10 Greatest Final Albums In Rock

One Last Time Around.

David Bowie Blackstar
RCA Columbia

There have been many bands that have knocked it out of the park right on their very first record. It takes most bands years to hone down their classic sound, but these acts needed no time at all to refine themselves, coming up with the goods from the first note you heard from them. It might seem difficult to create a good debut, but it’s even harder to bow out gracefully.

Then again, no one is really thinking about making their swan song at the time. Throughout rock history, these artists have planned to make their music for as long as people will listen, until reality sets in to put things into perspective. While not all of these records were necessarily designed to be final albums, they serve as one last graceful record from every one of these acts, either looking to the future outside of music or taking inventory of their legacy and seeing where everything stacks up.

Some of these records also feel very bittersweet though, with the artists in question passing away a few years after these albums were released. It might not have been the best news hearing these records would be the last one, but this wasn’t just the last contract filler by any stretch. Across all of these albums are artists that know the legacy they have to live up to and are ready to deliver the goods for one final time.

10. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel

Considering the type of music they play, Simon and Garfunkel feels like one of the last bands to get caught up in band drama. When you hear about the drug problems of the Rolling Stones or people like Alice Cooper getting into legal trouble, the guys who wrote The Sound of Silence belong in a whole separate universe. Their relationship was just as volatile as everyone else’s though, and it’s practically a miracle that they got to make Bridge Over Troubled Water.

During the production cycle for this record, both Paul and Art were not getting along, disagreeing on every single creative direction and getting more frustrated with how the other was dictating things. Although some of these songs sound like the demos for what would become both of their solo careers, that tension is what created the magic on these tracks, bringing together the world music percussion on a song like Cecilia and delving into more adult contemporary songs on So Long Frank Lloyd Wright.

Once they put down all of their baggage, songs like their cover of Bye Bye Love have that same chemistry we had known them for, along with the title track’s beautiful wish for peace even when times are at their darkest. Both of these men would lead very different lives in the mainstream, but this is one of the last times where they felt stronger together than apart.

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