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Concept Album


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There are many but I have to say that Pink Floyd's, "The Wall" is the best over all Concept work of the current/resent era of music. I have many favorites but this one is top-self for me.

 

The shear popularity of it is one reason, yes, Dark Side of the Moon is the biggest selling and one of the first true "non-literal" work's but, I see The Wall as the one to mark as #1.

 

The Beatles, "Sargent Pepper" is a close 2nd as it is the first "Vanilla" Concept project and is one of the biggest selling disc's of our time.... of coarse barring the Beach Boy's, "Pet Sound's", it's for sure a Concept work but it just don't cut it for me (I still like them though). The late 1970's and early 1980's had birthed some fantastic technology to make it possible to make things jell with out losing quality and/or sounding cheesy.

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Very, very subjective...good topic! Yes 'The Wall' is a classic but I would put 'Dark Side' above it as it is concentrated into one single disc.

I am not sure what a 'Vanilla' concept album is, but any good concept album should be a bit pompous, overblown, self-important and pretentious by definition, surely?

Does Jeff Wayne's 'War Of The Worlds' really qualify as it is based on a pre-existing SF tale by H.G. Wells? And is 'Ziggy Stardust' a true concept album? How about 'What's Going On'?

The Who's 'Tommy' and 'Quadrophenia' certainly are 2 classic this-how-you-do-it concept albums IMO. Someone here should be able to list Rush's concept albums (hey Kaleb!) of which there are several.

I would also like to nominate 'The Pentateuch of The Cosmogony', a 1970s 2LP-and-book concept album by keyboard player/composer Dave Greenslade and illustrator Patrick Woodroffe for the top 5. I think it ties with 'Tales of Topographic Oceans' to win on title alone!!

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"Secret Treaties" from Blue Öyster Cult for me. From recent works Judas Priest's "Nostradamus" is great too. By the way: I like "Tommy" too. Story doesn't makes much sense, but the music is great, fantastic guest appearances. (Ann-Margaret was hot in the movie version :)) [thumbup]

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Imho,The best concept album is Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. I don't think there will ever be an album like that ever again. A once in a lifetime thing. After watching the documentary, it basically backed up my theory. Great topic!!! Wonder what everyone else thinks:)

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I love concept albums, Tommy has to be my all time favorite, my dad's had that going in the stereo since I was in diapers. Quadrophenia is probably on the same level (and can't wait to see the guys perform it next month!).

 

My roommates got me into the Floyd a couple years ago and I gotta say that while Dark Side/Animals/The Wall/Final Cut are obvious classic and definitive concept albums, Waters' solo concept albums are pretty good in themselves. The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking is one that is overlooked by many. The instrumentation is great, guitar by Clapton, piano by Michael Kamen, etc. And by this point Waters had plenty of experience unfolding a story through music.

 

And Slavestate, it's said that they hoped to release it in quadrophonic format, but at the time it was targeting such a slim market as very few people had the proper equipment to listen to it as intended. Stereo was dominant so they reluctantly put it out as such. The same goes for Dark Side of the Moon actually, though a quadrophonic and 5.1 mix have each been released at one time or another.

From this: http://www.richieunterberger.com/whoexc4.html

"When we tried a test mix halfway through with the album – when we finally got the equipment to encode these bullshit quad tracks – we realized that the front-to-back separation was like 5dB [decibels]. It was like a big giant mono." In other words, listeners playing the album would hear far less difference between the channels than could be heard in the four-channel mixes created in the studio. They wouldn't be hearing anything like the mix as The Who intended it to be experienced. Instead, there would be little to distinguish the sound coming out of the two rear speakers from the sound emanating from the two normal stereo front ones. As a point of reference, the left-right separation between speakers on a typical home stereo at the time would have been in the 70-80 dB range; by comparison, the front-to-back quadraphonic separation of 5 dB was puny.

 

Resumes Ron, "Pete said, 'You know, I am not going to do a quad mix that's worse than the stereo mix. Period.' And that was it. He sent that memo to MCA. They were furious, I think, because they wanted to launch their whole quad thing with Quadrophenia, [on] a Who album, the follow-up to Tommy. The whole kind of nine yards. And I was right with him, man. I thought this was a bunch of ****."

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Although it's more of a half-concept record, Rush 2112 is mine. Well, any Rush record from Caress Of Steel to Hemispheres, as well as Clockwork Angels I consider concept records.

 

And, although I like some of the songs on it, KISS's Music From "The Elder" has to be the worst, most unfocused concept record ever made. It is a great example of that if you're not true to yourself (in other words, trying to impress the critics rather than your fans), you'll fail.

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I rank Dark Side of the Moon as the best. The Wall had some classic Floyd stuff, but I liked the compactness of DSOTM.

 

I thought Quad was much better than Tommy and had more songs that could stand on their own. Tommy was spotty and had a lot of stupid songs on it, IMO.

 

ELP did Brain Salad Surgery which was cool back in those days, but that band's sound didn't stand the test of time.

 

Bands that I didn't listen to at all, but was aware of, like Genesis and Jethro Tull, made a point of doing concept albums. But those bands didn't do anything for me.

 

What I consider as a quasi-concept album was Peter Rowan's Dust Bowl Children. Maybe more accurately it was a theme recording, but it takes you back to those days very effectively. Simple, bare bones, good stuff.

 

Ry Cooder made some attempts at them recently. I always loved Cooder's playing and songs. I bought My Name is Buddy and couldn't stand it and it made me shy to try anything he did after.

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A "Vanilla" work would be some thing that is a strait up story-line that you can easily follow. Dark Side has a story-line but it's sort of vague and less pure subjective (in a story like way), the music make's it more of a story then the way the word's and the subjects that the word's are covering.

 

The Who's Tommy & Quadrophenia have solid story's that work well in a written state as does Sargent Pepper and The Wall. So a bunch of odd's and end's put to a great sound track can do it in a Non-literal form while a written story that flow's like a script being more strict and focused will make a good one to.

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Frank Sinatra's album "In the Wee Small Hours" is the first concept album. It deals with loss, lonlyness, and despair. Prior to that recording albums were just collections of songs.

 

As far as the rock era I think The Kinks "Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire") is the first concept album.

 

Both of these recordings are among the artists best.

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The greatest concept album would have to be MUSIC FROM THE ELDER by KISS!!!

It may not be the most popular, but it was unique in many ways.

 

Just sayin

 

In your opinion. In MY opinion, I find it amazing that Bob Ezrin went from The Wall to The Elder in such a short period of time. KISS is not an art rock band. It's like AC/DC or Aerosmith trying progressive rock. Don't get me wrong, I like some of the songs on it ("Under The Rose", "Just A Boy", "Dark Light", "The Oath", "Escape From the Island", and "I"), but I've always found it to be very unfocused and a BIG mistake. I like concept of how heroes are important and what-not, but that ain't KISS IMHO. I consider (in a half-jokingly way) Paul's 78 solo album to be a concept simply because I've never seen a record with so much "me" in the song titles. Like I said in before, The Elder is a perfect example that not being true to yourself and not playing what you know your fans will love will bring you down. Despite the fact that it completely threw off half of the fans (as if Dynasty and Unmasked hadn't done that already), the critics had never given KISS higher reviews, record-wise. Go figure?

 

The best concept album is Spinal Tap's Saucy Jack! [flapper]

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Go Kaleb!!....I am a bit surprised that Rush can only come up with half a concept album by your reckoning, if so....that ain't it. It has to start when the needle drops onto the beginning of side 1, and end in the run-out groove of side 4. And though Cowboy is absolutely right about "In the Wee Small Hours" - I've heard that stated before and it's even in Wikipedia - the modern rock concept album is ideally bombtastic prog-rock-opera with bells on. We could make a case for Wagner's 'Ring Cycle' being an early concept album because it has all the ingredients. A recent triumph must be the re-issue of King Crimson's 'Lark's Tongues In Aspic', one of the more contentious of prog-rock classics, which Fripp has now 'expanded' to include everything that line-up played - all the live stuff he's got, the lot....certainly goes on as long as the 'Ring Cycle'....but was it a concept album?

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