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Your 10 Favorite Concept Albums

concept albumsThere’s been a huge response to our post on 31 Concept Albums You May Have Missed. Many of you wrote in to suggest concept albums that we may have missed. So, if you haven’t had your fill of concept albums yet, here are the top readers’ choices based on the comments we received.

  1. Quadrophenia – The Who (1973)

The Who’s second rock opera was mentioned by more CultureSonar readers than the more famous Tommy. For Quadrophenia, Pete Townshend crafted the story of a working-class mod named Jimmy with four aspects to his personality (thus the “quadrophenia” of the title). Each of these personality traits (which roughly parallel the way Pete saw each of the four members of the Who) is represented by its own theme. The album includes some of the Who’s best performances as a band and spawned several singles, including the album closer, “Love, Reign O’er Me.”

2. The Dark Side of the MoonPink Floyd (1973)

The Dark Side of the Moon was the album that made Pink Floyd international superstars. It was also the first of a string of concept albums that founder Roger Waters would create with Pink Floyd and throughout his solo career. Dark Side takes us through a series of things that “make people mad,” including money, love, and the passage of time. Beautiful harmonies and lush arrangements on songs like “Breathe” and “Us And Them” sit alongside angrier and more aggressive songs like “Money.”

3. Operation: Mindcrime – Queensrÿche (1988)

Queensrÿche’s blend of heavy metal and progressive rock was perfected on their third album, Operation: Mindcrime, a concept album about a drug addict named Nikki tormented by the evil Dr. X. Dr. X brainwashes Nikki into becoming an assassin, and murder ensues over thrashing guitars and pounding drums. Queensrÿche would return to the story in 2006 with Operation: Mindcrime II, featuring Ronnie James Dio as Dr. X.

4. The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus – Spirit (1970)

Spirit came out of the Los Angeles art rock scene in the late sixties. Their fourth album, The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, is their best known album. The album revolves around a loosely constructed concept about a mad scientist’s wild dreams, and the songs explore a variety of styles – the folky “Nature’s Way,” the country-esque “Animal Zoo,” the horn-filled “Mr. Skin.” Recording sessions for Twelve Dreams were fraught with tension, and the original lineup of the band broke up after the album was released.

5. 2112 – Rush (1976)

After three albums that only achieved moderate success, Rush ignored their record company’s request to release more commercial music. Instead, they put everything into 2112, and it became their first commercially successful album. It’s not really a concept album, since the second side contains unrelated songs. Yet, it’s the first side’s seven-part title song (a story of a boy who discovers a guitar in a dystopian world that has outlawed music) where the “concept” kicks in.

6. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles (1967)

We know. We know. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is not really a concept album; but it wanted to be. Paul McCartney came up with the original scheme – The Beatles would become a “fake” band that would free them from any musical constraints. On the one hand, the “concept” only lasted for the title song, the segue into “With A Little Help From My Friends,” and the reprise of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” There’s no story threading through the songs. On the other hand, every song on the album is different musically and lyrically, and each could have almost come from a different band – exactly what McCartney was striving for. In any case, many fans consider it The Beatles’ finest work.

7. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Genesis (1974)

Before The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, progressive rock stalwarts Genesis had created elaborate story lines in songs like “Supper’s Ready” and “The Knife.” But, The Lamb was Genesis’ first complete album with one unifying storyline. Lead singer Peter Gabriel created the story of Rael, a Puerto Rican teenager who ventures on a magical and frightening path of self-discovery. The album was extremely difficult to write and record, and the arduous process was a deciding factor in Gabriel’s departure from the band.

8. Pet Sounds – The Beach Boys (1966)

It’s one of the greatest albums ever, but is Pet Sounds a concept album? Brian Wilson worked with lyricist Tony Asher (along with Beach Boy Mike Love) on a series of personal songs that were sung by the Beach Boys over Wilson’s complex and unusual orchestral arrangements. There’s no specific lyrical motif or musical theme that threads through the album, except the overall excellence of its production.

9. Aqualung – Jethro Tull (1971)

“Sitting on a park bench, eyeing little girls with bad intent.” Thus begins Ian Anderson’s tale of Aqualung, a pitiful and pitiable homeless man. “Aqualung” kicks off Jethro Tull’s fourth album, which is divided into an “Aqualung” side and a “My God” side. Religious themes and character studies weave through both sides of the album. Still, Anderson has always insisted that Aqualung is not a concept album. In fact, it was the critical response to Aqualung that influenced Anderson to create a real concept album, 1972’s Thick As A Brick.

10. Close to the Edge – Yes (1972)

Close to the Edge was the third and final album from Yes’ classic lineup of Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Rick Wakeman. The positive response to the longer pieces on Yes’ previous album, Fragile, influenced the band to push their songs even further. On Close to the Edge, long instrumental passages and unifying musical themes combine with mystical lyrics, stacked vocals, and Yes’ impressive musicianship. The album contains three extended suites, so it’s more like three concept albums rather than a single one.

Other reader suggestions:

  1. Tales of Topographic Oceans – Yes (1973)
  2. Tommy – The Who (1969)
  3. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – David Bowie (1972)
  4. Spartacus – Triumvirat (1975)
  5. In The Court of the Crimson King – King Crimson (1969)
  6. Days of Future Passed – The Moody Blues (1967)
  7. Remember the Future – Nektar (1973)
  8. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd (1975)
  9. Pink World – Planet P Project (1984)
  10. Abbey Road – The Beatles (1969)
  11. The Wall – Pink Floyd (1979)
  12. I Robot – The Alan Parsons Project (1977)

As with any list, you can disagree with the choices or suggest more of your own. Keep ‘em coming!

Scott Freiman
To read more from Scott, follow @beatleslectures on Twitter or check out

PS. You may also enjoy our posts How Sgt. Pepper Got Its Cover, Forty (!) Years Later, “Songs In The Key of Life” Is As Fresh As Ever and A Gentle Road Warrior Keeps On….

206 thoughts on “Your 10 Favorite Concept Albums”

  1. Bill Davis says:

    Selling England by the Pound -Genesis

    1. Doug Bowers says:

      The greatest album ever recorded, but concept?

      1. David says:

        Yep, it was a concept album, but certainly didn’t have a linear story line like The Lamb. “Gabriel chose the album title, a slogan adopted by the UK Labour Party manifesto, to ensure that the British press would not accuse them of “selling out” to America. Overall, it represented a decay of English folk culture and an increase in Americanisation.”

    2. James Findrick says:

      I guess everyone was asleep in 1975 when Queen’s A Night At The Opera album proved countless concepts, particularly with the Bohemian Rhapsody track.

    3. Gary Dybdahl says:

      It lies with me cried the queen of maybe I love this album. I also saw Genesis at The Shrine Auditorium do the entire album of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway what is show it was Peter Gabriel and costume.

  2. Ivan says:

    I love Beatles but I’ve never considered Sgt Pepper’s a concept album, meanwhile it seems that Jesus Christ Superstar is not considered

    1. NM Ness says:

      You’re apparenly too young because Sgt. Pepper was THE FIRST concept album ever!

      1. R. Fletcher says:

        Actually Frank Zappa had the first concept album a year before Pepper, but nobody listened to it so…Sgt. Pepper is it!

        1. Michael says:

          Frank Sinatra’s “Songs for Young Lovers” could be considered one of the first – also Woody Guthrie, Coltrane, What about the Bee Gees “Odessa”. So many pre-dated the ones you folks have listed

          1. The CS Team says:

            We agree. In fact, we mentioned “In the Wee Small Hours” as a notable early concept album in our original post. Thanks for writing.

        2. Gary Dybdahl says:

          I listen to it Frank Zappa was in genius

        3. Pete says:

          Freak Out would’ve made MY list.

        4. Fred A. says:

          Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed was 1967

          1. Mark says:

            One of my favorites

        5. Jim Trammel says:

          Zappa influenced Sgt. Pepper, Paul once said, but Freak Out is in no sense a concept album. Zappa later did two concept works: Joe’s Garage, about music being illegal; and Thing-Fish, a catch-all of perverse themes and characters in search of Broadway production.

      2. Ron says:

        John Lennon said it’s not a concept album.

    2. Ralph Powers says:

      Jesus Christ Superstar is more of a Rock Opera like The Who’s “Tommy”.

    3. 64box says:

      I was thinking about that album too. Great music, common theme throughout. Awesome line-up of mucisians and vocalists. I think it gets forgotten that it was an album before anything else.

  3. Andre says:

    Savatage: “Streets”, “Dead Winter Dead” (predecessor to Trans Siberian Orchestra), “Wake of Magellan”, “Poets & Madmen”
    My Chemical Romance: “The Black Parade”

    1. Michael DiFrancesco says:

      Thumbs up (y)

  4. InternetRadio says:

    666 by Aphrodite’s Child

    1. Mark says:

      Wow, what a great album that was. Thanks for the memories

  5. Chuck Padgett says:

    Camel – The Snow Goose (Based on the book by Paul Gallico).

    Camel – Nude (Based on the true story of a Japanese soldier stranded during WW II on a Pacific island for 27 years before being discovered and brought back home as a hero.)

    Camel – Dust & Dreams (Based on John Steinbeck’s The Grapes Of Wrath.)

  6. Rico says:

    Sorry, but the worst Beatles out-take is better than the best Rush cut.

    1. Ron V. says:


    2. Jeff says:

      I think you got that backwards

  7. Joe Cogan says:

    Pet Sounds, Aqualung, and Close to the Edge really aren’t concept albums (neither are In the Court of the Crimson King or Abbey Road from the runners-up). And Thick as a Brick was intended as a parody of concept albums, although ironically, Tull’s next six or so albums after it were actual concept albums (everything from A Passion Play through Heavy Horses, and a case can be made for Stormwatch as a seventh).

  8. Freddy says:

    the Wall didn’t make the top 10? It’s the concept album by which all others are judged.

    1. Gary Wood says:

      Yes! Definitely should be in the top 5

    2. TC says:

      I don’t know about that. The Wall is a great album and probably one of Pink Floyds best concept albums .However, from the Dark Side of the Moon and forward all their albums were concept albums. They all followed a theme.

      What I found missing were probably the 2 originals, though I don’t know which is older and one is multiple artists. Tommy & Jesus Christ Superstar.

      I also think the Beatles White album could be considered a concept album.

      1. Doug Schenker says:

        The best concept album The Who Sell Out.

        1. Skip Childs says:

          After “Tommy”, Peter Townsend was working on a concept album called “Lifehouse”. The project fell through, but some of the songs are the songs of “Who’s Next”, which is their best album

        2. Zack Lee Wright says:

          Why does everyone forget this album??? Before Tommy and trying out those riffs.

    3. David says:

      Actually, IMHO, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is the concept album by which all others are judged, but i do agree that The Wall should obviously be in the top 10.

    4. Mark A Fahrenholz says:

      Seriously… Pink Floyd’s Animals didn’t make the cut either. It’s the definition of a concept album.

      1. The CS Team says:

        “Animals” did indeed make the list on the original post in this thread:

  9. David says:

    Blue Oyster Cult – Secret Treaties

  10. Tina Cheatham says:

    Joe’s Garage by Frank Zappa…..awesome piece of music from start to finish.

    1. Jeff says:

      That’s true

    2. David Harper says:

      Actually Zappa’s whole catalog was a concept album…

      1. Mark says:

        The Project Object. And I agree with a previous comment that Frank’s “Joe’s Garage Parts I, II, III” is a fantastic story with phenomenal music and biting social commentary.

    3. Morris says:

      The same could definitely be said for “Thingfish”, as well.

  11. Mike says:

    Jethro Tull, Passion Play
    Rick Wakeman, Journey to the Center of the Earth
    Nillson, The Point
    Although not officially a concept album but should be Supertramp, Crime of the Century

    1. Ron V. says:

      A Passion Play – Fantastic!

      1. Bill Depczynski says:

        I found a vinyl copy at a garage sale, still has the play book.

    2. Morris says:

      “The Point” is magnificent. Gee, I wonder why it doesn’t get shown?

      1. John Keys says:

        Todd Rundgren – Initiation, Healing, and his band Utopia – Ra, Deface The Music

        Beatles – Yellow Submarine

        1. Pete says:


    3. John Laubenthal says:

      I wondered if anyone would mention ‘Crime of the Century’… IMO their best & so underrated since ‘Breakfast…’ became such a Radio Pop Hit that nobody took them seriously…

  12. Eric says:

    P.F. Sorrow by The Pretty Things

    1. Dani says:

      The PT are almost always over looked. It is a shame because they were a really good band.

    2. Robert Kiernan says:

      S.F. Sorrow was absolutely a Concept Album… and would in fact be high on my list

      1. The CS Team says:

        In fact, SF Sorrow was the first on the list in our original post in this thread:

  13. Vandal Drummond says:

    “Nipponjin” by The Far East Family Band

  14. Joanne Welch says:

    Thank you for including Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime! The tend to be dismissed as an 80’s hair band and they are so much more, and still relevant today. Go see them!

  15. Michael Victor Jozwiak says:

    Long Plays “Quark, Strangeness and Charm” by Hawkwind and “Secret Treaties” by Blue Oyster Cult could bothbe loosely considered concept albums.

  16. Keith Semmel says:

    I loved Pete’s Psychoderelict. Should be heard from start to finish

    1. Gerry says:

      As well as the iron man

  17. Frank says:

    Pink Floyd: Animals
    Frank Zappa: Apostrophe. The story of Nanuk

    1. John Laubenthal says:

      2 of the Best…

  18. Jeff Colombaro says:

    Misplaced Childhood by Marillion should be here as well. One of my all time favorites.

  19. Tom Parsils says:

    Dream Theatre. Scenes From A Memory. A total concept album. On the tip ten above, few are true concept albums.

  20. Brian Cullen says:

    I believe that the album “Time” by Electric Light Orchestra was a very underrated concept album. It’s one of those that ELO fans cannot just listen to one song, the entire album needs to be enjoyed in its entirety. A story of a romance lost, even Jeff Lynne’s additional songs like “Julie Don’t Live Here Anymore” bleed sadness and love lost.

  21. J Crockett says:

    The Kinks have put out many concept albums. Arthur, Lola, Percy Preservation Acts I and II. Schoolboys in Disgrace and Soap Opera were all done in their early days. No, they didn’t get on the Top Ten lists with the public, but Ray’s writing is priceless. To see them play Schoolboys in concert was hilarious and wonderful!

    1. kenny says:

      I saw the do Preservation (1 and 2) in concert, and then saw them do Soap Opera in concert as well. You can find a tv special version of Soap Opera called Starmaker on YouTube by the way

  22. Brian McLaughlin says:

    Third Stage by Boston. A love story; cheesy as hell, but still…

  23. Dre says:

    Zen Arcade -Husker Du

  24. Phil says:

    The Cure’s Disintegration. Holds together like a concept album start to finish.

    1. Kami says:

      Yes! I was going to add this to the list and you beat me to it!

    2. Danny Buetow says:

      As well as Wish

  25. John says:

    Clockwork Angels is Rush’s only true concept album from start to finish and it is their masterpiece. The live performance with the string section was outstanding.

    1. Jeff says:

      I second that, however 2112, Hemispheres and other longer songs would definitely qualify as concept pieces. Even some of their 80’s and 90’s albums had a universal theme to the lyrical content. RUSH RULES!!!

    2. jesse says:

      Well,Byron & the snow dog was their original concept song,though short by comparison.

  26. Eric says:

    Last temtatipn – Alice Cooper

    The Point – Harry Nelison

    Yoshimi – Flaming Lips

    Risa’s Shadow- Fogive Durden

  27. Peter Bebeau says:

    Edgar Winters “Entrance”, side 1 is, see 2 is not, but the brothers Winters knock “Tobacco Road” out of the park. All in all a very fine effort.

  28. Frank says:

    Village Green Preservation Society and Arthur, by the Kinks. As far as concept discs, hard to ignore Animals and The Wall by Pink Floyd, and while some of the ones in the piece aren’t really concept discs, I agree that many of Tull’s discs are (including Aqualung), and Selling England by the Pound by Genesis is an underrated gem.

    1. Joe says:

      Perfect post; can’t agree more…

  29. Lodger says:

    Bowie’s Diamond Dogs
    Elton’s Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
    Zappa’s Joe’s Garage

  30. Tim McCarthy says:

    One serious omission is “We’re Only in it For the Money”, Franks Zappa and the MOI’s scathing critique of flower power, using Sgt. Pepper imagery.

    The Kink’ “Arthur” is also worth a mention.

    1. Dean Kauffman says:

      Totally agree. We’re only in it for the money. The very best!!!

  31. Richard Schweitzer says:

    Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield, probably the closest work to being a concept album at the time.

  32. rick smith says:

    It all depends on what you call a “concept” album. My first three are clearly concept.

    Rick Wakeman – Six Wives of Henry the 8th
    Willie Nelson – Red Headed Stranger
    Eagles – Desperado
    Brian Auger & the Trinity – Street Noise
    Gorillaz – Demon Days
    Michael Franti & Spearhead – Stay Human

  33. Ron says:

    Although, yeah, not a concept in the technical sense, still, I always considered the Rolling Stones “Exile On Main Street” a concept album of sorts. A sort of extension of Robert Frank’s “The Americans” book of photographs transposed to music. A sort of snap shot of America through the eyes and ears of a British Rock Band touring America. Which is exactly how the album cane about, and, coincidently, how Robert Frank came to do the cover artwork for Exile On Main St.

  34. Christopher Hoard says:

    Gentle Giant: The Power and the Glory


    1. Diana Green says:

      Agreed, but I think Three Friends is a stronger album overall.

  35. Alex says:

    “The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society” should be on this list. I never viewed “Sgt. Pepper’s” or “Abbey Road” as concept albums.

  36. Gerry Ross says:

    My favorite concept albums remains The Mothers Of Invention’s WE’RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY, whose concept is summed in three words: “Flower power sucks!”

  37. Ralph Powers says:

    Duke by Genesis

  38. McVey Terry says:

    Journey to the Center of the Mind – The Amboy Dukes

  39. Rabbit says:

    Glad to see someone else named My Chemical Romance’s “Black Parade”. MCR doesn’t get anywhere near the credit they deserved from old-guard Yes-Genesis-King Crimson Prog fans, who are turned off by the Emo/Goth trappings of the band, but they’re one of the best mainstream examples of Prog since 2000. Likewise the above-mentioned “Disintegration” by The Cure, which is as absolutely a heartwrenching study of loss and pain as there is.

    I’d nominate Roger Waters’ “Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking” myself. It gets disjointed, as many Waters projects do [Radio KAOS?], and it pulls an old cliche trope in the end, but it’s a harrowing and compulsive “what if?” that doesn’t let you go easily.

    1. Kami says:

      Another vote for Disintegration!

  40. Ron says:

    Alan Parsons Project ‘Tales of Mystery and Imagination’ and ‘I Robot’

    1. James McGowan says:

      Excellent transposing of Edgar Allen Poe’ s stories…..especially the Tell Tale Heart!

    2. Zbill says:

      One of my favortes

    3. Cam says:

      Perfect! The one I was going to suggest.

  41. Chris says:

    Marilyn Manson: Antechrist Superstar + Mechanical Animals +Hollywood, 3 genius (and clearly) concept albums (unlike most of your list…)

  42. Das says:

    Electric Ladyland No?

    1. David says:

      Great album….but what exactly do you believe the “concept” is???

  43. Frits says:

    You all forgot Animals by Pink Floyd!

    1. Danny Buetow says:

      Or Final Cut

  44. brian says:

    SF Sorrow by the Pretty Things.

  45. brian says:

    Imaginos by Blue Oyster Cult is another one.

  46. Mark P Martinez says:

    “Journey to the Center of the Earth” – Rick Wakeman
    “Tales of Mystery and Imagination-Edger Allen Poe” – Alan Parsons
    “Past, Present & Future” – Al Stewart
    “The Story of I” – Patrick Moraz
    “Thick as a Brick” – Jethro Tull

  47. James Kinney says:

    Goldie “Timeless” seems to be a conceptual album

  48. Miraleigh says:

    Gah!! For the thousandth time: Sgt. Pepper is NOT a concept album. John Lennon said so many times…”its just a bunch of songs like any other record. .it only worked because we said it worked”

    1. Richie says:

      I suppose with Peppers you could go either way and since it started out as a concept and surley you could view the songs as almost a day in the life …friends ..girls leaving home ..good morning ..going to the circus …fixing holes ..meter maids..zoning out ect. I always took it has a walk through a suburban/ city landscape and getting a glimpse of many facets I’d life going on. Even some albums that don’t start as concepts somehow through happy accident actually do cohere into something more than just a selection of songs .

  49. Mike Hoots says:

    Beat by King Crimson is a good concept album

    Yes “classic” lineup of Squire, Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe were only together for Fragile and Close To The Edge. Before then, Yes had Tony Kaye on keys, and afterward, Alan White on drums.

  50. Bruce says:

    Zen Arcade, Husker Du. In terms of punk, this double concept album was unheard of and revolutionary.

  51. John says:

    Jethro Tull’s Aqualung” was not a concept album. I have an interview where Ian Anderson flat out said it wasnt. However, after that record he began dabbling in the concept album concept.

    1. Ron V. says:

      I agree, Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play are the two best true concept albums by Jethro Tull and should be rated two of the greatest on any concept list. Ian is a true genius and SO underappreciated. Greatest flutist in the world and I guess his lyrics are just too intricate for most people to understand. How can they not be in the Rock Hall of Fame?

      1. Fred says:

        Yes, absolutely, but Ian Anderson’s claim that Aqualung is not a concept album is silly.

  52. BillPeters says:

    Jon Anderson from Yes Olias of Sunhillow
    Kraftwerk Autobahn, Trans Europe Express and Computer World Alan Parsons Project Tales of Mystery and Imagination

  53. Kok Yong says:

    The 4 album set by Jade Warrior (for Island) starting with “Floating World”, “Waves Pt.I and II”, “Kites” and “Way of the Sun”!

  54. Tim Walters says:

    I have three:

    “Time” and “Eldorado” by The Electric Light Orchestra and “Pyramid” by The Alan Parsons Project.

  55. Howard says:

    Frank Zappa Joe’s Garage Acts 1-3. A morality play, social commentary and prude twerking all rolled into one. Who can forget Mary, Bald headed Jon and of course Joe.

  56. jim says:

    wow! I’ve always been a big fan of “12 dreams of dr. sardonicus” I never would’ve guessed that it would rate so high. i’m not surprised quadrophenia made the top 10, but I wouldn’t have guessed no. 1..not that I disagree. one of my all time favorites. a bit lighter in subject matter but “schoolboys in disgrace” by the kinks is pretty good.

  57. JFK says:

    For gods sakes.. the kinks ARTHUR..,or the rise and fall of The British empire.. was the best AND FIRST concept album..!!!

    1. David says:

      It was hardly the first, but it certainly is an awesome album.

    2. Rich says:

      There it is! I wondered when it would come up. Most of those referred to are not real concept albums. Arthur was probably the first and quickly was overshadowed by Tommy since the Kinks were banned from playing in the States at the time.

  58. Mark0 says:

    “Arthur” the Kinks

  59. Bob Glickman says:

    Snow by Spock’s Beard

  60. Lee says:

    Phish’s The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday should be considered

  61. Steve says:

    Alan Parsons Project. Tales of mystery and imagination. 1976. Amazing album not on the list.

  62. Tom Ross says:

    American Idiot by Green Day, The Rising by Bruce Springsteen is as much of a concept album as many on this list. It is a reaction to 9/11.

    1. shortale says:

      was wondering when somebody would get to Green Day. Ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce and before American Idiot from the California power-pop-punk scene, The Offspring’s Americana are also theme albums I enjoyed down this branch.

  63. Narada Jim says:

    Glad to see “Twelve Dreams” given such prominence, as well as “Lamb Lies Down”.

    As others have said, the Kinks did multiple concept albums, but they just weren’t as mainstream.

    Agree that “We’re Only in it for the Money” should have ended up at the top, but the MOI were still considered just weird.

    Troutmask Replica also comes to mind.

  64. Paul Callaro says:

    At least honorable mention to Hotel California.

  65. Steve H says:

    What, no Styx “Kilroy was Here” or “Paradise Theater”??

  66. drtimmie says:

    I can see missing “Subterranea” by IQ: brilliant but obscure.
    What about “The Ninth Wave” by Kate Bush? True, the first side of the album “Hounds of Love” is unrelated but the whole second side is a story – “The Ninth Wave” – of a women lost at sea with her own thoughts. If you list 2112, “The Ninth Wave” is fair game.
    I’m even more blown always by no mention of Dream Theater’s “Ten Degrees of Inner-turbulence.”
    “Sargent Pepper” but no IQ, Kate Bush, or Dream Theater? That’s just nuts.

  67. Jeff says:

    XTC – Skylarking

  68. Irony101 says:

    The Drive By Truckers – Southern Rock Opera

    1. Irony101 says:

      The Drive By Truckers – Southern Rock Opera;
      The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots;
      Small Faces – Ogden’s Gone Nut Flake;
      John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (Extended Edition);
      The Roots – UnDun;
      Parliament – Mothership Connection;
      Frank Sinatra – In the Wee Small Hours;
      Erykah Badu – New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War;
      The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come for Free;
      Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son;
      The Moody Blues – In Search of the Lost Chord

    2. Zbill says:

      Nice choice!

  69. Jim says:

    The Decemberists-The hazards of love

  70. daveguy1 says:

    Maybe this is a stretch, but how about “Purple Rain” by Prince? The songs fit into a loose (O.K., *very* loose) framework about an up-and-coming rock musician.

  71. Bob says:

    Joe Jackson -Blaze of Glory. Each side tells a story, plus they were recorded in a single take each.

  72. sky says:

    Heart – Dreamboat Annie

    1. Zack Lee Wright says:

      A great album for a one night stand.

  73. Martin Ward says:

    Pet Sounds’ concept is the struggle of moving from childhood to manhood, exemplified by the increasingly complex music and lyrical subjects of the album relative to their earlier music. Abbey Road is not a concept album.

  74. Martin Ward says:

    While not rock, Frank Sinatra recorded several concept albums on Capitol in the 1950s, the best of which was In The Wee Small Hours, a great album that should be in any serious music lovers collection.

  75. Aric says:

    Styx–Paradisr Theatre and Kilroy Was Here

  76. Ron V. says:

    Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play – Jethro Tull have got to be mentioned.

  77. Lee Pfahler says:

    Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood

  78. Charles McGarry says:

    1 Dark Side of the Moon
    2 Tommy
    3 Hedwig & the Angry Inch
    4 Animals
    5 The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
    6 The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust And the Spiders from Mars
    7 Tales of Mystery and Imagination
    8 Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
    9 Journey to the Centre of the Earth
    10 Wish You Were Here
    11 The Downward Spiral
    12 The Wall
    13 The Black Parade
    14 Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
    15 The Point!

  79. Ed Dumchus says:

    Arthur by the Kinks

  80. kwietman says:

    “Abigail,” by King Diamond
    “The Hazards of Love,” Decemberists

  81. Hank says:

    Joe’s Garage – Zappa
    Lola vs Powerman and the Moneygoround – Kinks

    1. Hank says:

      Oops, should have read the original piece first. Since Joe’s Garage is on that, I’ll wonder about Electric Ladyland or perhaps After Bathing at Baxter’s by the the Jefferson Airplane?

      1. Zbill says:

        Both Electric Ladyland After Bathing at Baxter’s are good choices!

  82. TonyC says:

    Tarkus ELO

    1. David says:

      Surely you mean ELP, not ELO. Only the first side of Tarkus was a concept. Side 2 had unrelated pieces.

    2. Zack Lee Wright says:

      ELP qualifies for Pictures

  83. Matt Mudry says:

    666~aphrodite’s child

  84. William Bell says:

    No one has mentioned Elton John’s 1976 true pop concept album about his and lyricist Bernie Taupin’s musical journey “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.” It was the first LP that ever entered the Billboard charts at #1 and yielded two smash tracks- the title cut, and the sorrowful ballad about salvation following a romantic loss” Someone Saved My Life Tonight.”
    Truly one of Elton’s finest works.

  85. Kami says:

    Astral Weeks by Van Morrison.

  86. David says:

    Lot’s of good additions here. I’ll add The Shaming of the True by Kevin Gilbert, certainly the very best concept album that nobody ever heard of.

  87. James Richter says:

    They missed “Hope” album by Klaatu.

    1. Zbill says:

      I agree!

  88. Greg Hickel says:

    definitely “The Wall” but also “Animals”, and Klaatu “Hope”!

    1. Greg Hickel says:

      oh and most definitely The Eagles “Desperado”, ELO “Time”, and how-the-heck did we leave out “Ziggy Stardust”???

  89. Russ says:

    Frank Zappa..Joe’s Garage acts 1-2-3

  90. Mike Wells says:

    Schoolboys in Disgrace by the Kinks worthy of a mention

  91. James says:

    Space Ritual by Hawkwind
    Psi-Fi by Seventh Wave
    Lord of the Rings by Bo Hansson
    The Process by Skinny Puppy
    05:22:09:10 OFF by Front 242
    Computer World by Kraftwerk

  92. Gregory Zerrahn says:

    Pink Floyd – The Wall
    The Moody Blues – To Our Children’s Children’s Children

  93. KEITH says:


  94. Scott says:

    OK Computer …Radiohead

  95. Sean Conners says:

    Hard to believe that neither Marillion’s Script For A Jester’s Tear or Green Day’s American Idiot weren’t mentioned.

  96. Sean Conners says:

    Sorry, I meant Misplaced Childhood by Marillion … my bad. One of those days, lol …

  97. Dave says:

    I’m pretty sure that Yes lineup only put out two records. If you’re referring to The Yes Album, Rick Wakeman wasn’t yet in the band and keys were played by Tony Kaye. It’s early, so if I’m missing one of the albums, my apologies

  98. Preston Platform says:

    The Mothers Live at the Fillmore East, definitely.

  99. Zbill says:

    Aphrodites Child 666 should be considered in the top 10! Another missing from the broader list although obscure is worth mentioning iWhite Noise Electric Storm!

  100. David F Parmenter says:

    The Kinks should be on this list. Village Green. Schoolboys. Etc.

    1. The CS Team says:

      The original post did indeed include “Arthur.” You might also enjoy

  101. TimJ says:

    What about Days of Future Past by the Moody Blues?

  102. Zack Lee Wright says:

    I cannot believe no one mentioned “Wilderness Road” by the band Wilderness Road a little old four-piece from Chicago in the late 60s. One of the first country/rock fusions that holds up the concept for both sides. Predates “Desperado” by a few years and seems to me an influence.

  103. HbP3 says:

    It all starts with Tommy, after were copies

  104. Gregg says:

    Most of these are not entirely concept albums. They may have songs that qualify but not the entirety of the album. Quadraphenia, Lamb Lies Down, The Wall are examples of concept albums with recurring themes, characters, melodies, lyrics etc throughout the entirety of the album. There are a lot of othe fine examples in the list but most aren’t.

    1. The CS Team says:

      Thanks for writing. In this case, we were simply compiling reader feedback on fave concept albums. Our audience no doubt has a flexible definition about what qualifies as a Concept Album, but there was remarkable consensus on the titles that belong on the list.

  105. gregorygrieco says:

    the pretty things! s.f. sorrow!

    1. The CS Team says:

      SF Sorrow was the very first entry on our original post. Check out

  106. Jace Grey says:


    #11 – Tales **FROM** Topographic Oceans

  107. Kenny says:

    Kinks – Soap Opera, Arthur,
    Preservation Act I & II
    are all excellent concept albums too.

  108. Ken says:

    Genuine Imitation LIfe Gazette (1969) by the Four Seasons. Not considered cool at that time so it has been overlooked. But the packaging alone makes it memorable

  109. Fred A. says:

    Uriah Heep – Demons and Wizards and Magicians Birthday

  110. Bob W. says:

    I read much but not all of these comments and never saw a mention of Supertramp’s “Crime of the Century”. One of my favorite concept album. I know it’s a Rock Opera but, I consider those to be concept albums.

  111. Jim says:

    Rick Wakeman’s “King Arthur” or Alan Parsons “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” definitely.

  112. Carr McClain says:

    Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

  113. gregorygrieco says:

    pretty things. s.f.sorrow.

    1. The CS Team says:

      “Pretty Things” was indeed featured on the original post in this thread:

  114. Mark says:

    I would have thought Floyd’s, The Wall, would have placed in top 10. Also like ELP’S Tarsus.

  115. Ken says:

    “Schoolboys in Disgrace” The Kinks

  116. bishop says:

    Almost every moody blues album is a concept. Children’s children’s children and question of balance are brilliant examples

  117. Lou Barnes says:

    Arthur by The Kinks
    In Search of the Lost Chord – Moody Blues
    Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band -The Beatles
    Watertown – Frank Sinatra

    1. The CS Team says:

      Along those lines, you might appreciate the original post in this thread: . It highlights “Arthur,” among many others.

  118. Alan Ferdman says:

    A nice concept album is side 1 of Hemispheres (Cygnus X-1, Book II) by RUSH. I like it better than 2112.

  119. Cam says:

    The Tubes- Remote Control

    1. Matt Goodman says:

      YES! I came here to suggest this

  120. Jim Scala says:

    Jim nominates….

    Love “Forever Changes”
    Rolling Stones “Their Satanic Majesties..”
    Meatloaf “Bat Out Of Hell”

  121. ian butler says:

    Hero and Heroine by the Strawbs, one of my all time faves!

  122. Jeff says:

    “Monster” – Steppenwolf. A vastly underrated album.

  123. Dan Rose says:

    No Emerson,Lake & Palmer -Tarkus , or Pictures at an Exhibition …??? Hmmm , then as I read no Pink Floyd -The Wall … scratching head here , I wasn’t clear if Yes – Close to the Edge is on the list or not …hmmm getting kinda weird , I would argue that perhaps Black Sabbath – Paranoid , The Doors – LA Woman , and many others could qualify as “concept” albums and would need more clarity in definitions , like would “what is considered Rock” … Like is Super Hard Metal still ROCK ( like the Screamo-stuff ) , but Electronica NOT …?( think Kraftwerk – Computer World … hmmm …but then I just “don’t Get” sooo many bands and their music … music likes and dislikes are such a personal thing , But No ELP , YES or Pink Floyd is just wrong IMO …Heck I’ve been playing Rare Bird – As Your Mind Flies By all week so what do I know …???

  124. Anthony Picco says:

    Um… Mike Nesmith… one side each of his first three solo albums were a concept “album”

    Magnetic South • Loose Salute • Nevada Fighter… but I can’t find a source to prove it yet…

    1. The CS Team says:

      Nez’s “The Prison” was certainly a concept album. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves as a bonafide innovator.

  125. Mark Taylor White says:

    Warrior on the Edge of Time-Hawkwind

  126. Matt Goodman says:

    The Tubes Remote Control, Warren Zevon’s Transverse City and The Wind, almost every album by The Residents… I’m surprised there’s no mention of Lou Reed’s New York?

  127. Matt Goodman says:

    Kate Bush Hounds of Love?

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