The Shit List: The Top 10 Best Debut Albums of ALL TIME!! [PART TWO]



Boston (1976)


Considering how long it has repeatedly taken band leader/perfectionist Tom Scholz to record subsequent albums, it is amazing this album ever saw the light of day. Recorded mostly in his home studio and hand-delivered to CBS Records in much the same condition as the version we all know as "the first Boston album", this record literally jumped out of car speakers and grabbed millions of teenage rock fans by the throat, musically throttling them into submission. Scholz and company took simple ingredients (guitars, bass, drums, and vocals) and created a musical hybrid that sounds wholly unique and has yet to be effectively copied in the 35 years since this album came out. While Scholz' genius is well-documented and the quality of his songs inarguable, one would be hard pressed to find a better vocalist to realize the greatness of the material than one Bradley Delp. He literally made the songs soar like the guitar-shaped spaceship that would become the band's trademark.


Big Star / #1 Record (1972)

I've always thought that if this record came out today, it would still be ahead of its time. As with all pioneers, Big Star languished in obscurity, unknowingly paving the way for a multitude of other bands to rocket to fame and fortune years later. Upon its release, a Billboard magazine record review stated that "every cut could be a single" and they were absolutely right. Unfortunately, the band's label encountered distribution troubles and was unable to keep a steady supply of the album in record stores. The buzz surrounding the band eventually fizzled, leaving this album as one of the great unsung masterpieces of the early '70s.



Van Halen (1978)


Very few albums have landed with the seismic impact of the very first Van Halen record. Upon hearing "Running With The Devil" blasting out of their radios, thousands of teenage kids started emulating Eddie Van Halen's one-of-a-kind guitar pyrotechnics. Frontman David Lee Roth was half-swashbuckler/half carnival barker, but hadn't yet become the cartoon character he would be by '81. In hindsight, Van Halen may have paved the way for the entire hair metal/Sunset Strip aesthetic, but, without that, there'd have been no Weezer, no Nirvana, or no Pearl Jam.



The Police / Outlandos D'Amour (1978)


This UK band was such an unlikely success story: 37-year-old guitarist, former prog-drummer, and a singer/bassist formerly of forgettable faux-jazzers Last Exit. Yet these likeable chaps hit upon a truly winning formula when they integrated reggae into their heady mix of guitar-driven anglo-pop. Few bands are so fortunate as to hit upon a sound that is entirely their own, but that’s what The Police did. Of course, there are still a few remnants of their punk days – “Next To You”, “Can’t Stand Losing You”, and “So Lonely”, to name just a few – but it is the floating reggae riddim of “Roxanne” that puts this band on the proverbial map.


Led Zeppelin / Led Zeppelin 1 (1969)

We’re hard-pressed to think of a single band whose debut album could be released as a “greatest hits” album as-is…other than Led Zeppelin and their absolutely hit-filled debut effort. Seriously, catch a load of the track listing:

“Good Times Bad Times”
“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”
“You Shook Me”
“Dazed And Confused”

And that’s just side one!

Needless to say, this album remains a flawless template for heavy metal that has stood for over 40 years.

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