#1 THE BEATLES
No surprises here. I look upon people who don’t understand the greatness of The Beatles with disdain. Ignorance is not bliss, it is just ignorance. And not understanding the greatness and the importance of The Beatles music is certainly ignorance.
Where to start? 1968’s self titled double album (known as The White Album) is the ultimate Beatles album in my view. 30 tracks covering almost every style of music imaginable. That being said, it may not be the best album to start with if you are new to the band. Perhaps 1969’s Abbey Road (the final album they recorded) would be a better entry point as it’s more fluid and it has the most “modern” sound of any of their albums.
in spite of of where you start with the greatest band of all time, the important thing is that you reach the following albums: A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, The White Album, Abbey Road, and Let It Be. You should also make sure you get Past Masters Vol. 2 as it includes a lot of The Beatles best singles that were never included on any album. If that’s not enough for you, get the rest of their stuff too. In some ways it’s all great, already the stuff that isn’t that great (like 1964’s Beatles for Sale for example which includes very cool songs like “I’ll Follow the Sun” that you can’t really get anywhere else.)
#2 THE ROLLING STONES
Not a lot of surprise here either although I had a much harder time making this selection as a lot of The Stones best work is truly in the ’70s and there’s a lot of great competition. Albums like Let It Bleed nevertheless stand up today as among the best rock n roll albums of all time.
#3 THE WHO
Much like the Stones, a lot of their best work truly came in the 1970s but that being said I believe they form the “holy trinity” of great British rock bands of the 1960s along with The Beatles and The Stones consequently they must be included at #3. Tommy is sometimes maligned these days but it really is quite an album. And many of The Who’s singles are extremely good. Also, I don’t think any band topped them as far as live performances go.
#4 THE BEACH BOYS
Pet Sounds alone is probably enough to get them this position but they also recorded a lot of extremely noticable songs not included on that album, the best of them being the incredible “Good Vibrations.”
#5 THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE
They recorded only three albums but each of them were excellent. I most recommend their final album: 1968’s double album Electric Ladyland which is a real psychedelic masterpiece.