It’s every band’s dream to have that one masterpiece in their catalog. For all the hectic tours that you have gone on in your life, sometimes the stars align at the exact right time where you can put out a record that connects with your audience on a level much more visceral than just a bunch of songs. You can’t get used to that feeling though, because creating a masterpiece can never happen again…or can it?
For as much as the universe should not usually be this kind, each of these artists have 2 separate albums that they can claim to be masterpieces. This isn’t just a case of making two great albums in a row though. Though some of these records do fit side by side in the band’s discography, they seem to differ because of just how different they are compared to what came before. Sometimes it will be a case of finetuning what was already perfect on the first album, or you could just try a completely different sound and somehow turn that into the next phase of your career.
Most bands can only hope and pray that they have albums like these to call their own, but as far as these guys were concerned, there was more than enough gas in the tank for something more. Capturing lightning in a bottle is never going to be easy, but in this case, lightning struck twice and paid off both times.
10. The Who
When the Who were first cutting their teeth in the Mod scene in England, Pete Townshend was always looking for something more than just generic rock and roll. While songs like I Can't Explain and My Generation may have set the world on fire and given way to more savage forms of rock and roll, Pete was looking to make a grand statement about what music meant to people. Music could move you in ways that you had never thought of, and Tommy was the first time where the group took to the theatre.
Framing the album as a rock opera, Townshend envisioned the story of Tommy as a deaf, dumb, and blind kid who finds refuge through music before being pulled back down to Earth by the establishment and remaining in his self imposed bubble for the rest of his life. This may have been groundbreaking for the time, but Townshend aimed even bigger for his next opera Lifehouse, which never fully got off the ground due to the band not understanding the concept and Pete suffering a near-breakdown trying to make it all comprehensible.
For as amazing as Lifehouse would have been, the table scraps for it gave us Who's Next, which gave us some of the purest rock and roll ever committed to tape, from starting a revolution on Baba O'Riley to using music to take on the world with Won't Get Fooled Again. Quadrophenia may have been the last of the epics, but Tommy and Who's Next marked the end of psychedelia and suggested that music was for more than fun. On its best day, it could change the world.