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

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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‘Let It Bleed’: The Rolling Stones’ Turbulent Masterpiece

The album captures the band at its creative apogee through a dark masterpiece that mirrors the violent ’60s milieu in which it was created.

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Big Brother’s ‘Cheap Thrills’: Behind R. Crumb’s LP Cover

It would be the only rock album for which the cartoonist would do the art. It continues to serve as a psychedelic timestamp of one crazy summer.

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The Flying Burrito Bros.’ Seminal Country-Rock Debut

Gram Parsons had envisioned the Burritos as “his” band, but ‘The Gilded Palace of Sin’ underscores the partnership between Parsons and Chris Hillman.

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Steely Dan’s Sophisticated ‘Countdown to Ecstasy’

If the songcraft displayed on the first album reflected their Brill Building apprenticeship, the new material proved more open-ended—and more sophisticated.

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The Blues Project’s Determined ‘Projections’

Their second album marked them as a formidable and creative force, incorporating elements of other genres ranging from folk to jazz and tossing it all into a psychedelic blender.

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‘Dixie Chicken’: Little Feat’s Secret Southern Sauce

The group drew on Lowell George’s versatile command of blues, country, folk and R&B for its third–and many feel finest–studio album.

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Van Morrison Grooves With the Street Choir

Morrison’s third official solo album in 1970 is largely about the spirit of soul/R&B, the feel and his singing. It features his biggest U.S. hit, “Domino.”

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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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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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