We've chosen a small handful of the best albums of all time as nominees for the ultimate music countdown.
ABBA - Arrival (1976)
ABBA arrive by helicopter on this album cover and see their career reach new heights with hits like Dancing Queen, Knowing Me, Knowing You and Money, Money, Money.
Air - Moon Safari (1998)
Air's innovative style of retro-futuristic electro-pop is displayed perfectly in this release from the French duo. Moon Safari rocketed to the top of the UK charts and went on to take the US by storm, thanks to the success of its single, Sexy Boy.
Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill (1995)
Morissette's transformation from teenybopper to angst queen made this one of the biggest-selling albums by a female solo artist. Notable too for the vicious attack on her ex-boyfriend in You Oughta Know.
Alicia Keys - Songs in a Minor (2001)
Alicia was only 19-years-old when she recorded this album, but it won five Grammys and made the singer/pianist a superstar. Its biggest hit was Fallin.
Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)
Rolling Stone Magazine called it the 'best soul album ever recorded'. The smash hit Respect crossed all cultural, racial, gender and age barriers, urging everyone to be confident with their self-assertion.
Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour of Bewilderbeast (2000)
The man with the beard and the woolly hat doing what he does best - making beautiful music. Hits include Disillusion and Once Around the Block.
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)
Inspired by The Beatles' Rubber Soul, head Beach Boy Brian Wilson turned his back on summery hit singles and created a masterpiece imbued with depth and real sophistication.
The Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique (1989)
Derided as punk-ass kids by their critics, the Beasties came of age with an album that was funky, philosophical and intelligent. In an era of gangster rap and guns, the Beasties were sampling the Beatles and rapping about Newton and Galileo.
The Beatles - Revolver (1966)
This was the moment The Beatles finally shook off their moptop image. No longer content with love songs, it testifies to their interest in world music, drugs and politics. It also captures the feelgood vibe of 1966 - the year England won the World Cup.
The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
One of the most influential albums of all time. After their final gig at Candlestick Park, The Beatles turned their backs on playing live and devoted themselves to the studio. Famous songs from the album include When I'm 64, With a Little Help from My Friends and A Day in the Life.
The Beatles - The White Album (1968)
The album had no title (it was just called 'The Beatles') but it soon became dubbed 'The White Album' owing to its plain white sleeve. Contains classic songs like Back in the USSR, Ob La Di Ob La Da, and Revolution 9 - an avant-garde sound collage lasting over 8 minutes. Eric Clapton played lead guitar on While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
Beck - Odelay (1996)
Beck doesn't write songs prior to studio recording - rather he uses the studio as a resonant tool for creating music which allows him to blend folk, hip-hop, blues and rock. Music for the slacker generation.
Billie Holiday - Lady Sings the Blues (1954)
Billie Holiday's last great recording includes all of her signature songs. The album contains Strange Fruit (perhaps the first protest song), God Bless the Child, and Ain't Misbehavin'.
Bjork - Debut (1993)
Bjork's inspiringly titled debut, Debut, was her first album since leaving The Sugarcubes. Produced by Nellee Hooper, Debut established Bjork's audience outside of Iceland and won her a cult following worldwide.
Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1970)
Originally titled War Pigs, the record company changed Black Sabbath's second album title to Paranoid because of sensitivity about the Vietnam War. The cover image of a soldier brandishing a sword and shield then no longer made sense, but Paranoid topped the British music charts regardless.
Blondie - Parallel Lines (1978)
This album brought Blondie into the mainstream. The black and white-striped cover was almost as famous as the hit singles from the album, which includes Heart of Glass, Sunday Girl and Hanging on the Telephone.
Blur - Parklife (1994)
This album, along with Oasis' Definitely Maybe, launched the Britpop revolution in music in the UK and elsewhere, as well as affixing Blur securely to the musical map. This is the soundtrack to 1990s lad culture.
Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde (1966)
The album where Dylan 'went electric'. Generally believed to be rock and roll's first double album, Blonde on Blonde was a critical success, though folk music purists continued to protest Dylan's musical faux pas in blending folk with rock and roll.
Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks (1975)
One of the best break-up albums of all time, Blood on the Tracks is inspired by the gradual collapse of Dylan's marriage to Sara Lownds. The writing is extremely strong, the lyrics intensely personal.
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Exodus (1977)
Marley survived an assassination attempt in Jamaica and then fled to London to record this album. It made him a global superstar and brought 'third world' music to the world at large.
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run (1975)
Springsteen's make-or-break album shows the kid from Asbury Park as the all-American hero - a poster boy for the working-class layabout-made-good.
Carole King - Tapestry (1971)
Tapestry was initially intended as a set of demos to offer to other artists. King wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, several of which had already been hits for other artists, such as Aretha Franklin's Natural Woman and The Shirelles' Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
The Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole (1997)
The superstar DJs created the classic album of the big beat dance era, featuring Noel Gallagher on the hit track Setting Sun. Darker and more psychedelic than their other work, this is one for the party stash.
The Clash - London Calling (1979)
The iconic sleeve photograph was taken by Joe Strummer's then girlfriend, Pennie Smith, who was an NME photographer. It shows bassist Paul Simonon smashing his guitar at a gig. The biggest hit was title track, London Calling.
Coldplay - Parachutes (2000)
Coldplay's debut record took Chris Martin from gawky singer scraping by to worldwide megastar, rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood A-List. The globe on the cover cost &9.99 from WH Smith.
The Cure - Disintegration (1989)
Disintegration was The Cure's commercial breakthrough album, including the hits Love Song and Pictures of You. The cover showed lead singer Robert Smith drowning in flowers.
Curtis Mayfield - Superfly (1972)
The soundtrack to the Shaft-style Blaxploitation film, Superfly. Mayfield turned the record into an anti-drugs concept, focusing on the dark side of drugs and the the violence and destruction they inflict of the black community.
The Darkness - Permission to Land (2003)
For one brief summer, rock posturing, spandex and guitar solos became fashionable again. I Believe in a Thing Called Love turned them into an overnight success, while other hits from the album include Growing on Me, and Love Is Only a Feeling.
David Bowie - Hunky Dory (1971)
Bowie's fourth album remains an acclaimed classic, containing defining moments for Bowie which include the hit Changes, as well as tributes to Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan.
David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust (1972)
The creation of Ziggy Stardust was inspired by Malcolm McDowell's character in a Clockwork Orange. Heddon Street in Covent Garden, where the sleeve photo was shot, soon after became a Mecca for Bowie fans.
De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
With its anti-gangster rap and DAISY age philosophy, 3 Feet High and Rising showed that hip-hop wasn't all about guns and hoods. The legal case which followed this album changed copyright law and the face of sampled hip-hop forever.
Dexys Midnight Runners - Searching for the Young Soul Rebels (1980)
Featuring the UK number-one hit-single Geno, Kevin Rowland and his band made little black knitted hats, dungarees and donkey jackets chic.
Dido - No Angel (1999)
The success of this debut album was spurred on by Dido's appearance on Eminem's track, Stan. The sampled track used, Thank You, made Dido a star in her own right. No Angel was the UK's best selling album of 2001.
Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms (1985)
The first CD to sell a million copies. The biggest hit on the album was Money for Nothing, co-written by Mark Knopfler and his Geordie mate Sting, who sings the famous line 'I want my MTV'.
Dizzee Rascal - Boy in da Corner (2003)
Dizzee Rascal grew up in a council estate in East London, stealing cars and getting booted out of schools, but by the age of 18 he had turned the corner and produced this Mercury Music Award-winning album.
The Doors - The Doors (1967)
The Doors' debut album defined acid-rock. Jim Morrison and his entourage provided us with the hits Light My Fire and the outsized album-finale The End.
Duran Duran - Rio (1982)
Their second album broke Birmingham's fab five in America and secured their place as Princess Diana's favourite band. The album scored three UK top-twenty hits with Hungry Like the Wolf, Save a Prayer, and Rio.
Dusty Springfield - Dusty in Memphis (1969)
Dusty may have been the UK's number one diva in the early 1960s, but by 1969 'girl singers' were regarded as little more than fluff. This was Dusty's comeback album and, while critically acclaimed, commercially it flopped. The lead single, Son of a Preacher Man, was a huge hit, and was permanently revived by its appearance in cult flick Pulp Fiction.
Eagles - Hotel California (1976)
Where is the real Hotel California? Hotel California is, in fact, not a real hotel at all, but a metaphor for the crazy, hedonistic, materialistic rock and roll lifestyle of California. The album reveals Don Henley's sickness and craziness after years of life in the fast lane.
Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
The album where Elton started to come out of himself, both as a performer and as a person. He was becoming increasingly flamboyant, camp and extrovert, though not yet openly gay. This slab of acetate represents Elton John and Bernie Taupin's finest hour.
Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True (1977)
Elvis Costello's cynicism and anger marked him out as a leading voice in the punk explosion. This impressive debut contains one of Costello's most enduring hits, Alison.
Elvis Presley - The Sun Sessions (1976)
This is a compilation of Elvis recordings made at Sam Phillips' Sun Studios at the moment rock and roll began. Phillips signed Presley after hearing a song that he had recorded for his mother on her birthday, That's All Right (Mama).
Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
Perhaps the most controversial album ever made. Marshall ditched his Slim Shady persona to reveal his true self. The album threw up a storm of protest for its alleged homophobia and references to violence and drugs.
Fatboy Slim - You've Come a Long Way, Baby (1998)
In the States, many assumed the fat boy on the sleeve was actually Fatboy himself. For a few joyous months it seemed wherever you listened, Fatboy's anthems were being played on the radio, TV and DJ decks all across the country.
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (1977)
The band were all in disintegrating relationships with each other as this album was being made, but as they fell apart emotionally, they created their masterpiece. Hits include Go Your Own Way and Don't Stop.
Frank Sinatra - Songs for Swingin' Lovers! (1956)
Sinatra shrugged off the rise of rock and roll and Elvis to stick to what he did best - a swinging dance album. Featured tracks include what is considered by many to be his finest cover version, Cole Porter's I've Got You Under My Skin.
Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Welcome to the Pleasuredome (1984)
The biggest band to come out of Merseyside since the Beatles. The only people who didn't seem to like what Holly Johnson and his gang were doing were at the BBC. Includes Relax and Two Tribes.
George Michael - Faith (1987)
George Michael was seen as more than just a pretty boy with the release of his first solo album since Wham! With his new image of leather jacket and designer stubble, George had hits with I Want Your Sex and the title track, Faith.
Guns n' Roses - Appetite for Destruction (1987)
This album perfectly embodies the self-destructive mania of their lives at that time. Written when the band all lived together in a one-room apartment they called 'Hellhouse', hits include Welcome to the Jungle and Sweet Child o' Mine.
Happy Mondays - Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches (1990)
Brothers Shaun and Paul Ryder formed the Happy Mondays and became the centre of the Madchester scene of the late 1980s. The album features X-Factor star Rowetta on backing vocals and hit singles Kinky Afro and Step on.
The Human League - Dare! (1981)
An avant-garde pop masterpiece featuring the two new female recruits Phil Oakey discovered in a Sheffield nightclub. After its breakthrough single, Don't You Want Me, more hits followed with Love Action and Open Your Heart.
Ian Dury - New Boots and Panties!! (1977)
This platinum-selling album stayed in the charts for 90 weeks and was remade as Brand New Boots and Panties! in 2001, with stars including Robbie Williams, Paul McCartney and Billy Bragg paying tribute to the late rocker.
The Jam - All Mod Cons (1978)
All Mod Cons mixes punk anger with 1960s guitars and was The Jam's largest commercial success. It also marked a turning point in The Jam's career, as their sound became more pop-orientated. Includes David Watts and Down in the Tube Station at Midnight.
James Brown - Sex Machine (1963)
This live album is maybe not as live as it seems. Recorded half-live and half in the studio, the tracks were doctored with audience applause. Still regarded by many as his best, the Godfather of Soul gives it up and turns it loose.
Jeff Buckley - Grace (1994)
The only completed studio album from the singer with the four-octave voice before his tragic and untimely death, aged just 30. Grace's elegiac, Leonard Cohen-penned song Hallelujah has been performed countless times in open-mike clubs around the world, but no one has come close to Buckley's intoxicating interpretation.
Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced? (1967)
Jimi's girlfriend, Kathy Etchingham, is said to have inspired several of the songs on this recording. Hendrix had to write hastily between gigs - resulting with the hugely influential Foxy Lady, Hey Joe and Purple Haze.
John Coltrane - A Love Supreme (1964)
After battling back from severe heroin addiction and the brink of death, Coltrane created this spiritual jazz masterpiece as his thanks to God. The album is widely regarded as the one which defined free jazz.
John Lennon - Imagine (1971)
Recorded at home in Lennon's estate in Berkshire, visitors to the house during the recording of the album included Jack Nicholson, Andy Warhol and Miles Davies. Imagine contains an alleged bitter attack on Paul McCartney called How Do You Sleep, along with the hits Imagine and Jealous Guy.
Joni Mitchell - Blue (1971)
The cover depicts the famous haunting image of Joni Mitchell's shadowed face in blue. Partly inspired by giving up her baby for adoption, this album covers love, loss and heartbreak. With contributions from Stephen Stills and James Taylor, this is Joni Mitchell at her most honest and raw.
Joy Division - Closer (1980)
Joy Division singer Ian Curtis hanged himself before the release of their finest album, which chronicles the inner demons of Curtis' guilt of his affair and his struggle with epilepsy. Closer is seen by many as his personal suicide note.
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (1985)
Produced entirely by herself at her own home-studio, Hounds of Love gave birth to hits such as Running Up that Hill and Cloudbusting, the video for which starred Donald Sutherland.
Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express (1977)
Arguably the Godfathers of Electronica, Kraftwerk looked to the industrial world around them for inspiration, searching for a sound that would be considered uniquely German. Their robotic sound would become an influence on many new wave synth acts to come.
Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
This debut solo album by the former Fugee swept the Grammy Awards, setting new records for black women, female hip-hop artists and women in general. Hits include Doo Wop (That Thing).
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
The cover bears no title, and there are no band photos - the music speaks for itself. Bearing the classics Stairway to Heaven and Rock and Roll, IV is perhaps Led Zeppelin's best effort, and having sold over 37 million copies since its release, the record-buying public seem to agree.
The Libertines - The Libertines (2004)
The Libertines' second album, produced by punk icon Mick Jones (formerly of The Clash). The front cover shows band members Pete Doherty and Carl Barat displaying their 'Libertine' tattoos on the night Pete was released from prison. Hits include Can't Stand Me Now and What Became of the Likely Lads.
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions - Rattlesnakes (1984)
This critically-acclaimed debut album had a low-key production approach which gave it a slight 1960s feel. Many say that Lloyd Cole was ahead of his time with hits like Perfect Skin.
Lou Reed - Transformer (1972)
Produced by David Bowie, this album pays homage to the characters who hung out in Warhol's New York when CBGB's was at its coolest. The photo of Reed on the sleeve remains the iconic image of the man who paved the way for glam punk to follow.
Love - Forever Changes (1967)
When writing this album, Arthur Lee thought he was going to die. This album deals with the dark side of the LA hippy scene in the late 1960s, with Lee himself ending up living through the drug-crazed troubles he once saw from afar.
Madness - One Step Beyond? (1979)
The Nutty Boys begin their journey of a thousand miles with a single step. The cover has them doing their crazy two-tone dance, and the hits include One Step Beyond, My Girl and Night Boat to Cairo.
Madonna - Like a Prayer (1989)
Madonna's change in hair colour marked a change in tone of her songwriting. Madonna autobiographically expresses herself through songs about her father, her religion and her Catholic upbringing.
Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (1971)
Inspired by his brother returning from Vietnam, this album is a document of America and the civil rights riots at that time. Marvin Gaye stopped being the smart-suited Motown pin-up and became a cool, edgy artist, incurring the wrath of Motown supremo Berry Gordy along the way.
Massive Attack - Blue Lines (1991)
Key figures in the Bristol 'trip-hop' scene, Massive Attack took influences from hip-hop, jazz, reggae and blues. The classic single was Unfinished Sympathy, recorded with Shara Nelson.
Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell (1977)
A big man, a big voice and one of the biggest albums of his generation. Bat Out of Hell still sells about 200,000 copies per year and has sold an estimated 34 million copies worldwide, with 16 million units shifted in the US alone.
Michael Jackson - Off the Wall (1979)
A veteran artist at the age of just 20, this was Jacko's first adult solo album. On the cover, his drainpipe-trousered and white-socked legs recline against a wall. The album produced global hits including Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, Rock with You and Off the Wall.
Michael Jackson - Thriller (1982)
Still the biggest-selling album in the world, this contains the classics Thriller, Beat It, Billie Jean, Human Nature... the list of hits just goes on and on.
Missy Elliott - Miss E... So Addictive (2001)
The first lady of hip-hop and definitely its most successful woman. Missy struck a blow for women in the macho world of US rap - her lyrics are bold, defiant and fearless. On One Minute Man she mocks any man who can't satisfy her sexual needs.
Moby - Play (1999)
The story of how long-lost library tapes of black American slaves singing the blues came to be the soundtrack of white, corporate America in the 20th century. Every single track from Play has been used in a different TV commercial. Stand-out tracks include Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad, Porcelain, Honey, Run On.
Neil Young - After the Goldrush (1970)
The Godfather of Grunge. The album contains some of Young's best work, covering subjects from environmental concerns to redneck racism on Southern Man (supposedly inspired by an incident Neil experienced while on tour in Alabama). Also includes Only Love Can Break Your Heart.
New Order - Technique (1989)
The band wrote this album and intended to record it in Ibiza, but when they didn't get much work done they returned to the UK to complete it. Designer Peter Saville chose the cherub on the sleeve because he thought it looked like it was masturbating.
Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left (1969)
He committed suicide five years after its release, aged just 26, depressed because of a lack of success. His music may have received little recognition during his lifetime, but is now considered hugely influential.
Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
The touchpaper that started the American grunge explosion. The cover (the baby in the water) has become iconic, having graced every bedroom wall everywhere since its release. Includes Smells Like Teen Spirit and Come As You Are - a modern classic.
Norah Jones - Come Away with Me (2002)
Norah is the daughter of legendary sitar-player Ravi Shankar, and was a musical prodigy from a young age. This was her debut album, which sold 18 million copies worldwide, winning eight Grammy awards.
NWA - Straight Outta Compton (1989)
This album sold 2.5 million copies, despite receiving little radio airplay and having the video for its title track banned by MTV. Rightly considered one of the most important rap albums of all time, it earned NWA the attention of the FBI, who complained about the message the band's song F*** The Police sent out.
Oasis - Definitely Maybe (1994)
With the swaggering chords of the opening Rock 'n' Roll Star, Oasis announced that big, brash Brit Rock was here to stay at least for a few years. This was the fastest selling debut in British history.
Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory (1995)
The album that turned Oasis into megastars. Featuring Wonderwall, Don't Look Back in Anger, Roll with It and Some Might Say.
Outkast - Speakerboxxx / The Love Below (2003)
Epic double-album which blended funk, rap, blues, dance and hip-hop to create a wholly new sound. Hey Ya was THE song to get people off their seat in 2003/4.
Patti Smith - Horses (1975)
Patti influenced generations of strong front-women by refusing to use her sexuality to sell records. The photograph on the cover (neither glamorous nor flattering) was taken by her boyfriend at the time, Robert Mapplethorpe. Includes the nine-minute epic, Birdland.
Paul Simon - Graceland (1986)
Simon fought to use indigenous artists on the album, yet became embroiled in fierce controversy for having broken the international cultural boycott of South Africa.
Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
It's estimated that one in every 14 people in the USA under the age of 50 owns a copy of this album, while one in four homes in the UK has a copy. The image that adorns the cover is a prism refracting light, which became another iconic wall poster of the 70s.
Pixies - Doolittle (1989)
The band that inspired Nirvana, and a wave of other American guitar bands, split before the big American invasion of the global music scene in the early 1990s. Features their hit single Monkey Gone to Heaven.
The Police - Synchronicity (1983)
Their last full-length studio recording, Synchonicity was their biggest album, and with it The Police conquered the globe. The singles included Every Breath You Take, King of Pain, and Wrapped Around Your Finger.
Primal Scream - Screamadelica (1991)
The album captured the acid house era, as indie kids started getting into dance music for the first time. Hits include Loaded, Movin' On Up, and Come Together.
Prince - Sign o' the Times (1987)
This double album was Prince at his shining peak. Sheena Easton makes a guest appearance too, duetting with Prince on the raunchy You've Got the Look.
Prodigy - The Fat of the Land (1997)
Prodigy mixed punk and dance beats on this album, which benefited from a tabloid controversy frenzy. Their singles Firestarter and Smack My Bitch Up were hugely divisive, and huge sellers.
Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
The manifesto that launched Public Enemy as the 'Black CNN.' The cover had a picture of Chuck D and Flavor Flav behind bars, and the album included the hit single Don't Believe the Hype.
Pulp - Different Class (1995)
Jarvis Cocker paints working-class Britain in all its vivid glory. The album sleeve originally came as a series of postcards which allowed listeners to choose their own. Features hits Common People and Disco 2000.
Queen - A Night at the Opera (1975)
Queen's epic was the most expensive album to produce at the time of recording - six studios were used to record the album, which contained hits You're My Best Friend and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Radiohead - OK Computer (1997)
Recorded as the band holed-up in a haunted house, the sleeve artist sat in on recordings and drew images of the sessions to illustrate. The biggest hit from this album was Karma Police.
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)
The Red Hot Chili Peppers' platinum-selling fifth album. Hits included Give It Away and the group's first top ten single, Under the Bridge. The album also includes My Lovely Man, an elegy for Hillel Slovak, a former band member who died of a heroin overdose in 1988.
REM - Automatic for the People (1992)
Otherwise known as 'The One with the Metal Star on the Front'. The biggest hits from the album were Man in the Moon (homage to alternative comedian Andy Kaufman) and Everybody Hurts.
Robbie Williams - I've Been Expecting You (1998)
The album cover features Robbie as James Bond - a theme echoed in Millennium, which samples John Barry's You Only Live Twice. It also includes No Regrets - Robbie's look back at his departure from Take That.
Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells a Story (1971)
Rod Stewart made history with this album, becoming the first artist to simultaneously have an album and a single at number one in the US and the UK. Ironically, Rod's classic Maggie May nearly didn't make it on to the album in the first place.
The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street (1972)
Recorded in the south of France, where the Stones exiled themselves to avoid paying taxes. Famous pals of the band, such as John and Yoko Lennon, were known to regularly drop by to visit. Hits from the album include Tumbling Dice and Rocks Off.
The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed (1969)
Brian Jones left the group and died during the recording of this album, and the cake on the album cover was baked by Delia Smith. Stand out tracks include Gimme Shelter and You Can't Always Get What You Want.
Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure (1973)
Lizard lounge king Bryan Ferry does sci-fi rock on the band's second album. The transexual sailor with the panther on the cover was rumoured to be David Bowie.
Saturday Night Fever - The Original Movie Soundtrack (1977)
At the time, not only was it the biggest selling movie soundtrack in history, it was the biggest selling album in history. The biggest hits on the album were all by the Bee Gees (Stayin' Alive, How Deep Is Your Love, Night Fever and Jive Talkin) but the album also featured KC and the Sunshine Band and Kool and the Gang.
Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters (2004)
Hits include Mary, Laura and Take Your Mama Out. With this album they brought a sense of sex, glamour and fun back to party music that evoked Elton John, T-Rex and Duran Duran. The album sleeve even echoes Elton John's Yellow Brick Road.
Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols (1977)
The band became outcasts and public enemies after this album was released - gig venues banned them, MI5 followed them, MPs denounced them, but the public still bought this album in droves. Its biggest hit was their punk anthem, God Save the Queen.
Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
Their biggest and final album before the duo parted ways. The album won three Grammy Awards, and its title track is a contender for the most beautiful pop song of all time.
Sly and the Family Stone - There's a Riot Goin' On (1971)
It documents both the chaos in America in 1971 and the madness of Stone's drug addled personal life. Somehow remaining true to Stone's funky roots, the album contains the group's biggest ever hit, A Family Affair.
The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead (1986)
Morrissey's lyrics deal with his own fame, art and his media persona, as well as his bitterness towards the music business. Notable tracks include Bigmouth Strikes Again, Frankly Mr Shankly and The Boy with the Thorn in His Side. French Actor Alain Delon's head is on the cover.
Soul II Soul - Club Classics Volume. One (1989)
The sound of late 1980s London and Jazzie B's 'sound system' culture put onto record. From it we heard the singles Back to Life and Keep on Movin'.
The Specials - Specials (1979)
Produced by Elvis Costello, the album gave the world its first extended look at Two Tone. With Jerry Dammers' inspired songwriting and Terry Hall as the laidback front man, the Specials combined the rhythm of ska with the speed of punk to high critical acclaim. Includes Message to You Rudy and Too Much Too Young.
Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
Stevie Wonder had been a star since the early 60s, but this double album was the first he released following a new $13 million contract with Motown. It went straight to number one in the US and stayed there for 15 weeks. It also took two years to record and includes the timeless love ballad Isn't She Lovely.
The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses (1989)
Heralded as one of the greatest debuts of all time. There was Jackson Pollock-esque art on the front and hits like She Bangs the Drums and Fools Gold inside. Sadly, it took them seven years to release a follow up.
The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free (2004)
A concept album that tackles the real minutiae of life in the 21st century, like taking a DVD back late and copping off in Ibiza. Mike Skinner became the poet laureate of the garage scene in Britain with hits like Dry Your Eyes and Fit But You Know It.
The Strokes - Is This It (2001)
Their distinctive sound - 'a layer of filth' - featured Julian Casablancas' distorted vocals. The cover of this album features a leather-clad hand touching what appears to be a female thigh. Last Nite put them at the forefront of the painfully cool bands that had recently emerged from NYC.
Talking Heads - Fear of Music (1979)
Talking Heads married punk-rock sensibilities and poppy sounds with clipped funk, art-school-intellectualism and world music, as perfectly demonstrated here on their third album. Lead-singer David Byrne was also one of the most influential and unique front-men of the period.
U2 - The Joshua Tree (1987)
With this album, U2 sought to paint vivid sound pictures of North America. The LP is dedicated to the memory of their roadie, Greg Carroll, a Maori who died in a motorbike accident while the album was being made. Hits include Where the Streets Have No Name, I Still Haven't Found what I'm Looking for and With or Without You.
Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (1968)
Van the Man's album was designed to be an experience, not a collection of songs. It blended country, folk and jazz, and at the time it wasn't a commercial success, yet it has been selling millions ever since.
The Velvet Underground - Velvet Underground and Nico (1967)
The dark side of the 1960s laid bare: New York paranoia fuelled by speed and heroin. The Velvet Underground were Andy Warhol's protégés, and it was Warhol who created the famous banana sleeve, which was originally peelable.
The Verve - Urban Hymns (1997)
The band were on the verge of splitting up, but still produced one of the defining albums of the 1990s. Tracks include Bittersweet Symphony, The Drugs Don't Work and Lucky Man.
The White Stripes - Elephant (2003)
Played on old instruments, Elephant was recorded exclusively on 1960s recording technology to capture an original rock 'n' roll sound. Ex-husband and wife duo Jack and Meg White created hits including Seven Nation Army and The Hardest Button to Button.
The Who - Tommy (1969)
The first, and arguably the best, attempt at a real rock opera. Tommy charts the everyday story of a deaf, dumb and blind boy transforming from outcast to prophet through the medium of pinball.
The Who - Who's Next (1971)
The album sleeve has The Who taking a leak by the side of a concrete monolith on a slag heap. Their most successful album, it includes Won't Get Fooled Again and Behind Blue Eyes.