Relive the many iconic moments in the rich history of pop music. Take a look at some of the most celebrated (and also our favourites) classic pop albums. Read along to see if you have missed any of these classics, and do let us know in the comments below if we missed any of your favourite classic pop albums.
1. Thriller - Micheal Jackson:
Thriller’s late-1982 release marked the beginning of Michael Jackson’s entry into another level of fame, propelling him into superstardom and launching him instantly into the celebrity stratosphere. Seven of its nine original cuts were Top Ten singles, but more important is the way Jackson and producer Quincy Jones turned the singer’s obsessions into intricate, stunningly sung pop-funk
Following a charismatic debut 26-year-old, Madonna was determined to steal the spotlight with 1984’s Like a Virgin. Overseen by disco genius Nile Rodgers, the album is flawlessly played and produced. Still, it’s Madonna’s coy-but-impassioned vocals that make the album more than a fleeting dose of pop stuff.
Bad may not have all the timeless prestige of its predecessor, Thriller, but it’s just as full of heart and purpose. Over rockier rhythms, Jackson sounds gleeful and impassioned, once again proving that Jackson is pop’s one true master of ceremony.
4. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel:
Bridge Over Troubled Water, marked the end of a lot of things, including the ‘60s, the partnership of one of the biggest acts of the era and that duo’s reliance on the folk-rock sound they helped invent. But boy did they go out with a bang! The 1970s album is the most ambitious in Simon & Garfunkel’s career, in songwriting and production.
At their best, as on Arrival, ABBA were as mysterious as Bowie, as rococo as Phil Spector, as unbearably sad as the Smiths. The power of their music lies in the enigmatic Mona Lisa smile, not only their biggest record of all time and one of the biggest pop albums, but it also has the distinction of being the most experimental and musically curious.
Difficult as it may be, imagine for a minute that Tapestry wasn’t one of the most successful albums in music history; that it wasn’t a defining touchstone for the boomer generation and the singer/songwriter movement. Even then it stands on top of the mountain of pop music glory.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, originally released as a double LP with, yes, yellow inner sleeves, cemented not only his nearly wayward eclecticism but his audience’s willingness to follow any path he trod.
The album’s appeal largely stems from its heart-on-sleeve romanticism and Dion’s talent as a vocal interpreter. The album ended up becoming a global phenomenon, selling over 30 million copies as well as bagging the Album of the Year Grammy.
9. Greatest Hits Volume I and Volume II - Billy Joel:
A bombastic record of, well, you guessed it, Joel’s greatest hits, spanning a prolific and commercially successful career of several decades is the thing a collector dreams of. His sound is unmistakable, his style is undeniable and his influence is sure, impactful.
It’s difficult to imagine a time when Whitney was not like the biggest name in the pop music scene, but back in 1985, nobody had heard of a 21-year-old Whitney, and what a gorgeous debut project it truly was. Not only producing multiple chart-topping singles, but she changed the whole soundscape, ushering in a new era of R&B, soul and groove into the predominantly white sound of pop music.