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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The Band, 'Rock of Ages' (1972)
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22/50

22. The Band, 'Rock of Ages' (1972)

The Last Waltz is the Band's most famous live album — it's the one with the big-name guests, the end-of-an-era gravitas and the Scorsese film. But it's not the Band's best live album. That would be Rock of Ages, recorded four years earlier in New York, capturing one of rock's greatest live acts at their peak. They're on fire from the opening cover of Marvin Gaye's "Don't Do It" (a showcase for Rick Danko's sly low-end groove-itude) through ridiculously tight deep cuts like "The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show," "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" and "The Unfaithful Servant," many of them featuring horn arrangements by Allen Toussaint. Organist Garth Hudson's mad jam on "The Genetic Method" into "Chest Fever," taking up nearly an entire side of the double LP, is the stuff of psychedelic roots-rock legend. This is the sound of five guys in telepathic sync, before they got jaded. The Last Waltz tells you that the Band were great; Rock of Ages shows you. Simon Vozick-Levinson

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