Rookie Years: My 100 Favorite Debut Albums

Recently, a friend from way back in the day (we met in sixth grade), Mark Kline, suggested that I should write about my favorite second and third albums by artists that I loved. And, I thought that was a fantastic idea, but why not take it a step further and do a list of debut albums? His suggestion allowed me to put the stupid election on the back burner and waste time on researching these topics.

Debut albums have always been a curious proposition for artists. As all of them will tell you, they have had their whole lives to write for their first album, while every subsequent album has far less time for preparation. And, some of these debut albums were so magical that the artist had a difficult time every following it up (Am I not correct Hootie & the Blowfish, who, unfortunately, is not on this list?). While many others tried to follow the very same formula that brought them success or simply used recordings that had been discarded while making that debut. On the other hand, many artists had the ability to transcend that rookie season and build a solid career on it.

During this brief research, I discovered that the debut album thing is nothing new. In fact, it seems to be verge of becoming a cliché in the rock blogosphere, which has never stopped me before. Second, or sophomore, albums were a path a little less traveled. While, the third album was a topic rarely touched. So, this whole mini-series is the brainchild of Mr. Kline, once again, the opinions are all mine. Now, I am sure you will be happy about this, but since most of these albums were part of my sprawling 1000 album waste-of-time, I will forgo my silly synopses and just print my countdown, beginning at 100. I hope you all enjoy this and don’t be afraid to let me have it about my rankings.  Let the countdown begin!

100. Queen – Queen (1973)

99. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes (1983)

98. The Black Crowes – Shake Your Moneymaker (1990)

97. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine (1989)

96. Phil Collins – Face Value (1981)

95. Adele – 19 (2008)

94. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman (1988)

93. Television – Marquee Moon (1977)

92. King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)

91. Sheryl Crow – Tuesday Night Music Club (1994)

90. LL Cool J – Radio (1985)

89. New York Dolls – New York Dolls (1973)

88. Rickie Lee Jones – Rickie Lee Jones (1979)

87. Suicide – Suicide (1977)

86. The Go-Go’s – Beauty and the Beat (1981)

85. Heart – Dreamboat Annie (1976)

84. The Monkees – The Monkees (1966)

83. Kanye West – The College Dropout (2003)

82. Fine Young Cannibals – Fine Young Cannibals (1985)

81. Joe Jackson – Look Sharp! (1979)

80. Patti Smith Group – Horses (1975)

79. Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble – Texas Flood (1983)

78. U2 – Boy (1980)

77. Lynyrd Skynyrd – pronounced leh-nerd skin-nerd (1973)

76. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers (1993)

75. Steely Dan – Can’t Buy a Thrill (1972)

74. Jay-Z – Reasonable Doubt (1996)

73. The Stooges – The Stooges (1969)

72. De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)

71. The Pretenders – The Pretenders (1979)

70. Dire Straits – Dire Straits (1978)

69. Nas – Illmatic (1994)

68. Rush – Rush (1973)

67. Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)

66. Fitz & the Tantrums – Pickin’ Up the Pieces (2010)

65. Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980)

64. Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo (1978)

63. Eric B & Rakim – Paid in Full (1987)

62. Chicago Transit Authority – Chicago Transit Authority (1969)

61. Lady Gaga – The Fame (2008)

60. Temple of the Dog – Temple of the Dog (1991)

59. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular (2007)

58. The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die (1994)

57. Black Flag – Damaged (1981)

56. X – Los Angeles (1980)

55. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)

54. Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)

53. The Traveling Wilburys – The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1 (1988)

52. The B-52’s – The B-52’s (1979)

51. Terence Trent D’Arby – Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby (1987)

50. The Beatles – Please Please Me (1963)

49. Run- DMC – Run-DMC (1983)

48. Oasis – Definitely Maybe (1994)

47. The Clash – The Clash (1977)

46. Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston (1985)

45. Crowded House – Crowded House (1986)

44. Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)

43. Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley (1956)

42. Ramones – Ramones (1976)

41. Pearl Jam – Ten (1991)

40. Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced? (1967)

39. The Doors – The Doors (1967)

38. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine (1992)

37. Madonna – Madonna  (1983)

36. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (1969)

35. Sugar – Copper Blue (1992)

34. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses (1989)

33. Blondie – Blondie (1977)

32. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)

31. The Smiths – The Smiths (1984)

30. Stevie Nicks – Bella Donna (1981)

29. Eminem – The Slim Shady LP (1998)

28. Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls (2012)

27. Dr. Dre – The Chronic (1992)

26. The Strokes – This Is It (2001)

25. Raspberries – Raspberries (1972)

24. Beastie Boys – Licensed to Ill (1986)

23. The Knack – Get The Knack (1979)

22. Bruce Springsteen – Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. (1973)

21. Bob Mould – Workbook (1989)

20. Big Star – #1 Record (1972)

19. The Band – Music from Big Pink (1968)

18. The Killers – Hot Fuss (2004)

17. Jellyfish – Bellybutton (1991)

16. Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool (1978)

15. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures (1979)

14. Talking Heads – Talking Heads: 77 (1977)

13. Marshall Crenshaw – Marshall Crenshaw (1982)

12. Van Halen – Van Halen (1978)

11. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction (1987)

10. Weezer – Weezer (“The Blue Album”) (1994)

9. George Michael – Faith (1987)

8. Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick (1977)

7. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976)

6. New Radicals – Maybe I’ve Been Brainwashed Too (1998)

5. Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True (1977)

4. Boston – Boston (1976)

3. R.E.M. – Murmur (1983)

2. The Cars – The Cars (1978)

1. The Style Council – My Ever Changing Moods (1984)

And, that wraps up my 100 favorite debut albums. See you next time with my 100 favorite sophomore albums. Peace.

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

2 thoughts on “Rookie Years: My 100 Favorite Debut Albums”

  1. Have been reading for yrs-our music choices run quite similar and thought of something different. Cant do this with every band (Meatloaf, Television)-but can do with many (Cars,Cheap Trick,U2, REM, Van Halen). Build the ULTIMATE album. However-the choice for first song must be from the first songs. The second song must be the second song from whatever album and so on. You can have one “wildcard” track but must be placed as song 10, since most albums were about 10 songs back in the day. No Live or Greatest Hits allowed. So looking at the Cars and an opening track..what do you choose Good Times Roll or Lets Go. When you get to second song for Cheap Trick-Just got Back, Big Eyes or maybe On Top of the World. Enjoy the writing and hope you are feeling well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading my stuff & the well wishes! Your idea is a fantastic idea. And it could possibly be my complete mental undoing. Actually, it sounds like fun. Thanks for the idea. I will try to remember to give you credit! It is really a brilliant idea. Take care!

      Like

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