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7 Albums That Changed The Music Industry Forever

7 Albums That Changed The Music Industry Forever

There are so many fantastic albums out there that it can be hard to rate the best one ever, let alone the ones that changed the music industry but with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears we have rated the top 7 albums that have changed the music industry forever. 

7. Bleach, Nirvana

Bleach was Nirvana’s debut album, originally released in 1989. Upon its original release, Bleach failed to reach the charts but was reviewed positively by critics. After the success of their second studio album, Nevermind, Bleach was re-released in 1992 where it went on to reach number 33 in the UK albums chart. Bleach is Sub Pop’s best-selling album to date having sold almost 2 million copies just in the US. Nirvana was one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold over 75 million records worldwide and went on to inspire many artists including Lana Del Ray, Jared Leto, Cage The Elephant, Arcade Fire, and Fall Out Boy.


6. A Night At The Opera, Queen

Released in 1975 , A Night At The Opera was Queen’s fourth studio album makes the list of albums that changed the music industry as so many huge artists such as The Killers, Lady Gaga, Adele, Robbie Williams, Guns N Roses, Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers (just to name a few)  have credited Queen and specifically the song “Bohemian Rhapsody”, which was released on this album. If you’ve seen “Bohemian Rhapsody” the film about Freddie Mercury’s life as the frontman on Queen, then you will know just how controversial the success of this album was and just after it was recorded, Queen changed management due to financial disagreements between the band and their management at the time, Trident. A Night At The Opera at the time it was recorded was the most expensive album ever recorded and initial reviews claimed, “the group’s potential is practically limitless” and was described as “an amazing rush of music with one track running helter-skelter into the next”, making all the money worth the while. In 2018 it was included in the Grammy Hall of Fame despite the album having never won a Grammy.

5. Lemonade, Beyonce

Lemonade by Beyonce was released in 2016 and was her sixth studio album, second visual album, and is a concept album. Although it was released for purchase all over, Lemonade was only released for streaming on her and husband, Jay-Z’s, own streaming site, Tidal. Exactly three years after its release date, 23rd of April 2019, the album was released for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify. This was her sixth consecutive album that reached number one on the Billboard album chart and went on to be the third best selling album on that year, selling over 1.5 million copies. In June 2019 Lemonade was certified 3x multi-platinum, having sold 3 million albums in the US alone.


4. Johnny Cash With His Hot And Blue Guitar, Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash With His Hot And Blue Guitar was Johnny Cash’s first studio album and was released in 1957. Taking over three years to record, this album includes hit singles, “I Walk The Line” which reached number 1 in the country charts for 6 weeks and eventually crossed over into the pop charts, “Cry! Cry! Cry!”, “So Doggone Lonesome”, and “Folsom Prison Blues”. At the time, Sun Records were holding auditions where Cash first auditions as a gospel singer but after being told that gospel wouldn’t sell that Cash returned with his song’s Cry! Cry! Cry! which made it onto his debut album and Hey Porter! which did not. Johnny Cash With His Hot And Blue Guitar was one of the first albums which was released by Sun Records, who have since released music by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, and Charlie Rich. Cash is now one of the world’s best-selling artists, having sold over 90 million albums to date.


3. Thriller, Michael Jackson

Thriller by Michael Jackson was released in 1982 and was his sixth studio album. Thriller makes the list of albums that changed the music industry as in under a year Jackson was estimated to have sold over 66 million copies of his album, making it the world’s best selling album of its time, now sitting second behind The Eagles album of their greatest hits. Thriller was also the first-ever album to reach 30x Platinum, as well as winning 8 Grammys in 1984. Rolling Stone magazine placed Thriller at number 20 on their “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” in 2003 and Slant Magazine said that Thriller was the best album on the ’80s.

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2. Please Please Me, The Beatles

The debut album Please Please Me by the Beatles, released in 1963 was a game-changer for the music industry. The album reached number one on the Record Retailers LP and stayed there for 30 weeks, something that had never been done before by a pop album at the time and was then replaced with their second album, With the Beatles. Despite this success, Please Please Me was not released in the US until 1987 when it was released on CD. In 2012 Rolling Stone magazine placed the album at number 39 on their “500 Greatest Albums Of All Time”.

Before we get to number 1 of albums that changed the music in we do have some honourable mentions that didn’t quite make the list but we still love and appreciate very much. These are: The Fame Monster by Lade Gaga, Origin of Symmetry by Muse, Ten by Pearl Jam, and Hot Fuss by The Killers.


1. Divide, Ed Sheeran

Divide is Ed Sheeran’s third studio album and was released in 2017. The album reached number one in the UK, selling 672,000 copies in its first week which made it the fastest ever selling album by a male. On the date of Divide’s release, the album streamed a total of 56.73 million times on Spotify, breaking the previous record of 29 million streams. All of the songs on the album reached the top 20 in the UK charts which called for a change on how the single chart is complied, limiting artists to 3 songs to enter the top 100. The divide tour started over three years ago has is still going to date, making it one of the longest-running concert tours.

What do you think of our top 7 albums that changed the music industry?  Are there any you would change? Let us know in the comments below! 

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