Oh 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 Petting – UFO
# 46 – All the World’s a Stage – Rush
# 45 – Turnstiles – Billy Joel
# 44 – A Night on the Town – Rod Stewart
# 43 – Rising – Rainbow
# 42 – Gimme Back My Bullets – Lynyrd Skynyrd
# 41 – Silk Degrees – Boz Scaggs
# 40 – Run with the Pack – Bad Company
# 39 – Agents of Fortune – Blue Oyster Cult
# 38 – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
# 37 – The Runaways – The Runaways
# 36 – Bigger Than Both of Us – Hall & Oates
# 35 – Hasten Down the Wind – Linda Ronstadt
# 34 – Takin’ It To The Streets – The Doobie Brothers
# 33 – Night Shift – Foghat
# 32 – Tejas – ZZ Top
# 31 – Wired – Jeff Beck
# 30 – Thirty Three & 1/3 – George 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 – Hejira – Joni Mitchell
Never a bad album from Joni. Another brilliant work of art.
# 25 – Night Moves – Bob Seger
Easily Bob Seger’s best album and heavily influenced by Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run.
# 24 – Jailbreak – Thin 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 Road – Lynyrd 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 Eagle – Steve 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 Record – Electric 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 Pretender – Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne’s masterpiece.
# 18 – A Trick of the Tail – Genesis
Easily the best Genesis album in the post Peter Gabriel era. A true progressive rock classic.
# 17 – A Day At The Races – Queen
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 Scam – Steely 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 – Ramones – The 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 – Rocks – Aerosmith
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 Same – Led 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 Life – Stevie 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 Blue – The 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 Alive – Peter 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 – 2112 – Rush
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 Future – Journey
Coney Island Baby – Lou Reed
Born to Die – Grand Funk Railroad
Desire – Bob Dylan
How Dare You! – 10cc
Sandman – Harry Nilsson
Release – Henry Gross
Native Sons – Loggins and Messina
Best Rock Albums – February 1976
Smile – Laura Nyro
Starcastle – Starcastle
Beautiful Noise – Neil Diamond
Sunburst Finish – Be-Bop Deluxe
Best Rock Albums – March 1976
Nobody’s Fools – Slade
Sad Wings of Destiny – Judas Priest
Amigos – Santana
Captured Live! – Johnny Winter
Close Enough for Rock ‘n’ Roll – Nazareth
Give Us a Wink – Sweet
Best Rock Albums – April 1976
Hideaway – America
Welcome Back – John Sebastian
Here and There – Elton John
Faithful – Todd Rundgren
Pat Travers – Pat Travers
Wedding Album – Leon and Mary Russell
Young and Rich – The Tubes
Best Rock Albums – May 1976
Nine on a Ten Scale – Sammy Hagar
No Earthly Connection – Rick Wakeman
Tales of Mystery and Imagination – The Alan Parsons Project
Year of the Cat – Al Stewart
Best Rock Albums – June 1976
Unorthodox Behaviour – Brand X
Alice Cooper Goes to Hell – Alice Cooper
Whistling Down the Wire – Crosby & Nash
Steal Your Face – Grateful Dead
Another Passenger – Carly Simon
High and Mighty – Uriah Heep
In the Pocket – James Taylor
Long Hard Ride – The Marshall Tucker Band
R.E.O. – REO Speedwagon
Spitfire – Jefferson Starship
Summertime Dream – Gordon 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 Ever – Blood, 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 Cry – Eric Clapton
The Roaring Silence – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
Viva! – Roxy Music
Best Rock Albums – September 1976
Hard Rain – Bob Dylan
Ringo’s Rotogravure – Ringo Starr
Long May You Run – The Stills-Young Band
Technical Ecstasy – Black Sabbath
Jump on It – Montrose
Private Eyes – Tommy Bolin
Best Rock Albums – October 1976
Crystal Ball – Styx
Hoppkorv – Hot Tuna
Johnny the Fox – Thin Lizzy
Heat Treatment – Graham Parker
Made in Europe – Deep Purple
Radio Ethiopia – Patti 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 Over – Kiss
A Street Called Straight – Roy Buchanan
Play ‘n’ the Game – Nazareth
Mahogany Rush IV – Mahogany Rush
Best Rock Albums – December 1976
Ratcity in Blue – Good Rats
Rebel – John Miles
L – Steve Hillage
Blondie – Blondie
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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)]