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

Kansas’ ‘Leftoverture’: A Prog/Arena Rock Magnum Opus

Their fourth album made Kansas one of the top U.S. mainstream rock bands and helped pave the way for the style now known as “arena rock.”

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Santana’s ‘Abraxas’: Post-Woodstock Latin Magic

When it came to recording their second album, the band wanted to expend more effort, and make a better-sounding record, than their somewhat rushed debut.

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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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Van Halen’s Debut Album: A Turning Point for Rock

It didn’t sound at first listen like something to change the course of rock music, but they opened doors for any number of rock acts.

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Bad Company’s 1974 Debut: When Rock Fans Couldn’t Get Enough

Arising from the ashes of Free, Bad Company pursued a more stripped-down hard-rock vision. By the end of 1974, they had a #1 LP and were headlining arenas.

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James Taylor’s Seminal ‘Sweet Baby James’ @50

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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Vanilla Fudge’s 1967 Debut: Maximum Psychedelia

It was rock music pushed to its limits, with a radical use of soft-loud-soft dynamics and the emotional drama of rhythm and blues and soul.

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Van Morrison at His Finest Live

The enhanced original ‘It’s Too Late to Stop Now’ and the added three discs and DVD are a treasure trove of live in-concert gems.

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Al Stewart’s ‘Year of the Cat’: Musical Cinema

Stewart liked the title track, but didn’t consider it suitable as a single, until producer Alan Parsons and the record company convinced him of its destiny.

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Traffic’s ‘Mr. Fantasy’ Debut Album: In Your Mind

In the hands of a lesser group than Traffic, the various musical styles represented on ‘Mr. Fantasy’ may well have been a mishmash.

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