1976’s Best Classic Rock Albums

1976's Best Classic Rock AlbumsOh for the love of your rock and roll shoes, these 1970’s albums list are getting so hard to do. Our 1976’s Best Classic Albums list defines another outstanding year in classic rock history. As in 1975, the playing field has evened out as so many artists released great rock and roll records. A good majority of our favorite albums and the most commercially successful records of 1976 were debut albums. Groups like Boston, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers,The Ramones, The Runaways and Heart all released their debut records.1976 was also a great year for legendary live albums which we have included on this list from groups such as Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Rush We hope you enjoy this ride back into the 1970s as this one focuses on the great year of 1976. Just another great list to knock you out.

# 50 –Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die!Jethro Tull

# 49 – Wings Over America – Wings

# 48 – Chicago X – Chicago

# 47 – No Heavy PettingUFO

# 46 – All the World’s a StageRush

# 45 – Turnstiles – Billy Joel

# 44 – A Night on the TownRod Stewart

# 43 – RisingRainbow

# 42 – Gimme Back My BulletsLynyrd Skynyrd

# 41 – Silk DegreesBoz Scaggs

# 40 – Run with the PackBad Company

# 39 – Agents of FortuneBlue Oyster Cult

# 38 – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

# 37 – The Runaways – The Runaways

# 36 – Bigger Than Both of UsHall & Oates

# 35 – Hasten Down the WindLinda Ronstadt

# 34 – Takin’ It To The Streets – The Doobie Brothers

 # 33 – Night ShiftFoghat

# 32 – TejasZZ Top

# 31 – Wired – Jeff Beck

# 30 – Thirty Three & 1/3George Harrison

That album titles seemed like such an old age when your were a 14 years old buying this album.

# 29 – Wings at the Speed of Sound  – Wings

An album filled with great Paul McCartney songs, but burdened with tracks written by the groups other musicians.

# 28 – Long Misty Days – Robin Trower

Could never get enough of Robin Trower.

# 27 – Free For All – Ted Nugent

Crazy Ted’s second best album of his career.

# 26 – HejiraJoni Mitchell

Never a bad album from Joni. Another brilliant work of art.

# 25 – Night MovesBob Seger

Easily Bob Seger’s best album and heavily influenced by Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run.

# 24 – JailbreakThin Lizzy

The great band from Ireland released the song of the summer of 1976 with the track “The Boys Are Back In Town.” However, the album was filled with so many more great rock tracks from one of the legendary classic rock bands of all time.

# 23 – Zoot Allures –  Frank Zappa

The genius of Frank Zappa just continued to release stunning rock records that were so brilliantly beyond what anybody else was doing at the time.

# 22 – One More from the RoadLynyrd Skynyrd

This amazing two record set defined the legend of Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert so well. One of the best live albums ever released from our beloved band.

# 21 – Fly Like and EagleSteve Miller Band

The first of two albums from the Steve Miller Band that yielded many blues based pop rock gens that were constantly played on the radio.

# 20 – A New World RecordElectric Light Orchestra

ELO’s  breakout record after Face The Music was their breakout record and before Out Of The Blue became even more of their breakout record. Does that make any sense? Jeff Lynne just kept topping whatever he did before.

# 19 – The PretenderJackson Browne

Jackson Browne’s masterpiece.

#  18 – A Trick of the TailGenesis

Easily the best Genesis album in the post Peter Gabriel era. A true progressive rock classic.

# 17 – A Day At The RacesQueen

A fitting follow up to A Night At The Opera. The album’s opening track “Tie Your Mother Down,” stands as the best song on the record and was an amazing concert opener on the bands 1976/77 tour.

# 16 – The Royal ScamSteely Dan

Our second favorite Steely Dan album after AJA. Over time this albums just keeps getting better as it is so deep. The guitar solos are killer.

# 15 – Station To Station – David Bowie

Anther great David Bowie album in a long string of great David Bowie albums.

# 14 – RamonesThe Ramones

The debut albums of one of rocks most groundbreaking bands. This one blew us all away. It still does.

# 13 – Blue  Moves – Elton John

Elton John’s most underrated album of his career. This is a fabulous two record set.

# 12 – RocksAerosmith

An amazing follow up to Toys in the Attic. One of Aerosmith’s best albums. We ranked it number one on our Aerosmith albums list

# 11 – Destroyer  – Kiss

Our favorite Kiss album of all time….”Detroit Rock City,” stands as one of the best album opening tracks ever.

# 10 – The Song Remains the SameLed Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin opens up top 10 section of our 1976’s best classic rock albums list. The Song Remains the Same was the first live Led Zeppelin album ever released. However they claimed it wasn’t a live album but rather a movie soundtrack. It didn’t matter what they called it. Led Zeppelin was the greatest rock and roll band I’ve ever seen on the concert stage. It was great to finally have a live album by the band.

#  9 – Songs in the Key of LifeStevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder won just about every music award of the year in 1976 with the album Songs in the Key of Life.  He deserved every one of them. A once in a lifetime album by a once in a lifetime artist.

#  8 – Black and BlueThe Rolling Stones

A new era of Rolling Stones music began with the addition of Ron Wood to the band on the fantastic Black and Blue album. Probably one of the Rolling Stones most underrated albums.

#  7 – Frampton Comes AlivePeter Frampton

The album that broke all record sales and turned Peter Frampton into one of the biggest rock stars  of the decade. Such and incredible live album that defined Frampton’s talents. The songs on the live album blew away his studio versions

#  6 – 2112Rush

This was the Rush album that turned the band into a household name. I will never forget the day I walked into a record store in 1976 and brought this album just because I thought it had a cool cover without having never heard the band before. Best decision ever!

#  5 – Leftoverture – Kansas

An amazing record by the progressive rock band Kansas featuring one of the most famous classic rock songs of all time entitled “Carry On My Wayward Son.” Every song on the album was a masterpiece.

# 4 – Dreamboat Annie – Heart (U.S. debut) 

Heart’s debut album had been released in 1975 in Canada so we have included it on both the 1975 and 1976 lists. Nonetheless, the album contained a pair of songs in Magic Man and Crazy On You that would become staples of classic rock radio for years. This one was constantly on our turntables in the 1970s and beyond

#  3 – Presence – Led Zeppelin

Presence was the last great studio Led Zeppelin album. In Through The Out Door was still a great record, but most Zep fans would agree that Presence was the last legendary one.

#  2 – Hotel California – The Eagles

The Eagles Hotel California came out very late in the year in December of 1976. It turned out to be one of the biggest albums of 1977. However since it was released in 1976 we included it on this list instead.

#  1 – Boston – Boston

Boston’s debut album is often hailed as one of the greatest debut albums of all time. We were all blown away by the sound and all the great songs on the record, especially the albums’ incredible A Side. Tom Scholz never came close to releasing another Boston album like this one. Unless you have released an album called Dark Side Of The Moon or Hotel California, its tough to top a Led Zeppelin album on this website; Boston did it.

More Fantastic Classic Rock Albums Released in 1976

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

Best Rock Albums – January 1976

Look into the FutureJourney

Coney Island BabyLou Reed

Born to DieGrand Funk Railroad

DesireBob Dylan

How Dare You!10cc

Sandman – Harry Nilsson

Release – Henry Gross

Native Sons – Loggins and Messina

Best Rock Albums – February 1976

SmileLaura Nyro

StarcastleStarcastle

Beautiful Noise – Neil Diamond

Sunburst Finish – Be-Bop Deluxe

Best Rock Albums – March 1976

Nobody’s FoolsSlade

Sad Wings of DestinyJudas Priest

AmigosSantana

Captured Live!Johnny Winter

Close Enough for Rock ‘n’ RollNazareth

Give Us a WinkSweet

Best Rock Albums – April 1976

HideawayAmerica

Welcome Back John Sebastian

Here and ThereElton John

FaithfulTodd Rundgren

Pat TraversPat Travers

Wedding AlbumLeon and Mary Russell

Young and RichThe Tubes

Best Rock Albums – May 1976

Nine on a Ten ScaleSammy Hagar

No Earthly ConnectionRick Wakeman

Tales of Mystery and ImaginationThe Alan Parsons Project

Year of the Cat – Al Stewart

Best Rock Albums – June 1976

Unorthodox Behaviour – Brand X

Alice Cooper Goes to HellAlice Cooper

Whistling Down the WireCrosby & Nash

Steal Your FaceGrateful Dead

Another PassengerCarly Simon

High and MightyUriah Heep

In the PocketJames Taylor

Long Hard RideThe Marshall Tucker Band

R.E.O. REO Speedwagon

SpitfireJefferson Starship

Summertime DreamGordon Lightfoot

Best Rock Albums – July 1976

Olias of Sunhillow – Jon Anderson

Child in Time – Ian Gillan Band

Diamond in the Rough – Jessi Colter

Howlin’ Wind – Graham Parker and the Rumour

More Than EverBlood, Sweat & Tears

Sincerely – Dwight Twilley Band

Best Rock Albums – August 1976

Good Singin’, Good Playin’Grand Funk Railroad

Stretchin’ Out in Bootsy’s Rubber Band Bootsy’s Rubber Band

No Reason to CryEric Clapton

The Roaring SilenceManfred Mann’s Earth Band

Viva!Roxy Music

Best Rock Albums – September 1976

Hard RainBob Dylan

Ringo’s RotogravureRingo Starr

Long May You Run – The Stills-Young Band

Technical EcstasyBlack Sabbath

Jump on It Montrose

Private Eyes – Tommy Bolin

Best Rock Albums – October 1976

Crystal Ball Styx

HoppkorvHot Tuna

Johnny the FoxThin Lizzy

Heat Treatment – Graham Parker

Made in EuropeDeep Purple

Radio EthiopiaPatti Smith Group

Rock and Roll Heart Lou Reed

Some People Can Do What They Like – Robert Palmer

Best Rock Albums – November 1976

Rock and Roll OverKiss

A Street Called Straight – Roy Buchanan

TejasZZ Top

Play ‘n’ the Game Nazareth

Mahogany Rush IV – Mahogany Rush

Best Rock Albums – December 1976

Ratcity in Blue – Good Rats

RebelJohn Miles

L – Steve Hillage

Blondie –  Blondie

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

FEATURE PHOTO CREDITS

Jackson Browne – Helge Øverås [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

The Ramones – 75pickup at English Wikipedia(Original text: en:User:Mrhyak) [Public domain]

Mick Jagger – Bert Verhoeff / Anefo [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Geddy Lee – Enrico Frangi [Public domain]

Jimmy Page – Jim Summaria, http://www.jimsummariaphoto.com/ [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

Robert Plant – Jim Summaria, http://www.jimsummariaphoto.com/ [CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

David Bowie – Kymi [CC BY-SA (https://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)]

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  1. Avatar Laurin Willis February 2, 2020

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