101 Essential Rock Records

The Golden Age of Vinyl from the Beatles to the Sex Pistols

By Jeff Gold

260 Pages / Hardcover / 9 1/2″ x 11 1/2″
300 Illustrations

ISBN: 978-58423-488-3



101 Essential Rock Records: The Golden Age of Vinyl, from The Beatles to The Sex Pistols is an overview of rock’s most seminal albums. This celebration of the vinyl record, by music industry veteran Jeff Gold, features contributions from musicians Devendra Banhart, David Bowie, Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Nels Cline (Wilco), Robyn Hitchcock, Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Graham Nash, and Suzanne Vega.

The book shines a light on 101 rock albums, well known and obscure, that changed music forever; from The Beatles 1963 UK debut Please Please Me through the Sex Pistols 1977 classic Never Mind The Bollocks. The focus is on vinyl’s “Golden Age”; beginning with the explosion of album sales brought on by Beatlemania, and ending in the late 70’s, with the advent of Sony’s Walkman—and the cassette overtaking the LP as the dominant music format.

Alongside the big names –The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac—are lesser-known but highly influential artists including Laura Nyro, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Captain Beefheart and The Stooges  (See the complete list of 101 Records below.)

A two-page spread on each album features large images of each record’s front and back cover and record label, alongside an essay discussing that album’s influence and impact. Each album depicted is the first pressing from the artist’s country of origin—akin to a first edition book. These include the first-ever version of the Beatles debut, valued at $5,000, and an alternate issue of Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’, worth $10,000.

Gold estimates that, based on current market values, the albums pictured in the book would cost a collector upwards of $125,000 to assemble.

Also included are thought-provoking interviews with musicians who discuss the albums and artists that changed their lives. Graham Nash describes meeting The Beatles at a 1959 talent show where they were billed as Johnny and the Moondogs and how, four years later, John Lennon and Paul McCartney sang him the just written “Misery,” “one voice in each ear.” He writes of meeting Joni Mitchell at a party in Ottawa in 1967 and calls her Blue his “most favorite solo album,” confessing, “the thought that I spent much time with this fine woman and genius of a writer is incredible to me.”

David Bowie speaks eloquently about the Velvet Underground, noting that his band, Buzz, performed “I’m Waiting For The Man” as an encore at their last gig, and that “it was the first time a Velvet song had been covered by anyone, anywhere in the world. Lucky me.”

Iggy Pop writes of the profound impact of hearing Van Morrison’s no-holds-barred performance on the first album by Them, as well as his admiration for Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention’s Freak Out, noting that opening for the Mothers “pushed me to be weirder faster, and also to be stranger to look at…That night I did my first stage dive. I knew the Mothers were on after us and I didn’t want people to forget about us.”

Also included are contributions from Susanne Vega, Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Nels Cline (Wilco), Devendra Banhart, Robyn Hitchcock, Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman, cultural critic Jon Savage, art director Mick Haggerty and record producer Joe Boyd  (See a complete list of the essays below.)

The pictorial essay Jimi Hendrix: Record Collector details the personal record collection of rock’s most revered guitarist. In addition to the expected jazz, blues, soul and rock albums, Hendrix’s collection included oddities such as Friar Tuck and His Psychedelic Guitar.

Censored, a pictorial survey of censored album covers from the rock era, includes the notorious Beatles “Butcher Cover,” the original artwork from Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland (featuring 19 nude girls), and an extremely rare version of David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, before the dog’s genitals were airbrushed out.

101 Essential Rock Records essays
Jeff Gold – The Record Obsession
Jac Holzman – Dreams of Vinyl
Graham Nash – The Beatles: Please, Please Me and Joni Mitchell: Blue
Iggy Pop – Them: The Angry Young Them and The Mothers of Invention: Freak Out!
Robyn Hitchcock – Pink Floyd: The Piper At The Gates of Dawn, Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited, and The Beatles: Revolver
Nels Cline – The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Are You Experienced? and Electric Ladyland
David Bowie – The Velvet Underground & Nico
Susanne Vega – The Beatles: The Beatles (White Album) and Leonard Cohen: Songs of Leonard Cohen
Jeff Gold – Jimi Hendrix: Record Collector
Jon Savage – Moby Grape and Love: Forever Changes
Devendra Banhart – Davy Graham: Folk, Blues & Beyond, Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence: Oar, Vashti Bunyan: Just Another Diamond Day
Mick Haggerty – Album Covers
Joe Boyd – The Incredible String Band & Nick Drake
Johnny Marr – Iggy and the Stooges: Raw Power
Peter Buck – Patti Smith: Horses and Record Collecting
Censored ! – The Mamas and the Papas, The Beatles, Moby Grape, Jim Hendrix, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, The Rolling Stones, Blind Faith, Roxy Music, Lynyrd Skynyrd, David Bowie
Ken Barnes – The Vinyl Mystique

101 Essential Rock Records
(in chronological order)
1. The Beatles – Please Please Me
2. Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
3. The Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones
4. Bob Dylan – Another Side of Bob Dylan
5. Davy Graham – Folk Blues & Beyond…
6. Them – Angry Young Them
7. The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man
8. Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited
9. The Who – My Generation
10. Simon & Garfunkel – Sounds of Silence
11. The Rolling Stones – Aftermath
12. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
13. Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde
14. The Mothers of Invention – Freak Out!
15. Yardbirds – Yardbirds
16. John Mayall with Eric Clapton – Blues Breakers
17. The Butterfield Blues Band – East West
18. The Beatles – Revolver
19. Jefferson Airplane – Takes Off
20. The Kinks – Face to Face
21. The 13th Floor Elevators – The Psychedelic Sounds Of
22. Laura Nyro – More Than A New Discovery
23. The Doors – The Doors
24. Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow
25. The Velvet Underground & Nico – The Velvet Underground
26. Grateful Dead – Grateful Dead
27. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?
28. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
29. Moby Grape – Moby Grape
30. Tim Buckley – Goodbye and Hello
31. Pink Floyd – The Piper At The Gates of Dawn
32. Buffalo Springfield – Again
33. Love – Forever Changes
34. Cream – Disraeli Gears
35. Traffic – Mr. Fantasy
36. The Who – The Who Sell Out
37. Leonard Cohen – Songs of Leonard Cohen
38. The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat
39. Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac
40. The Incredible String Band – The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter
41. The Zombies – Odessey & Oracle
42. Small Faces – Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake
43. The Band – Music From The Big Pink
44. Grateful Dead – Anthem of the Sun
45. Jeff Beck – Truth
46. Big Brother & The Holding Company – Cheap Thrills
47. The Byrds – Sweetheart of the Rodeo
48. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland
49. Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
50. The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album)
51. The Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow
52. The Pentangle – Sweet Child
53. The Soft Machine – The Soft Machine
54. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bayou Country
55. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
56. The Flying Burrito Bros. – The Gilded Palace of Sin
57. MC5 – Kick Out The Jams
58. Sly And The Family Stone – Stand!
59. Neil Young With Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
60. Alexander Spence – Oar
61. The Who – Tommy
62. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Crosby, Stills & Nash
63. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Trout Mask Replica
64. Blind Faith – Blind Faith
65. Jethro Tull – Stand Up
66. The Stooges – The Stooges
67. Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left
68. King Crimson – In The Court of The Crimson King
69. Vashti Bunyan – Just Another Diamond Day
70. Fairport Convention – Liege & Leaf
71. The Move – Shazam
72. James Taylor – Sweet Baby James
73. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
74. Emerson Lake & Palmer – Emerson Lake & Palmer
75. David Bowie – The Man Who Sold The World
76. Cat Stevens – Tea For The Tillerman
77. Carole King – Tapestry
78. Can – Tago Mago
79. Yes – The Yes Album
80. Joni Mitchell – Blue
81. The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East
82. Genesis – Nursery Cryme
83. Faust – Faust
84. The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main St.
85. David Bowie – The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
86. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
87. Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure
88. Iggy And The Stooges – Raw Power
89. New York Dolls – New York Dolls
90. Big Star – #1 Record
91. Kraftwerk – Autobahn
92. Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
93. Patti Smith – Horses
94. Ramones – Ramones
95. The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers
96. AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Cheap
97. Fleetwood Mac – Rumors
98. The Damned – The Damned
99. The Clash – The Clash
100. Talking Heads – Talking Heads: 77
101. Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols