The 25 albums every gentleman should own

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” — Plato

It was as true then, over 2,000 years ago, as it is today. Think back to the most memorable times in your life – the happiest, the saddest, the wildest and the most bizarre. There is always a soundtrack, a nostalgic trip, a theme. Music has evolved immeasurably – you only have to flick onto Radio 1 or Heart FM to appreciate this. But the true icons of the industry still ring through – those who paved the way, broke the mould and influenced change; the likes of The Who, Guns N’ Roses, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.

Finding a definitive ‘best’ list is about as easy as running on ice in high heels, while drunk – we here at The Gentleman’s Journal certainly aren’t qualified to tackle such a thorny topic. Cue John Varvatos, a renowned fashion designer and self-confessed music junkie who last year teamed up with Republic Records and launched his own music label, John Varvatos Records. He is our man. And here are his recommendations of the 25 albums that every gentleman should own…

THE WHO – WHO’S NEXT

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Who’s Next is the fifth studio album by English rock band The Who.
Released: August 1971
Tracklist: Baba O’Riley , Bargain, Love Ain’t for Keepin’, My Wife, Song is Over, Gettin’ in tune, Goin’ Mobile, Behind Blue Eyes, Wont Get Fooled Again

LED ZEPPELIN – III

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Led Zeppelin III is the third studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin.
Released: October 1970
Tracklist: Immigrant Song, Friends, Celebration Day, Since I’ve Been Loving You, Out on the Tiles, Gallows Pole, Tangerine, That’s the way, That’s the way, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Hats Off (Roy) Harper

PINK FLOYD – THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

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The Dark Side of the Moon is the eighth studio album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd.
Released: March 1973
Tracklist: Speak to Me/Breathe, On the Run, Time, The Great Gig in the Sky, Money, Us and Them, Any Colour you Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse

THE BEATLES – THE WHITE ALBUM

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The White Album is the ninth studio album by English rock group The Beatles.
Released: November 1968
Tracklist: Back in the U.S.S.R, Dear Prudence, Glass Onion, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Wild Honey Pie, The continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, While My Guitar Weeps, Happiness Is a Warm Gun, Martha My Dear, I’m So Tired, Blackbird, Piggies, Rocky Raccoon, Why Don’t We Do It in the Road, I Will, Julia, Birthday, Yer Blues, Mother Nature’s Son, Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except me and my monkey, Sexy Sadie, Helter Skelter, Long, Long, Long, Revolution, Honey Pie, Savoy Truffle, Cry Baby Cry, Revolution 9, Good Night

MC5 – KICK OUT THE JAMS

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Kick Out the Jams is the debut album by American protopunk band MC5.
Released: February 1969
Tracklist: Ramblin’ Rose, Kick out the Jams, Come Together, Rocket Reducer No. 62, Borderline, Motor City is Burning, I Want You Right Now, Starship

THE ROLLING STONES – STICKY FINGERS

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Sticky Fingers is the ninth British and eleventh American studio album by English rock band The Rolling Stones.
Released: April 1971
Tracklist: Brown Sugar, Sway, Wild Horses, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, You, Gotta Move, Bitch, I Got the Blues, Sister Morphine, Dead Flowers, Moonlight Mile

CHEAP TRICK – DREAM POLICE

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Dream Police is the fourth studio album by Cheap Trick.
Released: September 1979
Tracklist: Dream Police, Voices, I know What I Want, Way of the World, The, House Is Rocking, I’ll Be with You Tonight, Gonna Raise Hell, Writing on the Wall, Need Your Love

KISS – ALIVE!

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Alive! is the first live album, and fourth overall, by American hard rock band Kiss. It is considered to be their breakthrough and a landmark for live albums.
Released: September 1975
Tracklist: Deuce, Strutter, Got To Choose, Hotter Than Hell, Firehouse, Nothin’ to Lose, C’mon and Love Me, Parasite, She, Watchin’ You, 100,00 Years, Black Diamond, Rock Bottom, Cold Gin, Rock & Roll All Nite (live version), Let Me Go, Rock ’N Roll

ALICE COOPER – LOVE IT TO DEATH

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Love It to Death is the third album by the American rock band Alice Cooper.
Released: March 1971
Tracklist: Caught in a Dream, Eighteen, Long Way to Go, Black Juju, Is It My Body, Hallowed Be My Body, Hallowed Be My Name, Second Coming, Ballas Of Dwight, Fry, Sun Arise

NEW YORK DOLLS – TOO MUCH TOO SOON

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Too Much Too Soon is the second studio album by American hard rock band the New York Dolls.
Released: May 1974
Tracklist: Babylon, Stranded in the Jungle, Who Are the Mystery Girls?, (There’s Gonna Be a) Showdown, It’s Too Late, Puss ’N’ Boots, Chatterbox, Bad Detective, Don’t Start Me Talkin’, Human Being

MILES DAVIS – KIND OF BLUE

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Kind of Blue is a studio album by American jazz musician Miles Davis.
Released: August 1959
Tracklist: So What, Freddie Freeloader, Blue In Green, All Blues, Flamence Sketches

THE CLASH – LONDON CALLING

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London Calling is the third studio album by English punk rock band the Clash.
Released: December 1979
Tracklist: London Calling, Brand New Cadillac, Jimmy Jazz, Hateful, Rudie Can’t, Fail, Spanish Bombs, The Right Profile, Lost in the Supermarket, Clampdown, The Guns of Brixton, Wrong ‘Em Boyo, Death or Glory, Koka Kola, The Card Cheat, Lover’s Rock, Four Horsemen, I’m Not Down, Revolution Rock, Train in Vain

MARVIN GAYE – WHAT’S GOING ON

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What’s Going On is the 11th studio album by soul musician Marvin Gaye.
Released: May 1971
Tracklist: What’s Happening Brother, Whats Goin’ On, Flyin’ High (In the Friendly Sky), Save the Children, God is Love, Wholy Holy, Mercy Mercy ME (The Ecology), Right On, Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)

DAVID BOWIE – THE RISE & FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST & THE SPIDERS FROM MARS

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The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars is the fifth studio album by English musician David Bowie.
Released: June 1972
Tracklist: Five Years, Soul Love, Moonage Daydream, Starman, It Ain’t Easy, Lady Stardust, Star, Hang On to Yourself, Ziggy Stardust, Suffragette City, Rock & Roll Suicide

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE – ARE YOU EXPERIENCED

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Are You Experienced is the debut studio album by the rock band the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Released: May 1967
Tracklist: Foxy Lady, Manic Depression, Red House, Can You See Me, Love or Confusion, I Don’t Live Today, May This Be Love, Fire, Third Stone from the Sun, Remember, Are You Experienced?

BOB DYLAN – BLOOD ON THE TRACKS

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Blood on the Tracks is the 15th studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.
Released: January 1975
Tracklist: Tangled Up in Blue, Simple Twist of Fate, You’re A Big Girl Now, Idiot Wind, You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome, Meet Me in The Morning, Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts, If you see Her, Say Hello, Shelter From the Storm, Buckets of Rain

QUEEN – A NIGHT AT THE OPERA

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A Night at the Opera is the fourth studio album by the British rock band Queen.
Released: November 1975
Tracklist: Death on Two Legs, Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon, I’m in Love with my Car, You’re My Best Friend, ’39, Sweet Lady, Seaside Rendez, The Prophet’s Song, Love of My Life, Good Company, Bohemian Rhapsody, God Save the Queen

THE DOORS – L.A. WOMAN

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L.A. Woman is the sixth studio album by American rock band The Doors.
Released: April 1971
Tracklist: The Changeling, Lover Her Madly, Been Down So Long, Cars Hiss by My Window, L.A Women, L’America, Hyacinth House, Crawling King Shake, Riders on the Storm, The WASP

GUNS N’ ROSES – APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION

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Appetite for Destruction is the debut studio album by the American rock band Guns N’ Roses.
Released: July 1987
Tracklist: Welcome to the Jungle, It’s So Easy, Nightrain, Out Ta Get Me, Mr. Brownstone, Paradise City, My Michelle, Think About You, Sweet Child O’ Mine, You’re Crazy, Anything Goes, Rocket Queen

THE KINKS – KINKS

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Kinks is the self-titled debut album by English rock band The Kinks.
Released: October 1964
Tracklist: Beautiful Delilah, So Mystifying, Just Can’t Go to Sleep, Long Tall Shorty, I Took My Baby Home, I’m a Lover Not a Fighter, You Really Got Me, Cadillac, Bald Headed Women, Revenge, Too Much Monkey Business, I’ve Been Driving on Bald Mountain, Stop Your Sobbing, Got Love If You Want It

AEROSMITH – TOYS IN THE ATTIC

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Toys in the Attic is the third album by American rock band Aerosmith.
Released: April 1975
Tracklist: Toys in the Attic, Uncle Salty, Adam’s Apple, Walk this Way, Big Ten Inch Record, Sweet Emotion, No More No More, Round and Round, You See Me Crying

AC/DC – BACK IN BLACK

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Back in Black is the seventh studio album by Australian rock band AC/DC.
Released: July 1980
Tracklist: Hell Bells, Shoot to Thrill, What Do you do for Money Honey, Given the Dog a Bone, Let me Put My Love Into You, Back In Black, You Shook Me All Night Long, Have A Drink On Me, Shake a Leg, Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution

WILLIE NELSON – STARDUST

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Stardust is an album by Willie Nelson that spans the genres of pop, jazz, and country music.
Released: April 1978
Tracklist: Stardust, Georgia on My Mind, Blue Skies, All of Me, Unchained Melody, September Song, On the Sunny Side of the Street, Moonlight in Vermont, Don’t Get Around Much Any More, Someone to Watch Over Me

IGGY & THE STOOGES – FUN HOUSE

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Fun House is the second studio album by American rock band The Stooges.
Released: July 1970
Tracklist: Down On the Street, Loose, T.V Eye, Dirt, 1970, Fun House, L.A Blues

RYAN ADAMS – LOVE IS HELL

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Love Is Hell is the fifth studio album by alternative country artist Ryan Adams.
Released: May 2004
Tracklist: Political Scientist, Afraid Not Scared, This House Is Not for Sale, Anybody Wanna Take Me Home, Love is Hell, Wonderwall, The Shadowlands, World War 24, Avalanche, My Blue Manhattan, Please Do Not Let Me Go, City Rain City Streets, I see Monsters, English Girls Approximately, Thank you Louise, Hotel Chelsea Night

Further Reading