to your friends.

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    Surprised that Black Sabbath wasn't on this list.
    I think the Sabbath obmit was a total brain cramp on their part. It was the first album of it's kind and now look what it helped create. It should be top 3.
    Personally, I'd like to see Boston's debut listed. :/ superb album!
    if i remember right at the time it broke the record for how well a debut record sold; when it was released it was the best-selling debut of all time i could be wrong of course but if i'm right it really does deserve a spot on this list
    you're right. it then lost that medal to guns n roses years later
    I thought Van Halen would be on here. I feel old all of a sudden. There is no Sabbath, VH's debut or Blizzard of Oz which introduced us to Randy Rhodes, but at least Appetite for Destruction made it here
    IMO Led Zeppelin 1, AFD, Kill 'Em All, Are You Experienced, The Doors and RATM are the best albums from those bands. IMO Black Sabbath isn't the best Sabbath album (I prefer Paranoid) and Van Halen 1 isn't the best Van Halen album (I prefer their second album and 1984 to it). Just my opinion. Though Blizzard is the best Ozzy album IMO, though I don't know if it deserves to be on the list. Again, just my opinion.
    Your opinions are definitely valid, great choices. I just want to add that VH's debut--though arguably not their best--was likely their most important album, probably the most important album for that year (1978, I believe?). It was important because they made heavy music radio friendly with that album. I remember all top 40 (which was disco) at that time was on AM, and FM radio was stadium rock--and long songs were typical. Not only was Van Halen's debut radio friendly, Edward started the guitar hero era and I don't mean a video game heh heh
    Predictable, dull, list. I really wish there was a different format for the top 10s because it seems every list consists of the same few bands.
    I rustled jimmies by pointing this out on the voting thread. The only bands from the 90s onwards that ever have a look in are grunge like Alice in Chains/Nirvana or System of a Down. It's the same shit in every poll because the people who want all the old albums to win go through and downvote everything that isn't "old" or what I listed above. Thus, every poll is representing about 20% of the people that actually contribute.
    The old albums are considered "classic" for a reason, though. You can't argue with something that's withstood the test of time as long as it has.
    I do like most of those albums, but I agree it would be nice to have a mixup. Even in the guitar world there's a lot more out there.
    No Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Beastie Boys? Kinda bummed out by half the list.
    License to Ill just won on Rolling Stone's similar poll. No one here really voted for it though.
    Sadly it's probably because it's hip hop, even though most songs on it are either punk or rock. Rappers don't get much love on UG sadly, no matter the quality of their music or the skill of their musicians (especially Public Enemy).
    Very much agree, from 10-6 the list was looking decent but the rest was predictable and boring. Not to say it surprised me though having seem 9/10 lists on here being the exact same thing... Still would be nice to see some different bands sharing the linelight though.
    Didn't vote for any, like 'em almost all. Solid list.
    I agree. Didn't vote but seems pretty solid. I see several 90's bands on here and wouldn't have minded seeing Primus' Frizzle Fry on here. But it would be hard to replace any of these.
    Guns N' Chains
    While I don't think Rage should be number 1, I am more surprised to see Zeppelin at number 2 and not at number 1. Personally, I feel 'Appetite' should be first.
    You forgot to mention that John Paul Jones and his amazing bass work, cause that is also something.
    glad to see system of a down on here!
    UG def giving SOAD some "Sugar"
    My favorite SOAD song. By far. This is definitely their best album, really happy to see it get some recognition. I don't hate Toxicity, but man is it overplayed...
    Hell yeah! Every time i put "Know" on i sing along with "TOUCH MY BUUUUUTT!!!!! Touch my butt! TOUCH MY BUUUTTTT!!!! WOOOOORGHGH" my favorite misinterpretation of all time
    The first thing I thought of when I first listened to "War?" was "WE WILL SIGN YOUR PIZZA! WE WILL SIGN YOUR PIZZA!" God knows why...
    Until i read the lyrics of "Know" it sounds like "Gott Sei Dank" to me.It`s german and means "thank god".And i still can hear it....
    I'm really happy they included it. System's first album will always be my favorite of theirs.
    I love RATM but placing its debut album above Zeppelin 1, Black Sabbath and Are you Experienced is complete INSANITY!!!
    Van Halen... Sabbath... System of a Down? Really? They altered any entire generation and approach for music and playing the guitar? Again, Van Halen, Black Sabbath. Two ridiculous omissions.
    I think Fugazi's first record deserves some consideration. Also Sunny Day Real Estate's first album could be up there.
    Repeater is my all time favourite album. Also I would like to have seen The Blue album, Antidotes by Foals and Unknown Pleasures.