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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, we've all read Rolling Stone and other places rate the greatest rock albums of all time, and usually they pick albums that everyone has heard of.

Well, just to be different, here is my list of the most under-rated rock albums of all time. To qualify, each album had to come from a major artist that had other hit albums that overshadowed the ones on the list.

1. RUSH RUSH

True Rush fans usually completely ignore the first album, before drummer Neil Peart joined the band. True, John Rutsey was just a drummer and not a huge influence on the band, but to my mind Rush's first album remains a virtually ignored classic. Called the "poor man's Led Zeppelin" when it was released, it nonetheless remains a gold standard in bone-crunching heavy metal music. Several tracks showcase the virtuoso playing ability of the band, and the album did manage to produce one classic song: "Working Man."

2. BLONDIE Plastic Letters

Blondie would probably never have had a hit without disco. The song "Heart of Glass" topped the charts and moved Blondie in the direction of disco and dance pop, producing other similarly dance-inflected songs such as "Call Me," "Rapture", "Atomic", and others. But there was a darker side to Blondie. They were actually on the forefront of the CBGB New York style punk rock scene, although Blondie was far more "pop" than most of their contemporaries. Their second album Plastic Letters featured song titles seemingly ripped from tabloid headlines, such as "Youth Napped As Sniper", "Love at the Pier", "Bermuda Triangle Blues", "Fan Mail", and others. The songs were dark, short tributes to obsessed fans, child snipers, pop psychics, and other nowhere people, and the album is truly the most difficult and inaccessible record the band ever made. Indeed, its only real "hit", in Europe at least, was a cover of the Randy and the Rainbows single "Denise", changed to the mail gender by turning "Denise" into the French name "Denis". Still, when the album has time to work its spell, it remains a forgotten classic.

3. INXS Listen Like Thieves

Virtually forgotten since the band's two hit albums, Kick and X topped the charts, Listen Like Thieves nevertheless represented the gelling of INXS's sound into the danceable hard rock that would eventually make their career. Most of the songs could have been singles; "What You Need", "Listen Like Thieves", and "This Time" apparently were released as such. A very listenable album and unfortunately, all but forgotten.

4. LED ZEPPELIN Physical Graffiti

Double albums never do as well as single albums, and this follow-up to Houses of the Holy has never been mined by radio DJ's to the extent that previous Zeppelin albums were. A couple of songs, such as "Trampled Under Foot" and "Kashmir" received plenty of radio play. But hard rockers such as "The Rover" and "The Wanton Song" were virtually ignored by radio, not to mention such beauties as "In the Light" and "Down By The Seaside." "Ten Years Gone" was eventually discovered by radio when it was covered by the Black Crowes, but most of the fine songs on this album have been completely ignored.

5. THE CURE Boys Don't Cry

This was the American equivalent of the British release Three Imaginary Boys and featured a totally different Cure than most of the band's audience came to know and love. Instead of moody, atomspheric pop that became the band's staple, this album was classic "two-guitars-and-a-drum-kit" rock, stripped down, with few frills. The album also contained a song almost universally condemned by the media: "Killing An Arab". According to the band's leader, Robert Smith, the song was actually an ode to the book The Stranger. The controversy over "Killing An Arab" amounted to nothing, and this underrated album remains largely forgotten.

Okay, Folks, there's my short list. What's yours?
 

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Rush Rush

Is one of my all time favorite albums by them.

All of Rush under-rated since they were always different.

I went to 5 of their concerts in the 80's and early 90's and they always ruled. :rockin:

Physical Graffiti is one of the best Zeppelin albums too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
SangRun Hunter said:
Physical Graffiti is one of the best Zeppelin albums too.

The only Zep album I really despised was In Through the Out Door. I owned every Zeppelin record they made, but I hardly ever played a single song off that one.
 

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My favorite Zeppelin albums have always been 1&2 for the rawness of the sound. I went and bought those on CD lastyear and I ripped MP3's to put on my work laptop. I find myself listening to those 2 albums over and over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
SangRun Hunter said:
My favorite Zeppelin albums have always been 1&2 for the rawness of the sound. I went and bought those on CD lastyear and I ripped MP3's to put on my work laptop. I find myself listening to those 2 albums over and over.
If you liked I & II the best, you'll positively drool over the double "BBC Sessions." This live album is light years ahead of "The Song Remains the Same."
 

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I think some of the greatest albums of all time were ones that got swept under the rug by lack of record company support or because of ill-timed release. Tho I like all your suggestions, there's no doubt at all that all of those bands enjoyed huge success. Some bands, for tragic reasons, got ignored.

Here's my list:

1. Dada - Puzzle.
Dada was one of the very few early 90's alternative bands that possessed a tight, guitar driven rock sound and could actually play their instruments. Largely remembered for the poppy "Dizz Knee Land" (which is a shame, it wasn't their best song), they were Beatle-esque, bluesy and jazzy but had smoking lead guitars & beautiful harmonies on every track. Their first album was a hallmark of great rock/pop, and sadly few people got to hear it.

2. Catherine Wheel - Wishville.
Catherine Wheel was one of the British bands that came to the US during the wave of industrial/noise bands like Ride & Curve, but differed in that they had a harder, more driving sound. As their albums progressed, they adopted a more edgy, American styled attack and this album was their Swan Song, a brilliant and explosive dose of guitar based rock. "Sparks Are Gonna Fly", the lead song, is one of the most criminally ignored songs EVER.

3. Grant Lee Buffalo - Jubilee
Grant Lee Phillips, lead singer of the now defunct band, is a strange genious, one of the rare guys that can make the Spanish Court Revolt of the Middle Ages a great pop song. His lyrics, and his voice are entrancing and you forget sometimes when listening to their folksy, bluesy sound that you are listening to a critics-favorite. They were well loved, but little known.

4. School of Fish - School of Fish
Before their lead singer died tragically of cancer, this ecclectic rock band put out one of the greatest, most consistent albums in rock history. It went nowhere upon it's release, but has gained a cult following based on the brilliant songwriting, and sad demise of their front man. A classic album.

5. The The - Dusk.
The The has been around the fringes of rock for a long time, since the early 80's but on Dusk they finally found their calling. With Johnny Marr doing guitar and co-writing duty, Matt Johnson wrote one of the most haunting, affecting albums ever. The entire album is about lust, longing and the torture of attractions. It's a rainy-night, slightly drunk dream state and one of the best thematic albums ever recorded.

Look up any of these albums if you like Rock, I highly doubt you'd be disappointed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
WOW! That's an obscure list! "The The" and "Dada" are the only two I've heard of!

I kind of limited myself to major acts, because I thought it would be too easy to say, "Yeah, my Gran'Daddy's band woulda been famous if that one record they cut had been a hit."

Your list makes me wanna go back to the record store, though... :)
 

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ZOID ZODIAN said:
Your list makes me wanna go back to the record store, though... :)
Drop me a PM, I can hook you up with some of those. Sad to say, a few of them are hopelessly out of print. Given your tastes above, I think you'd enjoy every one of them.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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I vote for Wheels of Fire by Cream, especially the live version of Traintime.

I only like one Rush song. Red Barchetta. The others are kind of boring and have Philosophy 101 lyrics, IMHO.
 
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