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12 Classic Albums Everybody Needs To Hear At Least Once

Don't go through life without knowing these musical masterpieces. They're the albums that changed music for the better. But don't just take our word for it! #ListenForYourselfAU.

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1. In the Wee Small Hours - Frank Sinatra (1955)

Sinatra's ninth studio album is a dreamy, melancholy reflection of loves lost and hopes dashed. With its meandering pop orchestral sounds and sentimental vocals, it's the ultimate album for anyone feeling that mood indigo.

2. Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys (1966)

Oh, the emotions! God only knows what pop music would be without this album, a compositional masterpiece from Brian Wilson, and what is considered one of the first-ever concept albums. Beautiful sounds and heartfelt lyrics that stay with you long after you stop listening to this mid-sixties gem.

3. Lady Soul - Aretha Franklin (1968)

Franklin was already well into her career when Lady Soul was released, but with this album, the pop sensation surely cemented herself as one of the greatest vocalists of all time. It's got the hits: "Chain of Fools" and "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," and her performances are transcendental.

4. White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground (1968)

Fuzzy guitar, aggressive drone, socially transgressive lyrics. The second LP from The Velvet Underground is, as late frontman Lou Reed described it, "the quintessence of articulate punk." And it is brilliant. Though poorly received at the time, it's now considered to be one of rock music's most influential albums.

5. Dusty in Memphis - Dusty Springfield (1969)

Springfield teamed up with some of Memphis' finest musicians to deliver this soulful masterpiece. Her vocals are understated, but her delivery is immaculate, and with classics like "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Breakfast in Bed," it's perfect listening for a lazy Sunday.

6. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye (1973)

A masterpiece that confirmed Marvin Gaye as one of the most important soul artists of all time. What's Going On is a meditation on the civil unrest, urban decay, poverty, and other social and environmental issues rife in the early 1970s. It oscillates from pure joy to despair and anguish. It's passionate, beautiful, and just as relevant today as it was 40 years ago.

7. The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd (1973)

It's mad, it's terrifying, it's strangely beautiful. With its extraordinary instrumentation and lyrical content, Pink Floyd's magnum opus is a magnificent reflection on greed, insanity, and mortality. Loved by progressive rock enthusiasts and musical novices alike, this album continues to sit atop every "Greatest Albums" list, and we certainly couldn't leave it off this one.

8. Are You Experienced - The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)

Jimi Hendrix's inimitable guitar playing — and not one, not two, but four classic rock hits — make this record indispensable. Lay back and get groovy with Jimi (if somehow you haven't already).

9. Low Life - New Order (1985)

Melding rock with a new electronic sound, New Order's third LP marked the peak of the band's success, and is today considered their strongest work. Pop? Dance? Rock? Whatever you call it, it's perfect.

10. Spirit of Eden - Talk Talk (1988)

Though not a commercial success, Talk Talk's fourth LP was a breakthrough for the English band, and with its ambient sounds, classical and jazz influence, and sparse beats and vocals, the album anticipated post-rock. It's a textural, lyrical beauty, and a musical experience you need to have at least once in your life.

11. The Low End Theory - A Tribe Called Quest (1991)

With its smart raps, its masterful fusion of jazz and hip-hop, and its immaculate production, The Low End Theory stands today as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. They've got the jazz, they've got everything.

12. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain - Pavement (1994)

Evoking lush West Coast imagery with its bittersweet lyricism and perfectly chaotic sounds, the surprisingly wonderful Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is considered Pavement's masterpiece, and a landmark of 1990s rock.