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

Quicksilver Messenger Service’s Shining Debut

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

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Rod Stewart’s ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’: Ha!

The man who one said, “I’m a rock star because I couldn’t be a soccer star,” broke through with his solo third album, which included the smash “Maggie May.”

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Elton John’s ‘Madman Across the Water’ Revisited

He was everywhere in 1971 but still hadn’t quite found his way. Then he released the first album that defined his singular gifts.

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Maria Muldaur’s Solo Debut: Smart, Sassy and Seductive

The album, which included the top 10 hit “Midnight at the Oasis,” is a potent blend of country, blues, folk and pop, and it still sounds fresh.

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‘Wildflowers’: Tom Petty’s Heartbroken Solo Masterpiece

Petty called it his favorite album. Its generous song list only hinted at the virtual torrent of material he was creating during this period.

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Joe Cocker’s ‘Mad Dogs & Englishmen’: More Than a Little Help

“We can imagine how exhausted Cocker, Russell and Co. must have been when they got off the road, but from the audience’s point of view, it was worth it.”

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The Guess Who’s ‘American Woman’ @ 50

The Canadian band had been scoring with ballads like “These Eyes” and “Laughing.” Now they wanted to rock. American Woman introduced a new Guess Who.

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Rolling Stones Ya-Ya’s Still Unrivaled

The late Lester Bangs had “no doubt that it’s the best rock concert ever put on record.” Decades later, our writer feels that’s still true

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ZZ Top’s ‘Eliminator’: Hot-Rods, TV Dinners and Sharp-Dressed Men

The music is stellar, and the LP became a massive hit, selling 10 million copies and staying on the Billboard album chart for three years.

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‘John Prine’: A Debut for the Ages for a Songwriter’s Songwriter

The album is a quiet masterpiece, a portrait of a young singer-songwriter already fully formed and crafting songs for the ages.

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