Album Rewinds

Given the test of time and the wisdom of hindsight, how do significant albums from the past sound and play today? Our critics take a second look from a fresh perspective

Stray Cats’ Debut Album & the Rockabilly Revival

The Long Island trio had to go to England to find success playing American rockabilly. By the time they returned home, they were stars.

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The Band’s Pioneering ‘Music From Big Pink’ @50

The album offered quiet songs of experience bathed in a rustic glow, with no hints of the futurism and none of the kilowatt drama then prevalent elsewhere in rock.

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Talking Heads’ ‘Fear of Music’: A Transitional Gem

“The first step in David Byrne’s assumption of power, moving Talking Heads from a band to his band… It was dance music that reflected the time.”

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Black Sabbath’s Debut LP: Where Metal Began

Every defining characteristic of the British band’s self-titled debut would become a hallmark of the oft-maligned heavy metal genre.

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Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Heart Like a Wheel’ Breakthrough

After Ronstadt’s first four albums, followers of country-rock knew there was something special about her. On her fifth, they found out what it was.

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The Byrds’ ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ @50

Their most consequential stylistic stroke since their pioneering folk-rock debut three years earlier, it ushered in country-rock and Americana.

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Badfinger Straight Up: A Power Pop Masterpiece

They began as proteges of the Beatles, then became power pop heroes. The story behind one of the classic Apple Records albums.

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Quicksilver Messenger Service’s Shining Debut @50

Years of playing and professionalism produced one of the era’s best records, whose sheer musicality shines as brightly today.

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The Moody Blues’ ‘Days of Future Passed’: Album Rewind

It was a new concept: a rock band would play its new songs, read some poems and be backed up by an orchestra. Today it’s considered a landmark recording.

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James Taylor’s Seminal ‘Sweet Baby James’

It ushered in the singer-songwriter era and has endured as a beacon to listeners and like-minded musicians for half a century.

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