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Great Debut Albums

Many bands have started their music careers with a bang, and some have never bettered their first release. With that in mind, the Music Lovers team have put together a list of some of the best debut albums that are available in our library collection.

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Jimmy Page, Concert, Led Zeppelin, 1970. [Photo]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. http://quest.eb.com/search/109_230968/1/109_230968/cite

The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
The Velvet Underground & Nico

Brian Eno famously quoted that "The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band. "Released in 1967, the influence of the "Velvet Underground & Nico" on the future directions of rock music cannot be understated. The contrast of the Velvet's music, the experimental John Cage influenced drone of John Cale's electric viola and the dissonant feedback, combined with Lou Reed's carnal lyrics of drug addiction, "Heroin" and "I'm Waiting for the Man", sadomasochism, "Venus In Furs", and paranoia, "Sunday Morning", was strikingly unique in itself. Manager Andy Warhol suggested the addition of vocalist, Nico, whose icy vocals and delivery gave the music a further sense of detachment.

Compared to the sound of the peace and love inspired pop music of the time, the Velvets' music seemed positively alien. Voyeuristic, harsh and discordant, the Velvet's first album sold minimally. At the time, their live concerts, as part of Warhol's "Exploding Plastic Inevitable", featured the band playing on stage as Warhol's films were projected over them. Poet/filmmaker Gerard Malanga menacingly stalked the stage cracking a whip, and the early use of strobe lighting contributed to a sense of disorientation. The sound and subject matter of "The Velvet Underground and Nico" saw the band as the antithesis of the contemporary music of the 60s.

Future generations of musicians, fans and critics would come to regard the first Velvet Underground album as a landmark of influence and direction.

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Led Zeppelin (1969)
Led Zeppelin

When the Yardbirds disbanded in 1968, guitarist Jimmy Page retained the rights to the name. Recruiting John Paul Jones on bass and drummer John Bonham, Page enlisted singer Robert Plant after initially being rejected by his first choice, Terry Reid, to complete a series of shows in Scandinavia. Under the moniker, "The New Yardbirds", the band toured and returned to England where they changed their name to Led Zeppelin.

Released in 1969, the first Led Zeppelin album initially received mixed reviews for its combination of traditional blues and hard rock. Page's soloing and the dynamic vocals of Robert Plant transformed the Willie Dixon blues, "You Shook Me",'m Gonna Leave You" hinted at the sort of songs that would feature later on Led Zeppelin 3. By the mid-seventies, the sound of Led Zeppelin's first album and their legendary live shows had come to define the band as one of the world's premier rock bands.

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The Doors (1967)
The Doors

Taking their name from Aldous Huxley's essay on drug experimentation, "The Doors of Perception", the Doors' first album was released in 1967.

On the opening track, "Break on Through", singer Jim Morrison urged personal revolution and the expansion of consciousness, themes which subsequent Doors albums and live performances would come to embody.

In music of the time, the discussion of sex was generally taboo, but the Doors willfully explored darker subjects such as patricide and Oedipal issues in "The End", the 11 minute plus closing track on the album.

Morrison's charisma and swagger identified him as the visual focus of the band, but the original songwriting was a group effort shared by Morrison, organist Ray Manzarek, Man and Kurt Weill's "Alabama Song", which separately displayed the underlying blues roots of Krieger's versatile playing and the theatricality of Morrison's performance style.

The album also contained "Light My Fire", which went to Number 1 on the U.S. Charts and was a subsequent hit for Jose Feliciano.

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Appetite For Destruction (1987)
Guns N' Roses

Before Axl Rose stepped in as vocalist for AC/DC, he fronted Guns N' Roses. This album includes the classic hits "Sweet Child O Mine", "Paradise City" and "Welcome to the Jungle".

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Definitely Maybe (1994)

The infamous Gallagher brothers' 1994 debut, "Definitely Maybe", was a musical landmark for Oasis and, alongside Blur, birthed what would become the era of Britpop. "Definitely Maybe" redefined British rock music and brought back the sass of sex, drugs and rock n roll, while the band simultaneously lived up to their musical reputation.

Noel Gallagher, the guitarist and principal songwriter, together with younger brother Liam on vocals, penned momentous tracks such as "Rock n Roll Star", "Live Forever" and "Slide Away" which would become ground breaking anthems of their era.

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Rage Against The Machine (1992)
Rage Against The Machine

Rage Against The Machine are explosive in their debut album blending a combination of funk, rap, and rock together. Rage Against The Machine's self-titled debut is very unique in its sound and lyrical content.

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Frogstomp (1995)

This album was impressive, not only for the nature of the album but also the age of the artists writing the music. "Frogstomp" was voted #2 Best Australian Album of all time by Triple J listeners in 2011.

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Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I Am Not (2006)
Arctic Monkeys

This album crashed into the UK pop charts in 2006 becoming the fastest selling debut album in UK chart history. Since then the Arctic Monkeys have gone on to become a headline act with a huge fan base worldwide. With lyrics like "I'd still take you home" and "I bet that you look good on the dancefloor", Arctic Monkeys show their youthfulness in what must have been a fun album to make.

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Guillotine (2007)
British India

Melbourne rockers British India released "Guillotine" in 2007 to high Triple J praise which earned them a feature album of the month at the time of its release. The local Mentone boys' debut album received universal acclaim for songs such as "Black and White Radio", "Tie up my Hands" and "Run the Red Light", and was produced by the Easybeat's Harry Vanda. British India have gone on to release five albums and are regarded as one of Australia's most cherished and hard-working rock bands of the 2000's. If you like your rock n roll with energy and catchy choruses, look no further.

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Innerspeaker (2010)
Tame Impala

Kevin Parker, one of Australia's biggest musical exports, released this album in 2010 and has since become hugely popular worldwide.

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