A List Of Artist’s Second Albums That Were Better Than Their Debuts

Artist's Best Second Albums

Photo: Ueli Frey / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

This List Of Artist’s Second Albums That Were Better Than Their Debuts is simply a subjective opinion of what we believe were some of rock’s greatest sophomore albums. When one thinks of the abundance of musical albums released over the past seventy years, compiling a list of great second albums could takes months to cover everyone. So, in the interest of the voice of the people, we are going to leave this one open. Meaning, we will be reviewing the comments on this one and adding the albums that you choose as Artist’s Second Albums That Were Better Than Their Debuts to the list based on popular opinion. We just ask that you check the list before adding one that’s already on it. Let’s see how far we can grow this one? Undoubtedly, there will be those who will argue over albums that were not included on this list and those who will raise an opinion that some of the debuts were better.

# 41 – The Bends – Radiohead

# 40 – Anthem Of The Sun – The Grateful Dead

# 39  – Purple – Stone Temple Pilots

# 38 – The Southern Harmony – The Black Crowes

# 37 – Space Oddity  – David Bowie

# 36 – Time And A Word – Yes

# 35 – Trespass – Genesis

# 34 – Metal Box – Public Image Ltd

# 33 – Warren Zevon – Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon’s sophomore album took seven years before it was released. His second album entitled simply Warren Zevon was released in 1976. His first album entitled Wanted Dead or Alive was released in 1969.

# 32 – The Band – The Band

The Band’s second album entitled The Band was released in 1969. Their debut album entitled Music from Big Pink was released in 1968.

# 31 – Johnny Winter – Johnny Winter

Released in 1969.  Pick added by Amanda Keith Maguire

Our Original lists started at number 30. Anything above 30 was added by readers in this collaboration article.

# 30 – Bayou Country – Creedence Clearwater Revival

We open up our 30 Best Artist’s Second albums list with the great Creedence Clearwater Revival sophomore album Bayou County. The album was released in 1969. The band’s debut album entitled Creedence Clearwater Revival was released a year earlier in 1968.

# 29 -Toxicity – System Of A Down

System Of A Down’s brilliant second album Toxicity which was released in 2001 was a much strong effort than their debut album System Of A Down released in 1998.

# 28 – Fly By Night – Rush

Two words….Neil Peart

# 27 – Sad Wings of Destiny  – Judas Priest

The great Judas Priest album Sad Wings of Destiny was released in 1976. Their debut album entitled Rocka Rolla  was released in 1974.

# 26 – The Colour and the Shape – The Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighter’s The Colour and the Shape was released in 1997. Their debut album entitled Foo Fighters was released in 1995

# 25 – Queen II – Queen

Queen’s 1973 debut album entitled Queen was great, but their 1974 sophomore release Queen II stands as one of the best albums the band ever released.

# 24 – In Color – Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick’second album In Color was released in 1977. Their debut album was released earlier in the year entitled Cheap Trick.

# 23 – Doolittle – The Pixies

The Pixies Doolittle was released in 1989. Their debut album entitled Surfer Rosa was released in 1988.

# 22 – Siamese Dreams – Smashing Pumpkins

The Smashing Pumpkins’ sophomore album Siamese Dreams was released in 1993. Their debut album entitled Gish was released in 1991.

# 21 – Ride the Lightning – Metallica

Metallica’s second album Ride The Lightning was released in 1984. Their debut album entitled All Kill ‘Em All was released in 1983.

# 20 – The Wild, the Innocent & the E-Street Shuffle – Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen’s second album was completely different and far more musically advanced AND exciting than his debut album. Greetings From Asbury Park. Both albums were released in 1973.

# 19 – Paranoid – Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath debut album released in February of 1970 entitled Black Sabbath was brilliant. We just liked their second album Paranoid a little more.

# 18 – Fun House – The Stooges

The Stooges Fun House was released in 1970. Their debut album entitled The Stooges was released in 1969.

# 17 – Bachman Turner Overdrive II – Bachman Turner Overdrive

Bachman-Turner Overdrives second album released in 1974 put them on the map with the singles “Taking Care Of Business,” and “Let It Ride.” It was also a much better effort than their 1973 debut album

# 16 – Prince – Prince

The second Prince album titled Prince was a much stronger record than his his first album titled For You. The Prince album was released in 1979. For You was released in 1978.

# 15 – The Wild Heart – Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks fans all choose her sophomore solo album The Wild Heart over her beautiful solo debut Bella Donna. They are both brilliant but we also love The Wild Heart better than her first one

# 14 – Ram – Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney’s Ram album released in 1971 has grown in stature over the years. It followed up his first solo album simply titled McCartney which was released in 1970.

# 13 – Little Queen – Heart

Heart’s 1977 album Little Queen was just a little bit better than their amazing debut album Dreamboat Annie which was released in 1976

# 12 – Sammy Hagar – Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar’s self titled album that fans often call his Red album was released in 1977. His solo debut album entitled Nine on a Ten Scale was released in 1976.

# 11 – Elton John – Elton John

The wonderful album simply entitled Elton John was released on April 10, 1970. Elton John’s debut album entitled Empty Sky was released in 1969.

# 10 – Stand Up – Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull’s second album entitled Stand Up was released in August of 1969. Tull’s debut album entitled This Was was released in 1968.

#  9 – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory – Oasis

The Oasis sophomore album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?  was released October 2, 1995. Their debut album entitled Definitely Maybe was released on August 29, 1994

#  8 -‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere – Neil Young

Neil Young’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was released on May 14, 1969. His debut album entitled Neil Young was released on January 22, 1969.

#  7 – Astral Weeks – Van Morrison

Astral Weeks was released in November of 1968. Van Morrison’s debut album under his name was released in September of 1967 and entitled Blowin’ Your Mind!

#  6 – The Freewheelin’ Bob DylanBob Dylan

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was released on May 27, 1963. Bob Dylan’s debut album was released on March 19, 1962 and entitled Bob Dylan. 

#  5 – Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin II was released in October of 19669. Led Zeppelin’s debut album was released in January of 1969 and entitled Led Zeppelin.

#  4 – With The Beatles – The Beatles

With The Beatles was released in 1963. The Beatles’ debut album was also released in 1963 and entitled Please Please Me. Both are great albums, but With The Beatles took them to the next level of greatness.

#  3 – Piano Man – Billy Joel

There is no comparison between Billy Joel’s Piano Man album and his debut album Cold Spring Harbor. Despite Cold Spring Harbor being mastered at the wrong speed and making it almost unlistenable, Piano Man was so much better than his debut album on just about every level. Some feel it is Billy Joel’s best of his career.

# 2 – Bat Out Of Hell – Meat Loaf

Some would argue Bat Out Of Hell was Meat Loaf’s first album, but Meat Loaf did release an album in 1971 entitled Stoney and Meatloaf. Even though it was a collaborative effort between Meat Loaf and Shaun Murphy, it was still a Meat Loaf album. Rare Earth records thought so as they made sure to re-release it after the tremendous success of Bat Out of Hell which was originally released in 1977.

#  1 – Nevermind – Nirvana

This one was pretty easy to place in the number one spot on our 50 Best Second Albums in Classic Rock History List. Nirvana’s second album was released in 1991. Nirvana’s debut album was released in 1989 and entitled Bleach


  1. Avatar Hector Bernal June 29, 2020
  2. Avatar Sheri June 30, 2020
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