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Top 20 Debut Albums of All Time: Great 1st Albums

A debut album, the first album a band puts out, is usually a practice run. For many bands, it's not great but might lead them to a later album with charting hits and record sales. However, once in a while, a band releases a phenomenal debut album that grabs the gold in the first shot. Here are the best debut albums by rock and pop bands, the best debuts we could find.

1 - Boston (1976) Every song on this album was a hit single, either on the A or B side. A phenomenon not often seen, especially for a first album. Boston was short-lived but they hit the world hard with their first punch. An unforgettable debut album.

2 - The Cars (1978). They ushered in a new sound and this first album was perfect. It introduced the band in style with lots of substance. The Good Times did indeed Roll... and it was moving in perfect stereo. You're All I've Got Tonight, among others, hit the radios and stayed.

3 - Fleetwood Mac (1975) the self-titled reboot, the new version of the band with Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. This one really flew "over our heads" as it were, pun intended. Great first effort that lead to their 2nd: Rumours which broke all records and became one of  the 3 biggest albums of all time.

4  - Jimi Hendrex Experience - Are You Experienced (1967). The guitar work alone blew our minds.

5 - Led Zeppelin, self-titled (1969). The world experienced a sound that would carry them through the 70s. A few albums before Stairway, this band rocked from the first pressing of the first album.

6 -  Cindi Lauper - She's So Unusual (1983). Wow! No one expected that. Hit after hit on MTV, this first album shot her to the top. She had style, pizzazz and colored hair. No one knew what to make of her, but she was a star. Time After Time, She Bop, Money Changes Everything... she collaborated with Prince and others and blew us away.

7 - Roxy Music (1972) Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music started off strong. Their smooth sound was new, vibrant in a cool way, and unforgettable.

8 - The Doors (1967) - the first record helped them to "Break on Through" to the top of the charts. An incredible debut that got them on Ed Sullivan and other TV spots, not to mention... every radio.

9 - The Go-Gos - Beauty and the Beat (1981). The first really big female group to hit #1 straight off the bat. The first album of theirs spun hit after hit.

10 - The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man from David Crosby's first band (1966), a big hit and is still remembered.

11 - Adele, her first album "19" in 2008 was a monster entry on the stage. Her voice was a First Love for many new fans to be.

12 - Duran Duran (1982) a precursor to the huge Rio album, this one was so strong it hit the charts, MTV and the radio waves all at once.

13 - Pearl Jam - Ten (1991) was a new sound and a bold new grunge entry. They faded fast, but their first LP was a big one.

14Madonna, self-titled album (1983). A lucky star that was about to explode on the scene. This first effort was a big spring-board and no soft launch indeed.

15 - Big Star (1972) Often overlooked, this was a great album by a short-lived band that likely few of you even remember. Critically acclaimed.

16 - Yazoo - Upstairs at Eric's (1982) a big new sound from Alison Moyet and Depeche Mode's Vince Clarke. The dance floors exploded across the country.

17 - George Michael - Faith (1987). His first solo album was a smash hit with multiple #1 singles. Although he had already started with Wham, his first album under his own name was a mammoth hit. Unforgettable.

18 - Magnum - Kingdom of Madness (1978). They never took off in the US, but went on to release 25 more albums in the UK. This first album was one of only two US releases and was perfect gold.

19 - Bon Jovi (1984). Runaway and She Don't Know Me were just the beginning.

20 - Black Sabbath (1970). Ozzy Osbourne's first band put out a memorable first album.

Runners Up:

Lady Gaga "Fame" in 2008 did pretty well for the lass. She'd go on to do more, but had a grand first run.

Def Leppard On Through the Night (1980) was no slouch for a first album.

The Eagles had a fairly hot debut attempt.

The Monkees, and yes you're laughing now, but that first album was pretty popular, and hit #1.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released a first-rate debut album. 

That's a wrap. Those are the biggest debut albums in pop and rock music. Not everyone starts out with such a bang.

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