1984’s Best Rock Albums

1984's Best Rock Albums

All Photo Credits at end of article

1984’s Best Rock Albums defines a year that stands as one of the best years of the decade for music. Of course that always subjective. However, looking back there were so many great records released by a wide variety of artists covering multiple musical genres.1984 saw debut albums by future superstar bands such as Queensryche and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.The band The Police who were on top of the world with their 1983 album Synchronicity would play their final concerts together and never release another studio album under The Police name. The only exception was the 2007 reunion tour and live album. The great Irish rock band Thin Lizzy would also break up to only see Phil Lynott pass away two years later in 1986. Van Halen would release their final album with David Lee Roth who would leave the band for a solo career. They did reunite in the 2010s for a new album and tour

Metal music would continue to flourish with great albums released by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica. Stevie Ray Vaughan continued to light up the concert stage becoming one of the most exciting guitar players in rock and roll. Madonna’s second album Like A Virgin would utilize the slick production of Nile Rogers making it one of the biggest selling albums of the year and a fixture on MTV. The band U2 released an album that many U2 fans argue was the bands greatest record. They had no idea of what the band had on the horizon with The Joshua Tree. Although some U2 fans still argue that The Unforgettable Fire remains their best work.

The biggest musical story of the year was the mass cultural dominance of both Prince and Bruce Springsteen. Prince released an album that would become his signature record with Purple Rain. The album also served as the soundtrack to his incredible successful film Purple Rain. You could not go through the day in 1984 without hearing a song from the record on the radio or seeing a commercial or a poster pertaining to the film Purple Rain.

Bruce Springsteen already had a massive cult following before he released Born In The U.S.A, However with the release of Born In The U.S.A. Bruce Springsteen had become one of the biggest rock stars in the world. Along with Purple Rain, the Born In The U.S.A. album would become two of the biggest selling albums of the years. Nonetheless, the biggest selling album of the year was defined by an album released in 1982. Michael Jackson’s Thriller album not only sold more records in 1984 than any other 1984 release, it became the biggest selling album of all time surpassing the previous record held by Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon.

1984’s Best Rock albums list is of course subjective. However, our picks were made based on quality of the albums and impact they had on the time period and how they inspired future generations of artists.

# 50 – The Warning – Queensrÿche

# 49 – Mother’s Spiritual – Laura Nyro

# 48 – Fistful of MetalAnthrax

# 47 – Heartbeat CityThe Cars

# 46 – Aural SculptureThe Stranglers

# 45 – TropicoPat Benatar

# 44 – Thing Fish – Frank Zappa

# 43 – The Honeydrippers: Volume OneRobert Plant

# 42 – Glorious Results of a Misspent YouthJoan Jett

# 41 – No Tellin’ LiesZebra

# 40 – Go Insane – Lindsey Buckingham

# 39 – The TopThe Cure

# 38 – Reckless – Bryan Adams

# 37 – WarriorScandal

# 36 –The Last In Line – Dio

# 35 – Goodbye Cruel WorldElvis Costello

# 34 – Building the Perfect BeastDon Henley

# 33 – ReckoningR.E.M.

# 32 – Let It Be – The Replacements

# 31 – Zen Arcade – Husker Du

# 30 – Them Or Us – Frank Zappa

# 29 – Rising Force – Yngwie Malmsteen

# 28 – Too Tough to DieRamones

# 27 – Street TalkSteve Perry

# 26 – Flex-AbleSteve Vai

# 25 – Grace Under PressureRush

# 24 – No BrakesJohn Waite

# 23 – Ammonia AvenueThe Alan Parsons Project

# 22 – VOA – Sammy Hagar

# 21 -Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads 

# 20 – Agent ProvocateurForeigner

# 19 – Milk and HoneyJohn Lennon & Yoko Ono

# 18 – Three of a Perfect PairKing Crimson

# 17 – About FaceDavid Gilmour

# 16 – Out of the CellarRatt

# 15 – Tonight – David Bowie

# 14 – The Smiths – The Smiths

# 13 – Stay Hungry – Twisted Sister

# 12 – Defenders of the FaithJudas Priest

# 11 – Powerslave – Iron Maiden

# 10 – Perfect StrangersDeep Purple

#  9 – The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking – Roger Waters

#  8 – Learning to CrawlThe Pretenders

#  7 – Love at First StingScorpions

#  6 – Ride the LightningMetallica

#  5 – Couldn’t Stand the WeatherStevie Ray Vaughan

#  4 – The Unforgettable Fire – U2

#  3 – 1984Van Halen

#  2 – Purple RainPrince

#  1 – Born In The U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen

It’s a shame that a lot of fans have turned against Springsteen because he has never been afraid to speak his mind in the modern day. The guy was raised in the 1960’s when so many artists weren’t afraid to speak up. We had an entire generation of music that came from that period that stands as some of the greatest artists and albums of all time because of the genuine passion behind the music. Creedence Clearwater, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the list is long. Its also a shame that so many people misinterpreted this song. Nonetheless, this album was as big as it got in 1984 because it was freaking great. There’s no way we weren’t going to put it at number one.

More Fantastic Classic Rock Albums Released in 1984

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

Best Rock Albums – January 1984

Oblivion – Utopia

Christine McVieChristine McVie

Software – Grace Slick

Lady of the StarsDonovan

Tour de Force38 Special

Best Rock Albums – February 1984

Into the Gap – Thompson Twins

Keep MovingMadness

Metal Queen – Lee Aaron

All Over The Place – The Bangles

Dead Can DanceDead Can Dance

Declaration – The Alarm

It’s My Life – Talk Talk

Parting Should Be Painless – Roger Daltrey

Rhyme & Reason – Missing Persons

Best Rock Albums – March 1984

Fugazi – Marillion

Love Life – Berlin

Talk Show – The Go-Go’s

Great WhiteGreat White

My War – Black Flag

Best Rock Albums – April 1984

Lament – Ultravox

New SensationsLou Reed

The SwingINXS

The Allnighter – Glen Frey

Like A Virgin – Madonna

Best Rock Albums – May 1984

Civilized ManJoe Cocker

Chicago 17Chicago

Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect StrangerFrank Zappa

Best Rock Albums – June 1984

A Pagan Place – The Waterboys

Bon JoviBon Jovi

The MagazineRickie Lee Jones

Projects in the Jungle – Pantera

Seasons – Dion DiMucci

Best Rock Albums – July 1984

Condition CriticalQuiet Riot

Right By You – Stephen Stills

Signs of Life – Billy Squire

Best Rock Albums – August 1984

The Red Hot Chili PeppersThe Red Hot Chili Peppers

W.A.S.P. – W.A.S.P.

Best Rock Albums – September 1984

Under WrapsJethro Tull



Best Rock Albums – October 1984

The Wonderful and Frightening World Of…The Fall

The Big ExpressXTC

Big Bam BoomHall & Oates

Valotte – Julian Lennon

Penatrator – Ted Nugent

Welcome to the Pleasuredome – Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Bad AttitudeMeat Loaf

Girls with Guns – Tommy Shaw

Italian X RaysSteve Miller Band

Best Rock Albums – November 1984

Thunder Seven  Triumph

Lights Out – Peter Wolf

Through the Fire – Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve


Best Rock Albums – December 1984

Dancin’ on the Edge – Lita Ford

Windows and Walls – Dan Fogelberg

Vulture CultureThe Alan Parsons Project

Slip It In – Black Flag

If you liked this one……….

Best Albums of The Year Series

1970’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1971’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1972’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1973’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1974’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1975’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1976’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1977’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1978’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1979’s Best Classic Rock Albums List

1980’s Best Rock Albums List

1981’s Best Rock Albums List

1982’s Best Rock Albums List

1983’s Best Rock Albums List

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

Photo Credits :

Bruce Springsteen – Bill Ebbesen / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Prince – penner / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The Edge – en:User:Y2kcrazyjoker4 / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Metallica – Raph_PH / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Scott Newton – / Public domain

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