How many classic double albums do you have in your collection? Here are the second 10 of 20 (see the first 10 here!) we reckon are worth getting your ears around.
Largely written on acoustic guitars during the band’s meditation retreat in Rishikesh, The Beatles abandoned the studio trickery of Sgt. Pepper’s, relying on a stripped-down approach across 30 often-disjointed songs. An ambitious and creative collision that encompasses folk, doo-wop and even heavy metal, the excellent White Album marked the beginning of The Beatles’ final act.
Essentially two separate albums drawn together as a double offering, these 17 tracks were recorded in a little under two weeks. The blues-rock-infused Abattoir Blues is the more aggressive offering, while Lyre brings the contemplative ballads. Impressive in scope, this was the first recording not to feature guitarist Blixa Bargeld.
This is the sound of Iron Maiden at the height of their powers, captured in front of adoring crowds at Long Beach Arena (Los Angeles) in March ’85, and at Hammersmith Odeon (London) in October ‘84. For Iron Maiden fans, or any heavy metal enthusiasts, Live After Death is an essential live album for the collection.
Bob Dylan, Blonde On Blonde (1966)
Frustrated with New York recording sessions in ’65, Bob Dylan moved to Nashville early the following year and recruited some of the best musicians available to work on Blonde On Blonde. One of the first double albums in popular music, the deeply personal and inventive record is an effusion of rock, blues and folk, with barely a weak cut on it.
American-born Wayne’s musical interpretation of H.G. Wells’ The War Of The Worlds was originally released in 1978. The concept album was performed and recorded live, leaving Wayne to drop in strings, effects and narration later. It stayed in the British album charts for an incredible six years.
Foo Fighters, In Your Honour (2005)
For the band’s fifth album, Dave Grohl – searching for a new direction – settled on the idea of a double album: one half all-out rock, the other featuring just acoustic tracks, for which Grohl enlisted the talents of Norah Jones, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, and QOTSA’s Josh Homme. Versatile and ambitious, it’s the Foos with choices.
Elton John pulled most of these tracks together in just three days in Jamaica, before relocating to France to complete the recordings. It’s an album full of towering songs: Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting, Bennie and the Jets, Funeral For A Friend and Candle In The Wind, to name a few. To date, it remains John’s most commercially successful studio album.
OutKast members Big Boi and Andre 3000 were working independently on solo albums before the decision was made to merge both separate outputs as one double album (which became their fifth record as a duo). Big Boi’s Speakerboxxx is hip hop with pop hues, while Andre 3000’s The Love Below is a jazz-funk, electro, outand- out homage to Prince.
Wilco, Being There (1996)
Creative powerhouse Jeff Tweedy countered the disappointing sales of Wilco’s A.M. with this masterful double album. Guitarist and multiinstrumentalist Jay Bennett joined the band for Being There, and proved to be the perfect songwriting foil for Tweedy. It’s 77 minutes of hooks, emotion and energy.
For Marley’s second live album, most of the recordings were taken from a string of three nights at the Pavillion de Paris in 1978, while the Jamaican singer/songwriter and his accomplished band the Wailers were touring the Kaya album. The production is sublime, comprehensively catching the energy and atmosphere of Marley’s famed live performances.