Hard Rock
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Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

 

Bad CompanyDeep Purple Machine Head

Hard Rock

Led Zeppelin IIRush - A Farewell To The Kings

 
Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

Hard Rock

Hard rock is a style of music that has much of its roots in blues music and provided the foundation of heavy metal music. 

Below is a list of some cream of the crop, essential hard rock albums from the 1970's. It is not intended to be a definitive list.

AC / DC
Bad Company
Black Sabbath
Deep Purple
Led Zeppelin
Queen
Rush

Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

AC DC - Let There Be Rock

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Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations
My introduction to AC DC came with the release of their second album Let There Be Rock. What a great record, simple songs, electrifying, powerful, and exciting. Their later albums offered a more polished sound, but the simplicity of Let There Be Rock adds to its appeal, and of the AC/DC albums we've heard we think this is among their strongest output. 

Certainly the title track is classic, and the way guitarist Malcom Young incorporates the classic riff of "Hot Rod Lincoln" in a totally new way is not brilliant, but certainly enjoyable. Overall the whole album offers a strong flow intermingling punk rock, heavy metal, and blues. 

Let There Be Rock
Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

Bad Company - Bad Company

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Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations
Bad Company's self-titled debut album is a classic with track after track a hit. This music is hard rock, but with a more accessible approach than its pears resulting in plenty of radio time for several songs from this bands debut.

Bad Company's strongest component in our view is their synergy, the blending of the parts. Secondarily would be their songwriting. Their compositions seem to know when and how when to emphasize each instrument. They also seemed to play within their limitations and to their strengths. I really enjoy Paul Rodgers voice, and Mick Ralphs is quite expressive in his guitar phrasing and solos.

Bad Company's Original Bad Company Anthology is a good alternative.

Bad Company
Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

Black Sabbath - Paranoid

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Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations
Black Sabbath borders on the edge of hard rock and heavy metal. Arguably they bridged the gap. 

Black Sabbath's album Paranoid is one the best albums in this genre. Any album that includes three classics, "War Pigs," "Paranoid," and "Iron Man" deserves high ranks. In addition, most of the album is strong hitting elements of blues, jazz, and even psychedelic inferences. 

Black Sabbath's two disc Anthology, Symptom Of The Universe: The Original Black Sabbath 1970 - 1978, is a good alternative.

 

Paranoid
Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

Deep Purple - Machine Head

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Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

Deep Purple has seen their share of personnel movements. When we think of classic Deep Purple the band of guitarist Blackmore, singer Ian Gillian, bassist Roger Glover, keyboardist Jon Lord, and drummer Ian Paice comes to mind.  

That line-up brought us the classic Machine Head. Is there a better hard rock album? By anyone's scorecard, this one reaches the upper echelon. Deep Purple's 25th Anniversary Edition packages a second disc of alternative versions of all of the songs from the original album plus the B side "When a Blind Man Cries." The original disc has three bonus tracks.

Machine Head
Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin  2

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Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations
Led Zeppelin's second album is among their best and is clearly a hard rock masterpiece, the band strongest in this genre for sure. They still emphasize strongly their blues influence, but add their signature to the style. This can been heard with their interpretation of blues legend Willie Dixon's "You Need Love" forming "Whole Lotta Love."

Other classic hard rock riffs throughout the album such as "Moby Dick," "Heartbreaker," and "Living Loving Maid" as well as some acoustic numbers pointing the direction of the future with "Thank You," and a look to their past with "Bring It On Home."

Visit our Led Zeppelin section

Led Zeppelin 2
Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

Queen - A Night At The Opera

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Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations
A Night at the Opera is one of the top hard rock classic album of all time. The music is balanced between rocking pieces and some softer tracks. The material is very album oriented rock in that the songs flow from track to track such as “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon“ that perfectly ties together the songs before and after it.

Musically Queen use lots of background vocals with great success to complement Mercury’s lead vocals, both simply, and in more complex ways such as in “The Prophets Song,” and of course, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” 

Brian May has some tasty electric guitar leads such as perfectly phrased solos on “Death ON Two Legs” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He also plays some softer acoustic material such as “ ‘39” among other places.

A Night at the Opera is a sensational album.

A Night At The Opera
Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

Rush - A Farewell To Kings

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Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations
Rush's earlier albums were more hard rock focused, transitioning to a more progressive style as they developed. 

With their fifth studio album, A Farewell to Kings, they began to implement quite a bit of keyboards, but the album still had the early rock feel. Through the years this album really holds up well.

While this page of my website is mostly focused on studio albums, Rush's first live album deserves mention as it relates so well to the theme of great hard rock innovators. 

Rush's All The World's A Stage rounds up a healthy quantity of the bands first four albums yielding a lengthy great live album. The live versions are strong and this album is an inexpensive substitution for their early albums for casual fans or those on a budget.

A Farewell To Kings
All The Worlds A Stage
Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

Hard Rock Album Reviews and recommendations

 

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