50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time

Rolling Stone ranks the 50 best live albums ever, from Jimi Hendrix at Monterey to Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison

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Miles Davis, 'The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965' (1995)

21. Miles Davis, 'The Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965' (1995)

Near the end of a tour in 1965, one date to go, the Miles Davis Quintet cooked up a berserk idea: Everything people expects us to play, we'll play the opposite. When the band (Davis with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Tony Williams) got to the Chicago club, they discovered label reps setting up to record the stand. This amazing 8-CD package captures every note over two nights of anti-music, jazz upended and shot through with quiet. At first trumpeter Davis is tentative, but by the end he's leagues ahead at the band's own game. "When I heard those guys dropping the bottom out from under me, I knew it was 'Go for it' time!" Shorter recalled. "I'd been in the band for a little over a year, and the next thing I knew we were way out there. It was like…this is what freedom means." RJ Smith

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