Albums By The Decade: 1960-1969

Welcome back to this special retrospective music-posting feature. The gimmick is simple — each week, you post a list (ranked or unranked) of your favourite 25 (or however many) albums of a given year or, in this case, decade. We are now moving backwards through the early days of the LP era. The video below, originally posted by Eexalien in the Weekly Music Thread provides valuable context about the early days of the LP.


  • Following the Edison cylinder, the first agreed upon recording format was the 78 rpm record which became the standard around 1910. These records were made of a very fragile material called shellac (a resin secreted by the lac bug). A 10″ 78 rpm record held about 3 minutes per side and a 12″ one between 4 and 5 minutes but the 10″ was the more popular format
  • The concept of the music album originated when 78 rpm records were issued in multi-disc packages similar to books. In terms of packaging, these aren’t dissimilar from what we now think of as box sets but in terms of length, most could easily fit on a single 12 inch or even 10 inch LP hence the persistence of the album misnomer in the LP era (the fact that LP was Columbia’s proprietary term contributed greatly to this phenomenon as well).
  • By the 1930s, the industry was well aware of the limitations of the 78 rpm record and wanted to use microgroove technology (224 to 300 grooves per inch rather than the previous 90) to replace it. The first 33 1/3 rpm records were issued by RCA Victor in 1931 . Their records held 15 minutes per side but the records were too fragile to support multiple playbacks and the format was abandoned by 1933. WWII got in the way of further developments.
  • In 1948, Columbia records launched a superior version of the 33 1/3 rpm record which they dubbed the LP (for long player). In a display or remarkable foresight, they actually began mastering records for the new format as early as 1939 giving them access to a considerable back catalogue right at launch. The 12 inch version of LP is essentially the 45 minute album as we know it now but the 12 inch was initially mostly reserved for classical music. Nearly everything else was issued on 10 inch LPs because of the popularity of 10 inch record players with backwards compatibility with 10 inch 78 rpm records. The 10 inch LP was only phased out around the mid-fifties.
  • RCA responded to Columbia’s 33 1/3 rpm format by launching the competing 45rpm format on 7 inch records, a format which they had started developing before the war. The only problem was the 45 rpm record had been initially designed as a less ambitious improvement over the 78 rpm record than their own abandoned 33 1/3 format not as a direct competitor to Columbia’s LP. It had the very glaring limitation of being quite short. This meant that RCA was trying to compete with single disc releases by issuing multi disc sets not dissimilar to those previously issued on 78 rpm. These sets proved to be unpopular and as we now know, the 7 inch 45 rpm format nonetheless found it’s calling as the preferred format for single song releases while the term album became synonymous with the 12 inch 33 1/3 rpm record.


All lists alphabetical (no artists repeated):


Art Ensemble of Chicago: A Jackson In Your House

Albert Ayler: Spiritual Unity

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: A Night in Tunisia

Paul Bley: Closer

Peter Brötzmann: Machine Gun

Kenny Burrell with Art Blakey: At the Five Spot Café *

Jaki Byard: The Jaki Byard Experience

Ornette Coleman: Change of the Century

Alice Coltrane: A Monastic Trio

John Coltrane: A Love Supreme

Miles Davis: Miles Smiles

Eric Dolphy: Conversations

Kenny Dorham: Quiet Kenny

Duke Ellington: The Far East Suite

Bill Evans: Conversations with Myself

Ella Fitzgerald: Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas

Dizzy Gillespie: Gillespiana

Dexter Gordon: Go!

Herbie Hancock: Maiden Voyage

Joe Harriott: Free Form

Joe Henderson: Page One

Woody Herman: Woody’s Winners

Andrew Hill: Point of Departure

Bobby Hutcherson: Components

Ahmad Jamal: Happy Moods

Sheila Jordan: Portrait of Sheila

Krzysztof Komeda: Astigmatic

Jeanne Lee & Ran Blake: The Newest Sound Around

Herbie Mann: Memphis Underground

Jackie McLean: Let Freedom Ring

Charles Mingus: Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus

Thelonious Monk: Underground

Wes Montgomery: The Incredible Jazz Guitar of

Lee Morgan: The Sidewinder

Oliver Nelson: The Blues and the Abstract Truth

Duke Pearson: Wahoo!

Max Roach: We Insist! Freedom Now Suite

Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins: Sonny Meets Hawk!

George Russell: Jazz in the Space Age

Pharoah Sanders: Tauhid

Archie Shepp: Black Gipsy

Wayne Shorter: The All Seeing Eye

Horace Silver: Song for My Father

Nina Simone: Forbidden Fruit

Frank Sinatra and Count Basie: Sinatra-Basie

Sun Ra: Futuristic Sounds of Sun Ra

Cecil Taylor: Unit Structures

McCoy Tyner: Tender Moments

Mal Waldron: The Quest

Tony Williams: Emergency

Larry Young: Unity!


Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Ugestsu

Albert Ayler: In Greenwich Village

Ornette Coleman: At the Golden Circle

John Coltrane: Live at the Village Vanguard

Miles Davis: My Funny Valentine

Eric Dolphy: At the Five Spot

Duke Ellington: Soul Call

Bill Evans: Live at the Village Vanguard

Ahmad Jamal: Ahmad Jamal’s Alhambra

Ramsey Lewis: The In Crowd

Junior Mance: Trio at the Village Vanguard

Shelly Manne & His Men: At the Black Hawk

Cecil Taylor: Nefertiti

Nina Simone: At Newport

McCoy Tyner: Live at Newport


John Barry: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Elmer Bernstein: The Great Escape

Beatles: A Hard Day’s Night

Henry Mancini: Breakfast at Tiffanys

Krysztof Komeda; Rosemary’s Baby

Ennio Morricone: The Battle of Algiers *

Alex North: Spartacus

Elvis Presley: Blue Hawaii

Sonny Rollins: Alfie

Frank Zappa: Uncle Meat *


Gyorgy Ligeti: Atmosphères (Ernest Bour, conductor) *

Witold Lutosławski: Symphony No. 2 (Witold Rowicki. conductor)

Steve Reich: Live/Electric Music (Paul Zukofsky, violin)

Terry Riley: A Rainbow in Curved Air

Dimitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 13 (Kyril Kondrashin, conductor)


Allman Brothers: Allman Brothers Band

Amon Düül II: Phalus Dei

The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds

The Beatles: Rubber Soul

Can: Monster Movie

Captain Beefheart: Trout Mask Replica *

Donovan: Sunshine Superman

Brigitte Fontaine: Comme à la Radio

Giles, Giles & Fripp: The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp

Jimmy Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland *

Etta James: At Last

King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King

The Kinks: Something Else

Love: Forever Changes *

MC5: Kick Out the Jams

Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed *

Pink Floyd: Piper at the Gates of Dawn *

Elvis Presley: From Elvis in Memphis

Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed

The Stooges: The Stooges

Them: The Angry Young Them

The Who: Sing My Generation

Neil Young: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Frank Zappa: We’re Only in it for the Money

The Zombies: The Zombies


Nat King Cole: The Magic of Christmas

Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn : The Nutcracker Suite *

Ella Fitzgerald: Ella Wishes You a Swingin’ Christmas

Vince Guaraldi: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Stan Kenton: A Merry Christmas! *

Ramsey Lewis: Sounds of Christmas *

The Merrymen: Merry Christmas with the Merrymen *

Duke Pearson: Merry Ole Soul *

Bobby Timmons: Holiday Soul *

Various Artists: Christmas Wish to You from Phil Spector *


* edited