1985’s Best Rock Albums

1985's Best Rock Albums

Photo: Big D2112 from USA / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

As we continue our exploration and drive back into the 1980s in our rock and roll DeLorean, we turn to the halfway point as we land in the year 1985. It’s sad, but it doesn’t really seem that long ago. Nonetheless,1985 was an interesting year. There were really no huge blockbuster albums released. No new Van Halen, in fact, it’s the year David Lee Roth quits Van Halen to embark on his solo career. No new Springsteen, no Black Sabbath, no really big time progressive rock albums or anything really that special. There were still many great albums and a few new bands, but for the most part, 1985 is probably one of the most forgettable years of the decade. Still, there were some high points.

1985 was the year of the benefit. Three big events occurred in which musical artists joined forces to combat world hunger and poverty. In January, the world saw the release of the single “We Are The World,” and the accompanying album and video that was played on MTV just about every 15 minutes. In the summer of 1985, the dual Live Aid concerts were hosted on two continents. An event staged to raise money for starving kids in Ethiopia. Also, an event that saw an incredible Queen performance and one of the worst performances ever by Led Zeppelin with Phil Collins on the drums.  The Live Aid concert inspired a concert for the American Framer fueled by comments Bob Dylan made on the stage at Live Aid. That concert called Farm Aid would continue to be staged every year since.

We had a tough time picking a top 10 for this year. Let us know what you think.

# 50 – The ConfessorJoe Walsh

The Confessor - Joe Walsh

# 49 – Theater of PainMotley Crüe

Theater of Pain - Motley Crüe

# 48 – Meat Is MurderThe Smiths

Meat Is Murder -The Smiths

# 47 – The Head on the DoorThe Cure

The Head on the Door - The Cure

# 46 – Bad Moon RisingSonic Youth

Bad Moon Rising - Sonic Youth

# 45 –A CappellaTodd Rundgren

A Cappella - Todd Rundgren

# 44 – Cut The Crap – The Clash

Cut The Crap - The Clash

# 43 – Tim – The Replacements

Tim - The Replacements

# 42 – Seven the Hard WayPat Benatar

Seven the Hard Way - Pat Benatar

# 41 – Invasion of Your Privacy – Ratt

Invasion of Your Privacy - Ratt

# 40 – Voices Carry – Til’ Tuesday

Voices Carry - Til' Tuesday

# 39 – New Day RisingHüsker Dü

New Day Rising -Hüsker Dü

# 38 – Around The World In A Day – Prince

Around The World In A Day - Prince

# 37 – Heart – Heart

Heart Album

# 36 – This Nation’s Saving GraceThe Fall

This Nation's Saving Grace - The Fall

# 35 – Love Bomb – The Tubes

Love Bomb - The Tubes

# 34 – Songs from the Big ChairTears For Fears

Songs from the Big Chair - Tears For Fears

# 33 – No Jacket RequiredPhil Collins

No Jacket Required - Phil Collins

# 32 – This Is Big Audio DynamiteBig Audio Dynamite

This Is Big Audio Dynamite - Big Audio Dynamite

# 31 – Marching Out Yngwie Malmsteen

Marching Out - Yngwie Malmsteen

# 30 – 7800° FahrenheitBon Jovi

7800° Fahrenheit - Bon Jovi

# 29 – Done With Mirrors – Aerosmith

Done With Mirrors - Aerosmith

# 28 – Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers of Prevention

Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers of Prevention

# 27 – The FirmThe Firm

The Firm Album

# 26 – Old WaysNeil Young

Old Ways - Neil Young

# 25 – MaverickGeorge Thorogood and the Destroyers

Maverick - George Thorogood and the Destroyers

# 24 – Fables of the ReconstructionR.E.M.

Fables of the Reconstruction - R.E.M.

# 23 – Sacred Heart – Dio

Sacred Heart - Dio

# 22 – Love – The Cult

Love - The Cult

# 21 – Wide Awake In America Live EP  – U2

Wide Awake In America Live EP  - U2

# 20 – Flash – Jeff Beck

Flash - Jeff Beck

# 19 – No Lookin’ BackMichael McDonald

No Lookin' Back - Michael McDonald

# 18 – Listen Like ThievesINXS

Listen Like Thieves - INXS

# 17 – Rock A Little – Stevie Nicks

Rock A Little - Stevie Nicks

# 16 – Crazy from the HeatDavid Lee Roth

Crazy from the Heat - David Lee Roth

# 15 – Dog Eat God – Joni Mitchell

Dog Eat God - Joni Mitchell

# 14 – Riptide – Robert Palmer

Riptide - Robert Palmer

# 13 – Scarecrow – John Cougar Mellencamp

Scarecrow - John Cougar Mellencamp

# 12 – Shaken ‘n’ StirredRobert Plant

Shaken 'n' Stirred - Robert Plant

# 11 – Fly On The Wall – AC/DC

Fly On The Wall - AC/DC

# 10 – Lone Justice – Lone Justice

Lone Justice debut album

#  9 – Hounds of LoveKate Bush

Hounds of Love - Kate Bush

#  8 – The Dream of the Blue TurtlesSting

The Dream of the Blue Turtles - Sting

#  7 – Soul To Soul – Stevie Ray Vaughan

Soul To Soul - Steve Ray Vaughan

#  6 – Behind The Sun – Eric Clapton

Behind The Sun - Eric Clapton

#  5 – Afterburner – ZZ Top

Afterburner - ZZ Top

#  4 – CenterfieldJohn Fogerty

Centerfield - John Fogerty

#  3 – Rain Dogs – Tom Waits

Rain Dogs - Tom Waits

#  2 – Brothers In Arms – Dire Straits

Brothers In Arms - Dire Straits

#  1 – Power Windows – Rush

Power Windows - Rush

More Fantastic Classic Rock Albums Released in 1985

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

Best Rock Albums – January 1985

SilvertoneChris Isaak

Stella -Yello

Tales of the New West – The Beat Farmers

PhantasmagoriaThe Damned

The Power Station- The Power Station

Best Rock Albums – February 1985

The Breakfast Club – Soundtrack

Hell AwaitsSlayer

Knee Deep in the HooplaStarship

In Square CircleStevie Wonder

Best Rock Albums – March 1985

Metal HeartAccept

We Are The World – U.S.A. For Africa

First and Last and AlwaysThe Sisters of Mercy

Dream into ActionHoward Jones

Disturbing the PeaceAlcatrazz

Scream for HelpJohn Paul Jones

The Secret of AssociationPaul Young

EquatorUriah Heep

Night TimeKilling Joke

Best Rock Albums – April 1985

Be Yourself TonightEurythmics

Mr. Bad GuyFreddie Mercury

Katrina and the WavesKatrina and the Waves

Best Rock Albums – May 1985

Low-LifeNew Order

On a Storyteller’s Night – Magnum

Brother Where You BoundSupertramp

Soldiers Under CommandStryper

Suzanne VegaSuzanne Vega

Best Rock Albums – June 1985

Hunting High and Lowa-ha

Boys and GirlsBryan Ferry

Crush – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

Innocence Is No Excuse – Saxon

Empire BurlesqueBob Dylan

Best Rock Albums – July 1985

Mask of SmilesJohn Waite

Ain’t Love Grand! – X

Flash – Jeff Beck

Under a Raging MoonRoger Daltrey

Best Rock Albums – August 1985

Cosi Fan Tutti FruttiSqueeze

Nervous Night The Hooters

Freaky StyleyRed Hot Chili Peppers

Under Lock and Key – Dokken

She’s The Boss – Mick Jagger

Best Rock Albums – September 1985

Asylum – Kiss

The History Mix Volume 1 – Godley & Creme

Beyond AppearancesSantana

For the Working Class Man – Jimmy Barnes

A Sense of Wonder – Van Morrison

Rescue You – Joe Lynn Turner

Best Rock Albums – October 1985

Standing on the EdgeCheap Trick

That’s Why I’m HereJames Taylor

Picture BookSimply Red

Mike + The MechanicsMike + The Mechanics 

Best Rock Albums – November 1985

Ice on FireElton John

Come Out and PlayTwisted Sister

Welcome to the Real WorldMr. Mister

Astra – Asia

Dinosaur – Dinosaur Jr.

Go West – Go West

I Am the Night – Pantera

Best Rock Albums – December 1985

StereotomyAlan Parsons Project

Club NinjaBlue Öyster Cult

Fine Young CannibalsFine Young Cannibals

Hero – Clarence Clemons

1985’s Best Rock Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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