Top Ten Thursday: Indubitably Great Debuts

In accordance with our debut this week, we thought it would be appropriate if we gave LxL’s Top Ten Debuts of all time.

1. Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin 

Loud, rebellious and unbelievably bluesy; this is what rock n’ roll is supposed to sound like. It’s funny to think that in ’69 when this was released, that the critics ripped it apart. Shows how much they know.

2. The Band- Music from Big Pink

Far too often considered nothing more than Dylan’s backing band, The Band’s debut was in many ways the birth of roots rock and is irresistible for its earnest, organic sound.

3.Television-Marquee Moon

At the birth of punk taking place at CBGB’s, Television released one of the most intelligent punk albums to date, with the title track being among the best guitar-bass interplay you will ever hear.

4. Notorious B.I.G.- Ready To Die


The debut of one of the most natural talents in rap history, filled with classic samples and Biggie’s natural knack for storytelling.

5.Arcade Fire- Funeral

Best thing to come out of Canada since the Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. A brave, sprawling adventure through the neighborhood.

6.Beastie Boys- License to Ill

There is about eight hits on this album coming from the most surprising of sources in 1986: three white kids rapping from Brooklyn. Also expertly produced by the one-and-only Rick Rubin.

7. Kanye West- College Dropout

The now polarizing big-headed rap star on College Dropout was just an up-and-coming producer-turned-rapper with an incredible candidness and an unparalleled capacity for hip hop production.

8.Talking Heads- Talking Heads ’77

One of the most unmistakable sounding bands in the world, on Talking Heads ’77, David Byrne and company released an incredible blend of afro-pop, funk,punk, and brains.

9.The Strokes- Is This It?

At the turn of the century, Is This It? served as a shock to the heart of rock n’ roll, waking it from its half-decade of hybernation. The Strokes brought more than their rebellious style, they also brought 11 timeless tunes.

10.The Black Keys- The Big Come Up

On their debut, The Black Keys branded raw minimalist blues that is as cool as the other side of the pillow. Now eight years later, they are just starting to get the love they deserve.

The album left off that crushed our heart-grapes:

Austin: Joy Division- Unknown Pleasures

Like a bad dream you just can’t shake, Ian Curtis’ Joy Division set a deep footprint into rock history.

Todd: Jimi Hendrix Experience- Are You Experienced?

No explanation needed.

Wes: Curtis Mayfield- Curtis

Empowering and uplifting soul music that remains so timeless that traces of it continually sprout up in hip hop samples today.

So there’s the list. Let us know what we unforgivably missed, got right, or just rip on us in general.

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Author: Wes

Hoosier. Writer. Music Buff. Media Man. Tourist. Polar Bear.

3 thoughts on “Top Ten Thursday: Indubitably Great Debuts”

  1. Good work boys…funny how when you put together a “best of all time” list, it is natural to give preferential treatment to older acts. This seems especially true for a “best debuts of all time” list because a band that stood the test of time will look a lot better in retrospect than someone who’s career may take an unfortunate turn(Kings of Leon, Clap Your Hands, of Montreal, Muse, Modest Mouse, etc) down the line. Seems especially true in the modern era when a decent mp3 can lead to internet buzz and a big record deal prior to a proper “debut”. Really hard to truly know a band before they’ve released more material. Here’s some that I would probably have on my list:

    Brian Eno- Here Come the Warm Jets (not sure if this counts since it’s not his first actual album…just first solo)
    Franz Ferdinand-Franz Ferdinand (soft spot in my heart)
    MGMT- Oracular Spectacular (ditto)
    The Clash-The Clash
    Sex Pistols- Never Mind the Bollocks (I would have both these in over Talking Heads)
    Iron & Wine- Endless Numbered Days

    1. Ya, having a band’s full career definitely helps you know whether the debut was their definitive work or whether it was just the start of better things to come.

      Couple notes on your selections. We decided to leave off artists who had previous released work with other bands. Examples being Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Left Foot, Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and George Harrion’s All Things Must Pass. Also, Our Endless Numbered Days was Iron & Wine’s second album (Creek Drank The Cradle was his debut). Clash and Sex Pistols are strong, but are punk contingency was covered with Television and Talking Heads.

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