20 LPs You Need in Your Record Collection

Women's hands browsing records in a vinyl record store

This is a list of some of the greatest LPs ever recorded and albums every collector needs in their vinyl record collection. These albums are the top LPs to collect because they are thought of as some of the most important for the era they were released in, the genre they are part of, or the fact that they sound amazing on vinyl. And if you are new to record collecting, this list is a great place to start! 

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue (1959)

This album is something of a legend in the jazz world. If you only own one album in this genre, this would be the one to choose. With timeless classics such as “All Blues,” “Blue in Green” and “Flamenco Sketches” it is the best-selling, most popular jazz album of all time.

Ella Fitzgerald – Mack The Knife-Ella in Berlin (1960)

Take a trip back in time to 1960s Berlin with this epic live album of Ella Fitzgerald at her finest. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and remains a masterpiece to this day. Ella’s voice on vinyl is the sweetest thing you could possibly play. No other medium does her justice. Some noteworthy songs from this album are, “Too Darn Hot,” “How High the Moon,” and “The Lady is a Tramp.”

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)

This album didn’t follow conventional standards in the pop genre of their day. It stepped out of the box to be something entirely new and creative. Their fresh, youthful sound is unparalleled and plays through as a beautiful medley. Pet Sounds is some of the best work The Beach Boys have ever done. Feel the beachy breeze as the sound waves wash over with songs including, “Sloop John B (mono mix),” “God Only Knows,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.”

Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde (1966)

Thought to have some of Bob Dylan’s most notable work, Blonde on Blonde is incredible from start to finish in addition to having amazing fold out album art. This was also one of the first ever double-albums. Some of the songs on this album include, “Visions of Johanna,” “I Want You,” and “Just Like a Woman.” 

The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)

This album is an excellent long play album that shows how beautiful the songs can be when played together as a medley. This album also has some of the Beatles most notable songs, such as, “Come Together,” and “Something.” Own a piece of history with this monumental vinyl. 

Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)

Rolling Stone named this the sixth greatest album of all time. It mixes genres of jazz, gospel, and pop in one of the most epic soul albums. It speaks directly to the Vietnam war in the 1970s with lyrics like, “war is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate.” Gaye’s soulful and sensual voice is best heard on vinyl and is sure to get you swinging to his songs. Some notable songs include, “What’s Going On,” “God is Love,” and “What’s Happening Brother.”

Led Zeppelin – IV (1971)

This is one of their most classic albums housing songs like, “Black Dog,” “Rock and Roll,” and “Stairway to Heaven.” This LP has some of the best rock and roll you could play on your record player, and playing it through any other medium will not do this album justice. 

Joni Mitchell – Blue (1971)

Joni Mitchell’s Blue is regarded to be one of the greatest albums of all time. Her enchanting voice and lyrics transcend time and are best heard on a vinyl record. This album reflects the feelings people had at the end of the sixties and the mood shift towards a new era. Her storytelling capabilities are unmatched in music. Some of the most notable songs on this album are, “A Case of You,” “Little Green,” “River,” and “Blue.” 

David Bowie – The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)

This record has some of Bowie’s most notable work including, “Moonage Daydream,” that was again popularized in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. This musical journey is an epic mixture of rock and opera that will send shivers down your spine. Some other notable songs in this album are “Starman,” and “Rock and Roll Suicide.”

Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

This album is essential, as it is thought of as one of the greatest albums of all time. The Dark Side of the Moon has remained a legacy since it was released. The cover art is so famous that almost anyone around the world recognizes it. It was hugely successful and wild for its time and remains that way today. Some of the most notable songs on his legendary album include “Time,” “Money,” and “Eclipse.”

Dolly Parton – Jolene (1974)

Dolly is an American treasure, and Jolene is a legacy. This LP is perfection under the needle of your record player, and you won’t be able to keep yourself from singing along. This album shows a time in 1970s country with excellent vocals and musicality, leading the genre to the next level. Some of the most noteworthy songs from this album are “Jolene,” and “I Will Always Love You.” 

Eagles – Hotel California (1976)

Not only is the song “Hotel California” at the top of most people’s karaoke lists but is also one of the best albums to add to your collection. Hotel California is one of the best-selling albums of all time and will forever be cherished across the globe. It also has dreamy album art of the Beverly Hills Hotel shot by David Alexander. In addition to “Hotel California,” other noteworthy songs from this album include, “New Kid in Town,” and “Life in the Fast Lane.”

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)

This is one of the best-selling albums of all time for a good reason – it is one of the best albums of all time. This record has a hard time staying on the shelves because it is so heavily coveted. Stevie Nicks has an unparalleled voice that stands the test of time. This album fills the room with harmonies and bops that will get anyone dancing. Some of the most notable songs on this album are “Dreams,” “Go Your Own Way,” and “The Chain.” 

Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977)

This is one of Billy Joel’s best-selling albums to date. It was featured in Rolling Stone’s 500 Best Albums of All Time. This was Joel’s first time working with producer Phil Ramone and their creative chemistry set this record on fire. Some of his best work is included in this album including, “Vienna,” “She’s Always a Woman,” and “Just the Way You Are.”

The Clash – London Calling (1980)

Voted by Rolling Stone as the best album of the 1980s, this album featured a vibrant blend of genres mixing reggae, rock, jazz, and punk on a single LP. It has amazing sound quality for a punk album of its time and the album art alone has inspired many to add it into their collections. Some songs on this album include, “London Calling,” “The Guns of Brixton,” and “Stand By Me (Train in Vain).” 

Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)

It is the greatest selling album of all time for a reason – it is one of the best albums of all time. And nothing plays music better than a vinyl record. This album changed the music industry and has remained a top seller since it’s release. Some noteworthy songs on this LP are “Thriller,” “Billie Jean,” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin.”

Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

This was Wu Tang’s debut studio album and set the tone for hardcore hip hop. It was a greatly influential album in the hip hop world and has a grungy quality to the sound that is unmistakably epic. Some noteworthy songs from this LP are, “C.R.E.A.M.,” “Protect Ya Neck,” and “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit.”

Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die (1994)

This is a standout album in the hip hop genre and widely loved by all. This was Notorious B.I.G.’s last compilation of songs before he passed away and is thought of as a hip hop legacy. It includes many of his big hits like, “Juicy,” and “Big Poppa,” and houses some of the best hip hop songs of all time like, “Machine Gun Funk,” and “Gimme the Loot.” 

Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams (2005)

This laid-back album sounds amazing coming from a record player. It’s calming and a great mixture of folk rock and acoustic rock. This is one of those albums that makes your shoulders relax as soon as the music starts to flow. Some of the songs on this album include, “Better Together,” “Banana Pancakes,” and “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing.”

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (2013)

This French electronic music group was known for their eclectic style of funk, techno, disco, indie rock, and pop. This album sounds amazing on vinyl due to the bass being the emphasized base of the music. It is an incredibly detailed album with some of the best musicians, choirs, and orchestras. Some of the songs in this album include, “Get Lucky,” “Instant Crush,” and “Lose Yourself to Dance.”

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