1974’s Best Classic Rock Albums

1974's Best Classic Rock Albums

Photo credits at end of article

Our 1974’s Best Classic Rock albums list takes a look at year that serves as a transitional period in classic rock history. The sounds of the 1960s faded away as the music released took on a more slick polished sound. One can really see a difference between the albums on this 1974 list when compared to the albums released between 1970 and 1973.  In the year 1974, music fans also had to endure an onslaught of novelty songs like Ray Stevens “The Streak,” and Larry Groce’s “Junk Food Junkie,” Disco music loomed on the horizon with songs like the Hues Corporations “Don’t Rock The Boat,” opening the door for its arrival. There were many great rock albums released in 1974 but it did feel like rock and roll took just a tiny step backward when compared to the previous ten years. However, the genre would take a giant leap forward the following year n 1975. Still, all in all, 1974 was a great year in classic rock filled with albums that would soon become legendary.

# 40 –Late for the SkyJackson Browne

Late for the Sky - Jackson Browne

# 39 – Goodnight Vienna – Ringo Starr

Goodnight Vienna - Ringo Starr

# 38 – Fire on the Mountain – Charlie Daniels Band 

Fire on the Mountain - Charlie Daniels Band 

# 37 – Desolation BoulevardSweet

Desolation Boulevard - Sweet

# 36 – Irish Tour ’74Rory Gallagher

Irish Tour '74 - Rory Gallagher

# 35 – Shinin’ OnGrand Funk Revival

Shinin' On - Grand Funk Revival

# 34 – Tasty – Good Rats

Tasty – Good Rats

# 33 – Heart Like a WheelLinda Ronstadt

Heart Like a Wheel - Linda Ronstadt

# 32 – Streetlife SerenadeBilly Joel

Streetlife Serenade - Billy Joel

# 31 – StormbringerDeep Purple

Stormbringer - Deep Purple

# 30 – Secret TreatiesBlue Oyster Cult

Secret Treaties - Blue Oyster Cult

# 29 – All the Girls in the World Beware!!! – Grand Funk

All the Girls in the World Beware!!! - Grand Funk

# 28 – Rock and Roll OutlawsFoghat

Rock and Roll Outlaws - Foghat

# 27 – Bridge of SighsRobin Trower

Bridge of Sighs - Robin Trower

# 26 – ToddTodd Rundgren

Todd - Todd Rundgren

# 25 – Rush – Rush

Rush debut album

# 24 – Not FragileBachman–Turner Overdrive

Not Fragile - Bachman–Turner Overdrive

# 23 – HolidayAmerica

Holiday - America

# 22 -Burn – Deep Purple

Burn - Deep Purple

# 21 –Second HelpingLynyrd Skynyrd

Second Helping - Lynyrd Skynyrd

# 20 – Rock ‘n’ Roll AnimalLou Reed

Rock 'n' Roll Animal - Lou Reed

# 19 – Buddha and the Chocolate BoxCat Stevens

Buddha and the Chocolate Box - Cat Stevens

# 18 – On the BorderThe Eagles

On the Border - The Eagles

# 17 – On the BeachNeil Young

On the Beach - Neil Young

# 16 – Pretzel LogicSteely Dan

Pretzel Logic - Steely Dan

# 15 – Get Your WingsAerosmith

Get Your Wings - Aerosmith

# 14 – 461 Ocean Boulevard  – Eric Clapton

461 Ocean Boulevard  - Eric Clapton

# 13 – Relayer – Yes

Relayer - Yes

# 12 – It’s Only Rock ‘n RollThe Rolling Stones

It's Only Rock 'n Roll - The Rolling Stones

# 11 – What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits – The Doobie Brothers

# 10 – Fulfillingness’ First Finale – Stevie Wonder

We open up our top 10 section or our 1974’s Best Rock Albums list with the great Stevie Wonder album Fulfillingness First Finale. The record was released in the middle of an incredible string of 1970s albums by Stevie Wonder that won just about every Grammy Award in existence.

Fulfillingness' First Finale - Stevie Wonder

#  9 – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Genesis

Ask any Genesis fan to name their favorite Genesis album and every single one of them will name The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. You can take that to the bank!

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - Genesis

#  8 – Queen II – Queen

The first three Queen albums stand as complete rock and roll treasures in Classic Rock History. Queen II has some of the bands best work ever with songs like “Ogre Battle,” “The March of the Black Queen,” and  “Seven Seas of Rhye.”

Queen II - Queen

#  7 – CaribouElton John

Elton John’s Caribou was another notch in his belt during his incredible run of brilliantly released albums between 1970 and 1976. This was one of those albums in which every single song was a masterpiece. The album yielded two big hits singles with “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” and “The Bitch Is Back.”

Caribou - Elton John

#  6 – Court and Spark – Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark was her most successful commercial record. Standout tracks included “Help Me,” and “Free Man In Paris.” Court and Spark was a brilliant album that showcased the talents of so many great jazz musicians like Larry Carlton, Joe Sample, and Tom Scott along with rock legends Robbie Robertson of The Band and David Crosby and Graham Nash.

Court and Spark - Joni Mitchell

#  5 – War Child – Jethro Tull

The great War Child album record was Jethro Tull’s seventh album. The album contained some of Jethro Tull’s most popular songs such as “Bungle In The Jungle, War Child,” and “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day.”

War Child - Jethro Tull

#  4 – ApostropheFrank Zappa

Frank Zappa was one of the most affluent composers in rock and roll history.  Apostrophe (‘) was Frank Zappa’s eighteenth album.

Apostrophe - Frank Zappa

#  3 – Diamond Dogs – David Bowie

David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album continued to define the growing legacy of David Bowie. It was Bowie’s eighth studio album. It contained the massive hits “Rebel Rebel,” along with “1984,” “Diamond Dogs,” and many other brilliant songs.

Diamond Dogs - David Bowie

#  2 – Sheer Heart Attack – Queen

Sheer Heart Attack was Queen’s third album release. There was a sound on the album that rock fans had never heard before. Songs like “Stone Cold Crazy,” blew people away who were hearing Queen for the first time.

Sheer Heart Attack - Queen

#  1 – Bad Company – Bad Company

Landing in the number spot on our 1974’s Best Classic Rock albums list is the great debut album from Bad Company. Signed to Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label Bad Company exploded out of the gate with the hit single “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love.” Led by the golden voice of Paul Rogers, Bad Company found instant success on both commercial radio and FM album oriented rock.

Bad Company debut album

More Fantastic Classic Rock Albums Released in 1974

These are listed in chronological order in which they came out throughout the year

Best Rock Albums – January 1974

Planet WavesBob Dylan

Different DrumLinda Ronstadt


The Phosphorescent Rat Hot Tuna

Grievous AngelGram Parsons

HotcakesCarly Simon

Here Come the Warm JetsBrian Eno

SundownGordon Lightfoot

Best Rock Albums – February 1974

Kiss – Kiss

Badfinger – Badfinger

Call of the WildTed Nugent and The Amboy Dukes

It’s Too Late to Stop NowVan Morrison

A New LifeMarshall Tucker Band

Radio CityBig Star

Saints & SinnersJohnny Winter

Twin Peaks – Mountain

Zinc Alloy and the Hidden Riders of TomorrowT. Rex

Old New Borrowed and BlueSlade

Best Rock Albums – March 1974


Hard Labor  – Three Dog Night

The HoopleMott the Hoople

Starless and Bible BlackKing Crimson

HolliesThe Hollies


Somethin’s HappeningPeter Frampton

Best Rock Albums – April 1974

Son of DraculaHarry Nilsson

Positive VibrationsTen Years After

Road Food – The Guess Who

Seven – Poco

Okie J.J. Cale

Exotic Birds and FruitProcol Harum

I Want to See the Bright Lights TonightRichard and Linda Thompson

Unconditionally GuaranteedCaptain Beefheart & the Magic Band

Best Rock Albums – May 1974

Journey to the Centre of the EarthRick Wakeman


Quo – Status Quo

Shock Treatment Edgar Winter

Preservation Act 2The Kinks

Sheet Music10cc

The Kids & MeBilly Preston

Turn of the CardsRenaissance

Too Much Too SoonNew York Dolls

Best Rock Albums – June 1974

Axe VictimBe-Bop Deluxe

Walking ManJames Taylor

Everyone Is Everybody ElseBarclay James Harvest

Compliments – Jerry Garcia

Street Party – Black Oak Arkansas

Stop All That Jazz – Leon Russell

WonderworldUriah Heep

Best Rock Albums – July 1974

Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in MemphisElvis Presley

RejuvenationThe Meters

Another Time, Another PlaceBryan Ferry


Best Rock Albums – August 1974

Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends… Ladies and GentlemenELP

Verities & BalderdashHarry Chapin

AWB – Average White Band

Feats Don’t Fail Me NowLittle Feat

I Can Stand a Little RainJoe Cocker

Paper Lace – Paper Lace

Sally Can’t DanceLou Reed

Slow FluxSteppenwolf

Best Rock Albums – September 1974

Rocka RollaJudas Priest

Good Old BoysRandy Newman

Roxy & ElsewhereFrank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention

Heroes Are Hard to FindFleetwood Mac

Crime of the CenturySupertramp

EldoradoElectric Light Orchestra

Sneakin’ Sally Through the AlleyRobert Palmer

The Power and the GloryGentle Giant

Wrap Around JoyCarole King

Hall of the Mountain GrillHawkwind

Nightmares…and Other Tales from the Vinyl JungleThe J. Geils Band

Starting OverRaspberries

Dragon FlyJefferson Starship

Streetlights – Bonnie Raitt

Best Rock Albums – October 1974

Walls and BridgesJohn Lennon

Red – King Crimson

Hotter Than Hell – Kiss

Silk TorpedoThe Pretty Things

SmilerRod Stewart

SouvenirsDan Fogelberg

Serenade – Neil Diamond

Todd Rundgren’s UtopiaTodd Rundgren

War Babies – Hall & Oates

Best Rock Albums – November 1974

NightlifeThin Lizzy

Country LifeRoxy Music

Fire – Ohio Players

Child of the Novelty – Mahogany Rush

Where We All BelongMarshall Tucker Band

Best Rock Albums – December 1974

Dark HorseGeorge Harrison

Sun Secrets The Eric Burdon Band

So WhatJoe Walsh

Photo Credits

All album covers are Amazon links and are not stored on the classicrockhistory.com server.

Feature Photo credits are below

Freddie Mercury – Carl Lender [CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

Mick Ralphs of Bad Company – Jim Summaria [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Joni Mitchell – Capannelle [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

David Bowie – Kymi [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Updated May 8, 2023

1974’s Best Classic Rock Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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