Not every album that comes out in the wild is looking to be the biggest record in the world. If you were to ask half of the bands that would go down as classic rock back in the day, they would tell you that they were just playing the songs that they thought were pretty good and put them onto a piece of vinyl. That should be good enough, but sometimes you end up changing the tides of popular music without even knowing it.
Although they may have stood out as strange at the time, each of these records have had quite the shelf life, making for some of the most forward thinking rock and roll ever created. Whether it was the way that they approached the recording of the record or how they eventually constructed the songs, every one of these bands were able to capture something magical in between these grooves, taking the kind of trends that were coming and going in the rock world and deciding to strike out on their own and be themselves.
It’s always a gamble trying to keep up with what the rest of the world is doing, but these artists didn’t care about that. They were who they were and they were going to become the biggest bands in the world, whether they were even ready for it or not. These records might not sound like much these days, but after those last chords rang out, you knew things were going to be different.
10. Van Halen - Van Halen
Towards the end of the '70s, the second golden age of rock and roll seemed to be winding down a little bit. It may have started with amazing acts like Led Zeppelin, but the new influx of prog rock bands left a lot of the straightforward rock and rollers confused, looking for something simple to bang their head to instead of these long expanding solos. Around the same time that new wave was starting to enter the conversation though, there was a little band making some noise in California that were about to set the world on fire.
Long before hair metal was an idea in the minds of rock fans, Van Halen set the template for what the Sunset Strip sound was going to be in 1978, with Eddie Van Halen becoming everyone's new favorite guitar hero pretty much overnight. Armed with songs that they had to fill out their live set most of the time, there was a certain magic captured on this record, with David Lee Roth bringing mountains of charisma to the table, fronting songs that had traces of metal, rock and roll, and a little bit of Southern boogie mixed in for good measure.
Although the production for this record was a bit slapdash, what ended up on the record was the beginnings of a new genre of music, all while teaching the concerned parents of America an important lesson about the harsher side of rock. Metal might be a little bit scary here and there, but if you put it in the right context, it could be a hell of a god time too, and Van Halen's debut is practically the heavy metal party record.