5. Rush – Moving Pictures (Mercury Records, 1981)
Released in February 1981, Moving Pictures is the eighth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush. The album became the band’s highest-selling record in the US, reaching No. 3 in the Billboard 200, and eventually went quadruple platinum. Moving Pictures follows a more radio-friendly format and includes several of the bands best-known songs, ”Tom Sawyer”, ”Limelight”, ”Red Barchetta” and the instrumental ”YYZ”. Allmusic called Moving Pictures Rush’s ”most enduring and popular albums, and undeniably one of the greatest rock albums of all time”.
4. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (Columbia Records, 1975)
Released in September 1975, Wish You Were Here is the ninth studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd, and it was an instant commercial success, widely regarded as the group’s magnum opus. Recorded between January – July 1975 at London’s Abbey Road Studios, Wish You Were Here was the second Pink Floyd album to use a conceptual theme written entirely by Roger Waters. It reflects his feeling that the camaraderie that had served the band previously was, by then, largely absent. Some of the songs critique the music business, others express alienation, and ”Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a tribute to Syd Barrett, whose mental breakdown forced him to leave the group seven years earlier. Writing in The Village Voice, Robert Christgau said ”My favourite Pink Floyd album is Wish You Were Here, and you know why? It has soul, that’s why – it’s Roger Waters’s lament for Syd, not my idea of a tragic hero but as long as he’s Roger’s that doesn’t matter”. Band members Richard Wright and David Gilmour have each cited Wish You Were Here as their favourite Pink Floyd album.
3. Yes – Close To The Edge (Atlantic Records, 1972)
Released in September 1972, Close To The Edge is the fifth studio album from the English progressive rock band Yes, and it was a commercial and critical success for the band, peaking at No. 3 in the US and No. 4 in the UK charts. The album is certified Platinum by the RIAA for selling over one million copies. The album has three tracks, with the 18-minute title track occupying side one and ”And You And I” and ”Siberian Khatru” on side two. Dave Thompson of AllMusic called the album ”a flawless masterpiece”, while the weekly Billboard Pick said ”All involved deserve praise and thanks, this being not a mere audio experience, transcending the medium it brings all senses into play”.
2. King Crimson – In The Court Of The Crimson King (Atlantic Records, 1969)
Released in October 1969, In The Court Of The Crimson King (subtitled An Observation By King Crimson) is the debut studio album by the British rock group King Crimson. The album is certified Gold in the US, where it reached No. 28 on the Billboard 200, and peaked at No. 5 in the UK charts. Recorded between 21 July – 21 August 1969 at Wessex Sound Studios, in London, In The Court Of The Crimson King is generally viewed as one of the first works to truly embody the progressive rock genre, King Crimson departing from the blues influences that rock music had been founded upon, and mixing together jazz and classical symphonic elements. Rolling Stone magazine wrote that ”they have combined aspects of many musical forms to create a surreal work of force and originality”. Today the album has attained a classic status, AllMusic praising it ”as if somehow prophetic, King Crimson projected a darker and edgier brand of post-psychedelic rock”.
1. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (Harvest Records, 1973)
Released in March 1973, The Dark Side Of The Moon is the eighth studio album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd. Recorded between June 1972 – January 1973, at Abbey Road Studios in London, the album features themes of conflict, greed, the passage of time, and mental illness, the latter partly inspired by former band member Syd Barrett’s deteriorating mental state. The group used some of the most advanced recording techniques of the time, including multitrack recording and tape loops. Analogue synthesizers were given prominence in several tracks, and a series of recorded interviews with the band’s road crew and others provided the philosophical quotations used throughout. Engineer Alan Parsons was responsible for some of the album’s most notable sonic aspects and the recruitment of non-lexical singer Clare Torry. Storm Thorgerson designed the album’s iconic sleeve, which features a prism dispersing light into color and represents the band’s stage lighting, the record’s lyrical themes, and keyboardist Richard Wright’s request for a ”simple and bold” design. The album produced two singles, ”Money” and ”Time”, two of the group’s best-known tracks. The Dark Side Of The Moon was a massive success, it topped the Billboard LPs & Tapes chart for one week and remained in the charts for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988. With an estimated 50 million copies sold, it is Pink Floyd’s most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums of all time. The Dark Side Of The Moon is Pink Floyd’s most popular album among fans and critics, and is often cited as one of the greatest albums of all time.