For most of the public, they are familiar with the “classic albums” that put a number of “classic rock” bands in the spotlight, but fewer have listened to back catalog albums that may even be better than the more well-known albums
Classic rock’s overshadowed back catalog
In the heyday of classic rock, for many groups, a certain hit single propelled the act to stardom and often opened them up to a brand-new audience. For much of the public-at-large, these top-selling albums sometimes defined these bands into a slightly different style and overshadowed their back catalog and roots.
In many cases, these previous works are just as solid and some are even better than the albums that put these groups in the spotlight. Here are six great classic rock albums you may have missed…
1. Cheap Trick: Cheap Trick
Most famous album band is known for: There are two… 1988’s platinum-selling Lap of Luxury which gave the group its first and only #1 single The Flame, followed by #4 Elvis cover Don’t Be Cruel and live recording, Cheap Trick at Budokan.
This Platinum-selling live album put the band on the map in 1979 with the live single I Want You to Want Me, which subsequently drove their two previous albums in color and have been tonight to Platinum status as well.
Cheap Trick, the eponymous debut released by the group in February 1977 is easily one of the group’s best if not their most artistic work. The group released three singles from the album Oh, Candy; I Want You to Want Me; Southern Girls. None charted in the US. Every song on the album is creative and melodic.
All these years later the album remains yet to achieve Gold status anywhere, which is not only baffling, but a shame. It is a gem of power pop songwriting that combines the influence of the Beatles with raw, punk-ish drive, that is not to be missed.
2. Golden Earring: Moontan
Most famous album the group is known for: Cut from 1982 which reached #24 in the US which featured the hit single Twilight Zone, that reached #10 on the US Billboard hot 100 and #1 in mainstream rock.
Golden Earring released its first album in 1965. The 80s version of Golden Earring was a reinvented, New Wave-leaning outfit.
A harder rocking version of Golden Earring released Moontan as its ninth album in July 1973. The UK version contained 6 tracks, while the US version featured only 5. The single Radar Love has become a classic rock standard. The original 6:26 album version was cut down to 3:44 for the single. The song reached #13 in the US.
The albums next best cut, the rebellious and sassy Candy’s Going Bad, should be considered in the category of one of the best glitter/glam rock songs of all time, for its lyrical content alone, easily on par with the best of David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and T Rex.
However, the song failed to chart everywhere in 1974 except the US where it only reached 91.
3. Deep Purple: Deep Purple in Rock
Most famous album the group is known for: Machine Head, includes the single Smoke on the Water.
Released on 3 June 1970, Deep Purple in Rock is certainly one of the contenders for inventing a style of music we now call Heavy Metal.
This classic lineup of deep purple features Ian Guillen on vocals. A 25th edition of this album contains 13 bonus tracks, including the song Black Night.
4. Montrose: Montrose
As the exception to the other albums listed in this article, Montrose is the most well-known album by the short-lived group. However, what isn’t known by the public at large is that this album is notable because it is the major recording debut of vocalist Sammy Hagar, known from Van Halen and his solo work. Many fans are unaware of this gem. This is definitely an album for your “desert island” collection.
The group Montrose was named after guitarist Ronnie Montrose. Released on October 17, 1973, Sammy Hagar wrote or co-wrote the best tracks on the album including Rock the Nation, Bad Motor Scooter, and Rock Candy, the latter two of which are some of the best tracks in hard rock history.
This is a stellar album from start to finish. Hagar recorded one more album with the group, which unfortunately hardly lived up to its predecessor, then went solo.
5. Blue Öyster Cult: Secret Treaties
Most famous album the group is known for: There are two… Fire of Unknown Origin, the band’s best-selling album which reached #24 with its #1 single Burning for You in 1981, and Agents of Fortune which reached #29 with the single (Don’t Fear) The Reaper which reached #7 in 1976.
In the 70s, Blue Öyster Cult started off as a hard rock band, known for its long jams and progressive playing. Amid these jams they also managed to lay down some solid and memorable vocal hooks, which eventually would translate to radio hits.
Released in April 1974 as the group’s third album, Secret Treaties captures the band at their absolute peak display of mastery in this “proto-rock” style. Every track is a standout. A must-have for hard rock and jam rock fans.
6. Foghat: Rock and Roll Outlaws
Most famous album the group is known for: There are two…1975’s Fool for the City, with its single Slow Ride which reached 20, and 1977’s Foghat Live which went double platinum in reached 11 in the US.
Released in October 1974, Rock and Roll Outlaws achieved Gold-selling status and is the fourth album by Foghat. The album captures the group at its boogie finest with songs such as: Eight days on the road, Rock ‘n’ roll outlaw, and Chateau Lafitte ’59 Boogie.