Top 10 Concept Albums of All Time

As selected by the Songfacts community, these are the Top 10 Concept Albums of All Time.
10. Songs for the Deaf - Queens of the Stone Age

QotSA's third studio album takes you on a drive from Los Angeles to the Mojave Desert, all the while tuning into radio stations from towns on the way, such as Banning, California, and Chino Hills, California, always changing channels until one of the songs from the album is played.

But besides the entertaining radio announcements ("We play the songs that sound more like everyone else than anyone else."), with the ever-changing membership of the band, this album is also famous for featuring none other than Dave Grohl on drums, which, together with Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, and vocalist Mark Lenagan, was arguably one of the best lineups in their history.

~ Farin

9. Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) - The Kinks

Arthur (Or Decline and Fall Of The British Empire), 1969, was not the Kinks’ first concept album (that was their previous one, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society). But it turned out to be their best. With a collection of songs that have stood the test of time, and today, 40 years later, is as enjoyable as when it was first released in 1969.

The story that the songs detail is the one of Ray Davies' brother-in-law, Arthur, who emigrated from England to Australia with his wife Rose, Ray’s and Dave’s older sister. The album starts out with a description of the post WWI England, Victoria, continues with tidbits about life in Britain, WWII, and the move to the promised land, Australia:

“Opportunities are available in all walks of life in Australia
So if you're young and if you're healthy

Why not get a boat and come to Australia.”

In the magnificent song, "Shangri-La," we learn that life in Australia isn’t what the pair had expected. It isn’t the Shangri-La of their dreams:

“The gas bills and the water rates, and payments on the car
Too scared to think about how insecure you are
Life ain't so happy in your little Shangri-la.”

In the final song, "Arthur," we leave the protagonist at the end of his dream, trying to find out what went wrong:

“Arthur was born just a plain simple man

In a plain simple working class position
Though the world was hard and its ways were set
He was young and he had so much ambition.
All the way he was overtaken
By the people who make the big decisions.”

“Arthur–an Englishman's life and thoughts and hopes and dreams, stories that Ray Davies wrote and produced, little scenes that the Kinks act out in playing and singing, an album that is a masterpiece on every level: Ray Davies' finest hour, the Kinks' supreme achievement.” ~ From the Rolling Stone review, November 1, 1969

~ Dappled

8. Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake - Small Faces

Side 1 of Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake contains a number of great songs like "Afterglow (Of your Love)," and, of course, "Lazy Sunday."

But Side 2 is where things really get interesting as far as Concept Albums are concerned. It tells the story of Happiness Stan, who, together with a magic fly, embarks on the search for the missing half of the moon. The story itself is narrated by Stanley Unwin, a British comedian, in a half-English/half-gobbled ygook language he invented, while the dialogue between Stan and the various curious characters he meets takes the form of songs. It’s a very silly and fun album, and unlike most concept albums, it doesn’t try to make you think or convey any deep messages apart from “Life is just a bowl of All-Bran/You wake up every morning and it's there.” A documentary called the album “soul-tinged blues-rock and psychedelic pop with a flavour of mock-Cockney music hall” – sums it up pretty well.

~ The Seeker

7. The Wall - Pink Floyd

The songs from The Wall tell a story that relates to the events of Pink, the leading character. During Pink’s youth, he loses his dad in the war. His mother is very over-protective, and he is exploited in school by dictating teachers. Each of these heavy burdens is symbolized by being “another brick in the wall.” When Pink grows up, he sees new light in being a rock & roll icon. He gets involved in unfaithful relationships and is overburdened with drugs and violence. After the end of his marriage, Pink assembles the wall and isolates himself from society.

Pink begins a hazy thought process and becomes insane while behind the wall. He starts to fantasize about being a fascist ruler, and has concerts where he starts a bigotry authorization on the crowd. As a result, his conscience locks up on him and he begins a trial with his inner-self, demanding him to “tear down the wall” in order to free himself back into society, where he must make amends with the people he has hurt. The end of The Wall cycles back to the beginning, with a continuation of the melody during the final song.

~ Mindcrime

6. Pet Sounds - Beach Boys

Pet Sounds is a 1966 album recorded by American pop group The Beach Boys. The group's ninth studio album, it has been widely ranked as one of the most influential records ever released in Western pop music and has been ranked at No. 1 in several music magazines' lists of greatest albums of all time, including New Musical Express, The Times, Mojo Magazine, and Pure Pop's lists.

It was No. 2 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list. According to, Pet Sounds is the most acclaimed album of all time by music journalists.

~ Cyberjudge

5. Thick as a Brick - Jethro Tull

Thick As A Brick defines "concept album." In fact, it goes above and beyond by having only one song. Tull frontman Ian Anderson wrote Thick As A Brick in response to critics' calling Aqualung (their previous release) a "concept album." Anderson disagreed with this label, saying, "If the critics want a concept album we'll give them a concept album, and we'll make it so bombastic and so over the top."

His intention was to "spoof" prog acts of the time.

Ironically, Thick As A Brick placed Jethro Tull amongst the greats of prog rock. It epitomized everything prog: time signature changes are everywhere, the instrumentation is varied, the lyrics are oblique, and, of course, it consists of one 43-minute epic.

The concept even extends beyond the music and lyrics: TAAB's premise is that its lyrics were penned by a (fictional) 8-year-old, Gerald "Little Milton" Bostock, as an epic poem entered into a children's writing contest. The story of his entry, triumph, and subsequent disqualification are detailed in the liner notes, which consist of the newspaper of a small town (also fictional). The lyrics themselves are printed, along with numerous articles, all of them written by Ian Anderson, who has a great sense of humour. This furthers the "spoof" idea, mocking small-town journalism.

All in all, it's a great album, and the concept holds together very well. Also, its humourous presentation helps to stop it from seeming pretentious as many great prog albums might.

~ Foolonthehill

4. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust And the Spiders from Mars - David Bowie

We write five years before the end of the world. Natural resources are running out and the people's minds are losing grip with reality. David Bowie narrates the story of a young alien that visits the earth with a message of peace and love. Ziggy is a gifted guitar player and his band rises and falls during the length of the album.

On live shows, Bowie continued the concept by transforming into Ziggy Stardust calling his backing group "The Spiders from Mars," as one can enjoy on the 1973 concert movie with the same title as the original album.

Topping the UK charts upon release in 1972, this album received many good critiques and has grown to one of the albums that defines Bowie, and concept albums in general.

~ Viaene

3. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album by the British rock band The Beatles. Recorded over a 129-day period beginning on 6 December 1966, the album was released on 1 June 1967 in the United Kingdom, and the following day in the United States.

Sgt. Pepper is often described as The Beatles' magnum opus and recognized as one of the most influential albums of all time by prominent critics and publications. It was ranked the greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone in 2003.

~ Cyberjudge

2. Tommy - The Who

Released exactly one year after Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, Tommy is everything the Small Faces' album isn't, and vice versa. It had mass appeal, it did not veer off into a multitude of different genres, it had a message, and the music was a lot more mature.

Tommy introduced the rock opera to the masses, catapulted The Who to superstardom, and even though the story might not be very easy to understand just by listening to the album, it is undeniably there. It made the Top Ten of Q’s “Albums That Changed Music,” and even though The Pretty Things and Small Faces may have been a little faster with releasing their respective rock operas, the honour of being able to claim the invention of the concept of the rock opera still falls to The Who and their 1966 ‘mini opera,’ A Quick One, While He’s Away. And Tommy, released in 1969, was far more successful and influential than its predecessors.

~ The Seeker

1. The Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd

At a time when almost every British rock band was releasing concept albums, Pink Floyd managed to stand out from the pack with their outstanding 1973 album The Dark Side Of The Moon. Every track on the album is based on one of the many stresses of human life, including time, money, war, death, and insanity. The album is well known for its excellent instrumentation and revolutionary use of synthesizers to create an atmospheric feel.

The Dark Side Of The Moon is the only concept album in history to sell more than 40 million copies worldwide, and it truly deserves that honor. It is still as popular today as it ever was, and is regularly rated amongst the greatest and most influential albums of all time.

~ c_s_1987

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Comments: 213

  • Anonymous2112
  • Anonymouswhere’s “The Hazards of Love - The Decemberists”
  • Chris Jones from Fort Lauderdale, FlOperation Mindcrime should be here. A heavy version of Mozart opera, in concert, theme style.
  • George from Liverpool EnglandNine inch nails "The downward spiral" and The Who "Quadrophenia" certainly worth a mention here, can't argue with the number one though dark side of the moon is an eternal classic.
  • Michael Glover from Indiana, UsAnyone else think lists like these are almost always biased to older music? I mean really, a couple I dont even think ARE even concept albums. I think lists like these should be more open to newer music, and less afraid of branching away from the old, especially in lists like these. My personal bias coming up. I believe if they did this, more lists about concept albums would have American Idiot and Blake Parade, heck even Traquility Base Hotel + Casino is a better pick.
  • Brian Storms from Bothell, WaTo me a concept album is best when it is a story all the way through, not just songs related to a theme like Dark side, Sargent Peppers, Ziggy Stardust, Pet Sounds. I consider the Wall, Quadrophenia, Ogdens Nut Gone Flake true concept albums that actually have a story that is thematically bound through it's entirety. Of these albums, Quadrophenia appeals the most to me and by far has the most outstanding musicianship. The Wall is next although it is pretty dark. Ogdens is a silly story but fun.
  • Keith Brough from Barrow In Furness Where's lamb lies down from Genesis
  • Ben Richards from Ny, NyMeatloaf - Bat out of Hell
  • Mate from Bunnings Warehouseclipping- splendour and misery
  • Mr.twotimes from Cleveland, OhOperation Mindcrime
  • Richard The Dragon from OregonSo of course no heavy metal albums ever make these lists, unless you use the term loosely for Tull. Metallica's And Justice for All comes to mind, not as a story concept album but as a coherent concept throughout.
    Operation: Mindcrime is an obvious one.
    But what about the lesser known Savatage with Streets: a Rock Opera? (I highly recommend Streets as a masterful album, a great story, and just all around beautiful to listen to).
    And my last mention would be Billy Idol: Cyberpunk which is a nice dystopian future concept album and probably my favorite Idol bit (don't throw things I know my opinion isn't popular).
    Also, though I don't typically enjoy speed metal (as opposed to good ol heavy metal) King Diamond's "Them" is a nice ghost story if you can get past the loud noises lol
    Thats my offerings.
  • Joe from Eau ClaireMarilyn Manson- Antichrist Superstar
  • Jefferson Mearle from Levittown PaKiss - Music From The Elders
  • Hater from Under Ur BedNo "Metropolis part2: Scenes of a Memory"?
  • Hulesy from MemphisNo Marvin Gaye "what's going on" ... really?
  • Zach from Us"Revenge of the Byclops" and "Faith in Fiction" by Pink for President!!!
  • Kyle from UkWhy is Dream Theaters ''Scenes From a Memory'' and ''Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence'' not on here???
  • Ron D from Pennsylvania Days Of Future Passed by the Moody Blues not in the top ten? Check your facts...John Lennon himself said that Sgt. Peppers isn't really a concept record. You can remove it from here at anytime and add the real thing.
  • James from UsaWhat about 2112?
  • Marko from MoorookaAll great albums for sure but the very first "CONCEPT" album was Frank Sinatra, the title something like In the Wee Small hours, recorded 1955
  • Jean-luc Picard from QYou forgot about Borgasim by Warp 11.
  • Zabo from Dawson, Pa.What no Rush?
  • Bob from SagetYou dont have scenes of a memory by dream theater? One of the most revolutionary concept albums fot bolth the genre and music it self? You have no idea what you are talking about
  • John Farquharson from Perth ScotlandZiggy Stardust is my Number 1 fantastic album
  • Helmi from LebanonAnimals by Pink Floyd should be on this list. Purely a concept album that's brilliant and one of the best sound engineered albums of all time.
  • Odog from CanadaNeed to add Misplaced Childhood by Marillion and both Hemispheres and 2112 by Rush
  • Bw from New YorkConfessions by Usher
  • Siddharth from IndiaWhere is Alter Bridges' AB III and American Idiot?
  • Hue Br from BrazilThe Wall is garbage.
  • Rey_45 from QueenslandWhere the hell is The True Lives Of the Fabulous Killjoys, American Idiot, 21at Century Breadown, The Black Parade or Wretched and Divine?!?!?
  • Thys Hauptfleisch from Stellenbosch South Africawhite mansions?
  • Dove22 from Queensland Excuse me? Where is American Idiot?
  • Peaches143 from Central Valley, CaIf the criteria for a concept album is that it tell a cohesive story then where is the Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed or Jackson Browns - Running On Empty?
  • Mike from Brooklynthis list does not include "2112"? it does not include "operation mindcrime"? no "the lamb lies down on broadway"? no "kid a"? it discusses "ogden's gone nut flake" like it actually meant something to anyone and then presents "the rise and fall of ziggy..." in barely coherent fashion. exactly what are the credentials of the contributors and editors of this list. clearly you are neither professional musicians, composers, lyricists, writers, or critics?

    i like the kinks, i like small faces, i like qotsa... but NONE of these albums are top 10 material and you all know this. yes. i am hostile to a list this remarkably negligent. this list is useless at best, at worst, it is a testament to the decline of music history/writing/art criticism education.
  • Billy from GlasgowThe lamb lies down on Broadway by Gabriel era Genesis, Misplaced childhood by Fish era Marillion, Six by Mansun, Wish you were here by pink Floyd, SF sorrow by the pretty things, captain Lockheed and the starfighters by Robert Calvert, 25 years on by Hawklords, Quadrophenia by the who, seventh son of a seventh son by iron Maiden and tales from topographic oceans by yes are 10 albums that would grace any list. Such a difficult subject to put together the ten best concept albums.
  • Dude from Downtown What?! "Quadrophenia" is way better than 10 & 9 and deserves to be up there
  • Grahame from CanadaAll very good... as music is so subjective, the only ones I would add is Court of the crimson king as it seems all tied together as a concept album and one of my personal favorites Olias of Sunhillow by Jon Anderson lead singer of Yes
  • Jack from EnglandDream Theater has "Metropolis Part II: Scenes from a Memory". I'm just sayin'.
  • Christian Creel from MéxicoThe concept albums by ELO like TIME, ELDORADO can compete easily and win too!

    You can hear complete this two and all the rest here:
  • Jodie from XxVery disappointed not to see Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime. It's excellent.
  • Nate Aloisio from GeorgiaNo "Into the Electric Castle"?
  • John Bowers from TorontoAnyone who doesn't have Queensryche's "Operation Mindcrime in their Top 3, you can throw their list away in the garbage can-
  • Madison from New YorkI think "The Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance deserves a spot. It's incredibly well-written and there are few, if any, plot holes in the story.
  • Thomas from TexasYou forgot The Ninth Wave by Kate Bush
  • Carlos Escudero from United Statesangra- temple of shadows
  • Jole Blon from LouisianaNot saying it deserves to make the list of top 10, although it would make my own personal list, but Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger deserves at least a mention in the comments.
  • Mainman from Your Mommas HousePornograffiti by Extreme is an amazing concept album about a young boy growing up with each song showing him change based on experiences and effects from the outside world.
  • Iranuntius from NoneofyourbusinessDon't forget time ( ELO ), the black parade ( my chemical romance), the lamb ( you should know who wrote this one) and 2112 ( Rush)
  • Personontheinternet from NetherlandsTwo Faced Charade by Famous Last Words (They will be releasing the short movie about this album this march), Rise of the Runaways by Crown The Empire AMD their album The Fallout, Council pf the Dead by Famous Last Words.
  • Ashton Lee from Planet EartgI am disappointed to see that not only did "Ok Computer" by Radiohead not make this list, but it is nowhere to be found even in these comments! I think it deserves to be on there, as well as 2112 by Rush.
  • Christi Pilkington from Little Rock, ArYes....this is my all time favorite music to listen to. It's a mood changer for me. Live Pink Floyd!
  • Brown Sugar from DcYou're forgetting:
    Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" and "Neon Bible"
    Muse's "Absolution", "Black Holes and Revelations", and "The Resistance"
    Green Day's "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown"
    The Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" and "The Terror"
    Pedro the Lion's "Winners Never Quit"

    It's a decent list but Sgt. Peppers shouldn't be on there and it's missing some of the most renowned concept albums of all time.
  • Cody from MichiganWhat about queensryches operation mind crime that should be on there
  • Richii from Knox InMasstaden - Vildhjarta? This list is okay but it'smissingsome great albums from the 2000-2010s.
  • Ste from LiverpoolNo "Freak Out!" by the Mothers?
    "Joes Garage" by Zappa?
    "Wish You Were Here" by Floyd?
    "Sgt Peppers" is barely a concept album, just a really good album that is opened and closed by the same song.
    Confused as to how "Pet Sounds" is a concept album also.
    Nevertheless, not a bad list
  • Gee from FloridaList is good, but essentially meaningless without Moody Blues Days of Future Passed
  • Ropesnipe from TexasRush-2112
  • Dominic Bruno from IllinoisWhere is Green Day's American Idiot. Its possibly the most influential album of my generation. It also is the only one of these stories that relates to teenagers finding their way in life. It has a deep deep story to go with it. My favorite concept album deserves to be on this list. The lost generation should have a say too!
  • Fuplup from Cape GirardeauThe Fifth Dimension's "Magic Garden" is very much overlooked.
  • Denis Manbode from MauritiusRoger Waters is genius
  • Dantheman from RadW.A.S.P.'s 'Crimson Idol' and Paradox's 'Heresy' are some of the best.
  • Andrew Fox from WatfordDream Theater - Metropolis Part 2: Scenes from a Memory!
  • Alec67Pet Sounds should be number 2 and SMiLE should be number 1!! The Smile Sessions album would've been the first true concept album (with reappearing motifs and codas throughout) if it were released in '67! Brian Wilson's solo album of SMiLE has all of the completed lyrics, but The Smile Sessions is what was Almost released in '67, but was delayed until '11. Check them both out if you haven't. And consider it for the top spot!
  • Willbgood from DaisyworldThe Division Bell involves a truly amazing concept. Read about it here:
  • AnonymousWhere in the name of all that is wonderful is Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime?? Even those top 2 listed would have a hard time to match the brilliance of QR's OM.
  • Simone WTF?!?! Where is "The lamb"????
  • AnonymousAll I have to say is that I'm disappointed that 2112 by Rush was left out. Other than that, good list.
  • DrjonesmdTommy is the Greatest piece of art ever created. If you think I'm exaggerating, I'm not. LISTEN TO THIS ALBUM It will change your life
  • Blue from Salinas1. Pet Sounds shuld be number 1. 2. Where the fluff is Jeff Wayne's War Of The Worlds or even more important where is Days Of Future Passed.
  • AnonymousGong's "Radio Gnome" trilogy is pretty rad.
  • Big T from SeattleMindcrime is masterpiece. It's an album that gets you thinking. It's an album that makes you feel the characters not only by the words of the story but also through the tone of the music, you can feel the confusion felt by Nikki, and the pure evil of Doc X. Truly amazing.
  • Michael J from Long Island,nyMindcrime isn't by a "cool" band, that's why it isn't on the list. Doesn't make it any less incredible. My favorite album of all time.
  • Henry Hamilton-smythe from New YorkLamb Lies Down on Broadway is superior in every way to the albums on this list. It is far more original and inventive. Really? Please
  • Alex from Dunedin, NzIt's an interesting selection, and I definitely agree with the inclusion of the Pink Floyd albums, but I personally think that NIN's "Downward Spiral" and "Year Zero" should be included, as well as Dream Theater's "Metropolis Part II: Scenes From A Memory". I don't know if these were not included as a result of them not being known about, or people not liking them, but I think they should be considered.
  • AnonymousHow is The Downward Spiral by the NIN not even on this list?
  • Darren from BristolI don't have any real problem with this list. At the end of the day all good albums in their own right. But I would personally have to have "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye in my top ten. And I've always been a bit partial to Grace Jones/Trevor Horn's Slave to the Rhythm album. And then there's Bjork's Medulla which I absolutely love. And pretty much any Kraftwerk-computer world would be my choice. The Downward Spiral by NIN? Without a particular set of criteria that defines concept album it really is just personal choice. Never liked Pet Sounds by the way. It might be both groundbreaking - in some ways - and influential but I just find the actual songs - with exception of the two obvious standout tracks - very very ordinary. At best. Peace.
  • Beren from IstanbulOperation: Mindcrime by Queensryche.
    You shouldnt create a list including only popular ones, sir. Otherwise I must judge you for your ignorance.
  • Fraser from UkWheres Quadrophenia?
  • Bob from LiverpoolJeff Wayne - War Of The Worlds?
  • Russ from HoustonCan't believe Mindcrime isn't on this list somewhere. I'm with you Mike and Steve! Favorite album of all time for me!!
  • Mike from BarrowOperation Mindcrime beats them all hands down
  • Alyssa from Phoenix, Azthis site is cool! i definately agree that Pink's Dark Side is number one!! and cool enough, i'm gonna use this site as a resource for my "Justifying an Evaluation Essay". i have a few questions pertaining to this site, such as, date of publication and author's names, it doesn't have to be everyone's you could just give me the author whom had structured this specific article and put all the comments together. i would greatly appreciate it! my essay is due in like 6 hours! lol thanks !!
  • Stevethemighty-oWtf! Definitely operation mindcrime for sure, but what about a whole freaking concept band? I'm appealed that Coheed and Cambria is nowhere to be seen on this page! From start to finish the amity wars and it's prequels blow all but pink Floyd and queensryche outta the water
  • Thislistsucks from Los AngelesI expect some better concept albums on here. These are just classic ones. I mean come on, some arent even really CONCEPT albums. Armor For Sleep has one of the best concept albums of the new era . So does Boys Night Out. These are just "classics" thats kinda rep. a concept. if that.
  • Sanjoy from India, Kolkata.The Dark Side is the best ever.
  • Charlie"Smile" by Brian and the Beach Boys was much more of a "concept album" than Pet Sounds.

    Complete Albums only rules out greats like "2112" & "Wish You Were Here"
  • Bill from ChelmsfordTry "The Snow Goose" by Camel, well worth a listen. If you like it they are performing it again at the Barbican in October.
  • Boffo from BrooklynGenesis, Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Truly long strange trip, with incredible lyrics and music. Like something from Coleridge, Wordsworth, or Tennyson
  • Ryan from Hawaii"American Idiot" by Green Day is a really good but depressing concept album that follows the life of Jesus of Suburbia, an anti-hero-like figure and his path to self-destruction.
  • TryscairPain of Salvation - The Perfect Element
  • Chris from CaliforniaOctavarium by Dream Theater
  • Adrian Lines from Wigan UkHow can you have a top ten concept album list without 'War of the Worlds' and the 'Hazards of Love' !!!
  • Michael from Missourihello..operation:mindcrime....
  • Aleksi from NiOn a lesser known note, 'Symphony Of Enchanted Lands' by Rhapsody of Fire and 'Imaginaerum' by Nightwish are excellent concept albums.
  • Joey Vanzetti from BristolBoys Night Out - Trainwreck

    It follows the loss of sanity of one man following the murder of his wife he committed in his sleep, amazing album
  • Alvinex from Dominican RepublicCan somebody please tell me how to stop listening to Scenes from a Memory?? I know I need to stop and listen to new stuff but I just can't!!!
  • Ryan from UsaI think Rush should be in this list. 2112 is more of a concept album than Dark Side of the Moon and I think it is a better album.
  • Lasersheep from West Valley City, UtahAll of the Pink Floyd mentioned deserve a spot. Roger Waters simply knew how to write concept albums. I loved seeing Dream Theater's "Scenes From a Memory", however I would have to add "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" by Dream Theater. I'm a heavy hardcore metalhead, but Floyd is/will be my all time favorite.
  • Tim Kelly from St. Louis, Mo.FIRST, CONCEPT ALBUMS ARE A LOT OLDER THAN ROCK, SO THE TITLE FOR THIS FEATURE SHOULD BE "THE TOP ROCK CONCEPT ALBUMS. SECONDLY ROCK IS ALL INCLUSIVE TO ANY BAND THAT USES ELECTRIC GUITARS, KEYBOARDS, DRUMS, AND SO ON. SO HEAVY METAL, ACID, POP, HARD, AND ALL THE OHTER LABELS SHOULD BE INCLUDED. NEXT THE CRITERIA FOR LISTING THE BEST IN NUMERICAL ORDER, i.e. 1 to whatever, should include the best concept, holding to that concept, structure of the music and lyrics, instrumentation, imagination, manipulation of the concept to cause more than one concept to be derived from the listener, how memorable and ease of recognition with just a few notes played, and finally sales. the concept album is nothing more than a series of songs strung together in a specific string, so as to generate a general/identical theme and/or idea, that each song must exhibit. In more basic terms, it tells a story. Rock Concept albums were first introduced in Europe, by groups like The Move, The Moody Blues, Floyd and so on, but were never really widely excepted in the U.S. until Days of Futures Past, by the Moody Blues, was released during the middle of the British Invasion. Americans liked it because it told a story, but more because the conservative U.S.record companies could sell it with the additon of the London Symphony for backup on the album. It was the bridge the rich and the poor were looking for to finally put rock music in the concrete foundation, that the Big Bands, Country Music and Rock and Roll had in the history of the American Music listening public. Yet, there was still one last element missing, to put it over the top and blow everything else away. Futuristic sound. It was the late sixties and we were headed for the moon. America was only thinking 21st century and a new sound. Electronically synthesized music. The MOOG effect. A little known studio band called, "Alan Parson's Project," joined the Genius of Roger Waters and David Gilmore to produce, "Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon." this concept album has out sold, outlived, crossed more generations and is more recoganized by hundreds of millions than any other music album in the world since its inception. Therefore it should be no question that it will alkways be number one toi anyone with a brain. That concept albums have almost ceased to exist in the new generations of music since the mid to late ninties, should make compliling the total list of Rock concept albumns relatively simple. Once compiled it could be given to people all around the world to peruse and vote on. Remember this is only "Rock," style music. Not centuries of native music, like Celtic, Indonesia, African tribal, American Indian, and such, so, strict audiophiles calm down and focus. Gangster rap and the like are not true concept albums, they are more of a politicized rant than anything else. But I digress. Groups like Yes, Tull, ELO, Beatles, Cooper, Sabbath, Genisis, Vangelis, just to tip the iceberg, are what we are looking to list. There will be a few hundred at most. It is very hard to find the genius it takes to do a true concept album, in most bands. A lot more have tried and failed miserably. Some bands are repeat producers of various concept albums. Floyd, Moody Blues and ELO come to mind. So, one of you computer techs need to build a site that we can all go to to vote and listen to each album, just incase some of us have never heard it before. That way when we cast our vote, it will also show that we listened to mor than just a few albums. It will make for a more truthful and accurate vote. The vote should take about three years to compile with one vote per person. that way nobody rushes to judgement. Finally, no running tote. no one should be influenced by what the pack is voting for. That's how bands get lost in the shuffle and true genius is never heard. This has to be fair. Have fun with this. Hope I have helped.
  • Don Kelley from Maple Ridge, Bc, CanadaDream Theater - Scenes from a Memory - up there with The Wall, Dark Side, and Amused to Death (which too is brilliant). The final cut is good but it gets to me at time. I also happen to love the Pros and Cons of hitchhiking. It's not that PF/Waters single handedly wrote the only concept albums, but they/he did them quite brilliantly in a way I enjoy.
  • Bluespro from WisconsinMiles Davis - Bitches Brew is #1.
  • Ford Prefect from UsaYou guys and your Final Cut. Yes, it's good but it's no Dark Side or the Wall. It's not even Amused to Death, which is a truly phenomenal piece of work.
  • Quonk from Florida, UsaPink Floyd's The Final Cut deserves mention here. A complete masterpiece.
  • AlmafuerteI still don't understand how is it that The Wall isn't considered by everyone to be the single best piece of, not just music, ART, ever created in the history of humanity. The Story, the music, the infinite layers of complexity hidden in that masterpiece.
  • Chuck from South CarolinaList could have easily been a "Top 25" and some would still be left out. My personal favorites are "Time" from ELO and "Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds". "Mr. Roboto" from Styx would also be in a Top 25 list.
  • Bill from MemphisI think the greatest Moody Blues album was Seventh Sojourn. Great songs.
  • Simon C > from LiverpoolThe final Cut is the best of the lot!
  • Aaron EAlice Cooper Goes To Hell is a piece of art that deserves to be listed.
  • Rutvik from Mysore IndiaAhem...Scenes from a memory by some quintet called Dream theater..
  • Dave Wright from CanadaJeff Wayne's War of The Worlds...Transatlantic's Whirlwind Ayreon's The Human Equation
  • Joe from Penfield,paCheck out Eldorado by ELO.....Jeff Lynne is a genius!
  • Dave from Newark, De"Concept albums" tell a cohesive story,[(Tommy, The Wall (& others)] as compared to at mospheric albums which most of all better ones are. I'm sure we've all listened to an album (CD,tape,etc.) & heard a song that "doesn't fit". Excepting "best of's"
  • Mike from New YorkWhere is Joe's Garage by Frank Zappa???
  • Chris from My CubicleSo… the only contemporary album on this list is Queens of the Stone Age? I agree with My Chemical Romance and Queensryche, but THE most glaring omission is The Hazards of Love by the Decemberists.
  • Riffio from DenverThis list can't be taken seriously when it includes obscure no-names and doesn't include Operation:Mindcrime, which is easily the best concept album of all time. It's tale of a corrupt society is even more true today than it was 20 years ago.
  • M@tthew from United StatesAnyone else notice Supertramp's Crime Of The Century is missing?
  • Shane from KentuckyOperation: Mindcrime is the singular most brilliant album ever recorded. Period.
  • AnonymousLiars- Drums Not Dead
  • Holly from OrThe Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis
  • Cat from MassachusettsAG already got The Black Parade, but Danger Days by My Chemical Romance is a pretty cool concept, too.
  • Ray from MiamiI second Metropolis 2 and it gets my vote for best concept album along with Sgt. Peppers.
  • Charlotte Feddersen from Minnesota"The Downward Spiral" by Nine Inch Nails is hands down the best concept album.
  • Ag from SeattleIntereting list; what about "Welcome to the Black Parade," My Chemical Romance's finest hour?
  • Roger from OzI think Quadrophenia and Animals should have been on this list
  • Sam from ConnecticutYou should also check out some metal concept albums, some really powerful stuff. My personal favorites will always be dimension hatross by Voivod, and my two favorite stories of all time, Something Wicked, by Iced Earth, which is seperated into several albums and then a box set, and the extremely powerful The Crimson Idol, by W.A.S.P. check these out.
  • Anastasia from ChicagoOpeth (My arms your hearse) truly breathtaking. always worth a read through of lyrics, a look up in wiki, and a listen. Do it. DO IT NOW!
  • Bill Marsh from CanadaNobody mentions Days of Futures Past---Moody Blues
  • Dan from FlPrince Paul: "A Prince Among Thieves"
  • Bernie from Toledo OhioYes- Close to the Edge, easily one of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring albums I've ever heard, let alone only a concept album, yet it's not on any of the lists I've looked at for greatest albums or concept albums.
  • AengusEvening Train by Mick Flannery. Give it a listen, it's sick.
  • Logan from Rockhampton, Aust.Metropolis 2: Scenes from a memory was pretty damn cool too!
  • RhysJust a thought. It seems that no-one has mentioned Serge Gainsbourg's 'L'Histoire de Melody Nelson'? It wasn't just rock that produced concept albums.
  • Eli from Ontario, CanadaIt's certainly not legendary, but Protest the Hero's Kezia has a very interesting concept. Also, everything Coheed and Cambria has put out at the time of writing has been an amazing concept album.
  • Keith from Gilmer TexasRush Hemispheres is another deeeep concept album
  • AnonymousSupertramp "Crime of The Century" is as conceptual as they come.
  • Srbarrilete from ArgentinaThe Lamb...
  • Bm from CanadaRoger Waters Amused to Death
  • Maario from Portland, OrPorcupine Tre: "In absentia" 2002
  • Andy from Newcastle Australiamastodon - crack the skye? one of the best alternative/metal concept albums ever... all you need to hear is "the czar"
  • JasonSeventh son of a son by Iron Maiden should be on here.
  • Dante From Wherever You Want Me To BeNo Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime??? My God...I agree with most of whats on the list but not to have OMC in the top 10 is just plain ridiculous, so I'll just ignore this "Top 10 Concept Albums of All Time"
  • Iankgtr from JingletownOperation Mindcrime by Queensryche is absolutely fantastic. Every song is part of a brilliant, well-developed, and most importantly CLEAR storyline. Also, Green Day's American Idiot is excellent. Although it is a basic story, it perfectly captures the teenage angst of the decade, both musically and lyrically.
  • Matt Mason from Nova Scotia, Canada2112, while an incredible album and a most insane song, does not count as a concept album because the rest of the album does not relate to "2112" in any way, shape or form.
  • Dreamwind from RomaniaOne of my favorites is "Be" by Pain of Salvation and Marillion's Clatching at Straws and Childhood's End
  • Dougeee from San Bernardino, CaMy list would definitely include "2112", "The Wall" and "Dark Side of the Moon." Some of my other favorites include ELO's "Time" and Moody Blues' "Days of Future Passed." I am also a big Alan Parsons fan and several of Alan Parsons' albums, notably "Turn of a Friendly Card", "On Air", "I Robot", and "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" all deserve mention.
  • Tracey from NycIron Maiden's Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
  • Tracey from NycQueensryche's Operation: Mindcrime
  • Locknut from Wabash, InI know you couldnt put them all on here, but one,you'de have to consider(in my opinion) is "Tumbleweed Connection" by Elton John. I'm not a big EJ fan, although all of his albums have at least two or three songs I like, every cut on this album takes you back to the civil war days.When I hear it I can see old barns and log houses. Men carrying musckets off to battle. And thats without any artificial help! Anyway, pretty good album. Elton and Bernie did some classic work in my book!
  • Reg from Kemptville, OnYes, Joel, "Days of Future Passed" is one of the best ever IMHO.
  • No Name from No Home"The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" by Genesis in 1974??? The masterpiece of legend Peter Gabriel (who is still a relevant musician by the way) and megastar Phil Collins on drums before he was a megastar. Don't know how that couldn't be top 3 let alone not even crack the top 10.
  • Paul from LondonThe Pretty Things - S.F. Sorrow, the first rock opera and still the best.
  • Aubrey from Ottawa Canadapet sounds? how about 2112. and yes roger waters has to be on here twice he's the man. I love Sgt.Pepper butg it really only has three "concept" songs.
  • AnonymousOperation: Mindcrime should be on the list.
  • Kori Dee from Canadawhat about alice coopers' welcome to my nightmare?...or queensryche's operation mindcrime?
  • Amelia from FloridaI am a bit disappointed that 2112 or Hemispheres by Rush is not on the list, along with Led Zeppelin III. But I do like most of the list.
  • Steve from AustraliaSurely a concept album is a set of tracks that all contribute to one over/underlying creative concept. It's arguable whether that includes telling a story, and how direct that needs to be. For example, Springsteen's Born to Run could be produced - with the songs in album order - as a rock opera along the lines of West Side Story, but the individual songs aren't directly related to each other.
    Most of the albums on the list qualify - but not Pet Sounds by any stretch. Without that (dreadful) cover, the title and contents are unrelated.
  • Joel Forman from New YorkThe Moody Blues "Days Of Future Passed"?
  • Leo London from OrSnap, and what about Deltron 3030?
  • Leo London from OrI thought the list was good, but I would consider Zaireeka by the Flaming Lips, Soft Parade by The Doors and Funeral by Arcade Fire. Roger Waters doesn't need to be on the list twice.
  • Lucio from Barletta Italywhere is alice cooper?
    "welcome to my nightmere" or "last temptation" should be here
  • David from MassachusettsMissing Led Zeppelin III ?
  • Keenan from HoustonWrong, 2112 is #1 - Turn of a Friendly Card is in the Top 10
  • Funkspiel from SeychellesI wonder, what is a concept album, anyway?

    A Love Supreme is a concept album according to Coltrane in the liner notes, so I'll go with that or Quadrophenia.

  • Jersey from New JerseyLive at Leeds by The Who- Hands down.
  • I Don't Know from Who Knows WhereQuadrophenia is a better concept album (better music/theme/cover art) then tommy even though it isn't the first.
  • Smasher from LondonThe Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis? Four sides of prog rock genius. And Peter Gabriel in a mad rubber suit.
  • Kylan from Canada, Manitoba Err The Soup Pea CapitolThis list is also missing newer albums, excluding songs for the deaf, like De-loused in the comatorium and Frances the mute by the mars volta and any of coheed and cambria's albums or Nine Inch Nails year zero.
  • Joe from FairbanksRUSH 2112 is not on the list???????
  • Caitlin from Colmesneil, TxI agree. Freaking IRON MAIDEN is where it's at! SEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON was THE best metal concept album ever!!!
  • Jtmontclair from Oakland CaIn the Court of the Crimson King
  • AnonymousTHis list and the comments gives me some new stuff to listen to: pretty things, small faces. Didn't know they also made concept albums.
    I also miss Genesis' LLDOB on this list.
  • Dave from FloridaHow can any ranking of concept albums not include works from such bands as Emerson, Lake and Palmer? Brain Salad Surgery was groundbreaking when it was released and the tours were spectacular. What about Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Center of the Earth? What about Fragile from Yes? What about The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis? Joe's Garage by Zappa? Even Santana's Abraxas would have been a better choice than anything from the Beach Boys or The Kinks.

    Suffice it to say I find your list sorely lacking. I realize that it's an opinion and we all know about opinions but I feel as though my protestations are valid and justifiable.
  • Eddie from London, EnglandSeventh son of a Seventh Son is one of the greatest albums of all time.
  • AnonymousWhy wasn't Green Day's American Idiot on here? That album was great!!! :)
  • Edna from SpainI love the list!! :)
    Yet I miss Sticky Fingers... ;)
  • BazilMany a good things have been said about "missing" albums; however, I don't believe in tops, but is unthinkable that Zappa end Genesis (TLLDOB) aren't there.
    Of course, no one seems to be aware of the greatness and one-of-a-kindness of S.F. Sorrow, the brilliant concept album - and one of the first - of The Pretty Things. That's too bad!
  • AnonymousEr excuse me,anybody ever heard of a little ol' album called highway 61 by a mr bob dylan!!!! Not only a brillant "concept" but one of the best albums of all time!
  • AnonymousRush - Hemispheres
  • AnonymousSEVENTH SON OF A SEVENTH SON BY IRON MAIDEN! Bruce Dickinson's voice is awesome on that album!

    "And be reborn again..." Do you know how hard that last note is to hit?! I know, I've tried!
  • AnonymousAlan Parson's "Tales of Mystery and Imagination".
  • AnonymousQueensryche: Operation Mindcrime??? Should have been #1 on the list.
  • Big Ern Xxx from Melbourne AustraliaThe Liberty Of Norton Folgate by Madness! It's even got an excellent film to go with it and to drag it together...

    Of course, all Madness albums are concept albums!

    And That's Life by Sham 69.....but nobody EVER mentions that one! even though it's kinda like American Idiot by Green Day....just as good in it's own way

    But NOBODY ever mentions that either!

    Until now!
  • AnonymousDream Theater - "Metropolis Pt 2: Scenes from a Memory" should absolutely be discussed and considred here. That is an epic, powerful work and rightfully the greatest acheivement of a phenomal band.
  • AnonymousI see a lot of problems with this list. For one thing, Sgt Peppers and Pet Sounds aren't concept albums. I'd also like to ask why The Who's Quadrophenia Isn't on the list. And finally, Pink Floyd's The Wall should be waaaaaaaay higher on the list than it is. It should be at least number 3
  • Pravda FlyersGenesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

    How can you miss it?
  • AnonymousI believe you guys were right on the money by putting "The Dark Side of the Moon" as #1. It happens to be my favorite album of all time.

    And for you people praising the Moody Blues, in my opinion "A Question of Balance" is a MUCH better album than "Days of Future Passed".
  • Michelle B. Loves The WhoI think Tommy should be replaced with Quadrophenia, like many have stated. Quadrophenia is lesser known then Tommy, but definitely better, in my honest opinion. The Who are my all time favorite band, and being a die hard fan I can easily say that Quadrophenia's concept may not have been as brilliant or as creative as Tommy, but the songs and musicianship on the album is top notch. John Entwistle's bass playing shines through here, as well as Keith's drumming (which is epic), Pete's brilliant songwriting (I'm One, The Real Me, Love Reign O'er Me, Punk and the Godfather), and Roger's voice is so powerful especially in Quadrophenia. Plus, even though the concept isn't as creative, it's still brilliant. Many teens and adults can identify or have identified with Jimmy in Quadrophenia, being lost, fitting in, realizing that what you have been apart of is superficial and your role model is a joke. Been there done that, that's why Quadrophenia should at least be on this list!
  • John from BrazilWhat about " Pictures at an exibition " by ELP?
    It should be quoted as a VIP concept album in any list as far as I am concerned.
  • The SeekerQuadrophenia is a great album, no doubt, and the concept behind it is equally great - but as for Tommy vs Quadrophenia: Tommy was first, Tommy was the album that saved The Who when they were down in the dumps (both financially and as a band) after Sell Out, and the impact of Tommy was greater than that of Quadrophenia.

    And a couple of albums all of you mentioned were indeed nominated. They just didn't make the final 10.
  • Anonymousi hate to even think i could post on this list, but being born in 76, and gradually learning to love older (sorry) music, HOW does one define "Concept Albums" and has there even been one since 1990?
  • ThegripesterApropos of concept albums, it's odd that this list doesn't include any selections from the man who invented the concept album, Frank Zappa. "Freak Out" came out a full year before "Sgt. Peppers," then of course there was "We're Only In It For The Money," Chunga's Revenge," and many others.
  • ThegripesterThe description of the Kinks' album Arthur is wrong. The protagonist doesn't move to Australia, his SON moves to Australia. Every song on the album is about a facet of BRITISH middle-class existence in the generation that fathered the Kinks. The protagonist is born into a "clean" society (Victoria), is drafted into the Army and fights in the war (Yes Sir, No Sir), lives in a row-house with a pretentious name (Shangri-La), buys a car (Drivin'), and after slaving hard to make his life and his country a better place, his son moves to Australia.

    The whole album takes place on the day that Arthur's son is taking the boat to Australia. Realizing that this may be the last time he will see his son, Arthur goes into a reverie and thinks about all of the meaningful times in his life, each of which are represented by songs. This album was actually the soundtrack collection to a projected BBC series, which was pulled at the last moment without explanation.
  • KarinaWith regard to Ziggy Stardust one should mention that there are other good concept albums that we owe to the genius of David Bowie. Everybody should check out Bowie's dystopian masterpiece "Diamond Dogs", in which he evokes an apocalyptical world ravaged by scavenging creatures whereas the last human beings are pushed to emotional extremes. There is also a concept album feel to "Lodger", in which the notion of voyage is explored in every conceivable sense. I have never come across any piece of music evoking different local colours so vividly. The combined genius of Bowie and Eno is simply unmatched. Furthermore, you should have a look at the "art murder story" of "1. Outside", as usual a profound "Bowian" analysis of human doubts, anguish and sorrow.
  • Jdavis8303Oops! You left out "Smile" by Brian Wilson. A concept album 35 years in the making and the most anticipated rock/pop album in history.
  • DMy favorite album of all time and possibly the greatest concept album ever: QUADROPHENIA! The f***in' WHO! 1973! Very very happy, though, to see other Wholigans supporting this one :)
  • DanielOh, Come on now Rush 2112 HAS to Be At Least number 2 Or 1!!! I can't believe Ya'll missed this album altogether
  • AnonymousNote that the list is labeled "Top 10", not "Only 10". There are more than 10 concept albums out there, the list is the top of the genre.
  • AnonymousThe Who's "Quadrophenia" is a personal favorite of mine.
  • JoshuaYet another one they forgot: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway by Genesis - an album nothing at all like anything the group had ever done before or since.
  • Anonymousuh, "Pet Sounds" is a concept album? That's news to me.
  • AnonymousAgreed w/ all the other "entrants" but to 'me' any list that excludes Exile On Main Street by the Rolling Stones simply isn't complete.

    Although not a "concept" album in the traditional sense ( mainly really cool/trippy artwork on the cover ) EOMS surpasses most in it's "depth" of the work. More over, it's a listenable today as the day it was released. Unfortunately ( for me ) many of the Best-Selling albums of all time are hopelessly trapped in the era in which they were recorded.
  • AnonymousThe who sell out has to be on this list.
  • AnonymousI enjoyed ELO's LP Eldorado hundreds of times over a period of 20 years never realizing the common thread through the tracks that made this an amazing concept album. When i bought the CD and read the liner notes i learned that each song was based on dreaming, hence the Wizard of Oz cover art. how did i miss that??
  • JerryQuadrophenia not here?? Someone didnt' complete their homework.
  • CriticalacclaimHow is Rush- 2112 not on here?
  • VoicedudeAgreed about the Moody's DOFP!

    You should all do yourselves an enormous favor and check out a little known gem from the mid-70s called "Hope" by Klaatu. I own or at least am familiar with every album listed here, and I still think this album ranks up there in the top three.

    A misunderstood trio of Canadian studio musicians went for the gold after some DJ declared them to be the Beatles reunited (NOT their own claim, btw!), and by the time this album came out, the anti-Klaatu backlash had begun,

    Shame, too. "Hope" was not only their best album, but one of the greatest of all time, imho. You'll hear what not only sounds like the Beatles, but Pink Floyd, Yes, Queen, and ELO as well. At that point you'll wonder WHY these guys aren't mentioned in the same breath.

    Currently available with remastered sound through Bullseye Records of Canada, it is the perfect headphones CD.
  • AnonymousMany albums missing here:

    * ELO - Eldorado
    * Rush - 2112
    * The Who - Quadrophenia
    * Peter Gabriel - Ovo
    * Meatloaf - Bat Out of Hell
    * Frank Sinatra - Watertown
    * Rick Wakeman - The Six Wives of Henry the VIII
    * Yes - Tales from Topographic Oceans
    * The Mothers - Another Band from LA
    * Elvis Costello - Armed Forces
    * The Clash - London Calling
    * Roger Waters - The Pros and Cons of Hitchhicking
    * The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour
  • AnonymousThe Who's third rock opera, Quadrophenia, is lesser-known, but in my opinion, better than Tommy.
  • RockofagestriviaThat's a good list..I never knew that about "Thick as a Brick".
    I haven't read the message boards yet but I think it's common knowledge that Sgt Peppers was not a good representation of a concept album (The Beatle's admitted it wasn't one) and I don't see how Pet Sounds is even remotely is considered one.
  • AnonymousQueensryke Operation Mindcrime should be on the list, I recently saw them perform mindcrime 1 & 2 live with actors and its my favorite
  • AnonymousAnd what about Marillion's brilliant "Misplaced Childhood"
  • Michael from FloridaIt is this constant over-looking of the Moodies that keeps them out of the Hall of Fame. "Days of Future Passed" is not only one of the finest concept albums ever released, it is also one of the most popular. For shame, Song Facts!
  • AnonymousWho forgot the Moody Blues' Days Of Future Passed?
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