Greatest Classic Rock Albums Released in March
Van Halen II by Van Halen (March 23, 1979):
“Van Halen II” was the second studio album by the band and followed on the heels of their wildly successful debut album. The album was recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood and produced by Ted Templeman, who had worked with the band on their debut album.
“Van Halen II” features the unique guitar work of Eddie Van Halen, who had already established himself as one of the most innovative guitarists of his generation. The album’s lead single, “Dance the Night Away,” features Van Halen’s signature guitar sound, with its high-pitched harmonics and blazing solo.
The album also showcases the vocal talents of David Lee Roth, whose flamboyant stage presence and catchy hooks helped make Van Halen one of the most famous rock bands of the late 1970s. Tracks like “Beautiful Girls” and “Bottoms Up!” feature Roth’s trademark high-pitched screams and playful lyrics.
“Van Halen II” was another commercial success for the band, peaking at number six on the Billboard 200 chart and earning platinum certification in the United States. The album helped cement Van Halen’s status as one of the premier hard rock bands of the era, paving the way for their continued success in the 1980s.
Overall, “Van Halen II” remains a classic of the band’s catalog and a testament to their musical prowess. The album features some of Eddie Van Halen’s most iconic guitar work and David Lee Roth’s infectious charisma, making it a must-listen for classic rock fans.
Master of Puppets by Metallica (March 3, 1986):
“Master of Puppets” is widely regarded as one of the greatest heavy metal albums of all time, with its complex compositions, intricate guitar work, and powerful lyrics. The album was recorded at Sweet Silence Studios in Copenhagen, Denmark, and produced by Flemming Rasmussen, who had also worked on Metallica’s previous album, “Ride the Lightning.”
The album features some of Metallica’s most iconic songs, including “Battery,” “Master of Puppets,” and “Welcome Home (Sanitarium).” These tracks showcase the band’s signature thrash metal sound, with fast, aggressive riffs and pounding drum beats. This Van Halen is a must-have classic rock album.
One of the defining features of “Master of Puppets” is the guitar work of James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, who create a wall of sound with their intricate harmonies and lightning-fast solos. The album’s title track is particularly notable for its epic, multi-part structure and haunting melodies.
Lyrically, “Master of Puppets” deals with power, control, and addiction themes. The title track is a scathing indictment of drug addiction. At the same time, “Disposable Heroes” criticizes the military-industrial complex and the use of soldiers as pawns in war.
“Master of Puppets” was a critical and commercial success upon its release, cementing Metallica’s status as one of the most important and influential metal bands ever. The album has since been certified 6x platinum in the United States and continues to be celebrated as among the top classic rock albums.
“Master of Puppets” is a landmark album in heavy metal history, showcasing Metallica’s technical prowess and innovative songwriting. The album’s influence can be heard in the music of countless metal bands that have followed in its wake.
Young Americans by David Bowie (March 7, 1975):
“Young Americans” departed from David Bowie’s previous work, incorporating soul, R&B, and funk influences. The album was recorded primarily in Philadelphia with producer Tony Visconti, who had previously worked with Bowie on several albums, including “Diamond Dogs” and “The Man Who Sold the World.”
The album features several notable musicians, including Luther Vandross on backing vocals and saxophonist David Sanborn. The title track, “Young Americans,” features a prominent saxophone riff, soulful vocals from Bowie, and backup vocals from Vandross.
Other standout tracks on the album include “Fame,” a collaboration with John Lennon that features a distinctive guitar riff and funk-inspired groove, and “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” which features a funky bassline and Bowie’s expressive vocals.
The album was well-received upon its release, with critics praising Bowie’s ability to seamlessly incorporate new musical styles into his work. “Young Americans” remains a classic of Bowie’s catalog and a testament to his versatility as a musician.
Surfer Rosa by Pixies (March 21, 1988):
Pixies’ debut album Surfer Rosa is considered one of the most influential alternative rock albums ever. Produced by Steve Albini, the album features a raw, unpolished sound, a hallmark of Albini’s production style. The album was recorded in Boston and produced by Steve Albini, who would create other landmark alternative rock albums like Nirvana’s “In Utero. “As a result, songs like “Gigantic,” “Where Is My Mind?” and “Bone Machine” are now classics in their own right.
One of the defining features of “Surfer Rosa” is the guitar work of lead guitarist Joey Santiago. Santiago’s intricate, angular riffs and noisy feedback departed from the more straightforward punk and rock guitar playing of the time. Santiago’s innovative guitar work influenced the alternative rock scene in the 1990s.
The album also features frontwoman Black Francis’ distinctive vocals, which range from screaming and shouting to whispering and crooning. In addition, the lyrics often deal with unconventional subject matter, such as surreal imagery and religious themes.
“Surfer Rosa” was a critical success upon its release. Many critics hailed it as a groundbreaking album that would influence a generation of alternative rock musicians. The album continues to be celebrated as a genre classic, with its influence still felt in the music of contemporary alternative rock bands.
Overall, “Surfer Rosa” represents a pivotal moment in alternative rock history, showcasing the innovative guitar work of Joey Santiago and the band’s willingness to experiment with different styles and sounds. The album’s influence can be heard in the music of countless alternative rock bands that have followed in its wake.
Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop by Stone Temple Pilots (March 26, 1996):
Stone Temple Pilots’ third studio album, Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop features a more experimental sound than their previous work, with jazz, psychedelic rock, and pop elements. “Big Bang Baby,” “Lady Picture Show,” and “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart” are standout tracks on the album.
Superunknown by Soundgarden (March 8, 1994):
Superunknown is Soundgarden’s fourth studio album and is considered their magnum opus. The album features the hit singles “Black Hole Sun,” “Spoonman,” and “Fell on Black Days” and showcases the band’s unique blend of heavy metal, grunge, and psychedelic rock.
“Superunknown” marked a significant moment for Soundgarden, cementing their place as one of the leading bands of the grunge movement. Hailing from Seattle, Soundgarden was part of a thriving music scene in the city that included bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains.
The album was recorded at Bad Animals Studio in Seattle, with the band working with producer Michael Beinhorn. “Superunknown” features a range of musical styles, from the heavy riffage of “Spoonman” to the psychedelic influences on “Black Hole Sun” and the bluesy “Fell on Black Days.”
The album was a commercial and critical success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and earning the band two Grammy Awards. In addition, “Black Hole Sun” became a hit single and is now considered a classic of the grunge era.
“Superunknown” showcased Soundgarden’s technical skill as musicians, with guitarist Kim Thayil’s intricate guitar work and frontman Chris Cornell’s powerful vocals. The album also demonstrated the band’s willingness to experiment with different sounds and genres while maintaining their signature heavy sound.
Overall, “Superunknown” remains a standout album of the grunge era and a testament to Soundgarden’s place within Seattle’s vibrant music scene of the 1990s.
Adrenalize by Def Leppard (March 31, 1992):
“Adrenalize” was the fifth studio album by Def Leppard and the follow-up to their hugely successful album “Hysteria.” The album was recorded in various studios worldwide and produced by Def Leppard, with co-production and engineering by Mike Shipley.
“Adrenalize” features a more streamlined sound than its predecessor, focusing on catchy hooks and melodic choruses. The album’s lead single, “Let’s Get Rocked,” became a rock and pop radio hit thanks to its infectious chorus and sing-along lyrics.
The album also features some of Def Leppard’s most personal and emotional lyrics. The band was still mourning the loss of guitarist Steve Clark, who died in 1991. Songs like “Tonight” and “White Lightning” deal with the themes of grief and loss, while “Heaven Is” is a tribute to Clark’s memory.
Despite the album’s success, “Adrenalize” received mixed reviews from critics, who criticized the band’s formulaic approach and lack of innovation. However, the album remains among the top classic albums of all time and has sold over 7 million copies worldwide.
Overall, “Adrenalize” is a solid entry in Def Leppard’s catalog, showcasing the band’s knack for crafting catchy, radio-friendly rock songs. While it may not be as groundbreaking as their earlier work, the album remains a testament to the band’s enduring popularity and influence in rock music.
Sad Wings of Destiny by Judas Priest (March 23, 1976):
Sad Wings of Destiny is the second studio album by the English heavy metal band Judas Priest, released on March 23, 1976. The album features the classic track “Victim of Changes” as well as other standout tracks like “The Ripper” and “Dreamer Deceiver.” The album is considered an early influence on the development of the heavy metal genre.
Foreigner by Foreigner (March 8, 1977):
Foreigner’s self-titled debut album was a huge success, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard album chart and spawning several hit singles, including “Feels Like the First Time,” “Cold as Ice,” and “Long, Long Way from Home.” The album was produced by John Sinclair and recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City.
Foreigner’s sound was a unique blend of hard rock and pop sensibilities, with catchy hooks and soaring choruses that made their songs instant classics. The band’s lineup included lead vocalist Lou Gramm, guitarist Mick Jones, keyboardist Al Greenwood, bassist Ed Gagliardi, and drummer Dennis Elliott.
Foreigner’s debut album received critical acclaim upon its release, with critics praising the band’s tight musicianship and catchy songwriting. The album’s success helped establish Foreigner as one of the premier rock bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
In addition to its commercial success, Foreigner’s debut album also had a lasting impact on the music world, inspiring countless rock bands with its blend of hard rock and pop hooks. The classic rock album’s legacy can be heard in the music of bands like Bon Jovi, Journey, and REO Speedwagon.
Foreigner’s self-titled debut album remains a classic of the rock genre, with its memorable hooks, powerful vocals, and driving rhythms.
Glass Houses by Billy Joel (March 10, 1980):
Glass Houses is the seventh studio album by Billy Joel, released on March 10, 1980. The album features the hit singles “You May Be Right” and “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” as well as other standout tracks like “Don’t Ask Me Why” and “All for Leyna.”
Southern Accents by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (March 26, 1985):
Southern Accents is the sixth studio album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, released on March 26, 1985. The album features the hit singles “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “Rebels,” as well as other standout tracks like “Spike” and “It Ain’t Nothin’ to Me.” In addition, the album explores themes of Southern identity and features collaborations with Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart and Stevie Nicks.
Overkill by Motörhead (March 24, 1979):
Overkill is the second studio album by the English rock band Motörhead, released on March 24, 1979. The album features the classic title track “Overkill,” as well as other standout tracks like “Stay Clean” and “No Class.” The album helped solidify Motörhead’s place in the emerging New Wave of the British Heavy Metal scene.
The Joshua Tree by U2 (March 9, 1987):
“The Joshua Tree” was U2’s fifth studio album, significantly departing from their earlier work. The album was produced by Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno and recorded at several studios in Ireland and the United States.
The album features sweeping, anthemic melodies and atmospheric guitar work. American roots music, such as blues, country, and folk, heavily influenced it. The album’s lyrics were also more introspective and politically charged, reflecting the band’s growing awareness of social and political issues.
“The Joshua Tree” earned massive commercial success, selling over 25 million copies worldwide and winning numerous awards, including the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1988. In addition, the album spawned several hit singles, including “With or Without You,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.”
Critics hailed “The Joshua Tree” as a landmark album, with many praising its epic soundscapes and socially conscious lyrics. The album has since been included on numerous “best albums of all time” lists and is regarded as U2’s masterpiece.
“The Joshua Tree” also marked a turning point in U2’s career, as the band’s newfound popularity and critical acclaim propelled them to become one of the biggest rock bands in the world. The album’s influence can be heard in the work of many subsequent rock bands. Its enduring popularity has ensured its place in the pantheon of great rock albums.
Get Your Wings by Aerosmith (March 1, 1974):
“Get Your Wings” was Aerosmith’s second studio album, marking a significant step forward in the band’s sound and songwriting. The album was produced by Jack Douglas and recorded at the Record Plant studios in New York City.
The album’s sound was characterized by its bluesy riffs, heavy guitar solos, and the powerful vocals of lead singer Steven Tyler. The album’s lyrics were also more mature and reflective than their debut album, with themes of sex, drugs, and rock and roll and more personal topics like relationships and heartbreak.
“Get Your Wings” was a critical success, with many critics praising the band’s musicianship and Tyler’s vocals. The album also featured several standout tracks, including “Same Old Song and Dance,” “Seasons of Wither,” and “Lord of the Thighs.”
The album’s success helped to establish Aerosmith as one of the premier hard rock bands of the 1970s. It paved the way for even greater success with subsequent albums like “Toys in the Attic” and “Rocks.” The album’s influence can be heard in the work of many subsequent hard rock and heavy metal bands, and it remains a fan favorite to this day.
Overall, “Get Your Wings” is a classic hard rock album that showcases Aerosmith’s raw energy and talent. The album’s bluesy riffs and powerful vocals helped establish the band’s signature sound. It remains a must-listen for classic rock and heavy metal fans.
Overall, March has seen the release of many classic rock albums over the years, with various styles and influences represented. These albums continue to be celebrated and influential today, showcasing rock music’s enduring power.